View Full Version : Acellerated Aging

01-28-2016, 10:21 AM
So I was watching Hillbillies makin' da shine on TV last night and they brought up an aging technique I was unfamiliar with.
They basically added their oak cubes then raised the temp to 30ish C for a day then stuffed it in the freezer for a day. Thet repeated until they achieved the flavour they were after. It was said that each cycle approximated a year of aging due to the forced sponge - like action of the temperature swings.

Has anyone ever tried this? I understand that the freezer treatment might be a little risky due to the lower ABV of mead. I am mainly curious about the flavours vs time aspect of this method.

Any input real or theoretical would be appreciated.

01-28-2016, 04:12 PM
Sorry I removed my 1st reply (after I realized we were talking about the same show, Lance and Mark and a big a** fire in the fireplace).
Sometimes I have trouble organizing my thoughts...ex-Marine with TBI

01-28-2016, 05:20 PM
My thought, if that were a viable method, wouldn't we see distilleries doing it? But we don't, that I've heard.

Personally, I've not found any acceptable substitute for time that doesn't sacrifice something else in the process.

01-28-2016, 07:10 PM
Try it as an experiment and report back to us on the results. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

01-28-2016, 07:40 PM
Yeah I have a Sack Mead on the go that I can split up and give it a go.
I had planned on adding heavy toast cubes and hoping for whiskey/ burbon-like characters in the finished product. Should be a good candidate. Just wanted to see if it had been done already.

Mazer it is my understanding that distilleries are actually using this method. Particularly smaller craft type distilleries that can't afford to wait multiple years to ship.



01-29-2016, 01:21 AM
Interesting. I guess let's see if this practice turns little distilleries into big distilleries.

01-29-2016, 07:09 PM
Seems it may cause the oaking effect to take place faster. Not sure I understand how it will age the mead faster.

01-29-2016, 07:53 PM
I find that the oak softens the mead nicely after a month or so and really integrates well after about 6 months. Just curious if this might speed things up a bit.

I think it could easily over oak a mead but it may also give a deeper oak flavour. Also the winter kids drags a bit up here so I'm looking for a bit of a project.

02-02-2016, 08:59 AM
My understanding was that distilleries using barrels were doing this. Barrels have a large amount of oak with a small surface area, where cubes have a large surface area with little mass. If cubes tend to give up all they got after a month or two, I'm just not seeing any benefit from this much work.

Maybe cubes in a keg, raised in pressure and vented over and over, might replace a few months of aging with a few days. Or an actual barrel in a temp controlled fermentation chamber.

I think the wine industry was playing with ultrasonic vibration to speed tannic reactions to simulate aging in reds.

02-02-2016, 11:35 AM
Sounds to me like what you will end up with is a nice sherry flavored mead at best. That kind of heating will most likely oxidize mead. But that's just speculation. The proof is in the doing. Who knows? It might work.

02-02-2016, 02:48 PM
A local micro distillery in my area talks about how significant daily temperature fluctuations in their storage area act to agitate the contents of their barrels enough to enable them to allow the barrels to simply sit undisturbed. Their point was that absent the rise and fall of the ambient temperature (and in their distillery it is very significant as we can have nights here at several degrees below zero (though not so far this winter) and days (this week) approaching 50...they would need to roll their barrels to ensure that the entire contents were being exposed to enough of the oak. They did not present this as accelerating the aging process but as a useful part of it, one that did not intend at this time to neutralize by heating or cooling the building

02-05-2016, 05:29 PM
Read this in Wine Business Monthly (You only need to register to have archive access)
Issue:April 2015

The article has various charts (referenced in this copied portion but not included) including "Oak Aromas", "Characteristics Flavor", etc. Also (not included here) the article provides information from trials on "oak impact on neutral barrels"

I was curious about "microoxygenation" and wondering if anyone has used a form of it after fermentation, and also found the statements in this article in regard to accelerated aging interesting and perhaps applicable to this thread.

Any issue with my copy/paste or otherwise...my apologies

Benefits of Oak Add-ins
The main reason for using forms of oak other than barrels is obviously cost,
but doing so can also speed up aging and ensure consistency. According to
Chauffour, while barrels can take years to impart the desired effect, while
mini-staves take only months, and the tannin impact is nearly instant.
In terms of cost, new barrels run $200 to $400 per hectoliter (26.4 gallons),
neutral barrels cost $40 to $100, and alternatives can cost $0.30 to $12 per
hectoliter. These alternatives can be used to boost the oak properties of
neutral barrels or as an alternative way to provide oak aromas in stainless
steel tanks; though you would need to use microoxygenation to better replicate
the effect of barrels.
Chauffour pointed out that the extractable component of oak consists of
only 5 to 10 percent of its composition. Other inert components are lignin
(25 to 30 percent), cellulose (40 to 45 percent) and hemicellulose (20 to 25
percent). The extractable portion contains aromatic compounds, ellagitannins,
other polyphenols, such as lyoniresinol, that contribute bitterness and
quercotriterpenosides that add sweetness.
However, the impact of the oak on wine depends on many characteristics,
including the origin, forest and species of oak, the age of the wood and how
itís processed (such as whether itís sawn or split), how long the pieces are
aged and how, and the type and degree of toasting.
As an example, French and American oak species differ significantly in
extractable compounds, notably the so-called Whiskey lactones that give
American oak (and Bourbon) its characteristic flavor (TABLE 1 ).

Different components in wood also deteriorate at different rates. Ellagitannins,
for example, drop linearly from 55 μg/g in 30-year-old wood to about 3
in 180-year-old wood. However, b-methyl-g-octactone actually rises from 30
to 45 years then deteriorates by half at 120 years (Moutonnet, 2012).
Different compounds contribute the flavors and aromas we associate with
wine aged in wood (TABLE 2 ).
While barrel alternatives canít contribute to the same slow addition of
oxygen that barrels can, microoxygenation will, and in a more controlled
manner. In addition, oxygen is added when the alternatives are added.
One of the most interesting aspects of using oak alternatives instead
of traditional new oak barrels is that the winemaker can choose different
flavor additions, the same way a chef can add spices. These flavors are
determined by the drying time and length and temperature of toasting the
oak chips or staves.
Enartis Vinquiry, for example, selects its oak alternative range by aromatic
profile to offer a range of consistent flavors (FIGURE 1 ).