Why You Need to Add Oak to Your List of Beer Making Ingredients

Oak has been used for distilling and brewing for hundreds of years, but recently, the resurgence of home brewing has brought about a sort of oak reawakening. 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.

Oak, when balanced correctly, can bring an element of rich and bold flavors weaved into your home brew. Oak is full of flavorful compounds and chemicals that, when added to beer, adds some complexity to the mix. You’ll notice elements of vanilla and caramel along with the crisp flavors of the beer itself.

Different types of oak add different types of flavors and different levels of boldness. American oak typically adds more of the vanilla flavors and tends to be a bit stronger. French oak is sweeter and lighter and Hungarian oak is smoother. The toast level refers to how much the oak is charred. The toast brings even more unique flavors to the beer. The heat breaks down the sugars and you’ll have a stronger, sweeter flavor.

Ultimately, when you add oak to your list of ingredients, you’re really adding tons of potential for new, bold, unique flavors.