While barrel fermentation and aging provides complexity to flavors and aromas in red and white wines, inexpensive Oak Chips provide quick and simple means of introducing oak qualities to finished wines and beers.
With the light toast variety, use 1-1 1/2 cups for white wines while red wines typically require 2-3 cups. For aging beer on Oak Chips, 2 - 4 oz. will provide moderate to more assertive oak aroma and flavor to the finished beverage.
Fermenting and aging both white and red wines on oak chips provides numerous improvements over simply aging or fermenting in glass or plastic without oak. Oak Chips impart woody and vanilla notes to wines .
For oaking beers with Oak Chips, soaking the chips in a sanitary medium such as Scotch, Bourbon, Rye or Whiskey will provide addtional flavoring to the chips. Soak the chips in the liquor for about 1 week, allowing the chips to absorb the flavors of the alcohol. Following the soaking period, decant most of the liquor from the chips and add the chips and a small amount of oak flavored liquor to the aging carboy. Once the chips are in the carboy, siphon the beer into the carboy and prepare the beer for aging and conditioning.
Oak offers unique flavor possibilities in beer, mead, wine and cider. When working with a oak for the first time, a conservative approach decreases the chance of overdoing the oak. Drinking a beverage with too little is far more pleasant than drinking one with too much. Later generations of the same recipe can be spiced more intensely by adding a little more into each version until a satisfactory amount has been reached.