Author Topic: LHBS oak chip alternatives  (Read 1066 times)

Offline jivetyrant

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LHBS oak chip alternatives
« on: April 03, 2011, 02:24:46 AM »
So my LHBS is out of oak chips!  I got some medium toast oak cubes last week, but after reading some responses in my post in the recipes forum it seems that these are better suited to long-term aging, not short term (less than 1 month) flavoring of beer, in this case an IIPA.  I plan to keep the oak cubes soak them in port wine for a week or so then toss them into a porter for 2-3 month aging, but it's too late to order any online and still get them quickly enough for me to stay on schedule so I'm looking for some alternatives.  (I'm busting out 2 batches a week in prep for a wedding in a few months)

I was at Sears today and found some Frontier brand apple chips, normally used in a smoker.  They proclaim to be all-natural and free of additives, they also sell hickory chips.  Does anyone have any insight on this brand, or other brands that would be readily available?  Can you think of any reason not to use these instead of the type available online or at homebrew supply shops?  It's edging on grilling season here in MA so I assume that any number of stores will have other, similar types available.

Thanks!

Offline nateo

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Re: LHBS oak chip alternatives
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2011, 04:30:57 AM »
Some reading on something similar:
http://tapirtantrum.com/2009/04/12/testing-exotic-woods-whiskey/

Mesquite and hickory sound like they might be worth a try.

But also, FWIW while cubes will yield complex flavors from extended aging, I've used them for quicker aging (2-4 weeks) with good results.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: LHBS oak chip alternatives
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2011, 11:43:54 AM »
I wouold personally look at it as a fortuitous sign from the beer gods. Oak flavor is just going to make a mess of a IIPA. A IIPA should be all about the hops. My .02.  ;)

Offline jivetyrant

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Re: LHBS oak chip alternatives
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2011, 12:22:14 PM »
I wouold personally look at it as a fortuitous sign from the beer gods. Oak flavor is just going to make a mess of a IIPA. A IIPA should be all about the hops. My .02.  ;)

I'd think that as well, but I had a really killer Oaked IIPA from Southern Tier and was looking for that same complex, earthy flavor.  It was just so damn good!

Offline jeffy

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Re: LHBS oak chip alternatives
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2011, 02:10:03 PM »
I wouold personally look at it as a fortuitous sign from the beer gods. Oak flavor is just going to make a mess of a IIPA. A IIPA should be all about the hops. My .02.  ;)

Don't tell that to the brewers at Cigar City.  They've always got their IPA on different kinds of oak.  Right now at the tasting room it is Jai Alai on White Oak.  Mmmmmm good.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: LHBS oak chip alternatives
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2011, 02:29:55 PM »
I personally don't care for the Jai Alai - too sweet for me. That said, we are talking IIPA, not IPA. IPA can pair well with oak, especially sweeter style. In fact, for a sweeter style like the Jai Alai the tannins in oak can actually improve the beer for my tastes because your taste buds perceive it as drier.

I know a lot of people put oak in their IIPAs as well. Just not to my liking. When I have an Imperial IPA I want it to be entirely a showcase for hops. Anything else just gets in my way. Just my opinion. To each his own.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2011, 02:37:18 PM by majorvices »

Offline majorvices

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Re: LHBS oak chip alternatives
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2011, 09:34:48 PM »
I wouold personally look at it as a fortuitous sign from the beer gods. Oak flavor is just going to make a mess of a IIPA. A IIPA should be all about the hops. My .02.  ;)

Don't tell that to the brewers at Cigar City.  They've always got their IPA on different kinds of oak.  Right now at the tasting room it is Jai Alai on White Oak.  Mmmmmm good.

Gonna have to take my comments about Jai Alia back. the first one I had several months ago tasted a bit too sweet. Had some on draft last night and it was delicious. A bit lighter in color. Picked up a sixer on the way hom and while it is really cloudy and slightly harsh, it has a very nice malt back bone (not over the top) and very nice, substantial hop profile. Good stuff.