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09/22/07 04:56 PM  
Imitating barrel aging
Sometimes I hear people refer to a technique where wood chips are soaked in red wine before being added to the beer to emulate aging in real wine barrels.

Why not just put in the wood chips as you would do normally and then pour in a dash of the wine afterwords?


Mike T
09/23/07 09:12 AM  
Re: Imitating barrel aging
Beer generally requires a much softer oak presence than wine or spirits. When I use oak I try to get some of the flavor out of it either by boiling it or steaming it if I want a neutral character, or by soaking in in a wine or spirit if I want some of that character. You could add fresh oak out of a bag dipped in some star san of metabisulfite to sanitize, but you would probably end up with a very strong oak presence that most beers would not be able to compete with (I did the only time I tried this). Whatever you do, taste the beer periodically to see how it is coming along.

I have added wine and port directly to beers with good results (and have read about other people getting good results with bourbon), so if you want a wine/spirit character there is nothing wrong with adding some directly to the beer without using the wood as a medium. This is illegally (as far as I understand) for commercial brewers in America to do so they generally opt for the barrel aged route.

Hope that helps. Was this just a general question, or are you planning on doing a "barrel aged" something? If so what is you thinking of making?

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