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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Wine Making Forum > Adding Oak to Merlot
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Old 12-05-2010, 03:56 PM   #1
vanceromance
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Default Adding Oak to Merlot

I have a Merlot going in a 6 gallon carboy and 3 gallon carboy. Started it in September and it has been racked about twice now. I bought some French Oak Chips - Medium toast but I'm wondering about how to use them.

Do I boil them before adding??? How much should I add to each carboy and for how long. I don't have a scale so how much in terms of volume??

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Old 12-05-2010, 06:25 PM   #2
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Oaking is very subjective. Some people love heavy oak, some don't

Put some chips in and taste every couple of days. Take it out when it taste right to you.

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Old 12-05-2010, 09:27 PM   #3
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I would recommend letting the chips sit in a sanitizing solution for a few minutes - boiling will probably work to, I've just never done it.

I've left 4-6 oz's of medium roast oak chips in a 6g carboy of Merlot for 3+ months and the flavor was not overly strong - just about right for my liking.

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Old 12-05-2010, 11:52 PM   #4
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Thanks. About how much is 2oz?? I don't have a scale. About a handful??

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Old 12-06-2010, 05:01 AM   #5
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I throw them in a bowl and microwave them till the water boils for about 15 seconds. Then I toss the water out and toss the cubes in. Never used chips, just cubes. I like the cubes much more.

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Old 12-06-2010, 10:41 AM   #6
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Speaking of oak which is better because my LHBS has a choice of Oak Chips or Oak-a-Vin which is described as "Very high quality natural oak extract in liquid form. Natural oak extract of very high quality originating from the French limousin. Gives the same effect in a few days as storing in oak barrels for several years!"
So has enyone ever used this stuff or any other oak extract?

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Old 12-06-2010, 01:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomije87 View Post
I would recommend letting the chips sit in a sanitizing solution for a few minutes - boiling will probably work to, I've just never done it.

I've left 4-6 oz's of medium roast oak chips in a 6g carboy of Merlot for 3+ months and the flavor was not overly strong - just about right for my liking.
I wouldn't soak the chips in sanitizer- it will sanitize the oak, but it'll "lose" much of the oakiness to the sanitizer.

If the chips are fresh from the package you don't have to sanitize them at all. If you feel that you have to, you could bake them in the oven at 350 for ten minutes. I don't.

Oak is very easy to overdo- and then it takes months and months for it to age out. One ounce in 3 gallons for two-three weeks is often enough for a strong red wine. As DoctorCAD said, the best way to do it is to taste it. When it's ever so slightly over-oaked, that's when it's time to rack off of the chips. The oakiness will fade over several months, leaving it perfect.
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