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I'm trying to get a particular oak character

The character I’m trying to get in my beers is the same character I’ve often had from beers like Rodenbach Grand Cru (very subtle), Liefmans Goudenband (more pronounced) and Russian River Consecration (very pronounced). I’ve also tasted it in many wines.

I’m not sure if this is a standard oak character, but I’ve oaked a beer once or twice and haven’t gotten this character. I’ve used oak chips in the past and have gotten lots of vanilla, it was only for a couple weeks and was in an IPA.

Is it a particular kind of oak? Should I use chips or cubes? Does it matter? Is my issue more than I was oaking an IPA and for only two weeks?

First of all, chips are the worst way to get oak flavor. Cubes are much better, they approximate the flavor of a barrel much better.

Then theres the matter of which oak. American is brash but fades, French is much more refined and Hungarian is kind of in between and cheaper than French.

Then theres toast, a light toast gives more coconut and vanilla, medium toast gets more caramel, medium plus and heavy tend towards dark chocolate and smoke.

Check out NB’s oak cubes in their wine section. And look up Stavin for descriptions of the various types and toasts.

Nice! That’s probably my issue, then. I was going to switch to cubes my next attempt, but wanted to ask before putting five gallons of beer to the test.

How long do you age with cubes? I know that becuase of their decreased surface area, you want to age longer.

Also, what about astringency from the oak?

Yup…definitely go with the cubes. My personal preference is the Hungarian Oak, medium toast. The caramel and mild vanilla works beautifully; I particularly like it in my IPA and in my Old Ale, though I don’t like it too pronounced. Too much oak just becomes cloying and it’s very easy to overdo it.

It’s still ironic to me that traditionally, brewers did whatever they could to keep the oak flavor out of their beers. And until the current wave of new brewers, the only time I ever percieved any oak flavors in an American beer was in Ballantine’s IPA and Burton Ales.

My preference is also for the cubes.
Style and personal preference will determine the amount of time needed on the oak.

Oak spirals are excellent although more pricey than cubes and chips. However, they are available in several types and toast level and because of their very large surface area ratio do their magic quickly.

http://www.thebarrelmill.com/index.php/ ... ?mode=grid

[quote=“BryanH”]Oak spirals are excellent although more pricey than cubes and chips. However, they are available in several types and toast level and because of their very large surface area ratio do their magic quickly.

http://www.thebarrelmill.com/index.php/ ... ?mode=grid[/quote]

Isn’t that the issue with chips? Higher surface area?

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