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Adding oak

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cuz

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I have used oak chips, cubes and spirals. I usually add oak after fermentation when the wine is aging in the carboy - close to bottling time. I've read that the best time to add oak is in the primary fermentation. Does anyone have experience in adding oak.
 

cmason1957

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Oak added during primary doesn't impact much oak to your wine, but does added sacrificial tannins for color stability and mouthfeel. I add cubes or spirals during bill adding bulk aging and leave them there for an extended time, like 4 or 6 weeks. I generally add 3 to 6 ounces to a six gallon carboy depending on how much oak I want to impart. Type of oak depends on the varietal I am adding it to.
 
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jgmillr1

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I like to add some granulated oak to the must for fermentation. As @cmason1957 said it helps with color stability. It also removes any green or vegetative flavors you can sometimes get. The granulated oak is quick and fully extracted by the time I'm pressing. There is no noticeable oak flavor to the wine at pressing. I'll then barrel age the wine for a year over which time I do get oak flavor.
 

cuz

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Cmason - please excuse my inexperience but what do you mean by during bill adding.

Also is it rule of thumb to boil the oak before adding.
 

sour_grapes

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Cmason - please excuse my inexperience but what do you mean by during bill adding.

Also is it rule of thumb to boil the oak before adding.
I am not @cmason1957 , but I have come to understand the kind of "autocorrupt" syntax that Craig's phone provides. I am wagering he meant "during bulk aging." That is, while the wine sits in a glass carboy for months.

And no, you do not need to boil the oak before adding.
 

winemaker81

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Boiling the oak is a bad idea -- it removes at least some of what you are trying to impart in the wine.

Some folks rinse with K-meta. I take oak from the sealed package and add to the wine.
 

cmason1957

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Cmason - please excuse my inexperience but what do you mean by during bill adding.

Also is it rule of thumb to boil the oak before adding.
yes, my silly phone and my horrible ability to edit, prior to hitting send. and a tip of the hat in thanks to @sour_grapes who does a wonderful job of interpreting my gibberish. I should stick to the typing on a keyboard. My fingers usually don't screw up nearly as often as my phone does.

And as others indicated, no boiling necessary, I do generally give it a spritz of sanitation, but who knows if that is even required, never hurts.
 

cuz

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So of the two responses it looks like some folks add oak before fermentation and some add after. Maybe I’ll try a little of both this time. Someone actually suggested boiling the oak and adding the brown water. That didn’t sound like a good idea.
 

cuz

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Craig - whew that’s a relief I thought I was missing a crucial acronym 😊
 

kevinlfifer

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I toast my own oak now and for past 5 yrs. Makes a huge difference. Find a local lumber cutter and ask for white oak scraps. 3/8 x 3/8 strips in the oven at 400F till the fire alarm goes off
 

DPCellars

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So of the two responses it looks like some folks add oak before fermentation and some add after. Maybe I’ll try a little of both this time. Someone actually suggested boiling the oak and adding the brown water. That didn’t sound like a good idea.
I am a fan of letting the grapes do what they will do during fermentation. Once I have done my first racking, I add oak, straight from the sealed package. I do not boil, rinse, or sanitize. So far, I have not seen any ill effects doing it this way (only two vintages in). Racking this weekend on my third.
 

cuz

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Kevinlfifer - why not a propane torch? Why do they have to be toasted at all?
 

Bossbaby

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I've boiled the chips in a little water and it makes a dark , very fragrant tea...
 

winemaker81

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So of the two responses it looks like some folks add oak before fermentation and some add after.
Response #3 is do both. Commercial wineries often do barrel fermentation and then age in oak barrels.

I add oak chips during fermentation, at a rate higher than is suggested for aging oak. As per @jgmillr1's suggestion, I'm thinking about trying granulated oak instead of chips.

My barrel is 11 yo and it has no remaining oak character to impart so I use oak cubes. I like them, but they're harder to get out of the barrel than staves or spirals.

However, I will be experimenting with Next Level Oak's wine stix this fall. I have an American oak kit with a carboy stopper, and am considering the barrel stopper when it becomes available. Mike (owner) has French and Hungarian wood coming in by ship, so those will be available later this fall.
 

Eric Huser

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I bring back white oak every trip to Wisconsin in rough sawn boards. I then leave them out in the rain and sun for about 3 months to age. Then cut into 1/2"x1"x3" dominos and toast in the oven and nowadays I torch to desired level with a plumbing propane or mav torch. Its a bit of a chore getting them back out of the Carboys, but doable. Then take the wine soaked oak chuncks and add them to the smoker for some amazing meat flavors.
 

heatherd

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I have used oak chips, cubes and spirals. I usually add oak after fermentation when the wine is aging in the carboy - close to bottling time. I've read that the best time to add oak is in the primary fermentation. Does anyone have experience in adding oak.
I use smaller format oak during primary fermentation, like dust or chips. I use larger format during bulk-aging, like spirals or cubes.
 

wood1954

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Yes red oak can smell pretty bad as it dries. I logged several red oak trees in the spring and have the boards stacked by the door to my shop and when the humidity is high it really stinks.
 
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