Originally Posted by songe
Soo. I have 3 Gals of plain mead clearifying and aging in secondary fermenter right now... and was thinking of how fun it would be to oak age 1 gallon of it.
My question is. For how long do i put it on oak for?
This is going to sound like a smart alec answer, but "as long as it takes" is the best answer.
I don't mean it to be snarky at all. It's just that it depends on if you're using cubes or chips; American vs Hungarian or French oak; the toast of the oak; the amount of tannin already in the mead; the acid balance; and probably more.
What I do is rack the wine/mead/beer onto the oak (usually 1 ounce or so per 3 gallons) and wait about two weeks and them take a tiny sample for a taste. If it's not quite enough, I go another week.
The goal is to go just a wee bit too much. That's because the oak will age out rather well, and rather quickly, as long as it is just a tiny bit too much.
I like to use medium French toast for lighter wines like pinot noir, but American oak for a more bold oak flavor.
The light oak toasts provide more vanilla notes, while the darker toasts give more tannins, so you may want to go with a light toast for a hint of vanilla/oak for the mead.