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Chilkat

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I am making a 5gal batch of berry wine and I added a 1/2 cup of med French oak to it in first stage fermentation. Is that a good batch?
 

Norton

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I typically wouldn’t add oak to a non grape wine. My main exception for that is elderberry and I’d add about 30 grams in the secondary.
 

Chilkat

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Why not? Have you tried adding to anything other than the two you mentioned?
 

Norton

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Just doesn’t appeal to me except for elderberry. But the great thing about this hobby is that we can make it the way we like it. That is why I mentioned that when I do add it to elderberry about 30grams is what I use.
 

Chilkat

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Yeah - I'm not used to using oak yet. This is the first application of it to my wine. I don't know if it'll come out in the wine's flavor.
 

M38A1

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Related to the oaking question, here's one.....

If you're going to use a spiral or some small chunks, do you soak them in k-meta for some period of time before putting them in the carboy for aging? Or are they typically dried enough that you wouldn't need to worry about contaminants and drop them in from the plastic bag?
 

Chilkat

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Everything I read says to soak in Camden pellets or starsan
 

Johny99

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I’m with @Johnd. I always just put them in. Of course, I keep a clean winery and live in a dry climate. Anything you soak them in will leach out some of the oak stuff you are wanting for the wine.
 

Ajmassa

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Oak prep has been debated quite a few times on this forum. Doesn’t seem to be a wrong way to do it tho.
Previous techniques I’ve read here:
-spritz with sanitizer
-soak in sanitizer
-even put in boiling water

I just put em in dry as well. Figure if my wine is properly sulphited then that should be good to kill any undesireables.
 

jumby

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I also put them in dry. If you soak them in sanitizer, your going to wash off some of the char.
 

M38A1

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Thanks for the replies!

I didn't know this was like a Ford/Chevy or what oil do you use topic. :)
 

Chilkat

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Oak prep has been debated quite a few times on this forum. Doesn’t seem to be a wrong way to do it tho.
Previous techniques I’ve read here:
-spritz with sanitizer
-soak in sanitizer
-even put in boiling water

I just put em in dry as well. Figure if my wine is properly sulphited then that should be good to kill any undesireables.
Those have been the most popular methods, and in my mind anything that's been heated enough to be charred is, in theory, sanitized right? I just dumped mine right in as well.
 

Johnd

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Those have been the most popular methods, and in my mind anything that's been heated enough to be charred is, in theory, sanitized right? I just dumped mine right in as well.
I’d say that your theory is correct, and if it’s packaged and stored to avoid contamination, there should be no worries.
 

Chilkat

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So now that this is an active post, back to my reason for starting this, how much oak is enough for 6 gallons of berry wine? Anyone have an idea?
 

meadmaker1

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Start slow, you can always add more.
What type are you using. Cubes and staves are easier to handle.
I would start with a couple oz's.
There are different flavors to be had from less left in longer vs more left in a shorter time, just as there is to different types and roasts.
Im sure if you look there is a thread full of opinions on how much, when, and why to oak.
 

winemaker81

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I added 1/2 lb toasted oak to the primary for a recently started batch of elderberry. It was in 4 days before I skimmed it out -- the elderberry develops "gunk" on top and I ended up removing it all together. In general, leaving oak in for the duration of fermentation is not a problem. One half cup shouldn't be a problem.

If you're oaking after fermentation, go cautious. You can always add more oak, but once the flavor is in there, it's not coming out. I have a friend who made a chardonnay that tastes exactly like my table. It was not a good experiment.

Also keep in mind the surface area -- the smaller the pieces, the more surface area and the more flavor that will extract into the wine. You're going to get a LOT more flavoring from oak powder vs. oak chips, or oak cubes. In secondary storage, taste weekly. If you think it's getting close, it's time to take the oak out.
 

4score

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Related to the oaking question, here's one.....

If you're going to use a spiral or some small chunks, do you soak them in k-meta for some period of time before putting them in the carboy for aging? Or are they typically dried enough that you wouldn't need to worry about contaminants and drop them in from the plastic bag?
I just drop them in straight from the package.
 

BigH

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Add me to the list of people that just dump the oak straight it after removing it from its sealed package. My oak of choice are WineStix. Don't ask me why. They look more manly than other forms of oak (well, other than a huge barrel I suppose)

H
 

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