How long to age on Oak chips

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by jricharc, Dec 1, 2018.

  1. jricharc

    jricharc Initiate (186) Feb 16, 2012 Virginia

    so I have two beers going right now and I want to experiment with some heavy toasted Hungarian oak chips I got. So my first beer is a “brickwarmer” ale that will be ready to keg in about 5-7 days. The other is a Scottish wee heavy that needs to age for a few more months.

    So the brickwarmer I have about 1.5oz of the chips soaking in jack Daniels fire to accent the spices in the beer. How long should I let that sit in the beer maybe 4-5 days or more? For the wee heavy I have about 4oz soaking in makers mark and I was thinking about adding that to the secondary for about the last 2 weeks? Any insight to using oak chips?
     
  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,712) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium

    I have not used oak chips (I have only used medium toast American oak cubes). All of my readings indicate that chips take a lesser amount of contact time since they have greater surface area. How to factor in the aspects of:
    • Heavily toasted
    • Hungarian oak
    I have no experience here.

    Hopefully some BA who has utilized exactly the format of oak you are using will chime in with more details.

    My gut feel is that you would only want to age for a few days. Perhaps take samples daily and decide when the beer has 'had enough'.

    Another thing I did with my oak cubes is that I did a pre-soak in Bourbon for a few days (7 days?) and then dumped that liquid since it extracted tannins from the oak and then soaked again in Bourbon (Makers Mark) for a couple of weeks. I then added both the oak and the second Bourbon for aging the beer.

    Do you intend to include the Bourbon (Jack Daniels/Makers Mark) for the aging process?

    Cheers!
     
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  3. jricharc

    jricharc Initiate (186) Feb 16, 2012 Virginia

    Thanks for the advice, I boiled the chips for about 5min and dumped the water before soaking them in the various liquors. After a week there is little liquid remaining in both so I intend to just dump everything into the beers. I want to get a good flavor from the chips but don’t want it to taste terrible so I wanted to get some thoughts before dumping either.
     
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  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,712) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium

    That should remove some of the tannins. I would recommend that you smell (or taste) the liquor prior to adding it. When I conducted my pre-soak the liquor smelled awful; I could not bring myself to taste it. In contrast for the secondary soak the Makers Mark smelled good so I went forward with my plan to add the liquor along with the cubes. The resulting beer tasted great.

    Cheers!
     
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  5. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (393) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    For me with my home made USA white oak toasted sticks, I d GO a week at least and usually 2+, no more than 4 weeks, so far. Using 2-4 oz of oak per 5 gallon batch.

    Taste after a week and see.

    No experience with any other oak product.
     
  6. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (95) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Trader

    Do you soak them in anything to sanitize or to remove some tannins?
     
  7. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (393) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    Boil for 5-10 minutes, dump water toss in fermenter. That's my method. Never did the whiskey thing, yet.
     
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  8. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (95) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Trader

    There's a local brewery (Booneshine) that made a one-off 5-gallon batch pale ale on oak chips for a LHBS 2nd anniversary. It was killer. The LHBS gave me some highlights from the brewer:
    All 2-row, touch of c-40, Cascade bittering, Equinox late, simcoe/mosaic dry hop, oak chips 2 days (he thinks) but didn't how many or when.
    I have a friend who'll ask for the full recipe....if he's gets it I'll make it.
     
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  9. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (393) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

  10. HerbMeowing

    HerbMeowing Aspirant (291) Nov 10, 2010 Virginia

    Me: soak 1 oz of chips in enough Makers Mark to cover & rest 1 week to sanitize.
    Pitch it all into 2ndry ... rack beer from primary ... rest 1 week ... package.

    Batch size: 2.5G (9.5L)

    --
    PRO TIP: search BA archives to learn how @GormBrewhouse makes home-grown oak chips.
     
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  11. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (95) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Trader

    First find a healthy acorn, then some fertile soil.....and give it time, it'll probably be okay.
     
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  12. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (393) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    Gotta do it, go ripper
     
  13. jricharc

    jricharc Initiate (186) Feb 16, 2012 Virginia

    So I kegged my Holiday ale over the weekend and took the first pour yesterday. I get a hint of the oak but not an overwhelming sense of it at all, I think next time I will stick to the 4 days but increase the amount of chips just a touch to see what the difference will be. Since the Scottish wee needs to age until Feb. I will let those soak in the secondary for around 10-14 days and see how that goes.