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Thread: Oaking a sweet maple wine

  1. #1

    Default Oaking a sweet maple wine

    I've got a very sweet maple wine that never quite managed to reach finishing gravity I was hoping for. After several attempts to restart fermentation over the course of a year and a half, I've given up and settled for bottling it as is... please no comments on how to get the gravity down any further, as this one is stubborn and I'm done. It started at 1.128 and is now at about 1.045 for 10.8% ABV. My family has sampled and agrees it is tasty in the right sized dose. It has a light acidity that helps balance the sweetness a bit, and a light spritz. Still, it's very dessert, and a 6 oz serving is plenty.

    Anyway, I'm planning to bottle half the batch as is, and to age 3 gallons on some oak cubes. The question is, what kind of oak, and what level of toast, and how much? Apart from the fact that I think some nice vanilla tones will go well with the flavors of the maple, I'm hoping that some oak tannins might also help to add a little astringency and buffer the sweetness a tad more. Anyone with some experience oaking a sweet mead is welcome to chime in here-- French or American oak? Medium or heavy toast? Your input is most appreciated. Any other advice on how to temper a sweet batch like this is also welcome-- I may try to use some of this for blending, for instance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Ithaca, NY


    I'll put a vote in for Med+ American oak, an ounce or two of cubes.
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  3. #3


    I recently used 2oz medium American oak cubes in a 5gal batch of Porter. I put them in secondary for 2 weeks, and the flavor was a little overpowering for me. The beer already had a lot of flavor on its own, too.

    So what I'm trying to say is that I'd start with 1 oz for two weeks and then add more to taste after that. But I don't have any experience oaking mead yet, and everyone's tastes are different. That's just how I plan to approach it when I get there.

    On the other hand, oak flavor ages out a little bit. So if you overdo it, just wait a while and it should be fine.

  4. Default

    The heavier toasted oak (particularly French) adds flavors that accentuate the sweetness - very nice in many situations, but not what you want here.

    I recommend the lightest toast that you can get.

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