View Full Version : Wood

04-01-2011, 09:55 PM
Are there any other types of wood that can be used in mead, or is it just oak? If it's just oak, why? Are other types of wood toxic?

04-01-2011, 10:02 PM
There are many good treads on this topic. Seems golddigger was going to use some different woods. I'm not sure how that turned out.

Medsen has some great post in a tread called "Got wood?", I think.

Seems some woods can be toxic.

04-01-2011, 11:38 PM
I've tried wood, got wood, medsen fey+wood, cedar, maple, and a few other searches I can't remember, and the closest I got was one thread on a beer barrel in Africa made from ironwood. Most of those searches were tried before you replied, possibly is the thread you are talking about specifically in a patrons only board?

04-01-2011, 11:45 PM
Try "giving mead wood" and "a new wood for barrel aging"

04-02-2011, 12:09 AM
Sorry, I don't have any information for you. Just wanted to state that the "Got Wood" thread is in the patrons section, unfortunately.

04-02-2011, 01:45 AM
I don't remember where, but I posted a table of toxic woods recently. Try searching for wood with Golddiggie as the author. I think that's where it ended up.

04-02-2011, 01:47 AM
I still might give my mead some WOOD... Just haven't gotten around to toasting the black cherry I have on hand... Hmmmm, got wood in hand?? ;D

I'm also thinking about using some medium toast Hungarian oak cubes in some of the mead still in process. Waiting to see what the cubes give a wee heavy before I put them into my mead...

I will say that putting medium toast oak chips into my old ale was a great thing to do. It sat on them for 5.5 weeks and gave a LOT to the brew. Not a ton of oak flavor/character, but enough to get where I wanted... I only used 3/4 ounce, which was treated with boiled water (poured over the wood while still uber hot) then allowed too cool before pouring everything into the brew...

The only thing really holding me back from doing the black cherry addition is not having the tools online to properly cut the wood into cubes and then toast it up. Since I plan on moving within the next 4-6 months, I'm putting some projects on hold. With mead aging as long as it does, I still have time to do some wood spear-mentation... IF I don't get to use the different wood in any of my current batches, I'll be sure to use it in some of the next.

Oh, and the tag line for my old ale, which is aptly named "Dirty Old Man", is "Oak aged 'Grandpa's got WOOD!"

Yeah, Yogi provided the wood tables for use to chew on... Luckily, black cherry wasn't in the 'bad' section of the list (don't think it was even on there)... I've used it in smoking/bbq, so I know the smoke is safe (I've had enough lung-fulls, plus been covered in enough of it)... Sugar maple is another one I have on hand, and is an option...

Now that I think about it, I need to contact my wood source to see if I can just get some good cubes, or chips from them... Probably should wait until I'm working again though... Luckily, that could be in about a week (short contract, but it's income)...

04-02-2011, 06:48 AM
From memory, last time I was looking into this, it would seem that there was a couple of reasons for Oak being the traditional wood for ageing, barrels, etc etc.

Yes, some woods are indeed toxic, though it seems that it depends on many factors.

As for Oak ? Well it was the wood of choice, as it was freely available and abundant in UK/Europe. It was long lasting, didn't rot, plus oak obtained from tree's grown in cooler climate areas was often very close grained and less prone to leaking/seepage etc (think Hungarian Oak and French Oak from the Limousin area).

Plus, when toasted, it was capable of imparting good flavours to distilled spirits, from the tannins, vanillins, etc etc.

Yes, other woods have also been used, but often only for specific beverages made in the areas that the wood was abundant i.e. chestnut etc.

Hence it seems that Oak became the wood of choice/tradition.

Don't forget, lots of this kind of stuff was learned about and sorted out long before the US was settled. Though once it was, "they" then used some of the indiginous oaks found there, but that they often imparted a different flavour and in differing quantities compared to the European equivalents. Though that's not necessarily a bad thing.

If you think about it, you're unlikely to find a French vineyard or chateau that makes cognacs or armagnacs, having even so much as a match stick of American Oak. Traditions for making beverages to a specific area and/or flavour are very strong and don't change quickly.



p.s. Oh and don't forget, especially in France and UK, Oaks were planted specifically for use in sail powered warship building. The use in cooperage would have been secondary......

Medsen Fey
04-02-2011, 03:32 PM
If you search "other wood" using the parenthesis you'll find a few threads. Some may be Patron's threads, and all I can say is that for $25 you won't find better mead making info anywhere on the planet.

04-02-2011, 08:50 PM
I don't remember where, but I posted a table of toxic woods recently. Try searching for wood with Golddiggie as the author. I think that's where it ended up.

I think it's on the "giving mead wood" thread.

04-02-2011, 10:38 PM
Had to go to work, but I found the tables now! I only saw the first broken links the first time through when I first posted, went through slower this time since I wasn't on a time crunch and found the fixed links.