Oaking a Mead

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So I have a 6 gallon carboy of a traditional plain clover honey going. The honey was on sale at a local store, so I couldn't pass up a 3lb for less the 10 dollars, I don't think they knew that just because it crystalized it's not bad, haha. But since it isn't a stellar honey on its own I have been thinking about trying to throw in some oak chips. The hang up is, I have never played with oaking anything before. I saw advertised some vanilla rum soaked chips. Which I thought might go well, but rethought maybe I should ask how and what on here first. We are more looking for the vanilla flavor maybe but the rum would be welcome. But from what I read you can get vanilla from just a medium toast? Plus when in the process do you put it in? Right now this batch is finishing secondary and starting to clear, should a give it another month to clear and age a bit more? Thanks for any advice you guys are great.
 

tradowsk

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Sorry, you put 3lbs honey in a 6 gallon batch? Did I read that right?

As for oak, I add it after secondary during bulk aging. Maybe I don't have a good enough palate, but I don't get any of those vanilla/coconut/etc flavors from oaking. I just get different levels of oak based on length and toast level.

But I think those rum soaked chips would be cool in a traditional mead! Usual dose of chips-cubes is 1-2oz per gallon. Taste weekly until you think there is enough flavor. Remember, you can always add more oak but you can't take it out, so be cautious.
 
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Sorry, you put 3lbs honey in a 6 gallon batch? Did I read that right?

As for oak, I add it after secondary during bulk aging. Maybe I don't have a good enough palate, but I don't get any of those vanilla/coconut/etc flavors from oaking. I just get different levels of oak based on length and toast level.

But I think those rum soaked chips would be cool in a traditional mead! Usual dose of chips-cubes is 1-2oz per gallon. Taste weekly until you think there is enough flavor. Remember, you can always add more oak but you can't take it out, so be cautious.
Sorry, I meant a traditional Mead. I also wasn't very clear on the amount of honey, I added 3lbs per gallon. I was just justifying the cheap honey, haha.

I appreciate your palate or lack there of also, haha. I don't feel like I can ever taste the subtleties some people say they can when tasting certain things. So that's why I was thinking about going to the run soaked option. I think it would be more powerful flavor.

You also said during bulk ageing, would that be after clearing or during clearing? I've never added sparkalloid to a Mead I just usually let it clear naturally, but with oaking wasn't sure what route to go. Whether to use the fining and then rack onto oak...or just toss it in now while it's still clearing naturally and rack and clear later? To be more specific about this one I'm working on, I let it ferment out, then racked. It's currently just been sitting shy of a month after the first rack, and is still fairly cloudy.
 

tradowsk

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That is a really good price on honey, nicely done!

I would just chuck the oak in now. No need to wait for it to clear, you can multitask and let it clear and age simultaneously.

Are you planning on backsweetening this? Heavy oak and sweet wines don't usually turn out well, so if this is going to make a semi-sweet or sweet mead, be careful as to the amount of oak.
 
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