From the HBD Archive
From: STROUD <STROUD%GAIA@leia.polaroid.com>
Subject: Beechwood chips
Date: 1992-05-27 15:03:00 GMT

About 3 years our club performed an experiment with aging a beer on beechwood.
Here is the expt. and results:

About the beer:

This was a partial mash/partial extract golden ale, 5 gallons total. Starting
gravity was 1.050, finishing gravity was 1.010. Wyeast #1084 ale yeast was
used and total fermentation time was about 5 weeks, including aging in the
secondary (3 weeks). The beer was split at the secondary stage: half was aged
on 1 oz of sterilized beechwood biscuits (aka splines, obtainable from many
woodworking stores. They were sterilized by boiling), while the other half
underwent standard secondary fermentation. Neither batch was fined.

The two batches were bottled and allowed to condition, then served to the club
in a blind tasting. People made comments before the beers' identities were
revealed.

Results: About 80% of the tasters preferred (and could pick out) the beechwood
aged beer. Most people thought that it was the fuller and rounder of the two,
although there was some disagreement. Unlike oak, the beechwood aging didn't
appear to add much 'woodiness' to the beer. The clarity of the two batches was
excellent in both cases.

PS - I have since routinely used beechwood in many of my pale ales and find
that it often adds an interesting nuance to their flavor profiles. I have seen
no indication that it makes much difference in the final clarity of the beer.
I have never used beechwood in a lager, but this discussion has made me wonder
what it would do. Perhaps in my next batch..........

Steve Stroud

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