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Which Oak?

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  • Harry
    Materials and Methods Barrel Production Mills in Missouri, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Virginia provided oak wood sourced within a radius of approximately 100
    Message 1 of 7 , Nov 2, 2005
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      Materials and Methods
      Barrel Production

      Mills in Missouri, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Virginia provided
      oak wood sourced within a radius of approximately 100 miles from
      each mill. Although all American oak used in wine barrel production
      was traditionally believed to be Quercus alba, forests in these
      areas consist of mixed species; the actual species provided by each
      mill may reflect the local mix (Table 1).

      The wood was cut into staves and aged 18 to 24 months at their
      respective mill sites and shipped to Calistoga, California, for
      coopering. Wood moisture contents were comparable for each lot.
      Barrels were coopered using Tonnellerie Fran├žaise Nadalie's
      standard "Bordeaux Export" 225 liter design. The barrels were bent
      over an oak fire and toasted with their "house" toast. Barrel heads
      were also toasted.

      (Table 1): Quercus species found in local area forests
      Region....... Species found
      Missouri..... alba, lyrata, stellata, prinus, muehlenbergii
      Minnesota.... alba, macrocarpa, bicolor
      Pennsylvania. alba, prinus, bicolor, macrocarpa, muehlenbergii
      Virginia..... alba, macrocarpa, stellata, prinus, bicolor

      Source: extract from...
      Effects of American Oak Barrels from Various Regional Sources on the
      Sensory Attributes of Wines.
      Presented at

      The American Society for Enology and Viticulture (ASEV)

      53rd Annual Meeting
      Portland, Oregon
      June 27, 2002

      by Patricia A. Howe1 and Duane Wall2
      -------------------------------------------------------


      Slainte!
      regards Harry
    • Trid
      ... Short of googling quercus alba , quercus lyrata , et. al., is there a handy dandy pre-fab glossary that breaks down which is white oak, red oak, etc?
      Message 2 of 7 , Nov 3, 2005
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        --- Harry <gnikomson2000@...> wrote:
        > (Table 1): Quercus species found in local area forests
        > Region....... Species found
        > Missouri..... alba, lyrata, stellata, prinus, muehlenbergii
        > Minnesota.... alba, macrocarpa, bicolor
        > Pennsylvania. alba, prinus, bicolor, macrocarpa, muehlenbergii
        > Virginia..... alba, macrocarpa, stellata, prinus, bicolor

        Short of googling "quercus alba", "quercus lyrata", et. al., is there a handy
        dandy pre-fab glossary that breaks down which is white oak, red oak, etc?

        Similarly, the most convenient source of bulk(ish) oak that I can toast and
        char myself (and thus have fairly tight control of the degree of each) is that
        of red oak. How does this compare with white oak for aging? Is there some
        quantifiable difference or even somewhere that it's documented as a no-no?

        Referencing the exchange on musk in the wood, sugar maple came up as a
        traditional barrel material. I'll have to see if there's some place where I
        can obtain some scraps for toasting/aging.

        Cheers,
        Trid
      • Roderick Holmes
        I have read several times in posts by this group that white oak is the only way to go and to stay away from red oak. The taste of red was a thumbs down.
        Message 3 of 7 , Nov 5, 2005
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          I have read several times in posts by this group that white oak is the only way to go and to stay away from red oak. The taste of red was a thumbs down.

          Roderick

          Trid <triddlywinks@...> wrote:
          --- Harry <gnikomson2000@...> wrote:
          > (Table 1): Quercus species found in local area forests
          > Region....... Species found
          > Missouri..... alba, lyrata, stellata, prinus, muehlenbergii
          > Minnesota.... alba, macrocarpa, bicolor
          > Pennsylvania. alba, prinus, bicolor, macrocarpa, muehlenbergii
          > Virginia..... alba, macrocarpa, stellata, prinus, bicolor

          Short of googling "quercus alba", "quercus lyrata", et. al., is there a handy
          dandy pre-fab glossary that breaks down which is white oak, red oak, etc?

          Similarly, the most convenient source of bulk(ish) oak that I can toast and
          char myself (and thus have fairly tight control of the degree of each) is that
          of red oak. How does this compare with white oak for aging? Is there some
          quantifiable difference or even somewhere that it's documented as a no-no?

          Referencing the exchange on musk in the wood, sugar maple came up as a
          traditional barrel material. I'll have to see if there's some place where I
          can obtain some scraps for toasting/aging.

          Cheers,
          Trid



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        • Trid
          ... From what limited info that I was able to pick up from a google search was that red oak was unsuitable for barrel making due to its pores and that the
          Message 4 of 7 , Nov 5, 2005
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            --- Roderick Holmes <pure95percent@...> wrote:

            > I have read several times in posts by this group that white oak is the only
            > way to go and to stay away from red oak. The taste of red was a thumbs down.
            >
            > Roderick

            From what limited info that I was able to pick up from a google search was that
            red oak was unsuitable for barrel making due to its pores and that the liquid
            inside would eventually leak out...and that white oak has something in it that
            obstructs the pores which keeps the liquid from leaking through. Aside from
            that, I saw no indication (though I emphasize that it was just a brief
            search/read) that it would impart negative flavors.

            It would suck to spend months aging and find that I'd have to re-distill...not
            that an excuse to distill is a bad thing :)

            Ah well, one step forward, two steps back.
            Trid
          • nomex_ranger
            The white oaks have tyloses in the cells blocking them off, which makes them more suitable for holding liquids. But if your whole barrel was white oak, the
            Message 5 of 7 , Nov 6, 2005
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              The white oaks have tyloses in the cells blocking them off, which
              makes them more suitable for holding liquids. But if your whole
              barrel was white oak, the changes in barometric pressure could cause
              the barrel to leak at the seams or possibly burst. That is why red
              oak is used for the bungs. They have no tyloses, and will allow
              enough to be pressed out to keep your barrel in good shape.

              As far as flavor goes, red oak heartwood has much more in the way of
              resins that might make your drink too strong, but perhaps worth a
              try. You may like it. But a barrel made out of red oak would leak
              because of the lack of tyloses which close off the cells. If you
              want to experiment with some different oaks you might also want to
              try using some post oak, chestnut oak, or cow oak (swamp chestnut
              oak), which are all different species of white oaks. You may have
              some other white oaks growing in your area as well.

              --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Trid <triddlywinks@y...> wrote:
              >
              >
              >
              > --- Roderick Holmes <pure95percent@y...> wrote:
              >
              > > I have read several times in posts by this group that white oak
              is the only
              > > way to go and to stay away from red oak. The taste of red was a
              thumbs down.
              > >
              > > Roderick
              >
              > From what limited info that I was able to pick up from a google
              search was that
              > red oak was unsuitable for barrel making due to its pores and that
              the liquid
              > inside would eventually leak out...and that white oak has something
              in it that
              > obstructs the pores which keeps the liquid from leaking through.
              Aside from
              > that, I saw no indication (though I emphasize that it was just a
              brief
              > search/read) that it would impart negative flavors.
              >
              > It would suck to spend months aging and find that I'd have to re-
              distill...not
              > that an excuse to distill is a bad thing :)
              >
              > Ah well, one step forward, two steps back.
              > Trid
              >
            • Michael
              A little more experience with the oak species from a living history perspective. I have worked with many species of oak when working at a living history
              Message 6 of 7 , Nov 6, 2005
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                A little more experience with the oak species from a "living history"
                perspective. I have worked with many species of oak when working at a
                living history museum in Ohio.

                The pores or "rays" of red oak are arranged like bundles of drinking
                straws. This allows clean grained red oak to split perfectly. It makes
                great shingles and shakes, when split or riven, but not when sawn.
                When any of these open rays are cut across as with a saw or plane,
                they act just like drinking straws, and allow water or air to travel
                through the open pore. If you take a piece of red oak and put one end
                in a pail of water, you can blow on the other end and watch the
                bubbles in the water just like a drinkng straw.(I have seen this done
                with a meter long piece of wood). Red oak is easy to work for dry
                cooperage, but usless for wet cooperage.

                The rays of white oak are plugged with resins (tyloses) and lignins
                every few mm so will not leak. When split on the radius of the log,
                these areas of lignin create the tiger stripe-like pattern unique to
                white oak that is so valuable for furniture and in period paneling.

                As to flavor, red oak was used so little for wet cooperage that the
                flavor played little or no part in the history of whiskey.



                --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "nomex_ranger" <tiforester@y...> wrote:
                >
                > The white oaks have tyloses in the cells blocking them off, which
                > makes them more suitable for holding liquids. But if your whole
                > barrel was white oak, the changes in barometric pressure could cause
                > the barrel to leak at the seams or possibly burst. That is why red
                > oak is used for the bungs. They have no tyloses, and will allow
                > enough to be pressed out to keep your barrel in good shape.
                >
                > As far as flavor goes, red oak heartwood has much more in the way of
                > resins that might make your drink too strong, but perhaps worth a
                > try. You may like it. But a barrel made out of red oak would leak
                > because of the lack of tyloses which close off the cells. If you
                > want to experiment with some different oaks you might also want to
                > try using some post oak, chestnut oak, or cow oak (swamp chestnut
                > oak), which are all different species of white oaks. You may have
                > some other white oaks growing in your area as well.
                >
                > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Trid <triddlywinks@y...> wrote:
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > --- Roderick Holmes <pure95percent@y...> wrote:
                > >
                > > > I have read several times in posts by this group that white oak
                > is the only
                > > > way to go and to stay away from red oak. The taste of red was a
                > thumbs down.
                > > >
                > > > Roderick
                > >
                > > From what limited info that I was able to pick up from a google
                > search was that
                > > red oak was unsuitable for barrel making due to its pores and that
                > the liquid
                > > inside would eventually leak out...and that white oak has something
                > in it that
                > > obstructs the pores which keeps the liquid from leaking through.
                > Aside from
                > > that, I saw no indication (though I emphasize that it was just a
                > brief
                > > search/read) that it would impart negative flavors.
                > >
                > > It would suck to spend months aging and find that I'd have to re-
                > distill...not
                > > that an excuse to distill is a bad thing :)
                > >
                > > Ah well, one step forward, two steps back.
                > > Trid
                > >
                >
              • Harry
                ... there a handy ... oak, etc? Yup. As follows... Slainte! regards Harry Moderator ... The Handy Dandy Pre-fab Oak Glossary :-) Quercus spp. Fagaceae Oak
                Message 7 of 7 , Nov 6, 2005
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                  --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Trid <triddlywinks@y...> wrote:
                  >
                  > > (Table 1): Quercus species found in local area forests
                  > > Region....... Species found
                  > > Missouri..... alba, lyrata, stellata, prinus, muehlenbergii
                  > > Minnesota.... alba, macrocarpa, bicolor
                  > > Pennsylvania. alba, prinus, bicolor, macrocarpa, muehlenbergii
                  > > Virginia..... alba, macrocarpa, stellata, prinus, bicolor
                  >
                  > Short of googling "quercus alba", "quercus lyrata", et. al., is
                  there a handy
                  > dandy pre-fab glossary that breaks down which is white oak, red
                  oak, etc?



                  Yup. As follows...

                  Slainte!
                  regards Harry
                  Moderator
                  --------------------------------------------------


                  The Handy Dandy Pre-fab Oak Glossary :-)

                  Quercus spp.
                  Fagaceae
                  Oak
                  Worldwide, the oaks (Quercus spp.) consist of 275 to 500 species
                  that can be separated into three groups based on their microanatomy:
                  the live or evergreen oak group, the red oak group (Erythrobalanus),
                  and the white oak group (Leucobalanus). Species within each group
                  look alike microscopically. The word quercus is the classical Latin
                  name of oaks, said to be derived from Celtic fine and tree.

                  The commercial North American species are as follows:



                  White Oak Group (Leucobalanus)

                  Quercus alba: (white oak)
                  Common names:
                  American white oak, Arizona oak, Arizona white oak, forked-leaf
                  white oak, Louisiana white oak, mantua oak, ridge white oak, stave
                  oak, true white oak, West Virginia soft white oak, white oak



                  Quercus bicolor: (swamp white oak)
                  Common names:
                  blue oak, cherry oak, curly swamp oak, swamp oak, swamp white oak,
                  white oak



                  Quercus garryana: (Oregon white oak)
                  Common names:
                  Brewer oak, Garry oak, Oregon oak, Oregon white oak, Pacific post
                  oak, Pacific white oak, post oak, prairie oak, shin oak, western
                  oak, western white oak, white oak



                  Quercus lyrata: (overcup oak)
                  Common names:
                  American white oak, overcup oak, swamp post oak, swamp white oak,
                  water white oak



                  Quercus macrocarpa: (burr oak)
                  Common names:
                  blue oak, bur oak, burr oak, mossycup oak, mossy-overcup oak,
                  overcup oak, scrub oak, white oak, white mossycup oak, white overcup
                  oak



                  Quercus michauxii: (swamp chestnut oak)
                  Common names:
                  American white oak, basket oak, cow oak, swamp oak, swamp chestnut
                  oak



                  Quercus muehlenbergii: (pin oak)
                  Common names:
                  chestnut oak, chinkapin oak, chinquapin oak, dwarf chestnut oak,
                  dwarf chinkapin, pin oak, rock oak, rock chestnut oak, running white
                  oak, scrub oak, shrub oak, white oak, yellow oak, yellow chestnut
                  oak



                  Quercus prinus: (chestnut oak)
                  Common names:
                  American white oak, basket oak, chestnut oak, chestnut rock oak,
                  chestnut swamp oak, cow oak, mountain oak, rock oak, rock chestnut,
                  rock chestnut oak, swamp oak, tanbark oak, white oak, white chestnut
                  oak



                  Quercus stellata: (post oak)
                  Common names:
                  American post oak, barren white oak, bastard oak, bastard white oak,
                  box oak, box white oak, brash oak, Delta post oak, Durand oak, iron
                  oak, pin oak post oak, ridge oak, rough oak, rough white oak,
                  southern oak, turkey oak, white box oak, white oak
                  -----------------------------------------------------



                  Red Oak Group (Erythrobalanus)



                  Quercus coccinea: (scarlet oak)
                  Common names:
                  bastard oak, black oak, buck oak, red oak, scarlet oak, Spanish oak,
                  spotted oak



                  Quercus falcata: (southern red oak)
                  Common names:
                  American red oak, bottomland red oak, cherrybark oak, Elliott oak,
                  red oak, Spanish oak, southern red oak, swamp red oak, swamp spanish
                  oak, turkeyfoot oak, water oak



                  Quercus kelloggii:
                  Common names:
                  black oak, California black oak, Kellogg oak, mountain black oak



                  Quercus laurifolia: (laurel oak)
                  Common names:
                  Darlington oak, diamond-leaf oak, laurel oak, laurel-leaf oak, swamp
                  laurel oak, water oak, obtusa oak



                  Quercus nigra: (water oak)
                  Common names:
                  American red oak, blackjack, pin oak, possum oak, punk oak, red oak,
                  spotted oak, water oak



                  Quercus nuttallii:
                  Common names:
                  nuttall oak, pin oak, red oak, red river oak, striped oak



                  Quercus palustris: (pin oak)
                  Common names:
                  pin oak, red oak, Spanish oak, Spanish swamp oak, Spanish water oak,
                  swamp oak, swamp Spanish oak, water oak



                  Quercus phellos: (willow oak)
                  Common names:
                  black oak, laurel oak, peach oak, pin oak, red oak, swamp willow
                  oak, water oak, willow oak, willow swamp oak



                  Quercus rubra: (northern red oak)
                  Common names:
                  American red oak, black oak, buck oak, Canadian red oak, common red
                  oak, gray oak, eastern red oak, leopard oak, Maine red oak, mountain
                  red oak, northern red oak, red oak, Spanish oak, spotted oak,
                  southern red oak, swamp red oak, water oak, West Virginia soft red
                  oak



                  Quercus shumardii:
                  Common names:
                  American red oak, Schneck oak, Schneck red oak, shumard oak, Shumard
                  red oak, southern red oak, spotted bark, spotted oak, swamp red oak,
                  Texas oak, Texas red oak



                  Quercus velutina: (black oak)
                  Common names:
                  American red oak, blackjack, black oak, dyer oak, jack oak,
                  quercitron, quercitron oak, redbush, red oak, smoothbark oak,
                  spotted oak, tanbark oak, yellowbark, yellow oak, yellowbark oak
                  --------------------------------------------------



                  Live Oak Group


                  Quercus virginiana:
                  Common names:
                  dwarf live oak, encino, live oak, rolfs oak, scrub live oak,
                  Virginia live oak, Virginia oak
                  ---------------------------------------------------


                  Distribution: Widely distributed throughout the United States.

                  The Tree: Oaks can reach a height of 125 ft (38 m), with large
                  diameters.

                  General Wood Characteristics: The sapwood of oak is white to very
                  light brown, while the heartwood is light to dark brown in the white
                  oak group and reddish brown in the red oak group. Oak wood has a
                  course texture; it is heavy, straight-grained, hard, tough, very
                  stiff, and strong. Fast-grown oak, with wide rings, is stronger and
                  heavier than slow-grown oak.
                  ----------------------------------------------------
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