Author Topic: oxidation risk with batch sparging  (Read 7040 times)

Offline boapiu

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oxidation risk with batch sparging
« on: June 07, 2012, 05:59:49 AM »
I have done a little of both batch and continuous sparging and am wondering about the increased risk of oxidation when the grain bed is uncovered with batch sparging. I was reading some of the threads concerning fly vs batch sparging and noticed simplicity and wort clarity mentioned but not oxidation. Is oxidation such a small problem that it doesn't out weigh the other benefits? In the March-April 2008 BYO there is an article comparing the two methods and it mentioned a sort of hybrid technique where the wort is drained but not completely, so that the grain bed remains covered and then additional water added prior to draining again. This process is repeated as often as needed until the correct boil volume is obtained. I may give this a try as I no longer have a set up that allows me to both add water and drain simultaneously.

I am curious if folks more experienced with batch sparging have any issues with oxidation.
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Offline theDarkSide

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Re: oxidation risk with batch sparging
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2012, 06:10:25 AM »
I've never had problem with oxidation or hot side aeration when batch sparging since I started all grain brewing 5 years ago.  It possible that it's there but I can't pick it up.  And I've been know to stir the heck out of the mash and sparge too.
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Offline greatplainsbrewer

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Re: oxidation risk with batch sparging
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2012, 06:16:15 AM »
Never had an issue with HSA or oxidation in over 5years of batch sparging.

Offline MDixon

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Re: oxidation risk with batch sparging
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2012, 06:18:23 AM »
I believe pre-boil HSA is a myth, a fallacy, something invented by somone with too much time on their hands...etc.

Once my tun (I fly sparge), was sucking in air at the valve and before I noticed it I had a kettle full of foam while sparging. I started to fix it and figured why not have a nice experiment so I let it roll. Boiled, cooled, fermented, etc. Beer turned out fine and was fine over 6 months later. So what that tells me is it is nearly impossible to oxidize a beer pre-boil. Now if just anyone provided me with that info I might be skeptical, but I've been a BJCP judge a long time and while I am not hypersensitive to oxidation, I do know how to detect it.

So spash away pre-boil...
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Offline nateo

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Re: oxidation risk with batch sparging
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2012, 07:04:00 AM »
HSA is about as big of a risk as getting hit by a meteor. It's a "real" risk, in that it exists, but the odds of it happening are so fantastically small you really shouldn't let it affect how you live your life.
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Offline DrewG

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Re: oxidation risk with batch sparging
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2012, 07:55:52 AM »
Theres an archived episode of Brewstrong with Dr Charles Bamforth from UC Davis on HSA. The jist of it is it's not something homebrewers need to worry about.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: oxidation risk with batch sparging
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2012, 08:01:26 AM »
Theres an archived episode of Brewstrong with Dr Charles Bamforth from UC Davis on HSA. The jist of it is it's not something homebrewers need to worry about.
Yes, he says almost all of it can be corrected with a good healthy fermetnation. He said there are many more things on the cold side to worry about and get under control before we should worry about HSA.
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Offline DrewG

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Re: oxidation risk with batch sparging
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2012, 08:06:53 AM »
I've found anything that man has to say about brewing is worth listening to. A wealth of information and he's entertaining as hell. I downloaded an audiobook of his from audible that was great. He's done a couple of Beersmith podcasts as well, mashing and beerfoam if I remember.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: oxidation risk with batch sparging
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2012, 08:39:12 AM »
I've found anything that man has to say about brewing is worth listening to. A wealth of information and he's entertaining as hell. I downloaded an audiobook of his from audible that was great. He's done a couple of Beersmith podcasts as well, mashing and beerfoam if I remember.

He did the podcast on diacetyl, too. Didn't realize he was on the Beerfoam one. I'll be downloading that one to listen to on the ride home.
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Offline denny

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oxidation risk with batch sparging
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2012, 09:28:16 AM »
I've batch sparged over 420 batches.  If oxidation was an issue, I would have noticed it by now and changed my technique.  When BYO published that article, there was a firestorm over on the NB forum with people challenging the article.  The other thing to keep in mind is that the guy who wrote the article had never batch sparged, so he had no empirical evidence.  Book learnin' is great, but real life experience trumps it every time.


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Offline bluesman

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Re: oxidation risk with batch sparging
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2012, 09:41:51 AM »
I've batch sparged over 420 batches.  If oxidation was an issue, I would have noticed it by now and changed my technique.  When BYO published that article, there was a firestorm over on the NB forum with people challenging the article.  The other thing to keep in mind is that the guy who wrote the article had never batch sparged, so he had no empirical evidence.  Book learnin' is great, but real life experience trumps it every time.

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+1

My experience has also shown that this theory is invalid.  There may be some oxidation that occurs during the mash but it doesn't adversely affect the end product.  YMMV.
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Offline blatz

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Re: oxidation risk with batch sparging
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2012, 02:03:21 PM »
I've batch sparged over 420 batches.  If oxidation was an issue, I would have noticed it by now and changed my technique.  When BYO published that article, there was a firestorm over on the NB forum with people challenging the article.  The other thing to keep in mind is that the guy who wrote the article had never batch sparged, so he had no empirical evidence.  Book learnin' is great, but real life experience trumps it every time.

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+1

My experience has also shown that this theory is invalid.  There may be some oxidation that occurs during the mash but it doesn't adversely affect the end product.  YMMV.

+2 - never had an issue - 7 years of batch sparging, 1600+ gal of beer that was unoxidized (well at least initially  ;) )
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Offline rjharper

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Re: oxidation risk with batch sparging
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2012, 03:13:39 PM »
I'll also add that once you get the wort to the boil, the solubility of dissolved gases drops to zero anyway, so HSA could only occur in the window between sparging and boiling.  Ive always batch sparged, always stirred the hell out of it, and never had a problem.

Offline majorvices

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Re: oxidation risk with batch sparging
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2012, 04:21:50 PM »
I ran a very small pro brew system (a little under 3 bbls) for about a year and batch sparge every batch out of it because at that size it was easier and never had a problem.
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Offline malzig

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Re: oxidation risk with batch sparging
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2012, 02:58:42 AM »
In the March-April 2008 BYO there is an article comparing the two methods and it mentioned a sort of hybrid technique where the wort is drained but not completely, so that the grain bed remains covered and then additional water added prior to draining again. This process is repeated as often as needed until the correct boil volume is obtained. I may give this a try as I no longer have a set up that allows me to both add water and drain simultaneously.
I don't find oxidation to be an issue with batch sparging, either.

However, I have used the hybrid sparge technique they describe, many times.  I use it for beers like pale lagers, in an attempt to minimize tannin extraction.  It might be helpful for brewers with slightly alkaline water by increasing the buffering power during the sparge.

I only use a single sparge.  I drain the first runnings to just above the top of the grain bed, add all the sparge water, stir well, vorlauf, and drain completely.    It's an interesting variation on batch sparging, but I can't say there's much, if any, real benefit on my system, but it doesn't hurt much to give it a try.  I assumed it would hurt efficiency severely, but, for a 1.050 beer, my efficiency drops from ~87% to ~84%, when I use the technique.