Oak used in Cooperages

Treatment and handling of your distillate.

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masonsjax
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Re: Oak used in Cooperages

Post by masonsjax » Tue Feb 02, 2016 8:55 pm

I have a lot of red oak. If tannins are the oroblem, could it be boiled thoroughly before toasting/charring and be useful for our purposes? I'm willing to experiment, but I'm sure someone has already tried.

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Re: Oak used in Cooperages

Post by Secale » Tue Feb 02, 2016 9:13 pm

These people seem to have tried red oak.

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Re: Oak used in Cooperages

Post by kiwi Bruce » Thu Feb 04, 2016 5:12 pm

scout wrote:first thing to do is give a piece the "blow like a straw" test, true white oaks will not let you blow bubbles through them (red oaks do).
I worked in a pub just outside of London in the mid 70's as a barman/cellarman. Most of the bitter we served was off the wood, and one of the things I had to do, when getting a keg ready for serving was, plug the top bung with a hard wood peg that let air into the barrel without letting anything in that could harm the beer. There was enough CO2 in the beer to leave a protective blanket over the brew, but I never knew what these pegs where made of. Red Oak ? Kiwi
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Re: Oak used in Cooperages

Post by scout » Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:28 am

In order for a cask to be made of different woods, one major factor has to be the same.

The rate of swelling from moisture up take, if this one thing happens differently between the woods the cask will either leak a long time or the staves will exert uneven pressure upon each other causing catastrophic failure of the cask.

One way around this is to make the body from one wood and the caps from another wood, however, the rate of swelling still needs to be pretty close or the ends will leak or they will crack the staves from swelling to much.

The other factor many folks forget about is the structure of the wood cells, if the wood doesn't have a structure that limits or doesn't allow water seep, the cask will never be a tight.

Case in point, I built a cask out of hickory and even though it is a strong wood with plenty of flex, it leaked out the entire contents (water for a test) in two weeks. This was after it had been conditioned with hot water and a two week soak.

When I want to add flavors of other woods, these woods go inside the cask rather than being part of the cask. That way I get the flavonoids I want without loosing my product.
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Re: Oak used in Cooperages

Post by scout » Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:36 am

kiwi Bruce wrote:
scout wrote:first thing to do is give a piece the "blow like a straw" test, true white oaks will not let you blow bubbles through them (red oaks do).
I worked in a pub just outside of London in the mid 70's as a barman/cellarman. Most of the bitter we served was off the wood, and one of the things I had to do, when getting a keg ready for serving was, plug the top bung with a hard wood peg that let air into the barrel without letting anything in that could harm the beer. There was enough CO2 in the beer to leave a protective blanket over the brew, but I never knew what these pegs where made of. Red Oak ? Kiwi
Most likely it was yew wood, red oak would actually let to much air hit the beer. Yew (English bow wood) has a small straw structure. Do you happen to remember the color of that bung plug? if it was yellowish then it was yew, red oak has a straw structure that is very easy to spot with the naked eye, in low light conditions (it looks like rows of holes and I've seen them as large as 1mm across in wood from very large trees), Red oak has a very distinct smell too (to my nose it smells a lot like a freshly opened bottle of bitters, it will give your nose a light burning sensation).
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Re: Oak used in Cooperages

Post by kiwi Bruce » Fri Feb 12, 2016 5:53 pm

I've still got one. I'll take a photo of it tomorrow in the day light. It came with one of those unbelievable finds that one can make IF,you know what your looking at. This was at a yard sale two or three years ago, the family had a ceramic glazed 1gal keg on the table for ten bucks, and I grabbed it, paid for it, and the husband asked me if I knew what it was. So I asked him if his family had been Inn keepers, his wife's family had been, so I told him. It is a 1Gal fake keg used to serve stout at a small Pub around the 1880's. Made in Ireland and brought to the States. This has everything still with it, the brass spigot the top hardwood bung and the breathing peg. Not very many of these have survived, as you can imagine, but this one is perfect, and worth a good coin or two, too. Got to know what your looking at. Kiwi
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Re: Oak used in Cooperages

Post by Panhead » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:38 pm

Tested my woodwork skills and made a couple of small white oak barrels,around a gallon volume. Used some 1/4 sawn oak i had laying around the shop for a few years,so it should be seasoned ok. Charred the inside pretty good but i didnt toast it first. Had some issues with small leaks on the end caps and got them sealed with beeswax. Was reading some of Scouts posts on Cooperage,really interesting stuff. Keeping my fingers crossed that they might produce some drinkable spirits.

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Re: Oak used in Cooperages

Post by GeeMann » Sun Dec 15, 2019 9:02 pm

Hi Scout,
I have a large block of what I believe to be English oak, does that fall under the bracket of European oak and would it be good to break down for ageing my Runs and whiskey etc?
Thanks again.

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