Reusing oak chips in a different primary

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Meadini

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Hello forum!
I just finished a kit that had grape skins and oak chips that I put in a bag together during primary. I’m expecting a juice pail tomorrow. Can I reuse this mess in a new bag for a second ferment? Separating the chips from the skins doesnt really look reasonable at this point. Will the used oak chips produce off flavors since they’ve already been used once? The original ferment was finished in six days. Also, should I put in more, fresher chips?
 

sour_grapes

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Yes, you can reuse the "mess"; it may help a bit, but probably not a great deal. The old chips won't cause any problems. At worst, they will be neutral and contribute nothing -- nothing positive, nothing negative. If you reuse this stuff, the yeast you used in the first batch will likely take over the second batch. (I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing in your book.)

You can certainly use fresh chips for more oak. No problem there.
 

Meadini

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Thanks @sour_grapes for that input, and @cmason1957 for the agreement. I respect your opinions as I’ve read many of your posts/responses. Since the results could be negligible, I might just think outside the box and do a lb of blueberries, a vanilla bean and fresh chips in primary since this is a CS bucket. I don’t want to end up with a light-bodied wine. As to the yeast, I was gonna do BM4x4(different than the original strain)but I’ve read it doesn’t play well with MLF, so I need to do a bit more research.
 

BernardSmith

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Depending on how long those chips were in use for the first wine , you might find that they have given just about up all their flavor notes and what you get is a pretty insipid bang for that buck.
 

Meadini

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Thanks @BernardSmith for the response. This is how I felt at first too. Then I started reading posts of others doing this, and I decided to get the opinions of others with more knowledge and experience than myself.
 

winemaker81

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Last October I used 1 lb shredded fermentation oak per 144 lbs grapes, which is roughly 1/2 lb per carboy. When making a 2nd run wine from the pomace, the benefit achieved in the 2nd run was significantly less but noticeable. This was expected, as the oak benefit is a finite resource.

The amount of fermentation oak in kits is probably a lesser ratio than what I used, at least my recollection is that. IME you may get some benefit from re-using the bag, but as @sour_grapes mentioned, it will be less. However, I agree that it won't cause any harm and it's a worthwhile experiment. I also agree that unless the new wine is well into fermentation, the original yeast will probably be dominant. This probably isn't a real problem, just something to be aware of.

However, the transferred must/chips should be fresh. If it sits for any length of time, I'd worry about mold growing. You can freeze it in between uses, and I'd not re-use it more than once.

I've become a believer in fermentation oak for reds. It helps with complexity and color stabilization. Adding fresh chips is a good idea.
 

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