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How to Use Oak Barrels for Making Wine Kits

2012-03-11   Views:6

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Oak barrels have always been an important part of wine history. Originally, these barrels were simply used for storage. The oak provided an airtight seal for the wine to stay fresh and the round shape made delivery easy since the barrel could be roll

How to Use Oak Barrels for Making Wine Kits

Oak barrels have always been an important part of wine history. Originally, these barrels were simply used for storage. The oak provided an airtight seal for the wine to stay fresh and the round shape made delivery easy since the barrel could be rolled. Now oak barrels is an important factor in the wine making process. Oak adds depth and enhances the flavours in wine. When purchasing an oak barrel for a wine making kit, your choice of barrel and how you utilise it will greatly effect the final product (hopefully for the better).

Skill level:Easy

Things you need

Oak barrelWineCool storage room

Instructions

1 Purchase either American oak or French oak barrels. American oak delivers a strong vanilla, caramel, and spice flavour to wines. French oak barrels, on the other hand, deliver a much more subtle flavour. Each barrel works perfectly for wine making. The difference is just a matter of preference.

2 Use a barrel that's small in size. Barrels are made as small as 5 gallons. For a home wine kit, this size is the best to use just in case the first few batches of wine do not turn out as well as you hope. A small barrel will minimise your losses. Once you master the art of ageing, you can move on to larger barrels.

3 Determine the toasting level of the barrel you are using. Toasting the oak caramelises the wood and imparts a stronger vanilla and nut flavour into the wine. The longer the barrel is toasted, the stronger those flavours will be. Much like determining the type of oak you want to use, determining the toasting level is a matter of preference. Higher toasting levels are typically used for red wines.

4 Calculate the amount of time you want the wine to age in the oak barrel. The wine will pick up more of the oak's flavours the longer it ages in the barrel. Red wines typically age longer in oak barrels since their flavours can stand up to the flavours of the barrel. The flavours in white wines tend to be more subtle than reds. Also, the flavours imparted on reds and whites are completely different and should be taken into consideration when calculating how long the wine should age. Whites will pick up a buttery flavour and reds will pick up a spicy, nutty flavour as mentioned before.

Tips and warnings

The flavours an oak barrel delivers to a wine diminishes after each use. The flavours completely diminish or become too minimal to detect after the third time it is used. This is referred to as "neutral" oak.

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