Author Topic: Hickory Wood?  (Read 504 times)

Offline manyguns

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Hickory Wood?
« on: October 27, 2018, 02:42:42 PM »
In the outdoor dept of Farm & Fleet, I M seeing large packages of wood for smoking meats. They are cheap, too. What do you think Bout soaking some in whiskey or rum and adding them? Secondary or Primary? I saw cherry, pecan,hickory, apple and mesquite. I was thinking hickory.

Offline BrewBama

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Hickory Wood?
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2018, 03:48:23 PM »
Woods other than Oak could impart different flavors which could be good ...or bad.  I dunno.

Bourbon is required by law to be aged in new, charred oak containers. It’s what gives the whiskey the brown color (it goes in clear) and adds some flavor notes.  I live about an hour south of the Jack Daniel’s Distillery. Though not Bourbon, they make a big deal about saying they use new charred oak barrels for their TN Whiskey.   

Other distilleries buy the used barrels when empty (i.e. for Scotch) and breweries buy them for barrel aged beer.

Therefore, I believe if you’re looking for the traditional barrel aged effects for beer you need charred oak. If you’re willing to experiment with other flavors go for it.

You can also buy the chunks or chips from the used whiskey barrels for the smoker.  I prefer hickory, apple, pecan, or peach for pork and chicken, and mesquite for beef.

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« Last Edit: October 27, 2018, 03:59:43 PM by BrewBama »
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Re: Hickory Wood?
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2018, 04:10:27 PM »
I brewed a hickory porter a long, long time ago. I seem to recall it being pretty good.

There are members here who do a lot of smoking and can probably give better info, but I wouldn't personally use anything from the garden section unless it says on the packaging that the wood hasn't been treated with anything.
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Offline WDE97

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Re: Hickory Wood?
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2018, 04:28:53 PM »
It would be interesting to try a beer using hickory instead of the normal oak. However, i would agree with previous posters that there would be some concerns when using smoker pellets instead of wood intended for alcohol production. Additionally, the pellets would have an insanely high surface area compared to a barrel or oak cubes, so you would want to experiment with them first so you didn't overdo it. That said, I'd be pretty wary of using the smoker pellets. If it were me, I would try to find a small piece of solid hickory from a furniture maker/wood supply store/etc (that hasn't been treated with anything) and cut a few small chunks off to soak.
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Offline manyguns

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Re: Hickory Wood?
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2018, 04:47:16 PM »
These aren't pellets, they are chunks of wood.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Hickory Wood?
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2018, 04:47:33 PM »
Pellets are compressed sawdust, no filler added (at least the ones I use). They return to sawdust if they get wet.

Pear is a favorite for smoked beer. Like apple, maybe more delicate.

I've got an IPA going in the secondary, with Spanish Cedar (it is in the Mahogany family).

There are many woods that would be worth trying. Avoid pines as  they can be toxic. Regular Cedar is toxic.

Edit - there is an article on the Spanish Cedar IPA by Rodney Kibzey in the last BYO. I  had his in Portland at HomebrewCon. Loved it.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2018, 04:50:44 PM by hopfenundmalz »
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Hickory Wood?
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2018, 05:23:10 PM »
Pellets are compressed sawdust, no filler added (at least the ones I use). They return to sawdust if they get wet.

Pear is a favorite for smoked beer. Like apple, maybe more delicate.

I've got an IPA going in the secondary, with Spanish Cedar (it is in the Mahogany family).

There are many woods that would be worth trying. Avoid pines as  they can be toxic. Regular Cedar is toxic.

Edit - there is an article on the Spanish Cedar IPA by Rodney Kibzey in the last BYO. I  had his in Portland at HomebrewCon. Loved it.
 
Did you know that a friend of mine may have been the first to use wooden sticks from cigar boxes in a homebrew and later inspired Cigar City for their Humidor Series?
Back to whiskey soaked hickory, though, that may be a pretty strong flavor in a beer.  I imagine it would overwhelm anything but the strongest styles.
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Offline manyguns

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Re: Hickory Wood?
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2018, 05:27:41 PM »
The stout that I made with Early Times whiskey soaked oak cubes, turned out well, although I will add a little more whiskey next time.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Hickory Wood?
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2018, 05:14:46 AM »
Pellets are compressed sawdust, no filler added (at least the ones I use). They return to sawdust if they get wet.

Pear is a favorite for smoked beer. Like apple, maybe more delicate.

I've got an IPA going in the secondary, with Spanish Cedar (it is in the Mahogany family).

There are many woods that would be worth trying. Avoid pines as  they can be toxic. Regular Cedar is toxic.

Edit - there is an article on the Spanish Cedar IPA by Rodney Kibzey in the last BYO. I  had his in Portland at HomebrewCon. Loved it.
 
Did you know that a friend of mine may have been the first to use wooden sticks from cigar boxes in a homebrew and later inspired Cigar City for their Humidor Series?
Back to whiskey soaked hickory, though, that may be a pretty strong flavor in a beer.  I imagine it would overwhelm anything but the strongest styles.
I have read it was a hombrewed beer that inspired the Humidor series.
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Offline Lazy Ant Brewing

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Re: Hickory Wood?
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2018, 01:50:55 PM »
Carson's Brewery in Evansville. IN  aged a porter in a tabasco barrel.  Tasted good, but about a second later the heat got to your palate.  The sample was enough for me, but I'm a wuss when it comes to the hot stuff.

Lots of people liked it.
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Re: Hickory Wood?
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2018, 03:44:12 PM »
Wood for smoking should be aged without any chemical additions because it's intended for food use.

Hickory and the other smoking woods are fair game for brewing although as others have mentioned you may want to char or toast the exterior as would be done for the inside of a barrel although that is not a requirement. Without char/toast the wood is going to impart a more direct wood flavor without the caramelized sugars imparting flavor as well. It's your choice how to process the wood, if at all.

Raw wood will also have a stronger flavor and tannin presence than prior use barrels so you may want to soak/steam/boil the wood before use to leach some of that out and gain a more gentle character. But again, it's your choice.

Also think about the intensity of the flavor of the wood and how much you will use in a beer. Oak is relatively mild while hickory is more aggressive. It's your choice how intense of a flavor you want but think about that before adding wood and be prepared to separate the beer from wood when the flavor reaches your desired level.
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Offline charlie

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Re: Hickory Wood?
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2019, 02:05:04 AM »
All of the nut bearing woods are good for aging beer. I have used pecan, oak (white, red and live), hickory and walnut. I had them on hand because they're the same woods that I use for smoking meat. Each has a subtle variation from the others, but you would never notice it in any sort of qualitative sense without comparing them side-by-side.

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