Oak chips

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SkyeBrewer

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Recently was at a wine tasting and I tried a delicious red wine that was aged in oak chips. So I came here to do some research. Either my search is not working correctly or there's not much info on it (unlikely). Does anyone have a link or a guide to oak aging with chips. I'm not really into the barrel idea at my level of winemaking. Thanks!!
 

WilliamSlayer

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Recently was at a wine tasting and I tried a delicious red wine that was aged in oak chips. So I came here to do some research. Either my search is not working correctly or there's not much info on it (unlikely). Does anyone have a link or a guide to oak aging with chips. I'm not really into the barrel idea at my level of winemaking. Thanks!!
Oak. For a lot of folks it really defines the wine. You are correct, there is a lot that can be said but I'll stick to a brief explanation of the three most common chips used.

French medium toast- if its red and needs oak, this is a default choice. Not because its mediocre, but because it's so good! Chocolate and caramel tones.

Hungarian medium toast- a cousin to French, it has many of the same qualities, but on my palate expresses itself as a bit more caramel.

American light toast- very different from the other two. Strong vanilla and cream tones with less 'toast' character.

These get used a lot, but there are also chips that have a "heavy toast" or a "house toast" to them. Additionally you can get oak powder, cubes, staves, spirals, and honeycombs! They all work towards the same goal, adding character, complexity, and preservatives to your wine. :)

Hope this helps!
 

SleepyCreekBrews

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I'd like to add that in case you get adventurous and try and source some yourself, you're looking for white oak, and you can toast it just fine in the oven. You should be able to get chips and things at Your LHBS though.
;)
 

pumpkinman2012

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No disrespect intended, but I wouldn't try to reinvent the wheel, why try to toast your own when you have experts in their field that do this? You risk ruining a batch of wine.
You can use oak chips, oak cubes or oak infusion spirals, I prefer the spirals, they seem to impart their oak slower, you have more control, you can pull them out when you have reached your preferred level of oak, I recommend waiting until it is just a little past your preferred oak level as the oak will dissipate a bit.
I would start with medium oak, it is the perfect balance without going crazy, I would stick with French or Hungarian, American tends to impart too much vanilla.
I've moved onto Oak barrels, there is not comparison, the wine is incredible when aged in an oak barrel!
 
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SkyeBrewer

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Anyone have a range for cost of oak barrels? Do most Home brew stores carry them? Or special order?
 

DoctorCAD

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My go-to is medium toast Hungarian oak cubes. Got mine from Southern Homebrew. One ounce during primary. Discard. One ounce during secondary. Keep those for next primary.
 

pumpkinman2012

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Skyebrewer,
Check out Vadai barrels online, they are very reasonable.
 

Jacob_Marley

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try using google instead of HBT's native search function.

google the phrase "oak chips" and on the domain line/box below that, put "homebrewtalk.com
 
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