Do oak chips lose their flavor in the bag over time?

Discussion in 'Barrels & Oaking' started by JimInNJ, Jan 11, 2018.

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  1. JimInNJ

    JimInNJ Member

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    What is the shelf life of oak (powder, shavings, chips, cubes, spheres, squares, sticks, spirals, staves)? Assuming it has been stored clean and dry.
     
  2. Ajmassa5983

    Ajmassa5983 Member Supporting Member

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    In my eyes- Forever.
    Assuming proper storage I see no reason to think it would ever start to fade or go south. I come across a helluva lot of very old wood at work. The smell after cutting is not “less than” at all. And actually I think older oak/cedar/whatever smell a lot stronger than newer wood.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
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  3. JimInNJ

    JimInNJ Member

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    I was thinking some of the aromatics produced by toasting would be volatile.
     
  4. stickman

    stickman Veteran Winemaker

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    The metalized plastic bags are less permeable and provide longer shelf life than typical clear plastic. If you open a bag of chips and it doesn't smell like oak, they probably have lost some of their aromatics; I have noticed some generic chips being this way. A metalized bag of Stavin cubes, for example, blows you away with toasted oak aromatics. I let my nose be the guide.
     
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  5. JimInNJ

    JimInNJ Member

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    So, my typical clear plastic bags of ID Carlson cubes, which after about a decade smell like absolutely nothing, are probably past their prime. Good thing I also have a shiny new unopened metalized bag of Stavin cubes.
     
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  6. Ajmassa5983

    Ajmassa5983 Member Supporting Member

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    Has anyone here ever taken their oak cubes/staves/whatever and actually toasted them themselves before using?
     
  7. JimInNJ

    JimInNJ Member

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    Sounds like a fun experiment. I wonder if anyone here has started with selecting a tree, then harvesting, cutting, seasoning and toasting. Or simply used an oven to increase the toast level of existing oak products, or perhaps in an attempt to refresh old oak. Any barrel makers here? For now, I think I'll stick with buying known good products, and leave the cooperage to the professionals. Although some might say the same about making wine. ;-)
     
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  8. sour_grapes

    sour_grapes Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers

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    I do recall one fellow who harvested his own (dying) tree, milled it, and built his wine rack out of it! Does that count?

    DIYers: Remember to use white oak, not red oak.
     
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  9. Ajmassa5983

    Ajmassa5983 Member Supporting Member

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    I think it’s not too uncommon of thing actually. Not the whole tree bit lol, but tossing your chips or cubes in the oven for some extra toast on em. Same general theory when reconditioning used barrels. Just don’t hear it mentioned here ever.
     
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  10. Ajmassa5983

    Ajmassa5983 Member Supporting Member

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    So far I’ve used poweder, chips, cubes and spirals. Gonna gives staves a shot next I think. But I have not yet found a barrel alternative that does what I really want it to do.
    Function wise I do Chips and powder solely in fermentation’s now. No more cubes for me cuz because removal requires racking. Spirals on fishing line work great.
    The American heavy spirals were like a shot in the arm to the wine. Way too much too fast. Too easy to overdo it. I think I’m off American all together now.
    Going for French or Hungarian staves — at least until I buy a whole bunch of staves held together with metal bands with a top and bottom assembled on it. Soon enough.
     
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  11. mainshipfred

    mainshipfred Junior Member Supporting Member

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    Paul, why not red? Just curious.
     
  12. cmason1957

    cmason1957 Member Supporting Member

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    From what I understand red oak gives off a horrible taste, like cat urine. Now I do wonder who tasted that too know.
     
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  13. Ajmassa5983

    Ajmassa5983 Member Supporting Member

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    Because Home Depot sells red oak. And that would make life too easy !
    I made a punch down tool out of red oak. Only punched a couple times with it. But a cat urine taste? She might be heading for early retirement.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
  14. JimInNJ

    JimInNJ Member

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    Just the thing to emphasize the thiols in Sauvignon Blanc.
     
  15. kevinlfifer

    kevinlfifer Senior Member

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    Sour grapes,

    That was me. I used the dead Ash to build with. BUT, I have been toasting my own oak for a couple of seasons now. Fresh oak truly makes a difference. I liken it to coffee roasting, old beans have lost a lot of flavor. I have started to prep for a small business selling oak. I will reach out for the proper way to advertise here when I have all the equipment in place.

    My concept is to roast on demand to order specs so it is fresh when you receive the oak.
     
  16. JimInNJ

    JimInNJ Member

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    Now you have me envisioning oak cubes tumbling in my coffee roaster. Must resist the temptation.

    Isn't the seasoning one of the most important parts? How do you manage that?
     
  17. kevinlfifer

    kevinlfifer Senior Member

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    I am getting white oak that has been kiln dried, or in dry storage for a year. in 2015, I used some that was fresh cut from a tree trunk that had been down for a year. It was really aromatic and made the best wine I have ever made. The smell of the fresh cut white oak is very pleasant and quite distinguishable from any other wood.
     
  18. joeswine

    joeswine joeswine

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    Just a thought, if you took your first time used oak and no matter what type rinsed them and then let them soak in a deluction of liquid smoke and water let it set overnight. Then drained and placed in a metal baking rack in the over on the warm setting for 1 hour or so I'll bet you they'll be good to use one more time.
     
  19. sour_grapes

    sour_grapes Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers

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    Nice. I couldn't remember who it was. You'd think with the GPS thing, I'd have a better fix on you!
     
  20. kevinlfifer

    kevinlfifer Senior Member

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    Joe,
    I've used liquid smoke to cook with before. I don't see it giving notes of caramel, chocolate, or vanilla, but rather bacon. I've recycled my own sticks by splitting them then doubling up. It seemed to work. Even though they sank to the bottom, the wine does not totally penetrate the sticks. I kept them frozen to avoid mold while waiting to use them again.

    Here is some heavy toast. I took the picture of them for my Amazon listing, then tossed them all in 8 carboys of Cab Sav.

    I ordered a conveyor oven, When that gets here I'll be ready to try to sell some. Or resell an oven??

    20180301_144221.jpg
     

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