View Full Version : Oaking to mellow a dry bite?

06-28-2016, 04:26 PM
So, while at the brew store today, I picked up a little baggy of oak chips. Wondering if they might help to mellow out my super dry cyser type mead. The guy at the store said to boil them for an hour. What do y'all recommend? The bag says it's enough for 25 gallons but I'm only oaking about 3-4 soooo I'm not too sure how much to use either lol.

06-28-2016, 07:22 PM
Cubes are better because they impart superior flavor and are easier to measure (I use 3-4 per gallon, which can be pretty heavy but I love oak). I haven't used chips but people have said the flavor results are rather one-dimensional.

1/5 of the bag would still be too much, if those dosage instructions are to be trusted. I would add about 10% of the bag to start with. You can always add more later until you get the level of oaking you want, but you can't take oak flavor out if you accidentally add too much.

What kind of oak? American oak extracts faster but has more tannin (which is why some people boil it). Hungarian oak is smoother so there is no need to boil it. Downside is Hungarian often takes about 2x longer to do its thing. I haven't used French oak so I'm not sure how it compares.

06-29-2016, 12:19 AM
Hmm it doesn't even say. Just "oak chips"
I'm assuming it's American, since it's from a supplier in Kent, Ohio, but I guess there's no way to know ��.

Would you recommend boiling them, then?

How long would you say American Oak usually takes to leave somewhat of an impact?
Because we were thinking about using a clarifier on the mead in question, in two weeks. So I wasn't sure if that'd be enough time for the wood to do anything?

06-29-2016, 07:37 AM
A clearing agent can diminish much of the oak flavor., so clear first then oak.

Whether you should boil or not is up to you. It depends on how much you like the tannin. If you want to mellow the oak a bit, then boil for about 5 minutes or until the water turns an amber color.

American oak becomes noticeable after a few days when using cubes, but optimal extraction takes anywhere between 2 weeks to a month.

07-06-2016, 11:30 PM
Have any of you tried using Cherry Wood for aging/ mellowing a mead. I intend on using cherry wood in a Bing cherry mead. I was pondering about interesting combinations to use in a mead and I have a batch of rose, cherry, and lemon. I am going to add cherry wood in about a month, and I was wondering if anyone has tried this. I know some wines are aged in cherry, and it takes a much shorter time than oak.

07-07-2016, 09:59 AM
I don't think you will find oak will change your dry bite. If it was an alcohol bite it would round that out some. Dry bite would need more sweetness=honey/sugar/juice to change that.

07-08-2016, 09:57 AM
Oak will impart tannin which makes the dry bite even harsher. Like Squatchy said, add unfermentable sugars or honey to raise the sweetness level. Often just a little is enough to get the 'yuck dry' taste off and make it into a delicious dinner wine.