Oak Stix experiment

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winemaker81

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Last Saturday I've started an experiment using Next Level Oak's wine stix. @Mike - Next Level Oak and I got into a long discussion last fall, and that discussion culminated in me starting an oak experiment.

The premise is that I have 3 carboys of red wine, and each has one of Mike's wine stix (kits) in it -- American, French, and Hungarian oak, all with 1 medium toast and 1 medium plus toast piece. A 4th carboy has 2 oz medium toast Hungarian oak cubes. I will be testing the wines every 2 weeks (or so) to see progress. I anticipate the experiment will run for 3 to 4 months, and I may post updates months later, after the wines are bottled and aging.

Among my goals is to see how the oak stix compare to oak cubes, and to get a feel for how long I should leave them in the wine, and if there is any difference in duration between the different oaks. This also lets me compare apples-to-apples in deciding which oak(s) I will use in the future.

I calculated an average size for oak cubes, and the surface area of one of the stix is fairly close to the surface area for 2 oz of cubes, enough that I believe it's a fair experiment.

The results are being posted on my web site, and I will post summary notes here as well.

Notes:

Mike provided the kits to me, free of charge. In return I'm providing him with my complete notes, with the agreement that my results are what they are, the good, the bad, and the ugly. While I cannot foresee any problems that would not occur with other oak adjuncts, such as staves, spirals, cubes, and chips, I am keeping an open mind.

I do no advertising on my site, nor do I collect personal information. Traffic on my site provides me with no compensation of any form, nor is anyone else gaining from it.

As much as I try to keep the experiment as objective as possible, there is no way to keep subjectivity out. It just occurred to me to do double-bind tastings, so that no one tasting the wines has any foreknowledge which is which.
 

winemaker81

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My plan was to taste at the 2 week mark, but I was busy all last weekend. My son found time yesterday to help me with the arduous task of tasting wine ...

I posted details on my blog for this experiment, but overall, none of the 4 batches have much oak character yet. However, we noted that each wine tasted a bit different AND the sensation of tannin was in different places on our tongues. We tasted in both directions, e.g., tasted wines 1 through 4 and then 4 through 1, to see if the order made any difference.

It didn't. It's far too soon to visualize what the end result will be. The plan is to taste again in 3 weeks.

EDIT 1: I appear to have lost all track of time. The wines sat for 4 weeks, not 3.

The difference in where on the tongue tannin was registered is intriguing. So far I can't say one is better than the other -- they're just different.

EDIT 2: I obviously can't read a calendar. I thought today was the 27th, not the 22nd. I could NOT figure out how I lost a week. I just don't drink that much!

It may be that I didn't have enough coffee in me when I posted ... today's entry in the testing log is at the 3 week mark.
 
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