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Messages - graymax

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Kegging and Bottling / oxygen absorbing caps
« on: December 11, 2012, 11:51:05 PM »
Hi, All:

I brewed a couple of high-gravity Christmas brews too late for this year (I like to let my beers bottle-condition for at least one month) so I'll tuck them away for next year.

I typically use the standard crown caps, which I sterilize in vodka, and -- knock on wood -- I have never had oxidation problems with the beers I have stored for weeks, months, or even a year or two.  But I thought I would try the oxygen-absorbing caps for my Christmas beers.  I gather the ingredient used to absorb the O2 is ascorbic acid, it needs to be wet to work, and it takes several hours or days.

Reading previous fora on the topic indicates there are many diverse opinions on the oxygen-absorbing caps.  Some people advocate sterilizing them; others recommend against it.  Some people recommend turning the bottles upside down once immediately after bottling to "activate" the caps.  Some people claim their beers are undercarbonated when they use the caps; others swear by the caps, especially when it comes to preserving hop aroma/flavor.

I would be interested in hearing from people who have experience (both good and bad) with these caps.

Thanks, and have a safe and happy holiday season.


Many thanks to Beerrat for the heads-up on the Vassani.  I purchased the same model for the same price at the local Home Depot and it is plenty big enough for a 6.5 gallon carboy.  The unit fits nicely under my counter.  It's pretty rudimentary, but at the "6" setting ("7" is the coldest), it  chilled water down into the mid-40s.  I brewed my first Kolsch this past Sunday, pitched two packets of Wyeast #2565 at 68 degrees F., and set the Vassani at "2".  Twenty-four hours later, with a nice fermentation underway, the Kolsch was at 62 degrees F.  By Tuesday morning, it was down to 60 degrees F.  This morning, it was at 58 degrees F.  I presume the temperature dropped slightly because the peak exothermic reaction has passed.  So this morning, I set the dial midway between "1" and "2" because I want the fermentation back at 60 degrees F.  Adding a temperature controller (as Beerrat did) would eliminate the guesswork on temperature settings but I think trial and error will be sufficient for my purposes.

It's much too soon to judge the unit, but I'm pleased so far and excited that I now have reasonable temperature control and much colder temperatures (than room temperature), if necessary, for fermenting my ales.  The unit's "warmer" settings are in the low to mid-60s.  Now I can brew sucessfully year-round here in DC, and I might even try a lager or two.

Thanks again, Beerrat!

Equipment and Software / Re: Where to go for oxygen tanks?
« on: May 31, 2011, 07:04:21 PM »
Pinski--I too am able to purchase oxygen at Home Depot and also at a local hardware store (both in the Washington, DC metro area) that has affiliations with Ace and True Value.   Good luck.

Beerrat: Thanks for the tip on the Vassani.  On-line reviews on the Home Depot Website were mostly positive, considering the price.  You said you have had it for 6 months; are you pleased?  I'm curious what the INTERIOR dimensions are.  I gather it has a compressor.  Is there room (sufficient height) on top of the compressor for a carboy, or is the unit deep enough for the carboy to sit on the bottom/floor next to the compressor?  You mentioned a 6-gallon carboy.  Do you know if a 6.5 gallon carboy with a rubber stopper and airlock or blow-off tube will fit?  I'm not looking for anything too fancy -- just something that will hold my carboy and keep the fermenting temperatures in the low to mid-60s.  Thanks again. 

Thanks.  I haven't been able to find a "dorm"-sized fridge with a flat floor; do you know of any?  They all seem to have the shelf over the compressor.  I don't want anything much bigger than that size, if possible.

Hi, All:  I enjoyed the "Cheap Fermentation Temp Control?" thread/pics -- very informative.  I might go that route. It certainly is affordable!  I, too, live in an apartment -- in DC (hot summers, not particularly cold winters).  I have a large walk-in storage room where I ferment my beers.  There's no AC or heat or windows in the room and the temperature doesn't fluctuate much -- which is good -- but it doesn't get much below 70 degrees F.   So I'm wondering if anyone has experience using a wine bottle cooler for fermenting beers?  Danby has a 34-bottle single temperature zone cooler (DWC1534BLS) with removable shelves.  It's narrow but looks like it could fit a 6.5 gallon carboy with an airlock or even a blow-off hose.  The temperature control (39-64 degrees F.) will be more precise.  Thanks for your input.

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