First time using oak chips

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porkchopmessiah

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I picked up some oak chips, thinking of adding to my sang/Syrah blend...
Part out of desire to experiment, partly because in tasting along the way I've found the flavor flat, which I'm attributing to making from buckets without the benefit of skins...
I've added tannin complex alrready (3 grams to each 5 gal, which is 2 g below the max rrecommended dosing.
Aside from the instructions on the bag to soak 1hr, not much in the way of guidelines for use.. how long does one usually let the chips soak in the carboy for?
 

cmason1957

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Chips really aren't the best way to add oak to a wine. The give up what little they have very quickly. That's why kits add chips during primary fermentation. They don't have much oak flavor to give up, just tannin. I might add an ounce of three for maybe two or three weeks. Cubes, spirals, xoakers are much better for adding oak flavor. With an oak barrel also providing concentration of flavors and micro oxidation.
 

G259

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Could the problem be lack of acidity? Check that the ph is not high, and possibly add some acid blend.
 

Mike Dunlap

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I have used oak chips in my neutral barrels for years with success. I have an infusion tube (stainless steel tube about as deep as a 60 gallon barrel) which I fill with chips and drop thru the bung hole. After a few days, the oak has been leached out. I dry out the used chips and give them to a friend for his smoker. They make smaller infusion tubes for car boys.

I always over oak my wine because in a month or so a portion of the oakiness falls out and the wine retains a portion .. if still too much, let the wine sit longer .. if too little, add another infusion tube possibly with fewer chips.

I have tried other ways of oaking wine In neutral barrels but come back to chips since they work well and aren’t too expensive.
 

Mike Dunlap

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Reference “flat flavor”:

Try adding a bottle of sweet white wine to your carboy. This should help add a nice nose to your wine as well.

This is a trick when you have wine with an unpleasant odor. I sometimes add several bottles to a full barrel and it makes a noticeable difference.

You could also buy a wine that compliments your wine and do a bit of blending. Have a couple friends over, buy a few bottles of potential blending wines, and do bench testing. Measure how much of each you put in your samples and pass around your samples to share. Vote on the best combination. Use your algebra and calculate how much you need of what you will blend.

I also find that a bit of sulfur changes the taste. Perhaps I am wrong but it seems to return a bit of life to what might otherwise be a flabby, flat wine. If it doesn’t help, excess sulfur will eventually fall out.
 
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