Sacrificial Oak during Fermentation

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

Bmd2k1

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2021
Messages
891
Reaction score
656
for a 6gal batch of vino -- wondering what the sweet spot range is for the amount of oak to use during fermentation?

Does the type and toast level of this sacrificial oak really matter much?

Most kits seem to include between 30-45g of chips.

Cheers!
 
IMO the kit vendors put in the least amount of fermentation oak they can get away with. They are in it for the profit (which is every company in every industry), so they're going to put in the minimum to reduce cost and price to be competitive.

I reviewed my notes from the last 4 years. Due to inconsistent measurement styles, I can't give you an exact answer, but I'll estimate from my notes. I buy shredded toasted oak in 1 lb bags. The label says to use 2 to 3 cups for 6 gallons of wine, and I used the entire package (4-1/4 cups) in 144 lbs of grapes, which produced 9 to 10 gallons of finished wine.

The oak vendor says to use 8 to 12 oz in 6 gallons of wine. Doing the math, that's just a bit more than the 1 to 1.5 oz included in kits.

My recommendation is to use 8 oz oak in a 23 liter kit. Larger packages are generally cheaper per unit, and if kept dry, your grandchildren will be able to use oak you buy today.

Type? Based upon inference, shredded oak is more efficient than chips. There is a lot more surface area, which increases interaction with the wine during the rather short fermentation cycle. IMO using cubes, staves, or spirals is a waste of money for fermentation.

In the past I tried light toast oak, and my results were not impressive. I suggest going with medium or medium-plus toast.

A short test in 2020 indicated to me that the type of oak for fermentation doesn't matter. I am now using American as it's cheaper in the USA. Aging oak is different -- I personally prefer Hungarian for most wines.
 
IMO the kit vendors put in the least amount of fermentation oak they can get away with. They are in it for the profit (which is every company in every industry), so they're going to put in the minimum to reduce cost and price to be competitive.

I reviewed my notes from the last 4 years. Due to inconsistent measurement styles, I can't give you an exact answer, but I'll estimate from my notes. I buy shredded toasted oak in 1 lb bags. The label says to use 2 to 3 cups for 6 gallons of wine, and I used the entire package (4-1/4 cups) in 144 lbs of grapes, which produced 9 to 10 gallons of finished wine.

The oak vendor says to use 8 to 12 oz in 6 gallons of wine. Doing the math, that's just a bit more than the 1 to 1.5 oz included in kits.

My recommendation is to use 8 oz oak in a 23 liter kit. Larger packages are generally cheaper per unit, and if kept dry, your grandchildren will be able to use oak you buy today.

Type? Based upon inference, shredded oak is more efficient than chips. There is a lot more surface area, which increases interaction with the wine during the rather short fermentation cycle. IMO using cubes, staves, or spirals is a waste of money for fermentation.

In the past I tried light toast oak, and my results were not impressive. I suggest going with medium or medium-plus toast.

A short test in 2020 indicated to me that the type of oak for fermentation doesn't matter. I am now using American as it's cheaper in the USA. Aging oak is different -- I personally prefer Hungarian for most wines.
I was looking into FT Rouge tannin powder to act as a sacrificial tannin in conjunction with Lallzyme EX and saw this message

Important!: If being used in conjunction with one another, tannins should be added 6-8 hours after the addition of the enzymes or you run the risk of having the tannins reacting with and removing the enzymes before they have had a chance to do their job!.

Is this a known thing that you run a risk by adding tannin and enzymes together? I’m not sure what 6-8 hours is going to do given that the enzymes recommend a couple days minimum to complete their job. My intuition tells me that it makes more sense to add the tannin at first during the bulk of fermentation and then add the enzymes 2-3 days before the end of fermentation and you would get the best of both worlds.
 
Is this a known thing that you run a risk by adding tannin and enzymes together?
I have no experience with it, but if the vendor gives you a warning, it's best to believe it. A smart vendor will be conservative, to avoid consumer problems (and lawsuits).

My guess is that enzyme activity is not a continuous, homogeneous thing. Some effects will occur immediately while others take longer. Trusting your intuition over Scott Lab's practical testing is a bad idea.
 
My guess it that tannins will increase activation energy necessary to lyse the pectins and cellulose in the fruit and other proteins. The whole point of enzymes is to lower the activation energy necessary to perform a process that would happen anyway but is too slow for it to be useful. Tannin or anything added to the must will create more useless surfaces for the enzyme to encounter through its motion in the liquid and hinder the process.
 
I've been adding my sacrificial tannins up front, along with the pectic enzyme. I think I'll change that, and add the tannins after the initial 24 hours on PE.
 
I was looking into FT Rouge tannin powder to act as a sacrificial tannin in conjunction with Lallzyme EX and saw this message

Important!: If being used in conjunction with one another, tannins should be added 6-8 hours after the addition of the enzymes or you run the risk of having the tannins reacting with and removing the enzymes before they have had a chance to do their job!.

Is this a known thing that you run a risk by adding tannin and enzymes together? I’m not sure what 6-8 hours is going to do given that the enzymes recommend a couple days minimum to complete their job. My intuition tells me that it makes more sense to add the tannin at first during the bulk of fermentation and then add the enzymes 2-3 days before the end of fermentation and you would get the best of both worlds.
The logic is that tannin as a chemical class binds with protein. Enzymes are proteins therefore if you added them at the same time the new free protein (enzyme) quickly binds with the new free polyphenol. Enzymes are neat in that a little does a lot of work, the protein can diffuse from one substrate to another and then another. I like your logic if the tannin has been in the system it should be occupied. A guess though is that Lallezyme EX is sold to increase extraction/ break down the plant cells which is an immediate concern for fresh fruit then the yeast are starting to build up their population.
 
IMO the kit vendors put in the least amount of fermentation oak they can get away with. They are in it for the profit (which is every company in every industry), so they're going to put in the minimum to reduce cost and price to be competitive.

I reviewed my notes from the last 4 years. Due to inconsistent measurement styles, I can't give you an exact answer, but I'll estimate from my notes. I buy shredded toasted oak in 1 lb bags. The label says to use 2 to 3 cups for 6 gallons of wine, and I used the entire package (4-1/4 cups) in 144 lbs of grapes, which produced 9 to 10 gallons of finished wine.

The oak vendor says to use 8 to 12 oz in 6 gallons of wine. Doing the math, that's just a bit more than the 1 to 1.5 oz included in kits.

My recommendation is to use 8 oz oak in a 23 liter kit. Larger packages are generally cheaper per unit, and if kept dry, your grandchildren will be able to use oak you buy today.

Type? Based upon inference, shredded oak is more efficient than chips. There is a lot more surface area, which increases interaction with the wine during the rather short fermentation cycle. IMO using cubes, staves, or spirals is a waste of money for fermentation.

In the past I tried light toast oak, and my results were not impressive. I suggest going with medium or medium-plus toast.

A short test in 2020 indicated to me that the type of oak for fermentation doesn't matter. I am now using American as it's cheaper in the USA. Aging oak is different -- I personally prefer Hungarian for most wines.
Yeah 8oz is Lots more than I've every added during fermentation. Do you tend to add more for reds vs whites -- or same amount?

Cheers!
 
Yeah 8oz is Lots more than I've every added during fermentation. Do you tend to add more for reds vs whites -- or same amount?
I haven't added fermentation to a white unless the kit included it, and of the 2 fresh juice/grape whites I've made in recent years, I didn't add any.

This year I have five fermenters each containing 4 lugs (144 lbs) red grape, and I added 2 cups oak chips to each. I also reduced the amount of Color Pro to the minimum recommended amount. The reason for both changes is that in the last couple of years I've pulled too much pigment from the grapes, so I'm getting a stain on glass.

I didn't add any to the Vidal (white), but in hindsight I'd add 1 cup oak chips to a batch.

I'll know more after this year's wine has bulk aged 3-6 months. This year's reduction is an experiment.
 
My measurement of how much sacrificial Tannins I use is less precise than Bryan's. I add one or two handfuls of oak chips prior to adding the yeast. If the grapes are somewhat lacking in tannins I add more or less based on how I feel about it at the time.
Craig, I read the packages and make this stuff up as a I go. 🤣

I'm trying to measure more consistently to help me make better informed decisions in the future, but every batch is different so we need to consider that. Craig's decisions from the gut feel are pretty much what I do. The only difference is that I measure in cups and he measures in handfuls.

Most people are looking for a starting point, and hopefully we've provided that.
 
So I saw this thread and it hit me. I forgot to add oak chips when I started fermenting my Cab and Sangiovese grapes. I did add opti-red and lallzymeEX. I just added some fermaid O because I’m about1/3 through fermentation. Should I go ahead and add them now? Any thoughts?
 
So I saw this thread and it hit me. I forgot to add oak chips when I started fermenting my Cab and Sangiovese grapes. I did add opti-red and lallzymeEX. I just added some fermaid O because I’m about1/3 through fermentation. Should I go ahead and add them now? Any thoughts?
It absolutely won’t hurt, not sure if the time window for effectiveness is past. I would do it.
 
Back
Top