Other Oak Additions - Need to Boil?

Discussion in 'Kit Winemaking' started by tjgaul, Oct 24, 2017.

Help Support Winemaking Talk by donating using the link above.
  1. tjgaul

    tjgaul Carboy Addict Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2016
    Messages:
    211
    Likes Received:
    186
    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?
     
    Venatorscribe likes this.
  2. JohnT

    JohnT Moderator Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Messages:
    9,810
    Likes Received:
    5,293
    "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: Oct 24, 2017
    tjgaul likes this.
  3. cmason1957

    cmason1957 Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2011
    Messages:
    2,134
    Likes Received:
    1,291
    I spritz mine very lightly with k-meta solution. Then let them sit for just a bit, before I put them in, but I don't know if it is necessary or not.
     
    skyfire322 likes this.
  4. Smok1

    Smok1 Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2017
    Messages:
    550
    Likes Received:
    211
    I as well spritz with kmeta
     
  5. joshs

    joshs Junior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2013
    Messages:
    127
    Likes Received:
    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
     
    Kiazer and GaDawg like this.
  6. Cxwgfamily

    Cxwgfamily Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2015
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    15
    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
     
  7. richmke

    richmke Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2013
    Messages:
    1,790
    Likes Received:
    543
    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.
     
    Brian55 likes this.
  8. CabSauv

    CabSauv Exp Drinker/Junior Vintner

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2017
    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    99
    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.
     
    GaDawg likes this.
  9. Ajmassa5983

    Ajmassa5983 Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2016
    Messages:
    2,236
    Likes Received:
    1,505
    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.
     
  10. Smok1

    Smok1 Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2017
    Messages:
    550
    Likes Received:
    211
    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.
     
  11. sour_grapes

    sour_grapes Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2013
    Messages:
    8,128
    Likes Received:
    5,181
    Burning sulfur!

    [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3a7wEFhMt8c"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3a7wEFhMt8c[/ame]
     
  12. skyfire322

    skyfire322 Junior Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2017
    Messages:
    215
    Likes Received:
    109
    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.
     
    heatherd likes this.
  13. Cellar_Dweller

    Cellar_Dweller Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2017
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    14
    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: Oct 25, 2017
  14. Mismost

    Mismost Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Messages:
    910
    Likes Received:
    674
    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.
     
  15. tjgaul

    tjgaul Carboy Addict Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2016
    Messages:
    211
    Likes Received:
    186
    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.
     
    Donatelo likes this.
  16. cmsben61

    cmsben61 House Swine

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2015
    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    96
    I toss it right in from the bag.
     
  17. brewbush

    brewbush Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2014
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    45
    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.
     
  18. Trick

    Trick Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    29
    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.
     
  19. farmerjack

    farmerjack Junior

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2018
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    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 :)
     
  20. Trick

    Trick Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    29
    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.
     

Share This Page