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Forgot to add oak chips

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Coyote_10

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New to wine making even though I’ve been reading about it for a couple of years now. Im working on a Master Vintners Shiraz and got through the primary (SG was 1.012) so I racked to the secondary. I completely forgot to add the oak chips that came with the kit. Then without thinking I attempted to add the oak chips in and caused I tiny volcano. I cleaned up the small mess and put the bung and airlock in without the rest of the oak chips. So I guess my questions are, did I harm the flavor of the wine and what are my options? Do I just say screw it to the oak chips? Do I put them in after the secondary is done? Or do I put the oak chips into a new carboy and essentially restart the secondary? If it matters I’m using the AIO to rack.
 

sour_grapes

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Welcome to WMT!

You may know this already, but the reason you caused a volcano is because the wine was loaded (supersaturated) with CO2; the oak chips provided nucleation sites for ready formation of bubbles.

You have a number of options. You certainly don't NEED oak flavoring in your Shiraz, so you could skip it with no problems. If you want to use the rest of the oak, you just need to degas the wine a bit first. You can do that by simply waiting, or by using your AIO to vacuum rack a few times, or pull a vacuum on the carboy using your AIO, or by stirring/whipping the wine.
 

Coyote_10

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Thanks for the quick response! Everyone on this forum seems to be very helpful!!! I had something in the back of my head telling me not to attempt to add the oak, should have listened to it... Add that to the “lessons learned” section of my notebook!! Haha... I’ll think about if I want to add the oak or not.

Another quick question, would there be the difference in taste if I add the oak now vs later (if I wait for secondary to complete and age it with the oak)?
 

sour_grapes

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No, I don't think so.

Usually, oak chips are using during initial alcoholic fermentation. At later stages, larger forms of oak (cubes, beans, spirals, etc.) are thought to be better. I do not know if that is true, but that is what many people assert.

Your alcoholic fermentation is now essentially finished. So now, as long as you have the oak in there long enough for them to give up their tannins, and as long as you age it long enough for them to integrate, I don't think it matters if you do it right now or sometime later.
 

Coyote_10

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Thank you very much!! Can’t wait to get more batches of wine going with hopes that I won’t screw up the next ones haha!! This site has proven to be a valuable resource already!
 

winemaker81

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Usually, oak chips are using during initial alcoholic fermentation. At later stages, larger forms of oak (cubes, beans, spirals, etc.) are thought to be better. I do not know if that is true, but that is what many people assert.
This is my take on chips vs. other oak products:

Surface area matters. Wine contact with the surface area of the oak product determines (to a great extent) the amount of leaching of oak character into the wine.

Cubes, spirals, and staves each have a consistent surface area, which may vary by manufacturer. Cubes are the least consistent as not all cubes are the same size, but overall, when you put in 2 oz cubes, a spiral, or a stave, you have a good idea what the outcome will be based upon batch size and length of aging time. Note that each type may produce different results, but when you put in X amount of cubes in Y amount of wine for Z days, the outcome is relatively consistent.

Chips? The surface area is probably un-calculatable. A bag of chips has all shapes and sizes, so there is no way to guess at the total surface area. All you can do is taste periodically and remove the chips when satisfied.

While this is also true of other oak products, when I add 2 oz cubes to a 5 gallon carboy, I have no concerns about not touching the wine for 30 days as I know it won't be overoaked IMO. [Personal taste is critical.]

OTOH, fermentation is a short period which limits oak contact (4 to 10 days). This isn't long enough for cubes, spirals, and staves to make a enough of an impact. The large surface area of the chips works in the winemaker's favor during fermentation, as more oak character is extracted in the short period.

There are probably other factors, but surface area is an obvious one.
 

pete1325

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That's why I use spirals.....I add at all stages of ageing. and remove, or leave in per my taste which can be based on the wine type. I like my Cabs on the oakey side. Pino's not so much.....per my taste buds. spirals are also user to use. drop in, pull out. I've used chips and cubes. they are messy. you need to rack with a strainer to catch them from going in your transfer carboy. Then clean out the carboy by swishing around a wet carboy, which, if not careful, can be tricky not to drop and break. All just based on my experience.
 

pete1325

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How do you get the bags out of the carboys? seems like they would be too big to squeeze through the neck..or are you just using them during PF? Open top, no cover?
 

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