Odd oak flavor from spirals

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tradowsk

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A few years ago, I made a cab sauv kit where I didn't use the included oak cubes and instead used a M+ toasted french oak spiral from my LHBS. The package said 1 spiral for 3 gallons, so I used 1 spiral in about 5.5 gallons in secondary for a milder flavor and left it for 6 weeks per the instructions. It's been about 2yrs since then (bottled for 1.25yrs), and when I cracked open a bottle to taste, it is overwhelmingly oaky. Not like the rich deep flavors you get in whiskies (of which I am a big fan) but the wine tastes very strongly of a sawdust kind of oak. What I imagine just popping a piece of the spiral in your mouth would taste like. Very off-putting and something I hope ages out.

I also attempted a "barrel aged" manhattan yesterday, where I put a small piece (ie one 'round' of the spiral if that makes sense) of that oak spiral in a premade manhattan in a mason jar, and wanted to let it sit for 6 weeks as a special treat at a family party. However, literally 1 day later, I tasted the manhattan and I already get a fairly strong sawdusty note exactly like what I get in the wine.

So my questions: do oak spirals go bad? Is there a different brand I should use (I have Barrel Mill)? Do they need to be charred before use? Should I just stick to cubes or chips? I don't have room for a real barrel right now unfortunately.

Thanks!
 

Chuck E

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So my questions: do oak spirals go bad? Is there a different brand I should use (I have Barrel Mill)? Do they need to be charred before use? Should I just stick to cubes or chips? I don't have room for a real barrel right now unfortunately.

Thanks!
I use the Barrel Mill spirals in my reds. I usually put 2 whole pieces in a 5 gallon carboy. I use Medium+ in reds, and Medium in Chards. I leave them in for 6-12 weeks. I soak them in KMeta before adding them to the carboys
I have not had an experience like your's. Do they smell "saw dusty" before you put them in the wine?
 

tradowsk

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I just took another smell of the spirals and they remind me of the lumber section at home depot. Definitely a different smell than the chips I have, which are more like what you would expect. The spirals are a lot more woody smelling.

So maybe I got a bad batch? I don't know how long these were on the shelf at my LHBS, but I used them on the cab sauv within a few weeks of purchase.
 
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Chuck E

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@Chuck E do the spirals you have give off a similar smell?
I just opened a new package of Medium+ spirals. I smell the toasted smell of wood. Reminds me of my smoker after it has cooled off. They do not smell like the lumber yard to me.
 

NorCal

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When I’ve needed to add oak to Carboys, my goto is the spirals. It’s patented, so I think there is only one company that sells them. I use medium American and French. The medium + or higher is too much smokiness for me.
 

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