How to Use Oak in Home Brewing

The debate between which is the best type of whiskey, or whisky, will probably never be settled, but one thing that isn’t up for debate is the integral part oak plays in whiskey-making process. Oak is particularly good for aging and flavor because of the way the wood fibers align. It’s also a rather pure wood so the chemical compounds the spirits are exposed to are limited. This allows for a more natural and robust flavor to emerge.

The same can be said for using oak for home brewing. Whether you’re brewing beer, making wine, or distilling whiskey, oak brings a lot to the table. Here are the best ways to use oak in home brewing:

The advantage of oak is that it lends itself beautifully to not only whiskey, but beer and wine as well. If used properly, oak can add rich, bold flavors to your beer or wine. That said, it’s important to recognize that oak doesn’t work with every type of beer. Oak gives the beer a smoothness you won’t find as prominent in a non-oaked beer. Depending on the char level of your oak, the beer will also have subtle hints of vanilla.

Opinions vary about the best method to oak your home brew. Many find the oak chips to float around on top of the brew as opposed to soaking in the actual liquid. This doesn’t allow the oak to impact the brew and the outcome isn’t as noticeable as crafters would like. Oak barrels are another option but they can be costly. If you’re looking for a great option for oaking your home brews, we recommend trying out Infusion Spirals. Used most often after secondary fermentation, and occasionally during fermentation, the Infusion Spiral system adds color, flavor, texture and aroma to beer. The reason? Our premium quality woods are toasted with precise, convection oven heating. Together, they create a truly unique brew for you, without the mess of chips but with just as much speed.