Oak Barrel Substitutes

Definition - What does Oak Barrel Substitutes mean?

Oak barrel substitutes include oak or products with similar properties of oak utilized in place of oak barrels. These include; oak chips, liquid oak, oak powder and oak staves. These oak substitutes are often utilized as more affordable options to those of barrels. However, they each have almost the same result that adding oak characteristics to wine would using barrels.

WineFrog explains Oak Barrel Substitutes

The wine industry utilizes three major oak substitutes:

Oak chips - These may come in the form of oak chunks, sticks, chips, cubes, or powder. As with barrels, the chips are available in dark, medium or light toast levels. Depending on the form and type of oak they originated from; they can be utilized during or post-fermentation.

Liquid oak - Liquid oak is a form of oak extract. Unlike chips, staves and barrels that take time to impart oak characteristics into wine, liquid oak instantly adds oak character to wine. A winemaker adds oak flavor to the wine by adding a desired amount to finished wine.

Oak staves - These are sections sometimes taken from used barrels which are shaved, thus exposing "new" oak on the surface to be later toasted and then attached to a line or rope so that they can be lowered into a holding vessel for wine. They are then suspended in the wine for a desired amount of time to impart oak nuances into the wine. Oak staves may also come in the form of individual sticks or large bean size pieces. Oak staves are also available in dark, medium and light toasts.

Oak Powder - Toasted oak powder is often used to remove vegetal undertones in wine. These wines are often referred to as "green" and have more stemmy flavors to them. While oak powder removes the vegetal undertones at prescribed doeses, it does not impart the obvious oak characteristics that other alternatives leave behind.

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