Quantcast

Other Oak Additions - Need to Boil?

Wine Making Talk

Help Support Wine Making Talk:

tjgaul

Carboy Addict
WMT Supporter
Joined
Oct 24, 2016
Messages
327
Reaction score
405
I'm just wondering if anyone does any preparatory/sanitizing work on their oak before adding it to the wine. When I add extra chips to the primary I just toss them in right from the bag, but when I add them to the secondary I have let them steep in a small amount of boiling water for a few minutes. I add the chips and the residual water together. It smells great and seems to infuse the wine fairly rapidly.

Is this considered a no no or just another option in terms of technique? When we stress so much about cleanliness and sanitation it seems ironic that we would throw a chunk of wood into our wine without ensuring that it meets the same standard.

That being said, for me cubes and spirals always go in straight, mostly because the process I use on the chips would be tough to apply to the other styles of oak.

Any opinions on the matter?
 

JohnT

Moderator
Super Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Messages
9,958
Reaction score
5,620
"A quick dunk in k-meat solution and chuck it in" is what I do.

It really is a matter of taste and choice to boil them or not. Boiling can make the oak softer and not as strong.
 
Last edited:

joshs

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2013
Messages
127
Reaction score
14
I don't treat them at all. Straight into the carboy / fermentor. I might be pushing my luck but I've added oak 20 times (?) over the years with no issues that I noticed.

-Josh
 

Cxwgfamily

Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2015
Messages
85
Reaction score
27
I boil mine. It is good to hear that someone else is paranoid about cleanliness. Do not know if it is necessary, but the only batch I oaked, the results were really good.
cxwgfamily
 

richmke

Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2013
Messages
1,804
Reaction score
554
I would think that boiling them in water leaches out some of the "essence" that you want in the wine.

Trying to sanitize oak is a loosing cause. Too many pockets for undesirables to hide in. About the best option is to heat sanitize. Maybe put it in the oven at 170 (?) for 30 minutes. Hot enough to sanitize, but not hot enough to toast.

I don't think oak barrels are sanitized (although they are toasted, but then sit around before use). The alcohol in the wine will keep most things from causing problems.
 

CabSauv

Exp Drinker/Junior Vintner
Joined
Mar 21, 2017
Messages
172
Reaction score
126
Straight in the pool. Boiling would undoubtedly remove some of the good stuff like tannin and color which is the purpose for adding it in the first place.
 

Ajmassa

just a guy
Joined
Oct 25, 2016
Messages
3,890
Reaction score
3,625
Location
S. Jersey/Philadelphia area
Boiling seems extreme. I don't even sanitize though. At most I rinse spirals with water just to get any loose bits off. But usually I'll open the plastic packaging and directly into wine.
Thinking that as long as my wine is properly sulphited than I'm good to go.
 

Smok1

Senior Member
Joined
May 8, 2017
Messages
550
Reaction score
212
I would think that boiling them in water leaches out some of the "essence" that you want in the wine.

Trying to sanitize oak is a loosing cause. Too many pockets for undesirables to hide in. About the best option is to heat sanitize. Maybe put it in the oven at 170 (?) for 30 minutes. Hot enough to sanitize, but not hot enough to toast.

I don't think oak barrels are sanitized (although they are toasted, but then sit around before use). The alcohol in the wine will keep most things from causing problems.
I think most people do sanitize there barrels, barrel-kleen is one product i see widely used, i dont think id put my wine into an unsanitized barrel.

Boiling your staves or oak chips will definitly take somethjng away from it, and spritzing with a citric acid/kmeta solution may not be perfect but its better than not sanitizing at all. It will sanitize th surface which is whats been handled during processing and packaging, who knows how these staves were handled before they were packaged, packed by some factory worker just off a bathroom break for all i know ( worst case scenario) but again i wouldnt put nothing in my wine i havent sprayed down with a sanitizing solution, i might be a little over cautious but it gives me piece of mind.
 

sour_grapes

Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers
Joined
Sep 19, 2013
Messages
11,495
Reaction score
9,679
Location
near Milwaukee
I don't think oak barrels are sanitized (although they are toasted, but then sit around before use). The alcohol in the wine will keep most things from causing problems.
Burning sulfur!

[ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3a7wEFhMt8c"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3a7wEFhMt8c[/ame]
 

skyfire322

Junior Member
Joined
May 21, 2017
Messages
371
Reaction score
249
Location
Ft Wayne, IN, US
With the oak cubes, I used a k-meta solution in a small glass, gave it five shakes, then let them dry just to get rid of any of the dust (it was a new bag). For the oak spirals, I did a quick spritz of k-meta and let them dry.

That being said, I'm not sure what I'd do with any spare oak that's been opened already. I'd assume I'd do the same thing, though.
 
Joined
Mar 1, 2017
Messages
37
Reaction score
16
I've never been overly concerned with the oak that I add, but if I was, I think that I would spritz with vodka or Everclear, and allow it to evaporate for half an hour before adding to the wine. I agree that boiling the oak would extract too much of what you are trying to add.

Naturally, ensure that there are no sources of ignition anywhere in the area when spraying alcohol!
 
Last edited:

Mismost

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2015
Messages
955
Reaction score
716
I have never worried about it....at least before I read through this thread! I liked the boil and then add oak and water to the wine...you will not be losing any essence and the cubes are sanitized.
 

tjgaul

Carboy Addict
WMT Supporter
Joined
Oct 24, 2016
Messages
327
Reaction score
405
An added bonus of boiling is that the whole darn house smells like a giant oak barrel for a couple hours. I love it, but my wife . . . not so much. I don't know if I am losing any of the essence in the process, but it sure seems to rapidly infuse the wine with flavor.
 

brewbush

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2014
Messages
177
Reaction score
67
I store all my oak in the freezer. A couple bags of cubes (American and French) as well as spirals. I just dump right into the wine. Never had an issue and I do not worry about sanitization.
 

Trick

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2017
Messages
185
Reaction score
47
I always boil it with a little water for 5 minutes and pour everything in. The juice smells fantastic. I think since the oak has survived the high temperature toasting and should not have any issue surviving the boiling.
Someone mentioned steaming but I like boiling more since it is easier. Some commercial wineries use steam to sanitize the barrel.
 

farmerjack

Junior
Joined
Feb 13, 2018
Messages
14
Reaction score
4
Location
Detroit-ish
What do I know? I'm new at this but it seems that if you boiled you'd want to toss the infused water AND the oak into the batch. That way no oak essence would be lost.

I love the idea of stinkin' up the house with oak barrel smell :)
 

Trick

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2017
Messages
185
Reaction score
47
I toasted oak chips in an oven until seeing smoke for the latest batch to make the wine smokier.
This is learned from a YouTube video.
Still need more practice. The first try is a little bit over-smoked.
 
Top