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Should I oak my cider?

I have 5 gallons of cider in a primary, that has been in there since early november. Its really great juice - unpasteurized, made with a great blend of apples - that made a very good cider on my first try. I added some simple sugar to the first batch (maybe a # to 5 gallons of juice IIRC), which is now in bottles.

For the second 5 gallons, I used meadowfoam honey to sweeten it a bit, about 2lbs for the 5 gallons. Its probably not quite a cyser based on the proportions, but for those that have missed my prior lamenting of my love for this honey, its really awesome. Vanilla, caramel, burnt sugar. Really really good stuff.

I was considering oaking some or all of it, since I have a few bottles of my first cider left over, and don’t drink it that often. Also, I’ve heard ciders get immensely better after a YEAR or more of aging.

Anyone tried oaking cider? I have a few spirals lying around that I could use.

I added some oak to last year’s cider, but did so cautiously and didn’t get a lot of flavor out of it. In part that was because I also added some cinnamon sticks. Not too much, again I was thinking I was being cautious, but it overwhelmed the flavor. One of the troubles with spices is you sometimes get ones that are old and have little flavor, and other times the smallest amount can cause a slap-in-the-face reaction.

As best I could tell, the oak was ok, but I went with a pure cider this year. And yes, it really does get better with a year of aging.

I have never had any luck with the spirals. I have oaked many meads and ciders in oak casks. The first use is a heavy oak taste like a whiskey, but the subsequent ones are very smooth. They say the oak will loose its taste and effectiveness, but I have used one of the 1 gallon kegs for at least 10 batches with great results.

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