Oak to a sour brown

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by calir1, May 15, 2018.

  1. calir1

    calir1 Aspirant (227) Nov 7, 2004 Maryland
    Beer Trader

    I have been doing some reading and curious on the amount of time oak cubes were to sit on a sour beer. I’ve read a month to a year? I was planning on dumping an ounce or so oak chips on. Maybe a light to medium French oak. Does a year on the oak sound right?

    Thanks.
     
  2. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,714) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Premium Member

    I don’t like the set it and forget it strategy with oak because I worry things can get too oaky for me fast. But I have only used chips, for a few days to a week or so. Cubes can be left for longer, from what I’ve heard and read, but I would plan on tasting periodically, and racking off the cubes when you like what you’re tasting.
     
    GormBrewhouse likes this.
  3. calir1

    calir1 Aspirant (227) Nov 7, 2004 Maryland
    Beer Trader

    Thanks. I plan on soaking them in wine for a few weeks first. I just don’t want to overdo it and also don’t want to keep checking it.

     
  4. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (347) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    No experience with sour beers , but the longest I have Oaked a brew is 4 months. It was great, for my taste.
     
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  5. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,714) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Premium Member

    Given @GormBrewhouse ’s comment maybe check it every 2 months?
     
  6. Push_the_limits

    Push_the_limits Initiate (128) Feb 8, 2018 Antarctica

    I have been soaking some oak, medium+ toasted cubes, in a 5 gallon batch of beer for 45 days now. The day I transferred to secondary, I wanted to add 2 ounces from a large bag, but I didn't have a scale at the time so I estimated by hand using something that weighed 2 ounces, for comparison. The amount of oak I ended up adding was equal to a cup of volume. I may have overshot the 2 ounces, not sure... So I have been planning to sample it any day now. It's just been sitting in secondary.

    It will be interesting to taste it. When I boiled the oak to sterilize it, I tasted some of the "tea" and it was very pleasant, smooth, and reminded me of oak barrels themselves. I also fear the beer getting too oaky. I'm not sure what that would be like.
     
  7. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (347) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    Could be very tannic or woody, no pun intended. But also, depending on the wood, you may get a ton of vanilla.
    Since the tea was not bitter or astringent you might be ok or even need more time. All depends on your preference.
     
  8. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (347) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    Also, I find my bottled Oaked or other wooded brews get much better after 3-4 months in the bottle. At a year they are killer, just not many left then, lol.
     
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  9. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Savant (905) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    Why on earth would you want to oak a sour beer?
     
  10. calir1

    calir1 Aspirant (227) Nov 7, 2004 Maryland
    Beer Trader

    Well I’m confused? Why not?

     
  11. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Savant (905) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    Just because a lot of sour beer is aged in oak doesn't mean that you want oak character in them. The vast majority of the oak/wood used to age sour beer in is neutral.
     
  12. minderbender

    minderbender Aspirant (218) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    Eh, it's a common enough preference that Mike Tonsmeire includes tips on how to do it in his book. Definitely not a crazy thing to do.
     
  13. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Savant (905) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    I would agree that it is rather common, but people are usually operating under the wrong assumptions when they do it.
     
  14. minderbender

    minderbender Aspirant (218) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    Yeah maybe, I don't know. Have you had the Single Tree: Hickory beer from Scratch? It's sour and woody and one of the best beers I've ever had.
     
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  15. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Savant (905) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    I have not. Sour and bitter/tannic/woody never struck a chord with me, but I'll trust your recommendation if I ever see it.
     
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  16. minderbender

    minderbender Aspirant (218) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    Their clean beers are variable, but I've never gone wrong with a Scratch sour.
     
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  17. Jake_Ramrod

    Jake_Ramrod Initiate (184) Feb 19, 2013 Kentucky

    Hickory is a wonderful beer. As are all of their sours IMO.
     
  18. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (347) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    Is it aged o. Hickory wood and is it fresh or charged wood?
     
  19. minderbender

    minderbender Aspirant (218) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    I'm not really sure, but here's how they describe it on their website:

    bottle-conditioned sour ale brewed without hops. bittered and flavored with hickory leaves, nuts, hulls, and bark, all harvested from our property, and fermented with our wild house mixed culture. 5.8% abv, 500ml
     
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  20. calir1

    calir1 Aspirant (227) Nov 7, 2004 Maryland
    Beer Trader

    Well I am making 10 gallons but I plan on soaking some oak in Cabernet wine for a bit And tossing them in. Either way I might as well try and then I will know if it was a good idea or not.
     
  21. Push_the_limits

    Push_the_limits Initiate (128) Feb 8, 2018 Antarctica

    I just wanted to update because I just opened the first bottle of the oak beer I mentioned above. It's still needs to carbonate more in the bottle, but it's turning out well. On the first sip, the oak exploded late with a really nice amount of warm vanilla. Definitely toasted wood in the nose, too.

    It's a 7% rye porter so there's gotta be a lot of oak flavor to come through. It went from April 1st to June 1st (no math = 2 months) just sitting on the oak cubes in secondary.

    After 2 months, I'm not even sure more time would benefit. However, I am currently soaking the left over oak in a jug of water and still getting flavor from it.
     
    #21 Push_the_limits, Jun 12, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018