Sunday, July 17, 2011

Whats brown and sticky.....? brown ale at the moment. That is to say I added oak chips to it.

Can't remember what commercial beer I had that had been aged on wood that made me go "man I wouldn't mind doing that myself" but I became fairly convinced that I would love it. I'm gonna say Firestone Walker DBA.

Rather than commit an entire batch to it though I split it in half. Half will be dry hopped with centennial, the other half untoasted american oak. Here is how I did it:

- I decided on 5gms of oak chips per litre of beer. Will this make it too oaky? Not oaky enough? I don't know. The packet (product was made with spirit making in mind) said 1 to 2gms per litre for a strong flavour. Reading over forums I came across people saying as much as 10gms per litre. I went with the medium and chose 5gms.

- I took the oak chips and boiled them in water for 10mins. Some forums said sanitising not necessary, others said boil them. So I boiled them.

- Once boiling had finished I put them in a stocking courtesy of my girlfriend (thanks Mel!) and also a decanter stopper for weight (couldn't find any marbles at home so Mum gave me a crystal decanter stopper/lid. um... okay. thanks mum). Reason for the weight was so the wood didn't just float on top and ultimately not give much flavour.

- Put the oak stocking in the secondary fermenter and added the beer on top. Will leave it on the oak chips for 2 weeks then bottle.

Will it be wonderfully oaky like I hope it would or too subtle to taste or so oaky its like gnawing on a log of wood? Time will tell.


  1. How strong is the beer and where did you get the oak chips from?

  2. The beer will be about 6% to 6.5%. Grabbed the oak chips from the new homebrew store in Newtown. Good for hops, yeast and equipment but not so much for grains. good selection of wood too. might have to but some other types; toasted, bourbon barrel cubes plus others