Author Topic: How Early to Add Oak?  (Read 137 times)

Offline Ale Farmer

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How Early to Add Oak?
« on: November 16, 2017, 07:27:02 PM »
In the next day or so, I'm going to add some oak cubes to a Scottish Ale that is just about done fermenting. Judging from past experience, two weeks or so has been the right amount of time to get the flavor I want.

But this has me wondering, in general, how early it is advisable to add oak. What would happen if oak cubes were added during the fermentation? My guess is it wouldn't matter much, but I'm just curious if anybody  has any insights.
George

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Bottled:Irish Red Ale, Spruce Ale, APA, Irish Stout, Amber Ale, Dubbel, Brown Ale, Brown Porter, Smoked Porter, Spruce Porter.

Fermenting: Scottish Ale

Next Brews: Chinook APA, English Pale Ale, Marzen, Wit

Offline el_capitan

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Re: How Early to Add Oak?
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2017, 07:30:42 PM »
Good question - I don't have an answer for you, but I wonder if the extra yeast in suspension would gum up the pores in the wood and thereby decrease the extraction of oak character?  Are you one to reuse your cubes, or do you toss them after a batch?  I have not oaked many beers, and when I have, it has been in secondary. 

Offline HopDen

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Re: How Early to Add Oak?
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2017, 03:35:59 PM »
You can oak at any point in the process. Instead of oak cubes I would use and use oak sticks. You can get them at a winemakers supply shop. One stick per 5 gallons would be good or if you're concerned about too much extraction then cut it in half. Also, instead of just throwing the stick into your fermentor you can tie a fishing line onto the stick and run it up through the neck of your fermenter. Soak the oak stick in bourbon,vodka or star san.
Good luck!

Offline Ale Farmer

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Re: How Early to Add Oak?
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2017, 07:14:54 PM »
Thanks for the feedback. I just added the oak to the Scottish Ale that I've been fermenting for a little over a week--my usual practice. But interesting to know that oak can be added at any time.

I don't re-use oak bits--I cut new ones (from some backyard oak tree branches I've been drying in my basement for over a year), toast them in the oven at 350 degrees for three hours, and then make a small tea in a pot on the stove--putting the bits in a muslin bag (sprayed with Star San) to hang in the fermenter and then--when cool--pouring the few ounces of oak tea into the beer.

Two weeks is not a long time to soak the bits, but I do get some nice oak vanilla-like flavor in the background.

George

Brew and grow...

Bottled:Irish Red Ale, Spruce Ale, APA, Irish Stout, Amber Ale, Dubbel, Brown Ale, Brown Porter, Smoked Porter, Spruce Porter.

Fermenting: Scottish Ale

Next Brews: Chinook APA, English Pale Ale, Marzen, Wit