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Need Some Oak Chipping Advice....

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Finn, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. Finn

    Finn Savant (280) Pennsylvania Nov 20, 2003

    I brewed a Old Ale 3 weeks ago (O.G. 1.067)
    I would like to add a bit of oak character, and here's what I'm working with:

    My homebrew supply store guy told me to do this:

    Soak 3-4 oz. of the FRENCH oak chips in just enough booze/vodka to cover them for a week.
    then, add the whole thing, liquid and all, into the secondary
    Taste periodically to assess oakiness.

    My main question is:

    Should I really add all the liquid into the secondary? I used a few ounces Rye whiskey and a few ounces vodka, and I have read that the liquid can extract harsh tannins you don't want in your beer.

    Side note: the French oak chips smell pretty mild compared to american oak chips

    Thanks!
  2. kaips1

    kaips1 Savant (285) Kentucky Feb 20, 2011

    you can go that route or you can boil them for like 10 mins and then add them in and it will take care of most bacteria and tannins.
  3. I depends on weather or not you want whiskey flavor in your beer. Personally, I recommend steaming chips for a few min. unless I am going to toast them.
    I should add that I don't oak often. So, I don't have a lot of experience with it.
    But either way, I have never read or heard anything that says you "have to" add the liquid after soaking.
  4. inchrisin

    inchrisin Savant (425) Indiana Sep 25, 2008

    French oak tends to be a bit more mild. If you don't get the flavor you want, just give them a little longer.

    Don't add the booze, it will only make your Old Ale taste, well, boozy. :)

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