Overpowering oak taste

Treatment and handling of your distillate.

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olddog
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Overpowering oak taste

Post by olddog » Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:42 am

I have a problem that whatever I am distilling, when I leave the distilate on oak for 2-3 weeks I get an overpowering oak taste that seems to kill the original flavour. I am toasting pieces of oak for 2 hours at 200 degrees and putting a couple of pieces into a 4 and a half litre glass container containing the spirit at 65%ABV, what tasted quite good off the still now tastes like oak with verry little of the original taste. What am I doing wrong? :?
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Hawke
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Re: Overpowering oak taste

Post by Hawke » Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:03 am

I don't know how big your sticks are, but if a 'couple' sticks are too much, just use one. (Less oak for longer is better than over-doing it)
I use 3/4x3/4x5" pieces with a light to medium toast, usually only 2 fresh sticks per gallon. Once the sticks sink to the bottom of the jug, it's time to cut and bottle. on my last batch, I added 3 used stick and 1 new one, took about 3 weeks for the new stick to sink. Left it alone for an additional week. Came out with a very nice taste.
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Re: Overpowering oak taste

Post by olddog » Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:10 am

My sticks are the same size as yours, only one of the two sticks actually sank, the sticks had only been toasted to change the colour from light to dark brown, not burnt. the distillate colour up OK, but I cannot taste the corn flavour in my UJSSM just an alcoholic oak tasting distillate.
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Re: Overpowering oak taste

Post by Hawke » Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:28 am

On your next batch, use 2 old sticks and 1 new. Let the new stick sink before you start drinking it. It will have a lighter colour, but shouldn't have a heavy wood taste.
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Re: Overpowering oak taste

Post by minime » Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:17 am

olddog wrote:My sticks are the same size as yours, only one of the two sticks actually sank, the sticks had only been toasted to change the colour from light to dark brown, not burnt. the distillate colour up OK, but I cannot taste the corn flavour in my UJSSM just an alcoholic oak tasting distillate.
This actually sounds like you are not taking your toasting far enough which really only gives you the wood taste. Here's Punkin's toasting instructions which I have only added to one batch of brandy but it worked beautifully.
"I am convinced that the best results come from wrapping oak sticks in an aluminum foil envelope and putting em in a hot oven. I toast at 390 F for 2 hours then whack em up to 430 for 20 mins or so. This is for a bundle of maybe 20 sticks split with a tomyhawk to about 1/2" -3/4" a side and about six inches long. I like em toasted to chocolate colour. I find charred seems to work slower and gives off a very different flavour, the toasted brings out vanilla really strong in oak and honey type notes."

Pintoshine actually takes his even further to what he calls alligator char where the wood actually develops deep fissures from loss of moisture. Remember though, they don't use a lot of wood. Less wood and longer aging seems to be the preferred method.

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Re: Overpowering oak taste

Post by Tater » Fri Apr 03, 2009 6:17 am

Might wanna check out parent site under flavoring . Some good info there on charring .Lot of info ya see on here came from there .
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Re: Overpowering oak taste

Post by punkin » Fri Apr 03, 2009 11:00 am

tater wrote:Might wanna check out parent site under flavoring . Some good info there on charring .Lot of info ya see on here came from there .

Everything i started doing came from either there or here.


Then i just worked out what was good from what was rubbish and tried different ways to deal with the good bits till i found what worked better.





If ya don't do that ya won't evolve.



I think mini may be onto something oldog, i toast to dark chocolate colour, deeper than walnut, but not ebony.

May be a time frame thing too. I've found that the real complex flavours from wood doesn't start showing up till six weeks or more and two to three months is better than two or three weeks.

Try doing one jar and putting it away in a cupboard for four months before you taste it.

Hawke also has a point when speaking of using some used sticks as well as new, i find myself swapping the sticks out of my aging bottle in the house only every ten or twelve months.

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Re: Overpowering oak taste

Post by Barney Fife » Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:01 pm

You may be using sapwood, mistakenly, as that will lend an overpowering oak flavor very quickly. Check your source, or try another board if you're cutting your own.

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Re: Overpowering oak taste

Post by punkin » Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:44 pm

Do you want me to just submit my posts to you for approval or something tater?

May as well not waste my time typing if your gunna go around deleting all my posts.

I haven't said anything innaccurate, rude, provocative, against the rules or anything else.



You're entitiled to edit whatever you say, but just deleting my posts all over the board is not right.

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Re: Overpowering oak taste

Post by Tater » Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:09 pm

punkin i deleted these posts because of my post that i had deleted.Was just cleaning topic back to where It was before I posted . you complained about it and i cleaned it up. Lets just let this thread get back on topic,
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Re: Overpowering oak taste

Post by Hack » Fri Apr 03, 2009 5:06 pm

I put my vote in with the not toasted for long enough at too low of temperature crowd. I toasted the batch I've been using for the last year at 400 in an electric skillet covered with tin foil. I toasted for two hours then flipped them over and did another two hours to get an even toast. It probably would have worked better if I'd wrapped them up in foil rather than just covering them. I use cubes 3/4" square and when I split them in half they are toasted evenly all the way through.

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Re: Overpowering oak taste

Post by Tater » Fri Apr 03, 2009 5:36 pm

Read get yourself informed.On degree of char from toast to full gator type/cut of wood Dryness of wood Letting it air while charring or not leanth of time on char/toast and how much to add ,experiment find what ya like and what works for you.As we all know big boys age at least 3 years. But really boils down to your taste buds being happy . Would also add look into adding few peppercorns per qt to grain likker if missing something in taste when charred.But like wood time on it should determine how much
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Re: Overpowering oak taste

Post by hartparr » Sun Apr 26, 2009 6:56 am

For a 4 liter glass jug I cut some whit oak into about 5/8 by 3/4 by 8 inches. I did'nt char them nearly as long as most people are saying here though. I distil over a wood fire, so while I was sitting there I held each piece of wood over the flames with some tongs till they were heated up good and turning a bit darker and then put it righ on the fire til they lit up, picked it back up and let it burn til there was just a good char on the outside and then quenched it in a bucket of water. After two weeks it already has good collor, but not an overpowering oak flavor at all. I saw a show on the history chanel on a place making oak barrels and they did'nt toast them for very long at all.

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Re: Overpowering oak taste

Post by schnell » Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:17 am

I had a batch of over oaked rum that I passed through some activated charcoal and got a pleasant result. Kinda like a old school cuban rum. It smoothed it out and removed some of the tannic bite.

I think they call it "that wood disease" when refering to overly oaked wines.

I get wood chips packaged for barbecue smoking and have used oak, apple, mesquite and am looking at trying cherry wood next. So far my favorite is apple wood.

Usually I toast/char the chips with a few passes of a propane soldering torch, flip em over and do it again. I take a spirit and add some of these chips to it in a 1 liter canning jar to age. This is a good size for experiments and side by side comparisons and ages fairly rapidly. I think this is what some here refer to as distress aging when they add some regular shaking and temperature extremes.

Mixing overly wooded spirit with an unaged spirit doesn't do the trick, unfortunately.

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Re: Overpowering oak taste

Post by Scribbler » Tue May 05, 2009 7:58 am

Hey there everybody... I am replying to the post up above where apple, oak, and other woods have been used...


as I understand it, it is important to use a hardwood that has no resinous (sticky) sap. does this mean that walnut would work?


the reason I ask is that I just finished a chair building project (built 8 walnut chairs for the wife) and I have a ton of scrap walnut kicking around, mostly boards that are 1/2 inch thick by 2 inches wide and 2 feet long...

what wold be the effect of toasting these up?

also, if a person adds two given pieces of wood to an aging jar (*or two used pieces and one new piece) would it give a more complex result to add one piece of wood that is lightly or medium charred and one that is heavily charred?


oh, one other thought: what would be the effect of throwing a handful of barley into a whiskey while ageing? (or a handful of grapes into brandy etc...)

take care.

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Re: Overpowering oak taste

Post by pigroaster » Tue May 05, 2009 2:02 pm

Walnut chips will kill horses so watch out. Pigroaster

Usge
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Re: Overpowering oak taste

Post by Usge » Thu May 07, 2009 7:10 am

Beyond the great advice given here (above) on making the sticks, etc., I would just add that in my experience using chips/cubes, etc., that the distillate changes and/or goes through phases. One of those might be that it tastes more like oak/wood or rather tannic than you'd like. Leave it a while longer and it will change again, sometimes in ways that might seem alarming. This is particularly true in the early stages. Mine usually doesn't settle in until the woodcubes sink to the bottom (a few days). I've had some brandy startout tasting really good as whitedog. After day 2 sweetness gone and it tasted watery and more like tails (although it smelled fine). Day 3 all the cubes were on the bottom and it tasted fairly even (sweetness back, heavy tails thing and watery taste gone). After that, it aged more uniformly but taking on more variables/flavors. End of week 2 it started to taste overoaked. Ie..too much like wood and slightly tannic/astringent. I left it. End of week 3 that was gone and it started to really wreak of vanilla and took on a deeper color. etc.

Don't get me wrong, you "can" over oak something. But, I just wanted to mention this other part as well. It can and does go through phases as it ages, one of which could be that it taste more like wood than you'd like, that might go away as more variables/flavors come in over time. That's been my experience anyway.

Id' also mention that I've had better luck wood/aging wider cuts than really tight/clean cuts. Particularly with UJSM, if I just age only the cleanest middle, it tends to get astringent/woody. If I use a wider cut (some sweetness from the heads, and some darker flavors from tails), it tends to age on wood more evenly and come out more balanced with more complex flavor.

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Re: Overpowering oak taste

Post by dropping_planets » Tue Jun 09, 2009 10:46 am

Usge wrote:Id' also mention that I've had better luck wood/aging wider cuts than really tight/clean cuts. Particularly with UJSM, if I just age only the cleanest middle, it tends to get astringent/woody. If I use a wider cut (some sweetness from the heads, and some darker flavors from tails), it tends to age on wood more evenly and come out more balanced with more complex flavor.

thnx for that usge....this may be some of my recent ujsm over oaking thing.....i made very tight cuts because now i can.... guess i need to focus on blending now..... :shock:

i have 1.5 gl. of clean hearts on my cutting bench.....how much heads and tails should i include if intend on oaking the entire batch.....?

i'm gonna blend some of the white dog back into my overoaked last batch...starting small.... i'm gonna oak the rest, cutting the amount of wood i used in half and taste test more often...

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Re: Overpowering oak taste

Post by Hack » Tue Jun 09, 2009 10:10 pm

dropping_planets wrote:i have 1.5 gl. of clean hearts on my cutting bench.....how much heads and tails should i include if intend on oaking the entire batch.....?
I run a thumper which seems to compress my heads and tails leaving a wider section of clear hearts, but here's what I do. Starting in the hearts and working back towards fores, I include heads up to where they start tasting bad to me. Sometimes I include one jar where I can just start to taste it being off. On my rig I usually get two or three jars of early tails and then one jar that gets cloudy, sometimes not very cloudy but if you hold it up to the light you can see more tiny particles of stuff floating in it. I've included tails right up to the cloudy jar before and sometimes I exclude a jar or two before if I'm detecting strong funk.

EDIT: I've also noticed that the more tails I leave in the longer the hooch will hold a bead.

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Re: Overpowering oak taste

Post by dropping_planets » Thu Jun 11, 2009 12:30 am

had a good amount of fients in this run as i made very tight cuts on the previous run.....mondays spirit run is on the bench now, awaiting blending, hearts ran longer than i thought they would....once i git into tails abv dropped pretty quick.

i have 2 clear tails jars, than a jar with floating crystaline entities... a clear jar ... than i get cloudy....
the first 2 clear jars are stinky tails... the clear jar between crystals and clouds smells grainy yummy... not gonna get into tasting em all 4 a day or 2....
did just sample the heart of the hearts...73%......nothing offensive whatsoever ...this entire run, across the board is better than the last... gonna make a much wider body cut this time....some goes back into my woody ujsm.... the rest gets oaked fresh....to a much lesser degree..... :shock:

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Re: Overpowering oak taste

Post by lawnman 2 » Sat Jun 20, 2009 4:38 am

ive started using toasted oak sticks and also using toasted oak chips in demi jarss.
maybe sometimes i have over used the oak but now im getting an aquired taste for a heavier oak bourbon.
i guess its all experimental and comes down to taste requirements.
ive found if too oaked so to speak and ive had a batch with little flavour ill mix the 2 together to plain everything out.

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Re: Overpowering oak taste

Post by dropping_planets » Mon Jun 22, 2009 5:05 pm

lawnman 2 wrote: ive found if too oaked so to speak and ive had a batch with little flavour ill mix the 2 together to plain everything out.
thats a good idea... i was gonna try and fix some overoaked juice with some whitedog but it seems i got excited and oaked everything except a pint ....
i bottled the overoaked juice in magnums to let sit and see what happens.....

if end up with anything too light... i can blend them...the overoaked juice has good flavors behind the astringency ......

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Re: Overpowering oak taste

Post by blind drunk » Sun Jun 28, 2009 8:18 pm

Just got about 20 heartwood white oak sticks from a wood guy. He cut them and everything. I toasted 6 of them at 300 for 2 hours and then at 400 for about 45 minutes. They look like chocolate bars and stunk up the whole house and the inside of my nose :shock: Hope I did it right. My wife said it'd make a for a good floor tint if all else fails. bd.
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