Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Treatment and handling of your distillate.

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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by jstump » Wed Oct 20, 2010 10:40 am

A local grocer here goes to Tn and buys whiskey barrells. He then cuts then into and sells half barrells. Can i just tear the half barrell up and make sticks out of it? The inside has been charred.

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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by King Of Hearts » Wed Oct 20, 2010 10:46 am

jstump wrote:A local grocer here goes to Tn and buys whiskey barrells. He then cuts then into and sells half barrells. Can i just tear the half barrell up and make sticks out of it? The inside has been charred.

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Yes, if it's clean and fresh, you can shave it down and make 3/8 x 3/8 x 6in. sticks, then recharr or toast to your liking. But let it dry before you start cutting. You really have to look at and judge it. If questionable, just buy medium or heavey toast oak cubes and char them yourself. How much does he sell em for?

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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by King Of Hearts » Fri Oct 22, 2010 5:32 am

If it looks like this, you should be able to use it.

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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by Bushman » Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:04 am

I understand the difference between sticks and chips. I personally would split the wood rather than cut it just think it would do more with the rough rather than the smooth edges (no scientific evidence just personal opinion). I was also wondering if anyone has tried charring chips that are used in smokers and combining them with oak chips?

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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by King Of Hearts » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:11 am

I tried Jack Daniels chips and only got color. Other woods can be used like cherry or apple. A distiller on the east coast uses it. I never tried them yet tho.

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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by rtalbigr » Thu Dec 16, 2010 3:34 am

I personally would split the wood rather than cut it just think it would do more with the rough rather than the smooth edges (no scientific evidence just personal opinion).
All my sticks are split. I'm thinking like you, more surface area. I try to get them to be about 3/8"x 3/8". I toast and char and use one stick/qt. Works fine.

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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by Bushman » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:09 am

Do you guy's char your chips in a can on the BBQ or do it in the oven, and has anyone done both to make a comparison?

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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by rtalbigr » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:54 am

Do you guy's char your chips in a can on the BBQ or do it in the oven, and has anyone done both to make a comparison?
I roast my sticks in the oven; 400F for 4-5 hrs. I char them with a propane torch.

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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by King Of Hearts » Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:45 am

I found I got more Carmel from a light toast for 30 mins at 400' and then char with propane.

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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by rainman08 » Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:26 pm

Tried using American oak chips , heavy toast. let soak for 7-10 days. gave a nice, buttery taste, but had some astingentsy.(probably from the tannins). used Hungarian oak, medium plus on 1 gal. of 50%. let sit for 5 months. had nice brown color but tasted like liquid wood. probably should only let sit for 1-2 months.

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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by Samohon » Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:59 pm

I get my oak from a local cooper who gives me the broken staves from the barrels... When the whisky distilleries are finished with the barrel, the cooper repairs the staves, de-chars the inside, re-surfaces the outside, replaces the metal hoops holding it together, then sends them back to the bourbon distilleries in the US...

My sticks are 10mm x 10mm x 150mm. I lightly toast, medium toast and char... I put one of each in a gallon of distillate @ 60%abv...
If I want the likker to be darker I put 2 sticks of heavily charred oak and one medium into my gallon jugs...
I keep them in the distillate anywhere from 6 to 10 weeks, this gives me a lovely dark amber colour and releases enough caramels and vanillas that resembles a good sour mash...

For a darker amber/reddish colour, I use 3 heavily charred sticks and 2 medium toasted oak sticks, I always remove after 4 to 6 weeks...

It really is trial and error when it comes to ageing your hooch, once you find a good method that suits you, stick to it...

Caramelised sugar also helps colour your likker, although I have never tried it... The colour comes naturally from the wood...
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Re:

Post by Prairiepiss » Sun Mar 06, 2011 5:09 pm

barrelcreator wrote:No chips. Chips are the enemy. Nuggets, beans, sticks, planks, staves etc are what you are looking for. Any oak that is at least 3/8" thick and toasted with fire or infared with a gradient to the toasting color. No convection toasting!!!

Oak solutions group and stavin are the two "leaders" in the industry.

This tells me not to use chips and not to toast in an oven or grill wrapped in foil or what not. But yet a lot of people in this thread do? I was wondering why. The man seams to know a little about oak and its aging abilities. From what I read you need the gradient toasting into the wood with the center somewhat untouched. Because some of the flavors come from deep in the wood where it isn't toasted. The chips would be nearly imposable to get this. They are to thin they will cook right through. Bigger sticks chunks and cubes you could get this with but in an oven they to will get cooked more all the way through. So wouldn't it be best to use open flame to toast or char the larger pieces just on the out side? As Barrelcreator said in the original post. Or am I missing something?
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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by clarkee142 » Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:11 pm

Just to make you guys green with envy...I live in a small mountain village in Bulgaria which is surrounded by beech and oak forests and we burn it our fires for heat!
hahahahaha. There is a thriving trade here that makes excellent oak casks as well. Incidently they also make a lot of casks out of acaia and mulberry, both of which are excellent but of course oak is the best.

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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by corndog » Sat Mar 26, 2011 12:36 pm

This spring i will hopefully get some time to do some experimenting with different types of wood i mostly have sugarmaples and oak trees and hickory in our 6 acre wood lot, i will be charring over an outdoor fire pit, i am really looking forward to that! first will be soaking some really charred sugar maple! :ewink:

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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by adanac58 » Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:37 am

i brew alot of wine , and the wine kits come with a bag of oak powder , since i make brandy from most of my kits the half ounze bag of oak dust isnt neccecary . i took the oak dust and toasted it in my oven at about 300. i age about a tablespoon of oak powder in a litre of booze for 2+ weeks and it works good. it gives it a nice barreled colour and the oak taste isnt that complex but it does at flavor for sure
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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by kronikbud » Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:25 pm

Hey was just wondering if anyone knows where i can get some American White Oak in Auckland? Keen to try this out, only ever tried with the old Jack Daniel's Wood Smoking Chips...

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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by kronikbud » Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:44 pm

Or better yet, if anyone knows where i can get a little oak barrel around 10litres would be good. There is a cooper in Albany selling brand new ones but they go for around $250 to $300, wee bit too expensive... :D

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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by guittarmaster » Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:57 pm

I use a mixture of charred oak chips and uncharred oak chips. I'm confident that the better oak alternatives are better, but but this does a good job.
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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by seaguy » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:23 am

jstump wrote:A local grocer here goes to Tn and buys whiskey barrells. He then cuts then into and sells half barrells. Can i just tear the half barrell up and make sticks out of it? The inside has been charred.

jstump
I bet they sell the barrels cause the "oaking" properties are used up. Might be a good thing to find out.
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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by King Of Hearts » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:49 am

seaguy wrote:
jstump wrote:A local grocer here goes to Tn and buys whiskey barrells. He then cuts then into and sells half barrells. Can i just tear the half barrell up and make sticks out of it? The inside has been charred.

jstump
I bet they sell the barrels cause the "oaking" properties are used up. Might be a good thing to find out.
Why mess around with your precious product? Get the best wood and toast and char it. Spirit goes into the wood barrel about 3/4 of the way.

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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by Melkman » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:02 am

I bought some frech oak chips locally (20g) & dumped all of it into 750ml Vodka 3 months ago. Expecting this to be the best Brandy ever by now I poured myself one and ended up tasting EXACTLY what wood must tast like.

Enquired from the distilling shop and he told me the chips was enough for 25L of Vodka. 20g doesn't seem enough for 20L. Does this seem right to anybody here? This is the same bugger who convinced me, just before joining the forum, to purchase enough turbo yeast :sick: for 200L wash.

Also if this is true, can I simply throw all of this with some more Vodka & still try and salvage it, or should I redistil this?
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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by King Of Hearts » Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:22 am

Melkman wrote:I bought some frech oak chips locally (20g) & dumped all of it into 750ml Vodka 3 months ago. Expecting this to be the best Brandy ever by now I poured myself one and ended up tasting EXACTLY what wood must tast like.

Enquired from the distilling shop and he told me the chips was enough for 25L of Vodka. 20g doesn't seem enough for 20L. Does this seem right to anybody here? This is the same bugger who convinced me, just before joining the forum, to purchase enough turbo yeast :sick: for 200L wash.

Also if this is true, can I simply throw all of this with some more Vodka & still try and salvage it, or should I redistil this?
In a word chips, suck, as you found out. You need cubes or sticks at least 3/8 thick.

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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by topbunn » Thu Feb 16, 2012 11:39 pm

Here at the house we use wood as our primary heat source (gotta love a wood stove). because of this i have an ample amount of naturally seasoned oak logs. i have one particular piece that i have my eye on because i never split it all the way because it has a large knot in the middle of it. so my question is, if i were to remove this knot and toast it. would i get more flavor from it rather than just a regular hunk of the oak? i read where barrelcreator said that slower grown trees have tighter grains, thus better flavor. so since a knot has a very tight and twisted grain pattern, wouldn't this be the equivalent ?
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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by Dnderhead » Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:29 am

slow growth=tighter grain= leak resistance.not flavor

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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by topbunn » Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:23 am

barrelcreator wrote: The tighter grained oak will also allow for the introduction of larger amounts of complexity because of the extended extraction period.
i understand the leak resistance but i thought this sounded like more flavor?
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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by whitey71 » Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:59 pm

I found a wood working guy that sells "pen blanks" that are white oak 6 x 3/4 x 3/4. I thought about splitting them by 4 and charring as per some other posts. O and they are air dried. I thought a few of these in a quart would be good. How long? What do y'all think?

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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by bigwheel » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:50 am

Noticed somebody on up in the thread mentioned apple wood. I toasted up some apple bbq smoking chips over an open propane flame with a metal tea strainer looking gizmo. Tried to keep them flipped and tossed around. Few caught fire on the edges. Dunked about a quarter handful into some diluted shine in quart jars which should be around 90-100 proof I think. I have oak trees but dont like to be cutting around on them since they are budding out. Whacking around on them might cause them to get oak blight. Anyhow..notice the hooch is already changing colors a little and only been in there a few hours. Anybody got predictions on how that will turn out? I also have a bunch of dead Pee Can wood. Wonder how that would work? Thanks.

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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by Exem » Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:11 am

Guys, can you help me to decide whether the oak I possess is red or white. I've been maturing my single malt spirit on this oak for the several months, but having read about white and red oak im starting to doubt if it's really white oak. I tried to blow on one end of the oak piece with the other end submerged in water but there were no bublles arising, which should suggest it is white oak, but the way it looks puts me in doubt. I attach here two pictures of my oak and waiting for your opinions.
Also, this oak was air dried for about 30 years. So, what do you think?
Attachments
8.jpg
6.jpg

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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by Prairiepiss » Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:17 am

I'm no expert. But from the pics it looks like white oak to me.
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Re: Everything you need to know about oak alternatives.

Post by bentstick » Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:56 pm

Can you post apic of the side grain? The pics look like end grain!
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