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Oak & no secondary question

In an effort to graduate from using the Mr. Beer kit and brew beers with more complexity, I’ve ordered the 5 gallon Bourbon Barrel Porter Extract Kit. I’ve been reading the directions and am a bit confused.

I don’t have a 5 gal. carboy to use as a secondary but, from what I’ve read, that’s not entirely necessary. I’m not exactly clear on when I’d add the oak chips. I think about 4 weeks in. Does that sound right?

The kit comes with 5 oz. of priming sugar but if I’m not using a secondary, I don’t see how there’s any way to add that directly to the beer before bottling it. I’m guessing the only way to go with that would be putting it directly I to the bottles.

And a side question: assuming at some point, I get a 5 gallon carboy, how does one fit oak cubes into the carboy (and then get them out)?

Re priming sugar, reread Steps 21, 22 on the instruction sheet.
Re oak cubes, the mouth of the carboy is wide enough for adding and removing the cubes.

Do you have a bottling bucket and an auto-siphon? If not, they would be very helpful.

You can leave the beer in the primary fermentor after initial fermentation is done(hydrometer is helpful here, but 2-3 weeks is usually good) and then add bourbon and oak chips. How long you leave the oak chips is up to you(I left mine for 2 weeks and got LOTS of oak in the beer). Following that, you should siphon the beer off of the yeast cake to a bottling bucket and then add priming sugar. This way you can thoroughly mix (no splashing) the priming sugar into the beer without stirring up a bunch of sediment. Then you can just rinse the oak chips and sediment out of the fermentor and you’re good to go.

Best of luck, this kit makes a really good beer.


That’s the issue - I don’t have a bottling bucket. I’m thinking I’ll need to invest in one if I want to do this right.

I do have a hydrometer and an auto-siphon (I’ve made a few wines & meads).

Thanks for your help.

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