How much time should I leave my wine sitting with oak staves in the carboys? As much as I need to make it taste correct! Silly answer, but the right one.
I thought I would perform a comparison of oak surface area to volume wine for a traditional oak wine barrel and the oak staves that I use in my carboys.
- Oak barrel surface area to volume wine ratio = 54 sq in/gallon
- Volume = 59 gal
- Approximate total inside surface area = 3178 sq in
- Radius of barrel head = ~11 in
- Height of barrel = 35 in
- Area of end: pi * radius^2 = 3.14 * 11 * 11 = 380 sq in
- Assume inside area is of a cylinder:
- Cylinder area = 2 * pi * radius * height = 2 * 3.14 *11*35 = 2418 sq in
- Oak stave in 7 gal glass carboy surface area to volume wine ratio = 4.6 sq in/gallon
- Volume = 7 gal
- Stave surface area = (2 ends * .25 sq in) + (4 sides * (.5 * 16)) = 32.5 sq in
- Stave ends cross section = 0.5 x 0.5 in
- Length = 16 in
Wow! That means it takes 54/4.6 = 12 times as long to get the same oak into the wine in my carboys as it does in a barrel. I always use new oak staves. So 1 month in a new oak barrel is the same as 1 year with 1 stave in a 7 gallon carboy. Actually, the stave would be “worn out” pretty quickly. I really should be using multiple staves. Or barrels!