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Getting Wood , source?

I have used the Oak from the brew stores. However I wonder, what about using wood found at Home Depot in the BBQ sections? They have several different types. Wood is wood, right? I am talking about the wood chips, not the cubes.

THoughts?

[quote=“gdizzle”]I have used the Oak from the brew stores. However I wonder, what about using wood found at Home Depot in the BBQ sections? They have several different types. Wood is wood, right? I am talking about the wood chips, not the cubes.

THoughts?[/quote]
Wood is not wood. Don’t use the stuff from the lumber aisle. But the stuff in the BBQ section is probably food-grade (not treated with anti-fungal or other dangerous chemicals), so it should be safe. It will almost certainly give you a different flavor profile than the stuff in the brew shops, which is made primarily to allow wine makers to get traditional oak-barrel flavors into their wines. Interesting experiment; let us know if you give it a try.

I’ve thought of trying this also. I haven’t found oak there, tho. It’s mostly mesquite and fruit woods. If you try it, please post back as I’m curious.

I’ve used the barrel planters. They’re old whiskey barrels that are cut … American white oak.

Just be forewarned … it can be a lot of work. It’s not like cutting and prepping pine or poplar … you’ll need the proper tools … and lots of sanding discs.

I remove a stave & rough sand it down first. Then cut the stave into sticks that are about 1/2 x 1/2 x 6 or so. Then fine sand. Then wrapped with foil and into the oven for toasting. Some are lightly toasted, others medium, and a few heavy toasted. To get some charring, I use a plumbers hand torch and only char one side. SWMBO likes the smell when they’re in the oven … but the aromas may not sit well with some folks.

A few sticks (or pieces of sticks) go in a small canning jar with some vodka and sit for about 6 - 8 weeks. Then the “essence” can be used without fear of infection.

I use it for some of my cider. Works great … but I still haven’t found the magic flavor spot in terms of toasting. The nice part is that I get to control the toast and experiment.

[quote=“gdizzle”]I have used the Oak from the brew stores. However I wonder, what about using wood found at Home Depot in the BBQ sections? They have several different types. Wood is wood, right? I am talking about the wood chips, not the cubes.

THoughts?[/quote]
I would imagine smoker wood could have more dirt and other foreign material. It probably unusable scrap from a lumber mill. Could saw oils be a concern?

If it’s just dirt, you’re going to soak the oak in bourbon before using for beer? Right?

I was in the lumber hardwood lumber business here in Pennsylvania for 10+ years, but I’ve never used
wood in my brewing or wine making. But now I think I’ll try some different wood combinations after
seeing your question.
Oak used for wine or whiskey barrels is either American or European white oak.
The cooperage will air dry the lumber for two years before making the barrels to get rid of
most of the strong oak tannins and other undesirable qualities. The barrels are made, aged, used
several times, sometimes for years before they are retired. So my two cents if you want oak
is to buy and old half barrel and cut up the staves on a table saw until you get to clean wood.
If you want to use other wood, I’d let it air dry for a few years before using it. You also might want to bake the wood in a low oven for several hours to kill any wild yeast, bacteria or anything else that
might be present.

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