Suggestions for adding oak soaked in bourbon

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Suggestions for adding oak soaked in bourbon

Postby Blackcomb on Wed May 23, 2012 2:13 pm

Hey all,

Didn't get a chance to talk to you about my next brew (barley wine). I was going to add some american oak in secondary that I soaked in bourbon. I'm sure some of you have done this or know of a good method...what suggestions do you have for amount/time to soak etc? I heard american oak medium 'roast' was the way to go for this beer. Any help would be great!
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Re: Suggestions for adding oak soaked in bourbon

Postby Greywolf on Thu May 24, 2012 1:54 pm

With the bourbon soaking, you will not need to worry about sanitizing, as the 40%+ EtoH will cover that.
As far as how long, it will vary from 2 weeks to 2 months+. The best way to tell if your beer is done, is to take a sample, see how it tastes.

Note:
You can always increase the time on oak, you cannot reverse the amount of oak you have in it.
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Re: Suggestions for adding oak soaked in bourbon

Postby brahn on Thu May 24, 2012 2:19 pm

I've done oak cubes, but never soaked in alcohol. The closest I've done to that were our barrel aging projects with the club but this is very different because we were using barrels which had already been used where you'll be using new oak. For reference though, I think we did around 9 months for our RIS and 6 months for the Barleywine.

When I used oak cubes I went for 3 months in my Santa's Helper recipe. That timing was perfect for that recipe, but it depends on how much oak character you want.
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Re: Suggestions for adding oak soaked in bourbon

Postby Blackcomb on Thu May 24, 2012 3:22 pm

OK awesome great info! Leaning a few different ways to get it done, will post up with results for sure!
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Re: Suggestions for adding oak soaked in bourbon

Postby Greywolf on Thu May 24, 2012 3:22 pm

The reason for the difference in time is the difference in contact surface area to volume of liquid. In general, as the size of your container is reduced, so does the time you keep the liquid on it.
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Re: Suggestions for adding oak soaked in bourbon

Postby maltbarley on Sun May 27, 2012 10:50 am

brahn wrote:I For reference though, I think we did around 9 months for our RIS and 6 months for the Barleywine.


Just a fun fact, I think the club RIS was 15 months. I brewed it in May of '08 and we pulled it from the barrel in Sept. '09.
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Re: Suggestions for adding oak soaked in bourbon

Postby lexuschris on Sun May 27, 2012 1:43 pm

I've never tried oaking a beer, but I've heard several folks say that the cubes are better than chips or spirals. At least, they oak a bit slower so that you have better chance to not overshoot your desired 'oakiness'. Less surface area exposed, etc.

Also, I gather than if you soak them in bourbon, etc. you will want to add the bourbon and the cubes to the 2nd-ary, etc.

Good luck!
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Re: Suggestions for adding oak soaked in bourbon

Postby Blackcomb on Tue May 29, 2012 11:32 am

I did end up with the medium toast american oak chips and am going to start soaking them tonight. Brewed the Barley Wine on Sunday and it turned out pretty good (OG was suppose to be 10.82 and I got 10.76/78 or so). Look forward to adding it to secondary and sharing in 4-5 months! :D
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