Hard woods other than Oak?

Treatment and handling of your distillate.

Moderator: Site Moderator

CUwithSNSB
Novice
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 4:50 pm

Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by CUwithSNSB » Sat Oct 10, 2009 3:43 pm

Has anyone used any Hardrock Maple or Sugar Maple for aging or flavoring? I was thinking of using some cheery wood hearts roughly the diameter of my bottle, about 8 inches long or so... most of the maples, and cheery wood have plenty of sugars... like apple and pear wood.. hmmm....

just looking for previous experiences..

thanks

kiwistiller
Master Distiller
Posts: 3215
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 4:09 pm
Location: Auckland, NZ

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by kiwistiller » Sat Oct 10, 2009 4:13 pm

I'm trying to track down sugar maple at the moment to do the Lincoln country process. I've used some other hardwoods such as NZ mountain beech (tastes pretty much like oak actually, but slightly more astringent so I stoppped experimenting) and Manuka (really good but very strong). Fruit woods are good but need quite a lot of time.
Three sheets to the wind!
My stuff

Barney Fife
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 1249
Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 5:20 am
Location: Mayberry, NC

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by Barney Fife » Sat Oct 10, 2009 5:01 pm

I've used maple often; it's one of my favorites! Most hardwoods should work, but all will be different in flavors. Do avoid all exotic woods(woods from the equator belt) because many of these trees have strong defense mechanisms, with some being near poisonous to individuals who would be allergic to them. Usually the dangers come in the form of fine dusts when working with these woods, but the same chemicals that cause the dust to irritate your skin should also irritate your soft tissues even more if ingested.

Bottom line, unless you really, really know your woods, stick with the tried and true. Cherry should be fine, as as maples, oaks, ash, birch, sycamore, and likely many, many others. I would avoid walnut, as it, too, has a few chemical tricks up its sleeve. All softwoods would be too resinous and bitter, but their gums could prove interesting(gin comes to mind).

HookLine
retired
Posts: 5628
Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 8:38 am
Location: OzLand

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by HookLine » Sat Oct 10, 2009 5:05 pm

Any new wood type you are going to try needs to be researched carefully. I know that at least some of the local native tree species around my area are highly toxic.
Be safe.
Be discreet.
And have fun.

Hawke
Distiller
Posts: 2471
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 1:39 am

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by Hawke » Sat Oct 10, 2009 5:19 pm

Stick to oak, maple, ash and traditional fruit woods. (Apple, pear, cherry)
Beech adds a very peppery note, may be a good choice for some rums.
It is the very things that we think we know, that keep us from learning what we should know.
Valved Reflux, 3"x54" Bok 'mini', 2 liebig based pots and the 'Blockhead' 60K btu propane heat

FloridaWhiskey
Novice
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:28 pm

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by FloridaWhiskey » Sat Nov 14, 2009 11:07 am

Has anyone tried any citrus woods? (Orange, Lemon, Tangerine...) I have plenty of access to that.

I've done some searched and can not find a good definitive list of the properties/chemicals in the wood that are safe and good, or safe but yucky, or unsafe!

kingearwig
Bootlegger
Posts: 135
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2008 12:51 am
Location: Indiana

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by kingearwig » Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:37 pm

So I made a sugar wash with brown sugar... I distilled to 180 diluted to about 130 aged on sugar maple that I charred quickly with a propane torch. It took on lots of color and smell within 24 hours I diluted and filtered and got this...
1202092236.jpg
The taste might be a little dark for me so next time I will try toasting the sticks slowly instead of charring quickly. Anyone have a suggestion about this is maple better with a slow toast or a quick char? what about apple or others. Anyone think walnut would be any good?

olddog
Master Distiller
Posts: 3618
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: WEST OZ

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by olddog » Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:30 pm

Nothing wrong with that colour, it will look lighter in the glass.
OLD DOG LEARNING NEW TRICKS ......

blanikdog
Angel's Share
Angel's Share
Posts: 4545
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2005 11:55 pm
Location: Bullamakanka, Oztrailya

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by blanikdog » Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:00 pm

I heard somewhere that Citrus is OK. I can't remember where I heard this so a bit of research would be in order before trying it. I've always been going to try it but time seems to always run away from me. Be interested to hear if anyone has done it.

blanik
Simple potstiller. Slow, single run.
(50 litre, propane heated pot still. Coil in bucket condenser - No thermometer, No carbon)
The Reading Lounge AND the Rules We Live By should be compulsory reading

Cumudgeon and loving it.

MuleKicker
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 3111
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2009 2:14 pm
Location: If I told you, I'd have to Kill You.

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by MuleKicker » Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:20 pm

i have about 2 liters of blackberry brandy @ 140pr. I havent added any wood yet. I did alot of berry picking and there is alot of blood sweat and tears into these bottles. it smells and tastes good white, but I want to age on wood. I would like to try something exotic but i dont want to fuck it up. I think I might try to get some wine barrel staves. any thoughts?
-Control Freak-
AKA MulekickerHDbrownNose

itsroger
Novice
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 1:07 pm

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by itsroger » Sat Dec 05, 2009 10:16 am

I just charred some maple and wild cherry, the wild cherry smelled great when the torch hit it. Does anyone bake/toast these woods like they do oak before charring?

kazan
Novice
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 7:39 pm

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by kazan » Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:08 pm

In Bulgaria they use mulberry wood for seasoning rakiya.
My mother puts sticks of it inside some of her bottles, but I have also sampled a rakiya that sat in mulberry for thirty years - a friend's grandfather made the barrel when he was born and then stored it in the basement until his thirtieth birthday. Indescribably delicious.

IIRC, mulberry casking is also one of the steps in making balsamic vinegar.

K

playswithknives
Novice
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jun 22, 2008 10:40 am
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by playswithknives » Sun Dec 13, 2009 8:41 pm

I've been using pecan (the tree was a casualty of Hurricane Gustav) that's been either fire-charred or oven toasted this year on corn whiskey and a couple fruit brandies with good results.

scarecrow
Swill Maker
Posts: 374
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:26 am

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by scarecrow » Sun Dec 13, 2009 9:12 pm

I've been using old grape vines on the BBQ to smoke my chicken and it turns out quite nice. I've also used apple wood.

I have yet to try these in my distillate because I'm out of wood.

Anyone used grape vine wood before ?

scarecrow

DavidWatkins
Bootlegger
Posts: 109
Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2010 3:26 pm
Location: Western PA

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by DavidWatkins » Thu Apr 22, 2010 3:50 pm

I've got a brew I'm fiddling with, Corn and Rice spirits with toasted Mesquite. Some might think the addition of rice would ruin any credibility it once had as a whiskey, but I'm kind of proud of it in an "all american spirit" sort of way. Having been born in southern Texas, mesquite is such an obvious choice for me I had to try. I'm not making Tennessee Whiskey or Scotch or Shine or anything else.... I'm making something new, something Texan.

If I ever get the proportions all figured out I'm going to call it Snakebite, but it still needs some work. Probably be better if I weren't distress aging it, just letting it go, but since it's still in testing I'm not too worried. The first (and so far only) round of tests was 4L of 70% in four different mason jars; Air dried (astringent, not right), Light toast (some flavor, still kind of woody and astringent), Medium toast (best mesquite flavor, something still distinctly missing), and Char (like standing downwind of a brisket joint, very smoky).

That said, I'm still rather new at all this so please be gentle if someone else has been here before me... I can make a damn fine rum and passable corn shine (and fair to middlin wine/beer), but this is my first real foray into whiskey. Not that I'm calling it whiskey, some people get real specific on what *defines* a whiskey, but still only a first entry into the field. Just sticking my toe into new waters and seeing what happens.

More than likely if I decide to pursue this, gonna give them all a few months to settle before round two of tasting, I'll try to mix in a few bit of char in with the medium toast. Also must look into how some distilleries doctor their spirits with sugar, molasses, honey, etc.... Initial tests tasted better after clearing pallet with salty tortilla chips, maybe a touch of salt and molasses? Not trying to make BBQ liquor here but the flavors should be considered....
Pot stiller, 15.5 gal and 7.5 gal, in hardcore research mode for future projects, rum lover

Slow & Steady
Swill Maker
Posts: 322
Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2009 5:29 am
Location: ahhhh... I really shouldn't say

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by Slow & Steady » Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:57 pm

I like toasted and chared apple... I have tried cherry, "the kind from the woods" like what furniture is made from, it has an astringent aspect that I don't care for but my wife is OK with it. Walnut has some herbicide in its nature so might make for some bad mojo, besides the color of walnut would leach into the spirit and stain your teeth, lips, tonge and mouth, brown... for a very long time. :oops:

S&S
"If it worthwhile then it is worth a little extra time and effort... all impatiens ever got me was burned fingers and charred eyebrows"

CUwithSNSB
Novice
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 4:50 pm

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by CUwithSNSB » Sat Oct 02, 2010 5:52 pm

I'm Not sure about American Walnut , But I have heard that Black Walnut has some toxins... when I worked in a Cabinet shop we had to seperate the Black Walnut sawdust-chips from the other hardwood sawdust-chips that were used for animal bedding.......

Slow & Steady
Swill Maker
Posts: 322
Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2009 5:29 am
Location: ahhhh... I really shouldn't say

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by Slow & Steady » Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:42 am

I sell my wood chips/sawdust to a wide variety of end users and the folks that use wood chips/sawdust for horses claim walnut will cause a horse to founder.

S&S
"If it worthwhile then it is worth a little extra time and effort... all impatiens ever got me was burned fingers and charred eyebrows"

seaguy
Swill Maker
Posts: 221
Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:13 am
Location: Bottoma,AL

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by seaguy » Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:01 pm

Anybody ever tried regular Southern USA Live Oak?
2" x 5' Boka, 3/8" coil on 3/4" cold finger, SS 15gal 240v 5.5kw sand element, Tincup's NE555 controller.

TonyHibbett
Novice
Posts: 45
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2011 10:20 am

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by TonyHibbett » Thu Dec 01, 2011 9:31 am

I can get new sweet chestnut barrels as a slightly cheaper alternative to oak. Supposedly adds a slight pink and sweetness to dry white wine. I have tons of cut sycamore and loads of cherry. I am currently trying apple brandy, so I suppose it would make sense to use apple wood chips or staves.

frozenthunderbolt
Distiller
Posts: 1417
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:01 am
Location: North island of New Zealand

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by frozenthunderbolt » Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:34 pm

TonyHibbett wrote:I can get new sweet chestnut barrels as a slightly cheaper alternative to oak. Supposedly adds a slight pink and sweetness to dry white wine.
Cool i havent heard that one - my dad has sweet chestnut at his place so i might have to go and drop one of the less productive trees and try it!
Where has all the rum gone? . . .

Every new member should read this before doing anything else:

bentstick
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 1444
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:41 pm
Location: Great Lake State

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by bentstick » Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:49 pm

Anyone read or hear anything about alder from PNW we have doing some wood work with it smells sweet , have done searches on it but have not come up with anything that says it is toxic. It is one of the softer hardwoods and is in the same family as birch.
It is what you make it

retlaw
Swill Maker
Posts: 282
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:26 am

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by retlaw » Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:05 pm

alder should be fine,

should aways be careful with what wood to use:
yohimbine = spontaneous erections

bobtail
Bootlegger
Posts: 112
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:03 am
Location: on the ridge

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by bobtail » Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:14 am

only oak i can find around here is red oak, anyone know if it will work in place of american white oak
I'm wanting to char it for a whiskey
bobtail

Slow & Steady
Swill Maker
Posts: 322
Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2009 5:29 am
Location: ahhhh... I really shouldn't say

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by Slow & Steady » Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:33 am

I have tried it, but it is so permeable that whiskey and wine take on much more flavor than with white oak. It can overwhelm the other flavors present. That being said... I do like what it does if I do an extended aging after removing the Toasted Red Oak (about a year and a half). I think of the Toasted Red Oak as a short steep... one to six weeks.

S & S
"If it worthwhile then it is worth a little extra time and effort... all impatiens ever got me was burned fingers and charred eyebrows"

Dnderhead
retired
Posts: 13667
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2007 8:07 pm
Location: up north

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by Dnderhead » Fri Dec 30, 2011 11:26 am

red oak has a lot of tannens and little or no other flavors.

Monty671
Novice
Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Dec 23, 2011 11:11 am
Location: S.E. Swamps

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by Monty671 » Sat Dec 31, 2011 6:24 pm

Has anyone tried Pecan wood?

I have 5 big pecan trees on the property and used the wood for smoking meet.
Wonder what it will do the the likker?

Steep-n-Rocky
Swill Maker
Posts: 261
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:18 pm

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by Steep-n-Rocky » Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:38 am

As long as you stick with an oak in the white oak family, you should be fine. I have toasted and/or charred white oak, bur oak, and swamp white oak and they are all very similar in taste. Red oak or the oaks in the red oak family (i.e. northern red oak, black oak, pin oak, etc.) like Dnderhead said are heavy on tannins. If you are in the woods in the fall, white oak acorns are harder to find as having less tannins, they are more palatable and preferred by most wildlife.

This past summer, I made mulberry palinka with some neighbors which was great until we aged it on air dried mulberry. Big mistake! Lesson learned, I won't use mulberry not toasted or charred again.

bobtail
Bootlegger
Posts: 112
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:03 am
Location: on the ridge

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by bobtail » Sun Jan 01, 2012 10:43 am

Thanks every one, I finally gave up and just bought a jack daniels whiskey barrel half. knock it apart and getting ready to clean an char some on the grill

Pikluk
Swill Maker
Posts: 332
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2007 8:22 pm

Re: Hard woods other than Oak?

Post by Pikluk » Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:29 am

i bought some wood to burn for heat.
i think some of it is oak
and i think i got a few log of maple but what kind?

does it matter what kind?
i know that the sap of silver maple stink really awful but once dried i don't know.
what about the others popular maples?
and oak is there any type of oak you don't want to use for aging?

any tip welcome

o and ya i got my new boiler 50liter keg freeking awesome any new builder out here get a keg.
if your in quebec check kijjiji ontario they can unlike us buy a full keg for domestic use(in quebec you need a alcohol license to buy a keg"isnt that pretty mestup?").
if not on gas get one or 2 electrical element(need to get 1"half coupling welded on"check ebay").
i got 2x1500w still using my boka head (using only one for actual distilling 2 for boiling"awesome 1hour and 15min") and after 2 batch i can taste the difference in cut you just cant get that from smaller i use to have a 4gallons boiller, never again...

i try tomorrow or soon to post picture of the wood i got hoping someone could identify.
The more you read the more you learn.
The more you learn the more you realize you don't know shit :)

Post Reply