Oak cubes for Tannin and flavor?

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CMcPherson

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I'm reading up on adding tannin for brightness and astringency.
I see that wine tannin in powdered form is what's normally used.
But can anybody talk to me about using oak cubes for tannin addition?
I've only seen vague mentions of it but nothing more specific.
 

theDREWery

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About an ounce for a 5-6 gallon batch would be a good starting point, more if you want oak flavor instead of just tannins. Most people boil or sanitize some way. Start taking small samples about a week in, and rack off when it develops just a little too much tannin profile, as it mellows with age. After about a month or two, the oak will have given up all that it has to give.

Alternatively, you can soak your oak cubes in bourbon or vodka for a month, and add some of the liquid as a flavoring. Just a little at a time, until it tastes right.
 
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CMcPherson

CMcPherson

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Thank you.
I do in fact want to add "Bourbon Barrel" oak flavor to one batch.
Would you suggest doing my tannin step first and then once that is done adding my flavored oak cubes (or flavored oak cube liquid)?
Or would doing it this way add to much tannin?
 

CvilleKevin

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I've had pretty good luck with oak chips - French oak, medium toast. They are inexpensive and have a nice flavor profile. 1oz in a 5 gallon secondary for at least a month.

I soak mine in rye for 2-3 days before adding them, just to kill any wild yeast on the chips. That seems to work pretty good. Bourbon would work just as well. It doesnt take much, just a couple of shots worth. I just drink the rye afterwards, havent tried adding it to the cider. Might try mixing some up in glass with some cider next time.

If the juice in question is the batch you got last week that is mostly pippen, you dont have to worry about adding any tannin
 
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CMcPherson

CMcPherson

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Thanks Kevin.
I just ordered a lb. of French medium toast cubes.
I was tempted to use powder or liquid but I've had very bad experiences with liquid smoke and figure that this will be the same situation.
 

Mismost

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Just bottled a batch of Grahams English Cider....that recipe uses tea bags...make a strong tea to pick up the tannins....turned out nice.

I like the oak sprials better than chips....tie a spoon on the end of a string, then tie on the sprial, drop in the carboy and hang the string out....taste every week, pull the string when it's where you like it.
 

CircleC-Brewer

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Doing my first Cider with oak cubes. I like the suggestion of using a liquor to sterilize the cubes. However, I don’t want to add any liquor flavor yo the cider. I’m thinking Vodka would work best.
 

RPh_Guy

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Sterilizing and washing are completely unnecessary. You can just drop them in.

Boiling removes a lot of the flavor/tannins, which some people say is harsh, but I suspect they're probably using too much (and trying to extract it over too short of a timeframe) and/or not allowing the tannins & polyphenols to settle before forming an opinion.

I've used Stavin medium toast French oak cubes both with and without boiling and I prefer them unboiled, even with a short contact time. YMMV depending on the product.
 
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