Ask Mr. Wizard

How can you imitate barrel aging homebrew with oak chips?


Joe Dunne • Chicago, Illinois asks,

My buddies and I are thinking about trying to make a Utopia clone. I understand that Sam Adams likes to age their beers in old sherry casks. How can we imitate sherry casks with oak chips? I’ve seen a variety of toast levels, but no one seems to sell sherry or bourbon cask chips. Can we just soak the oak chips in sherry for a while before we add them to the secondary? Flexibility to try bourbon or sherry chips with other beers would be great.

Popularity of beers aged in a variety of used oak barrels has really blossomed over the last decade and Sam Adams is one of the breweries that has come out with several
Response by Ashton Lewis.