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Adding oak cubes to my ale

I am adding some old wine barrel oak cubes to a high gravity sour that I am making. Can anyone give me some general guidance on about how long it will need to stay in contact with the beer to impart a moderate oak flavor? It is approximately 2oz of oak in about 4 1/2 gallons of 9.5% ABV Ale.


I think it will depend on how old the oak is. Usually, older it is less flavor impact there will be. At a certain point it won’t contribute anything.

Since I would go with 2 oz of new oak, I thinking you may need more. Again it’s going to depend on how used the oak is already.

Thanks, that sounds reasonable. This oak came from a used Russian River Consecration barrel that was previously used by a vineyard, so I am guessing there will not be much oak flavor left in it. I am hoping that it will at least impart a bit of flavor after a few weeks?


The commercial oak cubes that are about 1cm on a side, take about six weeks to impart full flavor. I’d leave them in a month anyway.

If the barrel was cut up into cubes, theres going to be some of the oak that wasn’t extracted. So you should get some flavor out of it.

Would increasing the surface area help or hinder?

i.e. shaving it, or cutting it into thin slices, to increase the amount of beer that touches wood

More surface area means faster extraction. If you’re using it for wine though, the larger the pieces, the more like an actual barrel flavor you’ll get. Thats because they toast the outside of the stuff and cubes then have surfaces that are toasted and the inside is not. So you get a variety of flavors.

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