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Old 08-22-2009, 07:48 AM   #1
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Default can you/how do you reuse oak chips?

I was wondering first off if you can reuse oak chips or cubes? I assume you can because barrels are used more than once. Once you are done with them in your fermenter how could you wash them (if at all) to be able to use them again? And do they lose their effectiveness with each consecutive batch? you all rock

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Old 08-22-2009, 01:39 PM   #2
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I don't reuse them. A couple of reasons- one is that they DO lose flavor. Try it and see- soak a few in a little water for a couple of days and taste the water. It should be overpoweringly oaky. Rinse, and use them again in the same way. You should get much less out of them. Not really a big deal, but it makes it hard to predict your results if it changes each time.

Secondly, I worry about contamination. I guess you could bake or otherwise sterilize them, but they are so very cheap that it's just easier to buy new ones for each batch- or buy a pound at a time and only use an ounce.

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Old 08-22-2009, 04:44 PM   #3
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true. just curious what does a barrel go through to keep it viable from batch to batch?

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Old 08-22-2009, 04:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhatchable View Post
true. just curious what does a barrel go through to keep it viable from batch to batch?
I'm no expert, but they only use barrels so many times and usually no more than 5. Also, they use a certain percentage of new/old oak barrels. Usually the wine is fermented out, then placed in the barrels to age. "New" barrels give up the flavor much more quickly. So, knowing the percentage of new barrels and the percentage of used barrels allows them to have the blend they want.
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Old 08-22-2009, 06:43 PM   #5
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thanks yooper!

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Old 08-22-2009, 09:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhatchable View Post
true. just curious what does a barrel go through to keep it viable from batch to batch?
i'm no expert either, but it depends on what it's being used for.

Keep in mind that wine is 12-16% alcohol. So contamination is not the same issue for the. Ever seen pics of people crushing wine with their feet - well they don't boil the juice afterward!! They also 'sanitize' with campden tablets.

Some brewers like Russian River don't sanitize the barrels at all for their sour beers, because they want the bugs in there.

I'm not sure what they do for oak aged beer that shouldn't be sour though. Probably campden, but other regular sanitizers could be used as long as they are 'no-rinse'.
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Old 08-23-2009, 01:13 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhatchable View Post
true. just curious what does a barrel go through to keep it viable from batch to batch?
There are several reasons to use barrels, oak flavor is only one. As the barrel is used over and over again, you do get less oak flavors. Keep in mind, the contact area in a barrel is much more than that of the oak chips/cubes, so there are different oak flavor considerations barrel users have to keep in mind. One aspect of barrel aging that has a huge flavor impact is oxidation. You will not get this in chips/cubes as long as you use a carboy.
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Old 08-25-2009, 09:04 PM   #8
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I belive they use a potassium metabisulfite rinse.

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