Anyone Oaked Rhubarb Wine?

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CortneyD

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Hi All!
I just got a 5 gallon batch of rhubarb going (have to make wine for all the black raspberries coming in right now!) and as I wrote before, we were happy with the last batch with this recipe, but I was hoping to get a bit more of a vanilla note/warmth to it. I have some American Oak chips that I can tinker with, but I'm always nervous experimenting. Anyone oaked their rhubarb wine? Or do I take the more direct route and add a vanilla bean? I don't want it to be overpowering, hence my nervousness on what to do... thanks (as always!)!
 
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Light wines are easy to overpower with oak. I'd start with 1/2 oz for 5 gallons, let it rest 4 weeks, then stir gently to mix, and taste it.

Do you make vanilla extract? I'd use extract (mine is like triple fold) and add small amounts (start with 1/4 tsp). The value of this is you can measure what you're adding, and not trust blind luck.

As always, keep in mind that it's far easier to add more than to take some out ...
 

CortneyD

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@winemaker81 I do make homemade vanilla extract, but I've only just started so my stuff is sorta weak for now, perhaps close to standard strength. It'll be a bit more mature when we come time to rack it into carboys- would you add the extract at that time? Or now during primary fermentation?

I'm hoping to have an extra gallon so that I can experiment with adding oak to 1 gallon and see what it does...

Thanks for the input!
 
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@winemaker81 I do make homemade vanilla extract, but I've only just started so my stuff is sorta weak for now, perhaps close to standard strength. It'll be a bit more mature when we come time to rack it into carboys- would you add the extract at that time? Or now during primary fermentation?
It's a good idea to start with a gallon.

I'd let the wine bulk age 3 months before doing anything to it. Give it a chance to clear and go through the early chemical changes. For grape wines I'd add oak immediately, but this is an experiment, so give it some time so you're comparing the oak and vanilla to a more mature wine.

For oak, I'd start with 1/10 oz, since you're only making a gallon. I'd go with 1/8 tsp vanilla.

How long as your vanilla been macerating? I recommend at least 6 months before using, a year if you can.

Mine is not a fair comparison -- I had a bunch of beans in the cupboard for 7 or 8 years (forgot about them), and when I rediscovered them they were brittle sticks. I snapped them in small pieces and macerated for 4.25 years in vodka. I didn't need it (I had previous batches of extract) so I just ignored it. Yeah, it's pretty strong.
 

CortneyD

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It's a good idea to start with a gallon.

I'd let the wine bulk age 3 months before doing anything to it. Give it a chance to clear and go through the early chemical changes. For grape wines I'd add oak immediately, but this is an experiment, so give it some time so you're comparing the oak and vanilla to a more mature wine.

For oak, I'd start with 1/10 oz, since you're only making a gallon. I'd go with 1/8 tsp vanilla.

How long as your vanilla been macerating? I recommend at least 6 months before using, a year if you can.

Mine is not a fair comparison -- I had a bunch of beans in the cupboard for 7 or 8 years (forgot about them), and when I rediscovered them they were brittle sticks. I snapped them in small pieces and macerated for 4.25 years in vodka. I didn't need it (I had previous batches of extract) so I just ignored it. Yeah, it's pretty strong.
My beans were brittle too and its only been going for like 7 weeks now, so super young. I'll avoid using it for a year if I can!

That was my initial thought, wait until I rack it after the secondary ferment and then see where we are at and tinker there... that's when I'd partition off the gallon anyway since my big carboys are 2 different sizes (🤦‍♀️). I'll add a bit of oak and a bit of vanilla and see what it ends up with. I know the better way would be to do one with oak, one with vanilla, and one with the combo- and maybe I will do that? But it would eat up all my smaller carboys- so maybe I'll just jump into the deep water! Thanks again for the advice!
 

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