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View Full Version : Here's a question: making your own oaking pieces--what variety of oak is best??



Cargirl
11-08-2006, 03:02 PM
My mother has 25 of the most beautiful acres of woods and meadows in Alabama. I'm interested in planting one or more oak trees with the future thought of--making my own oaking pieces! Our big deal in Alabama is that we have to use things we've grown ourselves in order to make wine, according to Alabama Beverage Control.

My folks have several fruit trees and blueberry bushes, and I've already got a blueberry cyser going. I think growing oak trees would be splendid! :laughing9:

Wonder what variety of oak is best for this purpose? It would help to have one that grows well in Alabama weather, which is hot and humid in the summer and cool and sometimes dry in the winter.

lostnbronx
11-08-2006, 03:46 PM
Cargirl,

Is the Alabama law written to mean that each and every ingredient, up to and including oak products, yeast, yeast nutrients, stabilizers, etc., be produced by you on your own property? That would be very strange, to say the least, and impractical for most people to the point of being impossible.

Using your own oak isn't a small undertaking. White oak varieties are used worldwide (as opposed to red oak), and cutting, curing, and toasting the wood are all arts unto themselves. You'd have to wait until the trees were mature enough to harvest, too, which means decades in most cases.

Cool idea, though!

-David

Cargirl
11-08-2006, 04:08 PM
Cargirl,

Is the Alabama law written to mean that each and every ingredient, up to and including oak products, yeast, yeast nutrients, stabilizers, etc., be produced by you on your own property? That would be very strange, to say the least, and impractical for most people to the point of being impossible.

Using your own oak isn't a small undertaking. White oak varieties are used worldwide (as opposed to red oak), and cutting, curing, and toasting the wood are all arts unto themselves. You'd have to wait until the trees were mature enough to harvest, too, which means decades in most cases.

Cool idea, though!

-David




The law reads that alcohol may be produced if you have a manufacturer's license. Once they started trying to enforce that law, they began losing because, paradoxically, the law actually prohibited--bread making!

Yep! Strictly speaking, only people with alcohol manufacturer's licenses are allowed to bake yeast breads in Alabama!

An ABC agent told me that making 5 gallons a year, using ingredients you produce yourself, and provided your efforts 'don't cause a problem', won't trigger them. I carefully explained what I wanted to do and he said he foresaw no problems from his end.

I want NO PROBLEMS AT ALL! I'll be a good girl and do exactly what they say! I do feel fortunate that I can get what I need (and even oak, if I can divine the correct variety) from my mother's acreage. She even has wild muscadines and scuppernogs, wild huckleberries, sassafras, and wild pecans, hickons (hickory-pecan mix), walnuts--all sorts of delicious and neat stuff! There is a big honey tree, too way out in the woods.

And goodness! There may be a white oak out in the woods that I can cut a big branch off of to experiment with. Just seal the cut on the tree if its big, and that should work splendidly.

lostnbronx
11-08-2006, 06:34 PM
Wow! And I thought Arizona was a home fermenter's wasteland! Alabama takes the old moldy cake on this one!

You might want to check out the homebrew forum for these guys (http://www.freethehops.org/board/viewforum.php?f=4&sid=37c60c6e5d2f8e05792763a8d5bed4cb), who are trying to get Alabama's beer restriction laws repealed.

Also, here's (http://www.alabrew.com/) a link to a homebrew shop in Birmingham: nothing beats patronizing your LHBS (except buying from Gotmead's mead making supply store, once it's up and running, of course). I also saw a phone # for a place in Mobile, called "The Wine Smith": 251-645-5554. It's probably a home based business, but whatever works.

Good luck!

-David

Oskaar
11-08-2006, 07:10 PM
Here's a teaser from an upcoming article I wrote for the IMA Home Mead Maker Newsletter:

...there are several species and sub-species of oak that are used in cooperage and oak alternatives around the world, but for those of us in the fermented hooch making world there are four Genus and species generally used for cooperage and oak aging. The species most widely in use are: the American oak, Quercus alba, and three European species, Q. robur, Q. petraea and Q. sessilis (the latter of which is arguably the most sought after oak for aging and cooperage)...

Cheers

Oskaar

Cargirl
11-08-2006, 08:12 PM
Oskaar! Is this IMA newsletter something that someone like me could subscribe to?

And thanks for the specific varieties! My mother's green thumb runs all the way to her elbow, and if anyone can make things grow, it is she. If I can locate a sapling or two (or hey, I'll work with acorns! I grow parsley from seed, so I'm game for an acorn experiment!), I'll let everyone know how it goes--or grows, as the case may be! :hello2:




Here's a teaser from an upcoming article I wrote for the IMA Home Mead Maker Newsletter:

...there are several species and sub-species of oak that are used in cooperage and oak alternatives around the world, but for those of us in the fermented hooch making world there are four Genus and species generally used for cooperage and oak aging. The species most widely in use are: the American oak, Quercus alba, and three European species, Q. robur, Q. petraea and Q. sessilis (the latter of which is arguably the most sought after oak for aging and cooperage)...

Cheers

Oskaar

Cargirl
11-08-2006, 08:25 PM
Wow! And I thought Arizona was a home fermenter's wasteland! Alabama takes the old moldy cake on this one!

...David



Thanks for the links!

Dude! This is my state crib! :boxing: Actually, we've got wonderful atmosphere for raising children (Alabama has the country's toughest high school exit exam, for example) and good family values. Plus, overall tolerance, generally speaking, overall. I love it here. :thumbsup:

Anyway! Oak! Can't wait to get started GROWING!