Author Topic: oxygen absorbing caps  (Read 2060 times)

Offline graymax

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 6
    • View Profile
oxygen absorbing caps
« on: December 11, 2012, 04:51:05 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.





 

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 13465
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: oxygen absorbing caps
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2012, 07:07:49 PM »
I always sanitize oxy caps in either StarSan or Iodophor.  I've kept bottles I used them on for 8+ years and they've been in great shape.  Very slightly, but appropriately, oxidized.  Same as the non oxy caps.   ;D
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline smkranz

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 168
  • Maryland
    • View Profile
    • Midnight Homebrewers' League
Re: oxygen absorbing caps
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2012, 08:48:01 PM »

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.

You are about to get a reprise of what you have already read  8).

I mostly keg, but when I bottle I use oxygen-absorbing caps exclusively (except for corked Belgian styles).  I use them right out of the bag and do not sanitize 'em...the alcohol in the beer will take care of any bugs.  I also try to cap on foam using a Beer Gun.

I have no empirical evidence that the same beer would have been better or worse with a regular crown after a year or two or three, but I haven't used standard caps in many years.  There are lots of bottles of aged beers in my basement and if the beer was good going in, the oxy crown caps have kept them that way IMHO.

You're going to put the beer up for a year or more, so you know going in that it will be at risk of oxidizing.  Why not give it the  best chance possible of being great a year from now?  Is it worth saving a measley couple of bucks? 

Careful handling at bottling, and cold storage for the next year will probably do more for your beer than your choice of crown.  But at the end of the day, if you want to maximize the beer's potential, spring for the extra pennies per bottle and use oxygen-absorbing crowns.
Steve Kranz
AHA • BJCP
Midnight Homebrewers' League
Westminster, Maryland
http://www.midnighthomebrewers.org

Offline tygo

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2622
  • Sterling, VA
    • View Profile
Re: oxygen absorbing caps
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2012, 04:58:59 AM »
I use them every time, just as additional insurance.  Definitely sanitize them.  They work for awhile after you activate them by getting them wet so no concern that you're using up all of the O2 absorbing capability by sanitizing with starsan before use.
Clint
Wort Hogs

Fermenting: Wit
On Tap: Lucifer's Hammer Golden Strong Ale, Dopplebock, Old Fuzzynut's Ale

Offline dbarber

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 312
    • View Profile
Re: oxygen absorbing caps
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2012, 07:15:04 AM »
I use them whenever I bottle, which is usually only for competitions and big beers and meads.  I use them straight out of the bag and turn the bottle over to wet the cap and activate them.  Never had a problem with either infection or oxidation.
Dave Barber
Orwigsburg, PA
AHA Member, BJCP National

Offline Joe Sr.

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2858
  • Chicago - NORTH SIDE
    • View Profile
Re: oxygen absorbing caps
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2012, 08:01:34 AM »
Used to use them years ago, but changed to whatever the cheapest caps I could get were at the time.  I never really noticed any difference.  I have some beers that are probably six old at this point.  If I can find them, I'll crack one open to see how it is.  But I have no idea what cap I would have used.

I've gone back to the O2 caps now when I'm bottling from the keg just for the extra insurance.

I have always sterilized my caps and never heard of anyone who didn't until just now.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton