oak chips for pear wine

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Rlehman

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Getting ready to make two batches of pear wine 5 gallon each. Was going to put oak chips in one going with a medium roast. My question would you use American or French and how much? Also should I use brown or white sugar? Yeast being used will be Cotes De Blanc or K1-V116. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

 
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There isn't a real answer to American or French oak. They have different qualities, and which to choose depends on what you want and like. I can tell you what I'd do, which is to use American. IME French oak can provide a sour-ish taste, while American will be more fruity (take this in the context of oak).

How much? Pear is a really light wine, so I'd start with 1/2 oz in 5 gallons. If you over-oak the wine, you'll need to blend in the other wine to remove the taste of "oak bench".

White or brown sugar? Brown sugar will affect the flavor as it contains impurities. I recall a recent thread where drawbacks of using brown sugar were listed, but I do not recall the details. Search the forum for "brown sugar".
 

Raptor99

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Oak is a great addition to pear wine. I usually add a small amount of powdered tannin in the primary as a sacrificial tannin, then use oak chips in the secondary. I am using American medium roast oak chips. I don't have my notes with me right now, but I use a fairly small amount.

With pear wine I use white sugar. But for peach I use half white sugar and half brown sugar. You could do one batch each way and compare to see which you like better. I'm not sure how well the oak would go with brown sugar, but it would be interesting to try.
 

Raptor99

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White or brown sugar? Brown sugar will affect the flavor as it contains impurities. I recall a recent thread where drawbacks of using brown sugar were listed, but I do not recall the details. Search the forum for "brown sugar".
Brown sugar is made from white sugar with molasses added. I would only use brown sugar if I want the flavor of brown sugar in my wine. IMO it works very well with peach wine.
 

Rice_Guy

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Good answer
There isn't a real answer to American or French oak. They have different qualities, and which to choose depends on what you want and like.
Brown sugar will affect the flavor as it contains impurities (molasses).
I am a fan of soft tannins so my go to would be Prairie Fire crab apples at about one to five percent crab in the batch. ( Traditional English varieties have tannins.) one function is long flavor notes and another function is to act as antioxidants/ improve shelf life. Commercially you could look at Scott Blanc Soft.

One of my next projects will be to hunt out some pears for a batch of apple. Pears have sorbitol which provides non-fermentable sweet flavors. My guess is that this will balance fairly well with soft tannins. ,,, (hard tannins/ poly phenolics will give more of a bitter note)
 

Rlehman

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Thanks for the reply's. I will skip the brown sugar and go with white this time. And go with American oak and blend if I over oak like suggested. Is there soft tannins I could buy if I cant find the crab apples? Should have mention in original post I was shooting for vanilla and possibly spice tones.
 

Rice_Guy

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Good tasting crabs are easy to come by, about 20% of the selections at the university arborateum are good. ,,, Ex there are two trees I like at church and the city plants Prairie Fire crabs under power lines.
Good tasting tannins are hard to come by since you have to taste fruit as you go on walks with your sweetie, ,,, who may not be as interested and may say “GIT outa their yard, that’s not your house”.
What I look for is long astringent notes (like the long flavor on red wines) and no bitter notes. ,,,, if you want to spit it isn’t a good selection. Prairie Fire is low moisture so I crush some (about a kilo for five gallons) and then steep them in the juice I am working with.
 

BigDaveK

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I wouldn't necessarily give up on the brown sugar. At 100% brown it may taste like molasses wine. Personally I like 25% brown, a subtle addition.

You could also ferment with white and experiment with back sweetening with a brown sugar syrup in addition to regular syrup.
 

Rlehman

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Thanks, BigDaveK when the rest of the pear are ready to harvest, I will try it on that batch.
 

Fencepost

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I made 2 batches of pear wine last year... one suggestion, based on pear being a very light flavored wine, would be to back sweeten with pear syrup. I did that with one batch and thought it brought in more of the pear taste I wanted. I used brown sugar to get to the OSG on both. Looking at my notes, I did medium toast French oak in one and medium toast American oak in the other.... I have not done a side by side comparison yet, still aging. One thing I saw in my notes is that this wine was very brown for a long time... It will look like brewed "tea"... I was worried, but in the end it cleared and looks nice and light yellow/gold. I had a friend say it was very nice paired with some grilled seafood. Good luck it should turn out fine.
 

Rlehman

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Racked into carboy tonight and add 2 ounces of oak chips. This was 5 gallon of pear juice. Added white sugar to bring gravity up to 1.090. First packet of yeast added was Premier Cuvée after 12 hrs I had no activity. My total acids were really high so didn’t surprise me. Tossed some ec1118 and of it went. That was on the 9th. Gravity going into carboy was 1.000. Color was a rich golden brown taste was fruity but very sharp. In roughly 2 weeks I’ll taste it.
 

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