Author Topic: Wood aging with cubed oak or spirals  (Read 3790 times)

Offline redbeerman

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Wood aging with cubed oak or spirals
« on: December 17, 2009, 01:18:05 PM »
How about adding oak to the secondary?  I've never done it, but am curious about how much say, French medium toast oak cubes to add to a 5 gallon batch of RIS and for how long.
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Offline 1vertical

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Re: Wood aging with cubed oak or spirals
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2009, 02:57:17 PM »
IMO this is a good way to travel because, you can sample small samples over time...when you get the character you desire,
you can stop and remove the spiral and or rack and bottle at that point.

I was interested in the wood for the inherent bugs and wild things....as in Belgian. Granted the Oak character is nice, but there
is much more than just oak flavor.

If anyone finds a good source for some Rum or Burgundy or Merlot bbls I would be interested.
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Offline Beertracker

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Re: Wood aging with cubed oak or spirals
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2010, 10:56:03 AM »
I've never tried the spirals, but cubes are the classic way to go. However, I purchased some of the oak staves for some upcoming wild brew projects which I'm looking forward to experimenting with. Lightly toasted French or Hungarian oak are my favs, but a RIS can certainly stand up to some darker toasted American oak. Contact time depends on your individual tastes. Go for it!   ;) 
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Offline skyler

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Re: Wood aging with cubed oak or spirals
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2010, 01:20:02 PM »
I am also planning to oak for the first time - it's an ESB/IPA (I will know what to call it when I taste it, it's 1.060, about 45 IBU and I used Simcoe and Cascade rather than English-style hops). What's a good amount of oak to start with?

Offline 1vertical

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Re: Wood aging with cubed oak or spirals
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2010, 03:33:13 PM »
It's like, the greater square inches of exposure...wood to liquid...liquid to wood however
you want to look at it, the less contact time you will need to achieve certain flavor profiles.

So you could get 1 or 10 spirals in a carboy and sample once n a while to see your
results.  You will get oak hues in flavor, the question is how long can you wait?

If you put your beer into a 1 liter cask, that liter of beer is getting a LOT of wood contact
as compared to the beer in a 55 gal cask or larger.
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Offline The Professor

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Re: Wood aging with cubed oak or spirals
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2010, 06:30:34 PM »
I like cubes (especially light or medium toast Hungarian oak) because that's what I'm accustomed to, they are easy to bake or steam-sanitize (a must do step for me),   and ultimately because after 20 years of using them,  I know what to expect from them  in terms of quantity and exposure time.  Whatever you use, it does take some experimentation to find that "sweet spot". 

American oak is fine but you do need to be especially careful with it...it's so easy to overdo it.

The key with any oak though is to take it easy.  Too much is really cloying (though of course, it boils down to personal taste in the end...you really have to find what you like).  But I've tasted some very good homebrews that would be great ones were it not for overdone wood character.

The secondary is a good place to add the wood, though if you have keg equipment, that is really the best place to do it.  You really do need to monitor the infusion of the oak flavors though.  Too much really can be quite unpleasant.
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Offline redbeerman

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Re: Wood aging with cubed oak or spirals
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2010, 02:19:11 PM »
The RIS is five weeks since brewday and bulk aging in a corny right now pressurized to 30 lbs with CO2.  I will probably wait another month before adding the oak to it.  It finished at 1.029 so I'm really interested in how it turns out.  The hydro samples were not sweet, but had good body and pretty alcoholic.  I was going for the high viscosity of Old Rasputin and I think I have achieved that.  Time will tell. :)
CH3CH2OH - Without it, life itself would be impossible.

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Jim