Author Topic: Oak Cubes - Secondary or while carbonating?  (Read 2948 times)

Offline cenosillica

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Oak Cubes - Secondary or while carbonating?
« on: April 06, 2011, 08:34:23 PM »
I have recently returned from a trip to Fort Collins and had the wonderful opportunity to try an Irish Red aged in Makers Mark Bourbon barrels from Odells pilot room. I'm not sure if anyone else can confirm but it distinctly tasted like it came from a nitrogen tap. I digress...

They decided not to commercialize this beer, a one off, so I decided to take matters into my homebrewing hands. So I have an Irish red ale that has been in primary for a little over 1 month now. I bought French oak cubes and am soaking them in Makers Mark.

Questions:
1. How long should I soak them?
2. Should I add them to a secondary or (I keg in cornys) sink them in my corney while carbonating?
3. Probably a matter of choice but should I pitch the cubes and bourbon or just the cubes? (I'm temped to goose the whole kit and kaboodle)

I'm going to let the cubes sit for 4-6 months.

Thanks!
Cenosillica

Offline dbeechum

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Re: Oak Cubes - Secondary or while carbonating?
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2011, 04:20:52 PM »
I soak mine for pretty much for as long as I can. (Seriously, I have cubes - 7 years in the soak))

I soak in secondary for 2-4 weeks for mild oak flavor all the way to 6 months for stronger flavors.
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Offline nateo

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Re: Oak Cubes - Secondary or while carbonating?
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2011, 08:30:51 PM »
I would only add them in secondary. I like to add bourbon and oak separately, so you have more control over the flavor balance.

When using cubes, you really can't let them sit too long. The minimum contact time I'd say if you want a complex oak flavor is two months. At 4-6 months it'll get really interesting and good. If the style of beer will take it, go longer if you can. A light, weak beer isn't a good candidate, but a dark strong one is.

If I want to oak something faster, I'll use chips for 7 days. It's a more one-dimensional flavor, but is nice in IPAs and the like, where you won't get the benefit from extended aging.
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Offline Beer Monger

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Re: Oak Cubes - Secondary or while carbonating?
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2011, 01:16:18 PM »
Good tips.  I'm planning on brewing a barleywine later this year - I may Oak it using cubes.  :) 
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