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amstaffer 12-05-2008 09:31 PM

adding oak chips to wine
 
I have added french oak chips to wine approx. 1oz to 5gall. The wine is approx. 70% cab. sauv. and 30% merlot made from grapes. I have added the oak chips this past week, the wine has finished its second ferm. and been tranferred to new demi-johns. My question is how long can/should I leave the oak chips in? Any experiences out there with over oaking?
Thanks
Rookie

Yooper 12-05-2008 11:09 PM

American oak chips are pretty aggressive, so it would be easy to over oak if you used American oak. The only solution I have is to taste it weekly. When it's just slightly over oaked, then rack it off of the cubes and then let it age out. It should age into a perfectly oaked flavor, since oak taste lessens a bit wtih age.

Tusch 12-06-2008 02:38 AM

Besides the fact that she appears to have missed that you are using french oak, Yooper is spot on.

KENfromMI 12-06-2008 12:47 PM

AMSTAFFER, this is where your wine theif becomes your friend, I have experiemented with boiling the chips first (like the ec kraus website recommends) Steaming them instead of boiling (guy at the home brew store recommended) etc with different results. I found with boiling them you can leave them in longer then steaming. Also the 1oz of course will be pretty light, I usually use 2oz per topped off 5 gallon carboy unless I'm doing a Pinot then I will use 1oz. Just be careful when you taste it if any chips are still at the surface you will get a stronger oak flavor as it seems to condense in the neck of the carboy. How did you prepare the chips before adding? If you put them in dry I cant help you as I have read you will get some pretty harsh tannins from dry chips as opposed to boiling or steaming, good luck and taste each week, Ken

Yooper 12-06-2008 01:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tusch (Post 993885)
Besides the fact that she appears to have missed that you are using french oak, Yooper is spot on.

Oh, Duh! Well, I'm cute, but nobody ever said I was particularly bright!

French oak is more "gentle" and it is smoother, but still can be overoaked, and then take years to age out!

The consensus, though, is to taste weekly. Not a real scientific way, I guess, but winemaking is more of an art than a science in many ways anyway.

amstaffer 12-06-2008 06:02 PM

Thanks for your input, I'll be tasting weekly. I boiled the chips and put them in cheese cloth, they are hanging in through the rubber airlock.
Thanks again.


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