Oak-Aged English Pale Ale Batch 2009 – Barrel Brigade – “OE”

Another communication to friends about the latest homebrew.  This one turned out well, but won’t prepare them for the carnage of the Coconut Curry Hefe to follow this. – jb

This one a little bit of a change up.  The “OE” is an oak-aged English Pale Ale.


I was shooting for a mild, session beer (one that was a little lower in alcohol and could be enjoyed in higher quantities) and something that I could wood age.  This might be closer to being a Special Bitter than an English Pale Ale, but I try not to get too caught up in the styles to the point where I feel like I need to hit a certain malt mix or starting gravity. 


In terms of what style category this would fit in, it would fall into the Wood-Aged Beer category.  That is a big, ugly category that tells you very little of what to expect of the beer because, well, it can’t.  It is simply a beer that is aged on wood, and the base beer could be an IPA, or a Brown Ale, or an Imperial Stout, etc, etc.  The only beers that would not be included in this category, if you wood them up, are ones which require wood-aging as part of the style guidelines like Flanders Reds, Lambics, and the like.


This one is interesting.  Next to sour ales, wood aging beer is a new fascination of mine, and they often go hand in hand.  But it is easy to overdo.  I only aged this one on American Oak for 2 weeks, and I am happy with the flavor that came of it.  Obviously there is a woody flavor, but some hints of vanilla, too.


This one is over-carbonated for the style (perfect for an IPA, overdone for an English Bitter), and not to the point of distraction, but it does point out the thinness of the session-type ale.. 


Let it warm up.  You’ll get a lot more out of this if you take it out of the fridge, and let it sit on the counter to warm up for 15-30 minutes before you pop the top.


Feedback is ante for the next.  The caps say “OE”.  It is called “Barrel Brigade” after the crazy people who go over Niagara Falls in a barrels.




2 Responses to “Oak-Aged English Pale Ale Batch 2009 – Barrel Brigade – “OE””

  • Scott Hercher Says:

    Have you done much aging? I understand french oak is milder — my thought was to put some French oak chips right in the keg — or would the oak become overpowering for what might otherwise be a standard pale ale?

  • Barlow Brewing Says:

    I’m still a bit of a newb when it comes to aging, but I put in 1 oz of American medium toast oak cubes into the primary at the same time I pitched the yeast. (I steamed them for 20 minutes before I added it).

    That 1 oz gave me a perfect, but firm amount of oak for a session-strength beer. Chips have more surface area and might give you a bit more wood character. If you knew that you would be killing the keg pretty quickly (for a party or the like) putting the wood in the keg might be an option, but it might get too oaky in a hurry. Honestly, you might be better off doing it in primary and kegging it when it tastes just right, that way you would control that character completely.


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