Oaking Malkore's Orange Mead

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M4rotku

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Hey guys,

This is my first post on here, though I have been stalking the forum from the shadows for some time now. I think it really speaks to the quality of the conversation on this forum that I have been going here for answers to my brewing questions for months and these are the first questions to which I haven't been able to find a pre-made answer. :mug: The fact that i have not done so is really more to the uniqueness and precision of my questions.

I have been making cider for a few months now and I want to branch out into mead. At the same time, I have been very curious about oaking. I want to make 2 gallons of Malkore's recipe and then separate them into 1 gallon jugs for aging and oak one of them during the aging process. The non-oak gallon will allow me to discern the flavor added by the oak and act as a backup in case I really botch it. During my planning phase, I have come up with the following questions:

1) Which type of oak should I use?
(I know that this type of question is very subjective, so I will add that the main thing I am looking for from the oak is some depth and a vanilla and caramel flavor. I so far have been thinking to use Hungarian oak with a medium to medium+ toast, but I've read so many different things describing the types of oak differently that I am not very confident in my choice.)

2) How many cubes should I add to the one gallon?
(I was thinking around 10-15)

3) Should I back-sweeten first with some more honey?
(I have been reading that oak works better for sweeter meads and I know that one of the modifications of Malkore's recipe was to make the JAOM less sweet.)

4) How long should I oak it?
(So far I was planning on oaking it for 1 month and then tasting it every week after that.)



Any answers to these questions or general advice with mead and oak would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all in advance. :ban:

Many thanks,
M4rotku
 
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M4rotku

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An added note: While I want the oak to bring out a flavor of vanilla and hopefully some caramel, I want to avoid any coffee flavor if at all possible. I really don't like coffee. It can, however, impart a campfire-like flavor. I don't know if any of the types of oak have less of a coffee flavor. I was favoring Hungarian because of the pronounced vanilla flavor, but now I am not as sure.
 
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try say 10 cubes for a month, and taste. if needs a little longer then start tasting ever 4 days, .
i like to add a vanilla pod in prior to oaking as it seems to not take as well after oaking.
remember you can add oak, not take it away.
go for medium toasted oak
 
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M4rotku

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Thanks for the timing advice and the vanilla pod idea. I very well may add a pod to get more vanilla flavor instead of just relying on the oak. Any advice as to which kind of oak to use? I'm almost leaning towards American, if that would have the least coffee-like flavor.
 

MarshmallowBlue

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I think as long as you stay away from Heavy/ dark toasted beans/cubes/chips, you should avoid most of the roasty coffee toffee flavors. Medium toast usually has the most vanillin if I recall correctly. And on top of that I think Hungarian and Americans have higher levels than french? Can't remember exactly. but medium toast is where you want to be at.
 
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M4rotku

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Thanks for the information! I am a lot less worried now and I think I'll go with Hungarian after all.
 
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