Author Topic: Low Oxygen Brewing  (Read 1683 times)

Offline thcipriani

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Low Oxygen Brewing
« on: May 23, 2016, 06:37:07 AM »
Ran across this article on very low oxygen brewing method for making a helles: http://www.germanbrewing.net/docs/Brewing-Bavarian-Helles.pdf

Seems fairly difficult to pull off. I've heard of this technique a couple of times now—has anyone here tried it?
Tyler Cipriani
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Low Oxygen Brewing
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2016, 06:45:22 AM »
It's been talked about at great length here. Not sure if anyone here has done it yet, but I'm sure some will.
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Offline denny

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Re: Low Oxygen Brewing
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2016, 07:42:06 AM »
Nope, and I don't intend to.  Wat too much hassle and I'm not entirely convinced it's worth it.  I'm experimenting with easier ways to deal woth O2 in beer.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Low Oxygen Brewing
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2016, 07:58:43 AM »
I just use my vacuum cleaner to suck out all the air. Seems to work fine for me.
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Offline narvin

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Re: Low Oxygen Brewing
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2016, 08:37:08 AM »
I thought it was very telling that just using metabisulfite in the strike water wasn't enough to remove DO (verified by a meter), which is why they pre-boil it.  According to Martin, the amount used should be plenty to neutralize the amount of DO found in strike water.  So, is the sulfite doing anything at all?  Or is their whole process flawed?
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Offline narcout

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Re: Low Oxygen Brewing
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2016, 09:06:38 AM »
So, is the sulfite doing anything at all?

The sulfite oxidizes to sulfate.  With test strips, you can measure how much is getting used up during a particular process.
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Offline stpug

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Re: Low Oxygen Brewing
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2016, 09:07:10 AM »
My first attempt at low/reduced oxygen brewing is in the books.  Went for a british bitter because, why not?  The methods I implemented for reduced oxygen did not add any length to the brewday, but the methods I implemented for producing a British bitter added an hour to my day (30 more minutes mashing, 30 more minutes boiling).  I've top cropped my british yeast and tasted a spoonful sample, which was good as usual (the homemade torrified wheat comes through very well). No loss of efficiency - increased efficiency from typical actually.  Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing about the actual DO levels during any of my process.  I also don't plan on any triangle testing.  Just a first-run attempt at implementing most of the low oxygen brewing suggestions to see how difficult it would be for me - it wasn't.  I'll be doing the same for an upcoming saison with a couple minor adjustments, but same general goals of making baby steps in the low-oxygen-brewing direction without hinging judgment on my attempts until I can confidently produce what should be considered a qualified low oxygen beer.

Offline denny

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Re: Low Oxygen Brewing
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2016, 09:10:11 AM »
My first attempt at low/reduced oxygen brewing is in the books.  Went for a british bitter because, why not?  The methods I implemented for reduced oxygen did not add any length to the brewday, but the methods I implemented for producing a British bitter added an hour to my day (30 more minutes mashing, 30 more minutes boiling).  I've top cropped my british yeast and tasted a spoonful sample, which was good as usual (the homemade torrified wheat comes through very well). No loss of efficiency - increased efficiency from typical actually.  Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing about the actual DO levels during any of my process.  I also don't plan on any triangle testing.  Just a first-run attempt at implementing most of the low oxygen brewing suggestions to see how difficult it would be for me - it wasn't.  I'll be doing the same for an upcoming saison with a couple minor adjustments, but same general goals of making baby steps in the low-oxygen-brewing direction without hinging judgment on my attempts until I can confidently produce what should be considered a qualified low oxygen beer.

So, what methods did you implement?  From my reading, I understood it to be an all or nothing procedure.
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Offline stpug

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Re: Low Oxygen Brewing
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2016, 09:13:33 AM »
I thought it was very telling that just using metabisulfite in the strike water wasn't enough to remove DO (verified by a meter), which is why they pre-boil it.  According to Martin, the amount used should be plenty to neutralize the amount of DO found in strike water.  So, is the sulfite doing anything at all?  Or is their whole process flawed?

According to some single-data-point DO-meter testing from one of the folks involved in the german forum, the metabite essentially has a lower end level of DO scavenging that it can accomplish on it's own when starting from a baseline of "normal tap water" DO levels.  Because of this, they make the recommendation to preboil the water in order to start with levels of DO at near zero - it's from this starting point that the metabite is able to maintain (read, slowly lose ground) on the DO levels in the water.  At least, that's how I understand it up to this point.  Armed with no DO meter, I cannot do any verification myself so it's all just shots in the dark for me.

Offline beersk

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Re: Low Oxygen Brewing
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2016, 09:25:21 AM »
I thought it was very telling that just using metabisulfite in the strike water wasn't enough to remove DO (verified by a meter), which is why they pre-boil it.  According to Martin, the amount used should be plenty to neutralize the amount of DO found in strike water.  So, is the sulfite doing anything at all?  Or is their whole process flawed?

According to some single-data-point DO-meter testing from one of the folks involved in the german forum, the metabite essentially has a lower end level of DO scavenging that it can accomplish on it's own when starting from a baseline of "normal tap water" DO levels.  Because of this, they make the recommendation to preboil the water in order to start with levels of DO at near zero - it's from this starting point that the metabite is able to maintain (read, slowly lose ground) on the DO levels in the water.  At least, that's how I understand it up to this point.  Armed with no DO meter, I cannot do any verification myself so it's all just shots in the dark for me.
Yeah, without a meter, I'm not sure how worried about it we should be other than to just try to do what we can to reduce the DO levels. I has to make some amount of difference I'd think...but maybe not. I've brewed plenty of fantastic beers without worrying about it, but who knows how much better they'd have been, if at all...
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Offline stpug

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Re: Low Oxygen Brewing
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2016, 09:32:30 AM »
So, what methods did you implement?  From my reading, I understood it to be an all or nothing procedure.

I agree with you, that it's basically an "all or nothing" procedure to "do it right" according to the PDF.  I also don't believe I did enough steps to be confident that this batch would qualify as any kind of low oxygen batch of beer, nor am I able to do the spunding-keg thing (so there's that too :D).  This was just a first-step attempt for me to see how badly (or not) it would affect my brewday time and process with the steps I implemented because I'm willing to incur a little more time/process for a benefit, but if the benefit is not there then the extra time/process is not worth the effort.

As for the methods:
-KMeta throughout brew process
-Preboiling of all waters
-Underlet mash with barely any stirring
-All stirring was at a sloths pace
-Mash cap; MLT sealed entire duration
-Every attempt to keep hot side wort/water from dropping more than an inch or two
-"Boil" was solid simmer only

Failures in my methods:
-EPIC: I only had Kmeta for this brewday, not NaMeta
-EPIC: KMeta was added at boil temp instead of chilled temp (oversight in my initial reading of PDF)
-BIG: Copper chiller; kept it in starsan until the moment needed and Starsan was rinsed prior to each use
-Pseudo-continuous sparge by hand with batches of water, but minimized agitation of water
-Removal of hop bags caused a little splashing when wort was at ~95F
-I'm sure many, many other "mistakes"

I'll give the method this much: my elbow didn't bother me once from stirring :D.  Essentially, I felt like I was handling a newborn baby throughout most of the process (soft hands with slow and deliberate movements).
« Last Edit: May 23, 2016, 09:50:25 AM by stpug »

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Low Oxygen Brewing
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2016, 09:33:26 AM »
Yeah, without a meter, I'm not sure how worried about it we should be other than to just try to do what we can to reduce the DO levels. I has to make some amount of difference I'd think...but maybe not. I've brewed plenty of fantastic beers without worrying about it, but who knows how much better they'd have been, if at all...


I feel the same. I'm gonna give it a go, within reason. Not likely to start capping fermentations with a spunding anytime soon. I am gonna preboil the strike water, use Brewtan B in strike water (and the boil), cap the mash with Saran, and go with it. I can't believe it won't help any but if it really doesn't, then I've just made good beer.
Jon H.

Offline thcipriani

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Re: Low Oxygen Brewing
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2016, 12:01:42 PM »
use Brewtan B in strike water (and the boil)

What's Brewtan B doing in this case?

I'd never heard of it until just now: https://www.wyeastlab.com/com_b_productdetail.cfm?ProductID=13
Tyler Cipriani
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Low Oxygen Brewing
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2016, 12:12:02 PM »
use Brewtan B in strike water (and the boil)

What's Brewtan B doing in this case?

I'd never heard of it until just now: https://www.wyeastlab.com/com_b_productdetail.cfm?ProductID=13



In theory, many of the same things as SMB. Brewtan B allegedly prevents the oxidative reactions from occurring, increasing shelf life. I haven't used it yet, so I can't say that as any sort of fact. The big breweries allegedly use it, but how that translates to brewing at home is yet to be seen.
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: Low Oxygen Brewing
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2016, 12:35:09 PM »
Next Saturday I'm going to break in my brand new Speidel Braumeister, brewing my first session beer ever, using malted oats and Golden Promise for the very first time, using the no-sparge method with which I have no experience whatsoever. And I'm going to preboil the water, use sodium metabisulfite, add brewtan (readily available in the Netherlands), and try out my new stainless steel chiller. I'll let you know how it goes. #cuttingafewcorners #triangletestsareforwussies
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