Category Archives: things of stone and wood

Things of stout and wood

I remember the band Things of Stone and Wood had a song called “Happy Birthday Helen” I loved that song. It was little more than a collection of Melbourne cliches and a chorus that was surprisingly full of happy birthday Helen and a bunch of na-na-na-na’s. If you dont know the song click here, I loved that song. And The Late Show take off of the same song is here. I loved that show, ah when Mick M and Tony M were still speaking.

Ah memories. The song is however nothing to do with putting oak cubes into a keg of stout. That’s what I just did with no singing what so ever.

I like the idea of oak in beer. Depending on what sort of oak you use it can add all sorts of flavors, say like the vanilla hit in bourbon, and textures, like you get in a big oakey shiraz to a beer. However to know what flavours you will get you need to know what kind of oak you have and how heavily it is toasted. I don’t know this but the wood is in the beer.

Why do I have such poor info? Generally Aussie home brewers are restricted to using oak chips stave’s. They come in a few different types, or combinations of oak type (usually french or US) and toasts (light medium or heavy). I’ve used chips before but they kind of look like pencil shavings and I just don’t like the look of them, all dodgy and uneven. Stave’s look to be a better thing, they are just too big (and the bag of them just looks too big).

The happy medium appears to be the oak cube but these are not readily available in Australia. I heard about them on the BN and they sound spot on for thowing in a keg. I tried to get Grain and Grape to stock them, but apparently they are a bit expensive (and they have a bunch of chips and stave’s in stock) so no bingo.

Thats them, oak cube samples in little plastic boxes

Thankfully I am a annoying bastard and that is how I came to get my samples of oak cubes. Apparently they got some samples in and Chris (the great man) let me have them. So that’s how I got the cubes. However there is a catch. The labels are really not all that helpful, they tell me nothing about the oak or toast. Instead they say “Red Fermenting”, “White Finishing”, “Red Ageing”. So I figured that since the beer was in the keg, effectively finishing I went with the red and white finishing cubes into my US/foreign Extra stout that dis tasting OK, but not as good as the UK stout.

So stout with wood is int he making, depending how it goes I may throw in some bourbon. Or not? I also got some coco nibs in the mail today, don’t know what I’ll throw them into, perhaps a porter?

Time to watch some TV, oh and have a little more stout.

Cheers D 

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