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Old 12-05-2007, 01:36 AM   #1
MikeRLynch
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Default Oak Aged Mead - Tastes like Bourbon!

Has anyone used oak chips in a mead? I have a semi sweet, 10% mead that I added some oak chips to, and left for about a week. I'm starting to regret that decision though, and now it tastes like straight bourbon without the alcohol burn. Interesting to say the least, but not quite what I was looking for. I bottled it with the hopes the oak will decrease over time. (the mead is relatively young at a few months)

What about you guys? How is oak working for you? I'd like to try to use it more, it adds something really interesting and I'd like to see what it does for beers as well. Thoughts?

mike

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Old 12-05-2007, 01:38 AM   #2
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I have had "commercially made" bourbon barrel mead called Nau-t-gal. It's a Chicago product. I thought it was amazing. What was your recipe? Any chance you could arrange for me to sneak a taste? I've very seriously been wanting to do this myself, but don't have much mead experience, nor have I had more than the one. Maybe we could arrange a beer-for-mead swap?

Anyway, yes the first bottle I had (2006) was very bourbon-y. I think it aged for like 6 months. The second bottle (2007) was aged for a considerably shorter time, didn't have nearly the same amount of bourbon profile and, IMHO, was not nearly as good.

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Old 12-05-2007, 01:48 AM   #3
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well for bourbon lovers this is your stuff The recipe was as simple as can be, just 10 lbs honey to 3 gal water with lalvin k1-v yeast. I let it ferment out and clear, then I took one gallon off and put one ounce of medium toast oak chips in for one week. We'll see how the mead and the oak get along in the bottle during the aging process. This mead would need another six months at least for aging without the oak. Now I'm thinking it might need more.

As for a swap, I'd love to try that! I'm new at the shipping thing, and might need some tips. I apparently missed out on the holiday swap here, but i'd like to try what other mead makers and brewers are doing out there.

mike

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Old 12-07-2007, 06:34 AM   #4
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Sorry, I let this thread drop for awhile, then tonight I was thinking, "damn, some bourbon-aged beer or mead would be good right now..." Then I remembered this thread, so here I am. Sorry I missed your response until now.

I have no problem waiting 6 months for something to finish. On the other hand, I believe I'm embarking on a period of unparalleled brewing. As a result, I should have many interesting brews in the next 3 months or so.

I definitely want to swap though.


So... what was the OG and FG of the mead? How long did it take to ferment and clear?

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Old 12-07-2007, 06:39 AM   #5
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Sorry, but I dont want to start a new thread but can you age beer with the Jack Daniels oak chips I use for Smoking?

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Old 12-07-2007, 06:41 AM   #6
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Jack daniels uses maple for the charcoal filtering, they use oak for the barrels.

And yes, you can use those to age. I would think you'd need to disinfect them (perhaps by charring them in the oven), but they should work.

You can also buy basically the same thing (cut/ground/trimmed into more exacting shapes) at the LHBS for considerably more coin. The advantage is greater predictability of surface area. The disadvantage is more cost. Draw the line where you will.

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Old 12-07-2007, 11:26 AM   #7
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As far as sanitiation is concerned, I soaked my chips for an hour in a solution of Campden tablets. Campden is used primarily for wine making, it essentially kills off the baddies in a must before your add yeast to it. The benifit is that its something you can add directly to your wine or mead, without fear of off flavors. Some people will make a must (wort to brewers) and add the prescribed amount of campden to it and leave it for 24 hours, before they add their yeast. Campden is known to kill yeast if added during fermentation. Soaked my chips and added them to the secondary.

OG for this batch was 1.09 and it fermented to 1.015 (fairly sweet). Made August 11th, racked to secondary August 25th, racked to tertiary September 23rd, added Oak chips November 25th, bottled December 2nd. I'd say it still needs six more months to mature enough to drink.

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Old 07-03-2009, 05:54 PM   #8
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any update?

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Old 07-08-2009, 01:25 PM   #9
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lol, I drank it

Actually, the last bottle was (of course) the best. It was almost a year old when I opened it, and the bourbon mellowed considerably, allowing the vanilla to come through.

I've learned since then that oak chips are a little one dimensional in their flavor, and oak cubes lend more mouthfeel and depth. Also, American oak is very bourbon-like, even commercial wines I've had with American have that same whiskey flavor. French oak however, lends a much softer (and I think more pleasant) flavor. I've got a mead cooking up right now, and I'll be oaking some in French cubes once it's done.

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Old 07-11-2009, 04:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeRLynch View Post
lol, I drank it

Actually, the last bottle was (of course) the best. It was almost a year old when I opened it, and the bourbon mellowed considerably, allowing the vanilla to come through.

I've learned since then that oak chips are a little one dimensional in their flavor, and oak cubes lend more mouthfeel and depth. Also, American oak is very bourbon-like, even commercial wines I've had with American have that same whiskey flavor. French oak however, lends a much softer (and I think more pleasant) flavor. I've got a mead cooking up right now, and I'll be oaking some in French cubes once it's done.

Cool, I may have to oak this pyment I just made with some medium toast french oak. Thanks!
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