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Anyone using oak barrels?

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p funky

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So I'm considering buying one or two 5-gallon American white oak barrels (not too expensive, and shipping is gloriously free!).

Do any of you use them now? If so, for what sorts of wines? I was thinking some (or all) meads might do well in a barrel, and naturally wines will as well, but... what sort?

(Huzzah! First post in this sub-forum!)
 
C

Caplan

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So I'm considering buying one or two 5-gallon American white oak barrels (not too expensive, and shipping is gloriously free!).

Do any of you use them now? If so, for what sorts of wines? I was thinking some (or all) meads might do well in a barrel, and naturally wines will as well, but... what sort?

(Huzzah! First post in this sub-forum!)
Anything you fancy with bit of 'oaky-ness' will work if you want to experiment. - White/Red wine, Port and Sherry will all work. Are they new barrels? If so you need to ensure that the oak barrels are watertight before you do anything with them, filling them with clean water to ensure they swell enough to be really seal proof. If they aren't new you have to be sure nothing nasty has been stored in them and if not then take account of it's 'previous occupant'. If you don't like bourbon (for example) it'll take a while to get rid of it's notes - all personal taste I guess.
On a home wine making scale I'd suggest ageing in the cask for a few months just for flavour and then moving it to glass carboy or bottles for an 'oak conditioned' feel but real control on the overall storage.
 

p funky

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Yes- that sounds very fine!

It probably would be a new barrel
(from www.oldworldbarrel.com - as long as I'm going to bring it up), and I have read up on conditioning it to get ready.

I have a fig sherry that I think would do very nicely, as well as a mead coming up.

How much of one batch's qualities (for instance, a red wine) would be transferred to the next batch (say, a light-flavored mead)? What can I do to clean it out between uses to prevent most of the flavor/aroma transfer?
 
C

Caplan

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The whole idea with new oak barrels is not to try and 'clean them out' it's to 'lay flavours down' with the oak. If they're cheap enough buy a couple and use one for 'red wine/sherry/port' brews and the other for 'white wine/mead' brews.
 

p funky

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Ahhh... so it's sort of the Yi Xing tea pots, where you keep brewing the same style of tea in there, and it reinforces the flavor/aroma?

(I heart yi xing teapots)
 
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Caplan

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That's it exactly - I always think of well seasoned woks when trying to describe it but the yixing teapot works better! :)
 

MUMBA

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oak

i allso use oak barrels to make red wines if it is a new barrel i would not leave

it in there to long or it will pick up to much of an oak flavor
 
C

Caplan

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Good point MUMBA. Too much oak flavour isn't good. I still avoid 'Oaked Chardonnays' after tasting too many of the Australian ones back in the mid 90's!:D
 

TxBrew

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How much are you paying per barrel?
 

winemaker81

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So I'm considering buying one or two 5-gallon American white oak barrels (not too expensive, and shipping is gloriously free!).

Do any of you use them now? If so, for what sorts of wines? I was thinking some (or all) meads might do well in a barrel, and naturally wines will as well, but... what sort?

(Huzzah! First post in this sub-forum!)
Be careful of aging in small barrels. The ratio of interior surface area to volume is significantly greater than in larger barrels -- you could get FAR more oak flavor than you want.

Bryan
 

enologico

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Barrels?

I strongly recommendo to use chips or stavin instead barrels, since the control of sirface its easer and you minimizes the risk of overwood the wine.

Cheers
 
D

DVIL

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Trust

If you find a trusted winery they would probably sell you one or three fairly cheap I use 3 59 gallon barrels and where I am from wineries are a dime a dozen the used barrels are best if you don't like alot of oak
 

FentonCellars

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I heard that any barrel that is 4 or more years old doesn't release anymore oak flavor. Is that true? If so, then if I bought a 4+ year old barrel, wouldn't that work?

Maybe another option... if I bought a new barrel, do they have rubber/plastic bladders that your wine sits in, allowing you to use a barrel for storage without any possible oaking?
 

FentonCellars

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I found some barrels that are lined in wax or Paraffin.

Paraffin is: It is mostly found as a white, odorless, tasteless, waxy solid, with a typical melting point between about 47 °C and 64 °C. It is insoluble in water, but soluble in ether, benzene, and certain esters. Paraffin is unaffected by most common chemical reagents, but burns readily.


"Paraffin lined barrels are commonly used with liquids that do not need the aroma, color or flavor that charred and toasted barrels provide." Check them out....

http://www.bucket-outlet.com/oakbarrels.htm

Could I use this for my 5 gallons of kit wine for aging/storage in the barrel that I don't wish to add flavor, color or aroma to?
 

smurfe

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I found some barrels that are lined in wax or Paraffin.

Paraffin is: It is mostly found as a white, odorless, tasteless, waxy solid, with a typical melting point between about 47 °C and 64 °C. It is insoluble in water, but soluble in ether, benzene, and certain esters. Paraffin is unaffected by most common chemical reagents, but burns readily.


"Paraffin lined barrels are commonly used with liquids that do not need the aroma, color or flavor that charred and toasted barrels provide." Check them out....

http://www.bucket-outlet.com/oakbarrels.htm

Could I use this for my 5 gallons of kit wine for aging/storage in the barrel that I don't wish to add flavor, color or aroma to?
I don't see why you couldn't but I would have to ask why unless they were cheaper than a 5 gallon carboy. I don't think you will see any different results or benefits and IMHO, the glass would be safer and easier to clean and sanitize.

Smurfe
 

FentonCellars

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I've been looking for this and have not found it until now. As long as it does the same thing and adds some look and feel of the wine cellar that I'm making in the basement, then I'm all about it. It would look cool to see my wine stored in wood barrels then in glass carboys. Plus, you wouldn't need to cover the glass as wood keeps out the UV/light. I'm still not sure. Maybe I will buy one and try it and let everyone know how it goes.
 

smurfe

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Sounds good, Give it a try. I just look at things from an economical factor. I don't know what one of these barrels cost but I would think you could buy a whole bunch of carboys for what a barrel would cost. An old T-Shirt to cover a carboy is cheap to. Hope it works out well for you.

Smurfe :)
 

FentonCellars

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Ok, so it has been some time since I last posted to this forum... I have not been able to buy this yet, since I've been sinking money into the home improvements (hence why I've been absent for a while). I called the Bucket Outlet and the customer service rep had no idea if I could use the Paraffin lined barrels. She did mention the Toasted Oak Win Barrels (http://www.bucket-outlet.com/toastedbarrels.htm) but I'm not sold on that, since I don't know the calculation needed to know how long to store wine in the sizes they sell. Does anyone know? For 5 gallons, how long does it get stored in a barrel before it needs to be bottled? If I knew that, I'd be more comfortable with it.
 

Wine Maker

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Toasted oak barrels

I use medium toasted American Oak barrels. I currently have two 30 gal barrels. I aged my wine about 4 months in the barrels and got a really nice oak flavor. I'll go about 6 months next time to get a little more flavoring. Paraffin barrels are lined so you won't get much oak (if any) flavoring. The most important thing with oak barrels is that you have to properly maintain them or you will get bacteria in the barrels, if that happens you may as well throw them out. Go to www.morebeer.com and look for the link MoreWine. They have really good user guides you can download for free. Extremely useful information.

When I am finished aging in the barrels I transfer the wine to stainless steel tanks (you can tranfer to 5 gal glass carboys), until I am ready to bottle. This way I can rack my wine once or twice before bottling.
 

BarrelMan

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A Beautiful Relationship With Wine And Oak Barrels

One of the biggest influences on the flavour of wine is whether it has been matured, or even just stored, in oak. There are people who are prejudiced against oaked wine and will complain of even the slightest hint of oak, but many experts agree that if a wine has been carefully oaked it does not taste of wood, but more like a wine that has had its flavour subtly enhanced.

Oak aging of wine occurs when the wine has been fermented and/or aged in oak casks so that the flavour of the surrounding wood infuses some of its woodiness into the liquid. The resulting wine will usually taste richer, with creamy vanilla undertones and sometimes a little woody or even sawdusty. The oak is a type of seasoning for wine and getting the optimum level of oaky flavour is vital if a wine is to taste good at the end. Oak aging usually takes place in small oak barrels that hold 225 litres, being replaced every two or three years as newer barrels give the best flavour.

Oak is considered to be the most ideal wood for this aging as it not only has superb watertight qualities but gives the right sort of flavours,aromas and textures to enhance the wine. But there are different types of oak that offer certain distinctive flavourings. The most commonly used are the highly-prized, tightly-grained French oak which gives a subtle hint of oakiness, whilst American oak gives a more obvious vanilla character to the wine. Consequently wines that are more powerful in flavour tend to be stored in American oak such as Rioja, North and South American and Australian varieties. Other factors that allow oak aging to affect a wine’s taste are the size of the barrels, (larger ones giving less flavour), the age of the wood used, the actual time the wine spends within the cask, and whether the barrels have been toasted (i.e. lightly burned on the inside).

Now the fashion is for lightly oaked wines and winemakers are producing more subtle, elegant flavours. Red wines are often aged in oak, which add the required extra body and richness, with hints of wood-spice, cream and tannin. Soft light reds such as Beaujolais are typically unoaked, but the richer more powerful styles such as fine red Bordeaux or Californian Cabernet Sauvignon are almost always aged in oak. Similarly Rioja is oak aged for a long time to give it a distinct mellow creaminess. Port and Madeira are wood-aged and have an obvious hint of oak, whilst even some Champagnes are aged for a short time in oak barrels, although they never taste very oaky, just a bit more full-bodied. Some premium sweet white wines are also oak aged.
 
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