I brewed a Russian Imperial Stout this weekend and it’s in the primary now. The OG was 1.094 and I’m looking to let it work down to around 1.025-30 (est. FG is 1.027) so it’ll have a nice balance between a syrupy sweetness and a bitter, dry finish with a +9% ABV.
I’ve got two questions:
(1) Bourbon Oak Chips - I’ve got plain toast American oak chips. Was thinking of roasting 2oz in the oven for 3 hrs at ~380 F to go for a medium plus toast until they’re golden brown with slight browning/charring (should impart mix of sweetness/oak and vanilla/caramel). Will then soak in Markers Mark for a while and eventually drop into secondary for about two weeks (or to taste) prior to bottling. Roasting plus bourbon soak should sanitize them and length of time in secondary should impart enough flavor to make the endeavor worthwhile. This will be the first time I’ve used oak so any thoughts/suggestions?
(2) Fermentation Schedule - I’m thinking keep it in the primary for 10-14 days until I hit (or am close to) my est. FG before moving to the secondary for about a month prior to bottling where I’m planning on aging for 6+ months. As I mentioned above, I’ll add the bourbon oak chips for the last two weeks in the secondary / to taste. With this being such a big beer, I know I need take it slow so the yeast can work, the bourbon oak chips can impart its flavors, and they all have enough time to blend, condition, and ultimately mellow out around the edges. My question is am I rushing this by putting it in the bottle for its conditioning after a month in the secondary or should I let it sit there for longer?
Thanks in advance for all the help!