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Oak Barrel Suppliers

Evander

NewBee
Registered Member
Jul 23, 2005
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I was wondering about the differences between the barrel aging and the chip aging? Do the chips loose their aromatic qualities within 4 months as well? Also, I am currrently making my first mead, which is just finishing its primary fermentation and about to be racked onto some cherries and some more honey water. How long after I stop the secondary fermentation should I add the oak chips and how many do you use on a 5 gallon batch? Also, I don't really know much about wines and sparkling wines, but I am planning on making the batch half sparkling and the other half non-carbonated, and my question is: are sparkling wines aged in a barrel normally, or are they even aged at all? Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks,

Evan
 

pain

GotMead Owner
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Apr 5, 1996
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I usually use oak chips, because its so much easier to get the mead *off* the oak when you like. I generally don't leave the oak in for more than 4 weeks, and usually less. You have to taste the must while it oaks, to see how its going. I add mine in the secondary, generally after its been there around a month, stopped or not.

Whether a mead is oaked, sparkling or otherwise, is generally a function of personal taste. Age-wise, mead tends to improve with age. So, the longer you can stay out of it, the better off you are. I subscribe to the aging in bulk, i.e. in a carboy, theory. Others age in bottles.

Vicky - 11 days til I leave for Pennsic
 

Ibiduin

NewBee
Registered Member
Jun 5, 2005
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Aging in the carboy compared to bottles is all a matter if you want more or less oxidation.
A full half bottle of wine will (roughly) age twice as fast as a regular bottle. Keeping your mead in the carboy, just makes it age slower (probally the best way to catch it's peak, if you've got the glass/space for it).

I much rather use cubes too :p
 

Maelduin

NewBee
Registered Member
May 3, 2006
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hmm, seeing some interesting deals on ebay all the way up to 59 gallon wine barrels. I'm kind of interested in the 2.5 gallon mini barrels. could age half a batch or so to compare to the rest in a carboy. Or perhaps the 5 gallon, but have to be really careful on the final volume.

Michael
 

Oskaar

Got Mead Partner
Administrator
Dec 26, 2004
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2.5 and 5 gallon casks look cute but will quickly overwhelm your mead with the oak character. A small volume of mead to be in contact with the wood. You'll have to rack out of them quickly in order to ensure you don't overdose your mead.

Cheers,

Oskaar
 

Maelduin

NewBee
Registered Member
May 3, 2006
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yeah, I figured that the higher percentage in contact with the barrel walls would have some effect. Wish I had a place for a full barrel, and the 12-15 gallons of honey to make that large a batch, and the time to work it all, and the ...

But I'm really looking at these more for my wife, who wants to do period brewing for SCA Art/Sci. Was thinking that aging in a real oak cask would score some niftiness points, if she can document it from period. Most use glass carboys, but I thought that the oak character would give her a leg up on the competition.

Any suggestions on aging times for 2.5 and five gallon barrels?

Regards,

Michael
 

Oskaar

Got Mead Partner
Administrator
Dec 26, 2004
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Weeks rather than months. You'll need to taste after the first week to see how quickly the oak character is infusing.

A good medium is a 15 gallon barrel, not too small, can age in it a while, and you can get them new for less than the big barrels. Second hand are available as well, but you need to be careful that they are in sound shape, infection free and will not leak excessively.

cheers,

Oskaar
 

dogglebe

NewBee
Registered Member
Oct 14, 2003
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Also, if you're considering a used barrel, you have to know what it was used for. A white wine barrel would probably work well; a whiskey barrel would not.


Phil