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Barrel Aging ?

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mmadmikes1

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I read a few things about barrel aging and was curious about evaporation. If water can evaporate during aging doesn't alcohol as well. Alcohol evaporates easier than water so it seems that it would occur as well.
 

ibglowin

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The water and alcohol are dissolved together so they both end up evaporating but at slightly different rates depending on the relative humidity. You lose a volume of wine (the angels share) which then concentrates the flavor, but since you are continually topping up with wine you are not normally losing any ABV.
 
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ibglowin

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Both the water and the alcohol in wine are subject to evaporation, and typically the alcohol will evaporate somewhat faster than the water does. But it really depends on a lot of different variables, including the temperature, the airflow and how much of the liquid’s surface area is exposed to air. Also, the water would evaporate faster in dry air than in humid air.

In most cases, while some evaporation will take place, its total effect would be negligible. It would take days, weeks or even longer to get any measurable difference in the alcohol content. Because wine doesn’t have much alcohol in it by volume—typically from about 12 to 16 percent—it’s not going to evaporate nearly as quickly as would the same amount of rubbing alcohol. In fact, wine that’s just sitting there evaporating would probably turn into vinegar before it would become alcohol-free.
 
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robie

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I agree with all the above. The positive effects of barrel aging, especially for our kits wines, far out weighs any negatives, as long as the barrel is regularly topped off. You would not be able to taste any slight difference in ABV.

Sometimes small differences, which result from things we do differently in our home wine making process, are not always noticeable. In my experience, the differences in barrel aging kit wines, versus not, are night and day.

I am conditioning my second, 6 gallon Vadai barrel right now. It is being a pain, but it will get there.
 

FRANKC

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I just ordered a 13 gallon Vadai oak barrel. Although I've noticed that most seem to use the 6 gallon barrels, I opted for the larger size. I always tend to overdo things, and feel that if I'm going to make a wine I might as well make a good-sized batch. I also considered the fact that the larger barrel would allow a longer time in the barrel. But now I'm wondering if I overdid it again! Could someone tell me their rationale for the smaller barrels?
 

joea132

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I just ordered a 13 gallon Vadai oak barrel. Although I've noticed that most seem to use the 6 gallon barrels, I opted for the larger size. I always tend to overdo things, and feel that if I'm going to make a wine I might as well make a good-sized batch. I also considered the fact that the larger barrel would allow a longer time in the barrel. But now I'm wondering if I overdid it again! Could someone tell me their rationale for the smaller barrels?
As far as barrels go, the bigger the better. Smaller barrels have a high surface to volume ratio and impart oak into wine very quickly. When you get larger, the ratio is reduced and a little more time can be spent in the barrel. The problem is keeping a barrel full for most people. Dry barrels, especially after wine has soaked in, are great places for Bacteria to grow. In a perfect world you should constantly rotate wine through the barrel. I think this is why most people opt for small barrels.
 

shoelesst

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You are correct that alcohol evaporates easier than water. It is a smaller molecule and more volitle.

Both water and alcohol evaporate and as mentioned before the humidity is what makes the difference. In more humid settings, more alcohol compared to water will be evaporated and in dry settings, the opposite, but neither is a huge factor in the standard time wine is aged.

The tannins and flavor compounds are bigger molecules do not evaporate so the result is more concentrated flavors, as well as the leaking itself.

Have fun
 

shoelesst

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FRANKC said:
I just ordered a 13 gallon Vadai oak barrel. Although I've noticed that most seem to use the 6 gallon barrels, I opted for the larger size. I always tend to overdo things, and feel that if I'm going to make a wine I might as well make a good-sized batch. I also considered the fact that the larger barrel would allow a longer time in the barrel. But now I'm wondering if I overdid it again! Could someone tell me their rationale for the smaller barrels?
The smaller the barrel, the higher the ratio of wine/surface area. This means a smaller barrel will impart oak much faster than a larger one. It is very easy to over oak with a smaller barrel, especially if it is new. You made the right decision.
 
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