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Overoaked in 3 days?!

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tradowsk

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I have a 6 gallon WE Eclipse cab sauv in a carboy after a 6 week EM.

I used the included hungarian oak cubes but I wanted more oak.

So on Tuesday 10/9 I added 2/3 spiral of Medium+ french oak and 1/4 spiral of Heavy french oak. I wanted to add toasty, chocolately flavors to balance the fruit-forwardness.

The problem is that I just tasted the wine and it has a very strong oak flavor. Not smokey (and I'm a whisky drinker so I know smokey) but the aftertaste reminds me of actually putting a wood chip in my mouth.

The spiral is still floating on top, so did I just get the oak bomb because it hasn't diffused to the rest of the wine yet, or should I pull the spirals now?

The package said 1 spiral for 3 gallons and to leave in for 6 weeks.
 

NorCal

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Remove them now. The oak will integrate/fade over time.

It reminds me of a wine that I made in a 30 gallon American oak barrel. @4score and I made a Barbera together and it was clear from the start it was a special wine. I put it in a second year barrel and was tasting it along the way. Then I tasted it, I think after 10 months in the barrel and it seemed to make a dramatic turn. I was so disappointed. First off I really do not like oaky wines. Second it covered up the great flavors and hid the natural acidity that this grape has. Out of disgust retired the barrel and gave 8 or 9 of those cases away. I called it the Smokey B. Fast forward, the wine proved how special it was as 4 Score went on to win best of show at the State Fair with it. I still have a half dozen bottles left after 3 years and that oak has integrated well and let’s just say, I wish I had those cases back.
 
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stickman

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Did you stir the wine before getting a sample? Maybe taste a sample from the bottom of the carboy. You need to be sure you're not just tasting the wine local to the spiral.
 

Ajmassa

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For you barrel guys I got a question. I guess its barrels and any oak really.

Reading a few accounts of lots of oak essence hitting the wine right away. Does it make sense that a wine could take on an initial blast of oak, especially from a new barrel, that then need time to calm down and integrate itself into the profile. So taking a sample too early could make you think it’s overloaded when it’s actually not?
 

tradowsk

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Did you stir the wine before getting a sample? Maybe taste a sample from the bottom of the carboy. You need to be sure you're not just tasting the wine local to the spiral.
I didn't stir it. I put my wine thief down as far as I could to get a sample, but it probably only goes 6 inches below the surface of the wine so that could be the reason for the oak blast.

That's why I ask, I was wondering if this was normal or if I got some bad spirals (from my LHBS). I usually use chips in 1 gallon batches, but since this is my first 6 gallon batch I though I would go with something better.

I have to rack tomorrow anyway, so after that it should be well mixed and I can taste again and decide whether or not to put the oak back in.
 

Jbu50

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Remove them now. The oak will integrate/fade over time.

It reminds me of a wine that I made in a 30 gallon American oak barrel. @4score and I made a Barbera together and it was clear from the start it was a special wine. I put it in a second year barrel and was tasting it along the way. Then I tasted it, I think after 10 months in the barrel and it seemed to make a dramatic turn. I was so disappointed. First off I really do not like oaky wines. Second it covered up the great flavors and hid the natural acidity that this grape has. Out of disgust retired the barrel and gave 8 or 9 of those cases away. I called it the Smokey B. Fast forward, the wine proved how special it was as 4 Score went on to win best of show at the State Fair with it. I still have a half dozen bottles left after 3 years and that oak has integrated well and let’s just say, I wish I had those cases back.
Good story! Hold the course, man!
 

dmguptill

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This happened to me once when I added oak cubes to a wine kit and tasted it after about three days. I couldn't believe how strong the oak flavor was after such a short time. As it sat on the cubes longer, that taste faded considerably It actually never again tasted as strong as that initial taste. Interesting others have experienced this as well.

One other possible expansion I considered: in those first few days when the oak is fresh, it could be the extraction is much faster than the diffusion. So you get a localized oak flavor. Eventually the rate of extraction slows and diffusion catches up. Would be interesting to test this by stirring.
 

tradowsk

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I was also thinking about the different compounds that get extracted from the oak. Perhaps the initial compounds are more volatile, so they get extracted quickly but also break down quickly as well.

After my racking tomorrow I'll do another taste test and post the results here (and even if it somehow did get overoaked, @NorCal's story makes me feel better)
 

Jbu50

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So when wineries buy an inventory of new barrels and fill then, they have to pull the wine out one week later? I doubt it...
 

NorCal

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So when wineries buy an inventory of new barrels and fill then, they have to pull the wine out one week later? I doubt it...
They will make 10 barrels of a wine, of which 8 will be neutral barrels, 2 will be new and blend before they bottle. If you see notes like 20% new oak, that's what it means.
 

Ajmassa

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They will make 10 barrels of a wine, of which 8 will be neutral barrels, 2 will be new and blend before they bottle. If you see notes like 20% new oak, that's what it means.
Good info. Never knew that. Always thought there was some complicated equation factoring in it it’s a barrel’s 2nd wine or 3rd year or something/ how long 1st wine sat/and wines time in it or something.
It all makes sense now!
 

baron4406

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Just tasted my 6.6 gallon Hungarian Oak Syrah that's been in a month in a brand new barrel, and zero oak. In fact I've never "overoaked" anything with Hungarian or French oak. The worst overoaking I had was with StaVin Med+ american oak cubes. After 3 months it tasted like a campfire, I simply bottled it and a year later its a great tasting wine. NO oak flavor will be present if you bottle age long enough.
 

Johnd

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So when wineries buy an inventory of new barrels and fill then, they have to pull the wine out one week later? I doubt it...
The size of the barrel makes a huge difference, as well as the type of oak, the toast, and the wine itself. Wine stays in brand new 60 gallon barrels for much longer than a week. I have a very big wine in a 30 gallon French oak m+ toast for a year right now, not much oak is detected yet. A lighter more delicate wine could be ruined in a year.
 

tradowsk

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I did my racking this morning, but I first took a small sample of the top layer of wine near the oak where I did previously.

After racking everything was all mixed up and homogenized, so I took another sample and did a comparison: totally different! The first sample near the oak was really heavily oaky, while the mixed up sample was like normal wine. Maybe a tiny hint of oak but not anywhere close to the first sample. Thanks @stickman for the advise, looks like you were right!

Moral of the story: stir before you taste
 

mainshipfred

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Just tasted my 6.6 gallon Hungarian Oak Syrah that's been in a month in a brand new barrel, and zero oak. In fact I've never "overoaked" anything with Hungarian or French oak. The worst overoaking I had was with StaVin Med+ american oak cubes. After 3 months it tasted like a campfire, I simply bottled it and a year later its a great tasting wine. NO oak flavor will be present if you bottle age long enough.
Mine have been in the barrel since September 1. I have hints of oak but compared to the ones in glass waiting for the barrel it is much smoother already. I have Malbec in the 6.5 and Cab Sauv in the 8. The Merlot in the neutral is really nice as well. I'm beginning to think the timeframe in a smaller barrel errors on the side of caution.
 
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