Beer Tasting: Red Oak Ale

After about a month of conditioning, it’s time to review the red oak ale I brewed in mid-May. As previously described, I oaked it with oak chips for a week, and have been dry-hopping it ever since.

Red Oak Ale

  • The Basics
    • Original gravity = 1.070; final gravity = 1.015; abv = 7.3%; estimated IBU = 45.
  • Appearance
    • The modest head is tan, finely bubbled, and moderately persistent. The beer is a burnt umber shade and quite hazy.
  • Aroma
    • Light and crisp oakiness when freshly poured; as the beer warms up there is a background of alcoholic aroma and raisin/currant notes. Very subtle spicy aroma (presumably from the Willamette dry hops?).
  • Flavor
    • A modest, but not overwhelming, oakiness at the forefront of the beer, backed by a subdued but not insubstantial malt backbone. Very slight toasty notes and a hint of rye crispness. The finish has a smooth hoppiness and oakiness that fade slowly.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Delightfully fine carbonation and quite smooth to the feel. There is a very mild tannic finish from the oak. I could perhaps expand the body just a small touch, but that is a minor issue.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • Absolutely! As a type of recipe outside my usual styles, this one was a pleasing success. The level of oakiness is just about perfect for my taste, and truth be told it is nice to have oakiness alone, rather than the bourbon-soaked oak chips that most people use. The only minor tweak might be to fill out the body just a shade; a slightly higher mash temperature could do the trick. If I did that, I also might oak it for an extra day or two, to compensate for the greater body.
  • Overall rating
    • 8/10