Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Oaking the Belgian IPA

I am trying my hand at oaking for the first time today.  I have my big IPA from the group brew aging in the secondary.  It already has a big difference in flavor and aroma from the last time I brewed it when I used the Cry Havoc yeast.  Last time around it was a great beer.  Since the point of this brew is to brew up a large batch and divide up the wort and have everyone ferment their portion differently I thought I would go for something very different.

The Belgian yeast strain has already given this beer a great aroma and flavor.  I got ahold of some American oak chips.  I would prefer to have some of the cubed french oak but the American chips were what was available.  This morning I tossed an ounce of the chips in the toaster and toasted them until they started smoking a little and started picking up color.  Boy did that smell great!  After they cooled down I soaked them in water all day.  This evening when I got home from work I thieved a sample out of the secondary for a taste test (yum!) and in went the oak chips!

I'm planning on sampling the beer every day or two and try to track the changes in flavor.  Once it gets where I want it I'll either send it off to the bottling line or rack it to another carboy to get it off the oak.  This one should really stand out from the crowd when everyone gets together for a tasting of this brew sometime next month!


  1. Sounds like a tasty brew. I'm planning on "oaking" 1 gallon of a 5 gallon batch of IIPA I've got dry-hopping in my secondary. I wasn't sure how much oak to use. Was your 1 ounce of oak for a 5 gallon batch?

    Since mine is a small batch I was really wanting some intense changes from the non-oaked beer so I am also throwing in some champagne yeast to hopefully dry it out some more. Happy Brewing!!

  2. I'm oaking a 5 gallon batch. My choice of 1 ounce was based on the fact that package said it was good for 25 gallons of wine. I figured 1 ounce was about right for a 5 gal batch (technically it works out to 0.8 oz). I've been wanting to do this for a while but never end up racking off the 1 gallon to try a small batch. This beer has a lot of flavor so I think it would be difficult for me to over oak but we'll see. I can't wait to compare it to one of the other batches from the same wort which has jalapenos going into it!

  3. So I left it on the oak 4-5 days and it is definately oakey! At 2 days it was noticable, by 4-5 days it was pretty strongly flavored. I'm thinking I'm loving it! I am sending it in to the New England Regional Homebrew Competition, can't wait to see what the judges think.