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Thread: Got Wood?

  1. #1

    Default Got Wood?

    Hey guys, what woods are safe for aging on? I know that oak and maple are safe, but what about fruit woods, or pecan, or walnut? Anyone use anything other than the standard oaks?

    Thanks

  2. #2

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    Italian Chestnut, Palo Santo, Cedar are safe. The Finns made brewing tanks out of Juniper and Genesse (a very long time ago) used Cypress Wood.

  3. #3
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    There's a tread that goes into some detail about this. Try the search engine. Some links too.

    I know you can apple wood.
    “Give a man a beer, waste an hour. Teach a man to brew, and waste a lifetime!”

    slàinte mhath

  4. #4
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    In general, I'd assume that any wood you can use in a bbq/smoker is fine for mead too. A lot of the fruit woods would fall into that category.
    Want to see something added to the GotMead Glossary? PM me! Didn't know we had a glossary? Check the top row of links.

  5. #5

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    Just remember that the wood that gets used is Kilned and toasted, not something that just gets picked up off the ground. I'm sure this helps insure that nothing that shouldn't be in the mead is eliminated.

    I've only seen Oak at the LHBS so that is what I feel safe with, but I saw someone mentioned Cedar and if you go that route be careful because a lot of cedar (like the ones sold at Home Improvement Stores) are treated to make them last longer in all weather conditions.

  6. #6
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    I'll have to look this up when I get home but I met a guy at Northern Brewer who has a lot of info on his beer blog including a large amount of info on toasting yr own wood.
    Go On, Take The Honey and Run

  7. #7

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    I'll have to look this up when I get home but I met a guy at Northern Brewer who has a lot of info on his beer blog including a large amount of info on toasting yr own wood.
    Cool! thanks Wolfie

  8. #8
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    Before experimenting with different wood, I'd highly recommend doing research into wood toxicity. I said it before in another thread from awhile ago found here, and I'll say it again; it can be very dangerous for people with severe allergies to specific plants to ingest the wood from those plants.

    It can also be hard to determine whether you are allergic or not until you get exposed. And at that point, there could be some serious reactions. Try sanding a bit of whatever you end up wanting to use, and rub it on a small patch of skin. If you have a reaction, don't use the wood. The only issue is that even if you aren't allergic, those who you share the mead with may well be.

    This website has some good info about commonly toxic wood and would be a good starting place, IMO. There is also a PDF in that first link I posted with some good info on toxicity, though it is a bit less user friendly to read.

    On a final note, we've used oak for so long because it is easy to work with, holds liquid well, is low in toxic tannins, and adds a nice flavor to its contents. Why mess with success?

    Hope that helps!

    Edit: Sorry if I sound super preachy about this subject. As an amateur woodworker, I am super anal about wood safety. The scariest part of wood allergies is that they are typically unknown to those who have them until a serious reaction occurs. And then, they become sensitized to that allergy, making it even worse if exposure happens again. People have died from it, and I'd like to make sure no one here on the forums falls into that category. Granted, most problems arise from inhaling the sawdust, but I'm sure soaking in alcohol would extract plenty of tannins to be an issue.
    Last edited by YogiBearMead726; 04-10-2012 at 03:19 PM.
    Find what you like, and hone it to perfection.

    And don't serve dodgy mead!

  9. #9

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    Yogi,
    Thanks. You make many good points, and that's why I was asking. As one of my many hobbies I make furniture. My buddie is a professional cabinet maker, so on the weekends I have access to all the toys. I know what you mean about allergies, I have a friend who was helping us one day when we were working with black walnut who broke out in what looked like small pox, or the plague- or at least what I think small pox or the plague would look like.... And that was just from getting the saw dust on him. I can imagine what would happen if he drank booze that was aged on it....

    I know that many woods can be toxic., and that alcohol can leach out chemicals that normaly would not come out.

    Thanks

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robusto View Post
    Yogi,
    Thanks. You make many good points, and that's why I was asking. As one of my many hobbies I make furniture. My buddie is a professional cabinet maker, so on the weekends I have access to all the toys. I know what you mean about allergies, I have a friend who was helping us one day when we were working with black walnut who broke out in what looked like small pox, or the plague- or at least what I think small pox or the plague would look like.... And that was just from getting the saw dust on him. I can imagine what would happen if he drank booze that was aged on it....

    I know that many woods can be toxic., and that alcohol can leach out chemicals that normaly would not come out.

    Thanks
    Heh, np. Again, sorry for preaching to the choir.
    Find what you like, and hone it to perfection.

    And don't serve dodgy mead!

  11. #11
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    Personally I'd stick with woods that are already used with things we intake.

    Apple wood and cherry wood are both used to smoke meats and to carve smoking pipes, so is briar (dont know if it'd have anything you'd want tho) also possibly mesquite. I feel pretty comfortable with those as they show up in other things as well. I feel like they are less likely surprise allergens.

    still looking for that business card...
    Go On, Take The Honey and Run

  12. #12
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    Don't forget about hickory. Aged and toasted? Hmmm...
    “Give a man a beer, waste an hour. Teach a man to brew, and waste a lifetime!”

    slàinte mhath

  13. #13

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    Just added some light toasted American oak chips this morning to a gallon of an orange spice melomel I'm bulk aging. Plan to not bother it for about 30 days then start tasting it about once a week until I have a flavor that I like and then rack off of the oak and bulk age some more before bottling.

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