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SandorClegane
06-08-2012, 10:44 AM
So, I ordered some medium toast American oak chips.

I've read some suggestions to boil the chips, dry them, then add them after racking to the carboy for secondary fermentation.

I've also received suggestion not to do this, but instead to simply re-toast the chips on a cookie sheet in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, allow to cool, then add to the carboy.

What are you guys' thoughts on either of these suggestions, and/or any other suggestions you may have?

SandorClegane
06-08-2012, 11:06 AM
Bump*
????

Soyala_Amaya
06-08-2012, 11:31 AM
So...you waited 15 minutes to bump your own thread? Relax man, sometimes there are people on the board, sometimes not. Somedays I'll get over a 100 missed updates if I'm not on all day long, sometimes it's 20. People's schedules change.

Anyway, as to your question, I wouldn't 're-toast' your oak, which isn't even what you'd be doing. You need a good fire and char to toast oak, not an oven. Even then, if you try to toast it yourself, it wouldn't be medium toast anymore, would it? What I think the attempt there is to bake off any germs or dust. Same with the boiling.

Rinse it off with some boiled water, or some sulphite water then drop it in. However, oak is usually a final ingredient just before bulk aging, not immediately into secondary. You REALLY want to know what flavors your oak is affecting and how long you want it in there, or else you either don't have enough oak for what you're looking for, or are going to drink matchsticks.

Robusto
06-08-2012, 11:39 AM
You will probably receive a bunch of different answers to this, but seeing how no one else has chimed in yet, I’ll give you my slightly educated view based on the research that I have done. Most folks say stay away from chips and use oak beans (cubes) because the higher surface area of the chips will “oak” the mead much faster and makes it easier to “over-oak”. Some also say that the chips will give a less complex flavor profile- I don’t know how true this is. As far as re-toasting; I personally just buy the cubes in the toast that I want. The way I see it if I’m paying for toasted cubes, I don’t want to do the work over again. If I’m going to do the work, I’ll just take a piece of oak and toast it and save myself a couple of bucks. I don’t boil or sanitize my cubes, I usually do give them a soak in a booze that matches the flavor profile that I’m looking for- aka bourbon for Cysers- but that ‘s just me. Lots of people just throw them right in. I always wait until the mead is finished fermenting to oak, but some people think that adding oak to the primary helps to “blow off” some of the undesirable flavors that can take a while to mellow. I know that this is probably not the answer that you are looking for, but I think that the best thing to do is pick a technique and run with it, take good, careful notes, monitor closely, and adjust as needed.

Edit- Soyala sneaked it while I was replying...

wayneb
06-08-2012, 11:55 AM
I concur with Robusto's recommendation - use oak cubes (sometimes called beans) instead of chips if you can. Controlling the amount of oak constituents added by the chips can be difficult without resorting to continual, regular, tasting. While that in and of itself isn't necessarily a bad thing ;D if you're opening your aging vessel every day to take tastes for the right amount of oak presence, pretty soon you don't have much mead left to bottle! :(

I have used both the chips and cubes (and staves, and an oak barrel) at various times, and I do believe that the flavor profile from cubes is much more like the oak derived from barrel aging than that provided by chips. YMMV, but I use cubes over chips virtually every time.

SandorClegane
06-08-2012, 01:56 PM
Thanks folks.
Food for thought.

Since I already ordered the chips, I'm probably going to use them, rather than buying cubes. But next go I'll try cubes and compare.

I guess I like the idea of rinsing them in vodka. I'll probably do that.

Matrix4b
06-08-2012, 04:59 PM
Thanks folks.
Food for thought.

Since I already ordered the chips, I'm probably going to use them, rather than buying cubes. But next go I'll try cubes and compare.

I guess I like the idea of rinsing them in vodka. I'll probably do that.

Saw the post over at homebrewtalk.com and replied a bit there.

No extra sanitization of the oak is needed or more toasting/heading or burning. Rinse dust off and go. That's the beauty of it.

One of these days I am going to do a test of chips, cubes, and staves for oaking. A side by side test of my standard show mead recipie and even split it up into a few different time in the carboy dervations. I did an oak vs no oak and it turned out very difinitive: Oak the mead! Oaking is Good.

Good luck with the oaking.

Matrix
(for cost issues, and ease of removal, I use chips but haven't used cubes yet)

hepcat
06-08-2012, 05:09 PM
Saw the post over at homebrewtalk.com and replied a bit there.

No extra sanitization of the oak is needed or more toasting/heading or burning. Rinse dust off and go. That's the beauty of it.

One of these days I am going to do a test of chips, cubes, and staves for oaking. A side by side test of my standard show mead recipie and even split it up into a few different time in the carboy dervations. I did an oak vs no oak and it turned out very difinitive: Oak the mead! Oaking is Good.

Good luck with the oaking.

Matrix
(for cost issues, and ease of removal, I use chips but haven't used cubes yet)

Yes oak the mead indeed, lol. I am using oak chips too, American Light Toast Oak chips in two gallons (a melomel and a metheglin) and French oak chips in two other gallons (also a melomel and metheglin) for the first time. I have kept the mead on the oak for various lengths of time and am quite pleased with the results so far in two of the gallons. The other two gallons are still on the oak. Going to let them soak a little while longer but am sampling it every couple weeks.
I think I def prefer French Oak to American, although I've only used Light Toast American. Def plan to use oak alot going forward in mead I make.