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Author Topic: Aging on Oak Cubes  (Read 2577 times)

Offline ECH

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Aging on Oak Cubes
« on: June 08, 2015, 11:45:11 PM »
Brewed up a Winter Warmer Sunday, yeah I know, wrong time of year, but the plan is to age them on oak cubes.

5Gal batch, split into 2. Half on American Oak, Heavy Toast, soaked in bourbon, the other half on French Oak, Heavy Toast, soaked in Cuban Rum.

Question is, how much do I use? Packages the cubes come in are 3.5oz, do I use them all? Or just part of them? Or does it matter. And, can you use them more than once? Should I put them in something? Or just drop them in. They are cubes, so I don't think they are going to give off many little pieces that will get into the beer.

Going to leave them soak for about a week, I have heard some people that will just dump the soaked cubes in the secondary, but have also heard of people that dumped the cubes, and the booze they were soaking in, into the secondary for some extra umph.

Offline Jake

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Re: Aging on Oak Cubes
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2015, 08:26:01 AM »
I'd take the approach of dumping it all in. Regarding how much to use, I think each of those packages are meant for 5 gallons. My approach to adding new ingredients to beer is to stay on the conservative side. Too much oak can ruin a beer, where too little oak you'll still probably have a kick-ass winter warmer - especially if you're going to age it for a while. When i read recommendations on Homebrewtalk say for adding fruit as an example, I'll always start by using half (or less) of the recommended addition. To me, if you overdo oak or a fruit it can ruin a beer ... on the other hand, if there's not enough and it's much more subtle you can get away with it.
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Offline robcoombs

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Re: Aging on Oak Cubes
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2015, 08:32:59 AM »
I agree with @jake add it all. It is a winter warmer after all. I've made the mistake of adding too many cacao nibs, it over took the beer. As much as I love chocolate flavor in a beer it was overpowering and muttled the rest of the flavors.

Offline JamesC

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Re: Aging on Oak Cubes
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2015, 08:56:57 AM »
The bourbon barrel ale I made used 2 oz of oak soaked in bourbon for 5 weeks then aged for 6 months. I dumped just the cubes in the secondary, and sipped on the remaining bourbon... it was nice. It really all depends how much of either you want coming through.

I'm not sure if you got to try the one I made, but it was pretty hot at first, but mellowed quite nicely and got decent reviews from most people that tried it.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2015, 09:00:24 AM by JamesC »

Offline jamie_savoie

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Re: Aging on Oak Cubes
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2015, 10:04:29 AM »
imo 3.5oz of cubes for 5 gal is alot.  Id start with 1-2oz and go from there.  Like Jake said, if its not enough you can always add more.
What I like to do is soak my cube in spirits for a month and use the liquid for final tweaking at processing

Offline ECH

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Re: Aging on Oak Cubes
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2015, 02:39:40 PM »
Hmmm, should have been soaking the cubes for longer I guess.

Since I am splitting this into 2 (2 at about 2.75 gal each), I went with 1.5oz of cubes for each. Was reading that apparently cubes take longer to impart flavor to the beer than chips do, but the flavors are more subtle if you get it right.

One thing I kept seeing was to keep tasting it in the process and just rack it off when you have what you want, seems simple enough. Plan was 3 months on cubes, and 2 months bottle condition, only because the last batch of this I did took about that long to carb in the bottle, however it was made with one pack of US05, and this new one has 1214 Belgian Abbey (2 old packs in a 3l starter), so maybe it won't take as long to carb up.

That puts me into Nov. for ready to drink. Can push the oak aging another month, and would put me into Dec. for ready to drink.

Offline robcoombs

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Re: Aging on Oak Cubes
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2015, 04:57:47 PM »
If you're worried about it taking longer to carb you could always add a small amount of a neutral dry yeast at bottling. It's what I do for high abv beers. They always carb in about a week.

Offline ECH

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Re: Aging on Oak Cubes
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2015, 06:49:20 PM »
How much do you add?

Offline jdueck

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Re: Aging on Oak Cubes
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2015, 07:10:40 PM »
Has anyone bottle aged with a small piece of oak in the bottle?
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Offline robcoombs

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Re: Aging on Oak Cubes
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2015, 07:26:43 PM »
How much do you add?
Not much. Say 1/4 - 1/8 of a packet. I just eyeball it. Error on the side of less. You're just carbing the beer after all, not fermenting it.

What was your final gravity? This is not something you want to do if you have a high final gravity and worry about over carbing the beer. Or worse, create bottle bombs.

Offline ECH

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Re: Aging on Oak Cubes
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2015, 08:18:46 PM »
Still fermenting at the moment, so not sure. OG was supposed to be 1.071, and it was 1.078, not much of a difference I suppose, will blame it on the liquid from the starter (about 1.5l), being a dark malt.

FG is supposed to be 1.014, but that is based on US05, don't know if using 1214 will change that any.

Offline robcoombs

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Re: Aging on Oak Cubes
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2015, 08:26:40 PM »
The last time I used the abbey yeast it finished at 1.014 and it was in the range of your OG so you should expect similar results.