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Adding oak to already kegged barley wine

Afternoon all,

I made an American barley wine back in November of 2013. FG was 1.118 and it finished at 1.024. I let it sit in primary for a month and then racked it to a carboy for bulk aging. After 8 months I decided to keg and lager to clear and further age the beer. After a month or so in the keg the beer is properly carbonated but is way too malty and caramel esque. I plan on fixing this by soaking some oak chips in bourbon or adding a few ounces of hops to the keg. Beer is good, but I think it could be better. Thoughts? Techniques?

You’re on the right track. I’d soak some oak chips or cubes in bourbon and then add the whole thing (bourbon and all) into the keg. It might also be good to add a muslin bag with an ounce of dry hops in there too.

But even with late and limited contact, it’s still pretty easy to overdo it. A hint of oak adds a nice character, but too much of it can be utterly insipid. After all, brewers traditionally went to great pains to keep any wood taste out of the beer.
That said, just let your own tastebuds be you ultimate guide (as always) .

I agree with the oak. So should I pour the oak in too (in a bag of course), and remove when enough oak character is achieved? Hop pairings with oak — suggestions? I was thinking centennial or maybe cascade. OR I could go the columbus route.

Yes oak in a bag and go the Columbus route.

Thanks Greg. I’ll soak the chips for a week or so and go from there. I started the soak yesterday so I should be getting to it this next weekend.

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