Author Topic: The LODO Effect: Evaluating the Low Oxygen Brewing Method | exBEERiment Results!  (Read 16504 times)

Offline JohnnyC

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I read a book where the author(s) wrote something about "making the best beer possible with the least effort possible." LODO flies in the face of that and the home brew mantra of RDWHAHB. This is my hobby to forget the stuff that causes me stress, which is why I will never attempt it to test LODO. I do, however, conduct my own experiments if see something that makes me wonder if it my produce better results in my own system (I did my own trub-no trub, for example). Hopefully, the LODO experimentation will continue and may produce a better (read easier for me) way to achieve the desired results. Additionally, hopefully, the Brulosopher test makes  people say, "I need to test that myself" vs. "See, told ya!". Cheers!

Offline erockrph

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My 2 cents:

As always, more experiments are needed.

And, I will let someone else run them.

Cheers.
Wise words. Personally, I will continue to minimize O2 on the hot side when practicle/simple to do. The more time-comsuming processes that don't fit into my brew day easily will wait until I have time to test it myself, or if I see enough compelling data to make me want to take the extra effort. Until then, I will remain a LODO-agnostic.
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Offline denny

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I read a book where the author(s) wrote something about "making the best beer possible with the least effort possible." LODO flies in the face of that and the home brew mantra of RDWHAHB. This is my hobby to forget the stuff that causes me stress, which is why I will never attempt it to test LODO. I do, however, conduct my own experiments if see something that makes me wonder if it my produce better results in my own system (I did my own trub-no trub, for example). Hopefully, the LODO experimentation will continue and may produce a better (read easier for me) way to achieve the desired results. Additionally, hopefully, the Brulosopher test makes  people say, "I need to test that myself" vs. "See, told ya!". Cheers!

+ a billionty and eleven!
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Offline stpug

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But it's supposedly equally viable with any style, right?  And there isn't a vast difference between a kolsch and a helles.

Not necessarily from my perspective.  Some styles seem to have a component in their character that stems from oxidative reactions, but not a kolsch (IMO).  And, IMO, there IS a vast difference between a kolsch/ale and a helles/lager - completely different breed of yeast strain.

But they specifically asked one of the LODO "biggies" and he said kolsch would be fine.

You may be right, but they didn't ask me ;D

Had I been asked, I would have said that a kolsch could be fine from my perspective but the SMB dosage would ideally be pretty darn low (i.e. minimal oxygen protection but minimal sulfide potential too).  I like the level of ~25ppm for ales, and a kolsch I would push lower to about 20ppm to start.  If you get a sulfury finished kolsch (like they did in the xBmt), then that's a poor example and you re-brew it with a lower dosage.  That's my method of attack for the dosage of SMB because it doesn't exhibit itself the same in every beer style.  Unfortunately it's a bit trial-and-error, but some information on dosage levels is being gleaned from those participating and sharing information on their low oxygen beer results.  The goal is: the least amount of SMB needed for oxygen protection is the proper amount to use in that batch.  You just gotta figure out what the "least amount" needed is.

Offline denny

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Both batches stirred equally so the OG difference can't be attributed to that.  " I did in fact stir the lodo mash at the same intervals as the non lodo. SMB used is sufficient to protect against this."
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Offline HoosierBrew

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A few observations since work has slowed down enough to think:

1.  Low O2 beers are not inherently sulfury. Since the initial paper came out, most brewers switched to the trifecta mixture of smb, ascorbic, and brewtan which obviously reduces smb dose.

2. The discrepancy in OGs most likely came from not stirring enough after underletting. I brewed a double batch of the Dunkel (one lodo, the other not) and both were within a point of each other. That ,or weights and volumes were off.

3.  The discrepancy in OGs alone should have merited a do over, for credibility's sake.


Edit - Denny, I read your post. I think they owe it to everybody to try it again. A lot of guys are brewing this way and not having this kind of OG discrepancy, or the sulfur problem.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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I can't help but wonder if the lack of recirculation had an impact here.  I appreciate that both batches were single infusion, albeit at slightly different starting temperatures.  Even so, the recirculation may be significant in many ways that we are missing.  Also, a gentle squeezing of the mash grain is something I do (using a bag).  Both aspects bring my beers to consistent gravities where I have done a non-scientific comparison of Lodo versus non-Lodo in sequential brewings. 
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Offline denny

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A few observations since work has slowed down enough to think:

1.  Low O2 beers are not inherently sulfury. Since the initial paper came out, most brewers switched to the trifecta mixture of smb, ascorbic, and brewtan which obviously reduces smb dose.

2. The discrepancy in OGs most likely came from not stirring enough after underletting. I brewed a double batch of the Dunkel (one lodo, the other not) and both were within a point of each other. That ,or weights and volumes were off.

3.  The discrepancy in OGs alone should have merited a do over, for credibility's sake.


Edit - Denny, I read your post. I think they owe it to everybody to try it again. A lot of guys are brewing this way and not having this kind of OG discrepancy, or the sulfur problem.

And obviously some are.  I think the whole process needs further study, but I'm not gonna be the one to do it.  And let's be clear....they don't "owe" it to anybody.  Their results, like ours, are what they are.  You (the royal you) can accept them, reject them, or try it for yourself.  And as to the OGs, Jake said that every LODO batch he's brewed has come out like that.  Just because it hasn't for other people doesn't mean you can discount his results unless you can explain them.
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Offline blair.streit

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Maybe "it" is just sulfur and everyone is right...
I agree, but so far I'm having a hard time figuring out a simple way to test it. Unless there's a simpler way to introduce these sulfur compounds in the right proportions post-boil, I guess you'd just have to do a bunch of trials with varying levels of SMB in the mash.

I understand Bamforth's point, and my only addition is that there's a "sweet spot" for any seasoning and that past that point you quickly go into negative territory.

My hypothesis is that up to a certain point,  these sulfur compounds add a dryness/crispness that works well to accentuate the malt flavor in many beer styles. Similar to salt on french fries -- up to a point most people prefer it. However, once you go past that point you quickly tip the scales the other way.



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Offline brulosopher

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The gravity difference between the trials is remarkable. I'm trying to understand how the process or SMB could affect that to that degree. There is no doubt that the gravity difference would markedly alter the beer flavor and perception.

I appreciate the author mentioning the honey notes in the regular beer version. Unfortunately that note is a sign of oxidation. I'm curious if the beers can be retasted in a few months to assess if the longevity of the beers is affected.

I didn't brew this beer but I did taste it, no honey imo, though iirc, the LODO folks use "honey" to describe the character they get from a LODO wort/beer, no?

So, to the comments tjhat they should have made a lager to test it, Marshall said this in the comments...."We consulted with a major proponent of LODO while designing this xBmt, he assured us the benefits would be seen in Kölsch or pretty much any other beer style. That said, when we revisit it, it will likely be with a light lager."  Also..."We specifically asked about Kölsch."

It was Bryan here in this forum (sorry no link, at Disneyland).

Both batches stirred equally so the OG difference can't be attributed to that.  " I did in fact stir the lodo mash at the same intervals as the non lodo. SMB used is sufficient to protect against this."

Got it!

This is a good experiment from my perspective, and the results are not surprising - though perhaps a little premature from the perspective of "quality experiments".  I was also in the same boat last year, and with experience comes process adjustment and development which ultimately lead to improved success.  I believe it's once you are able to produce successful low oxygen batches that this experiment should be revisited.

As for sulfury beer - the ultimate detriment to this experiment and some low oxygen batches - sulfites are simply a means to an end at the moment, and will certainly be replaced with an alternative, yet equally effective scavenger comes along.  It's too bad that the "defacto standard" beer style (a lager of all styles) was not chosen for this published experiment (an ale).

@bayareabrewer: that's the case with every bru-cru (and experimental brewing) experiment - "discussions as to how the trial was done incorrectly".

But it's supposedly equally viable with any style, right?  And there isn't a vast difference between a kolsch and a helles.

That's what I've been told.

Offline pkrone

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So, to the comments tjhat they should have made a lager to test it, Marshall said this in the comments...."We consulted with a major proponent of LODO while designing this xBmt, he assured us the benefits would be seen in Kölsch or pretty much any other beer style. That said, when we revisit it, it will likely be with a light lager."  Also..."We specifically asked about Kölsch."

Hmmm,   I wonder, then, if they specifically asked about a significant difference in OG/FG between the test beers too...    ;)
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Offline denny

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So, to the comments tjhat they should have made a lager to test it, Marshall said this in the comments...."We consulted with a major proponent of LODO while designing this xBmt, he assured us the benefits would be seen in Kölsch or pretty much any other beer style. That said, when we revisit it, it will likely be with a light lager."  Also..."We specifically asked about Kölsch."

Hmmm,   I wonder, then, if they specifically asked about a significant difference in OG/FG between the test beers too...    ;)

They would have had to have known in advance that there were going to be differences.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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And obviously some are.  I think the whole process needs further study, but I'm not gonna be the one to do it.  And let's be clear....they don't "owe" it to anybody.  Their results, like ours, are what they are.  You (the royal you) can accept them, reject them, or try it for yourself.  And as to the OGs, Jake said that every LODO batch he's brewed has come out like that.  Just because it hasn't for other people doesn't mean you can discount his results unless you can explain them.


Denny, let me rephrase - nobody 'owes' me or anybody else another study, or anything else. As many others, it's just a data point. But I do feel to have real significance , it would help to have beers that are in the same ballpark OG-wise. Surely you wouldn't argue that, Denny. I'm out of ideas as to why that is and have no more to offer to offer since I wasn't there brewing with them. It doesn't make me royal (?) because I (and many others) didn't have a discrepancy. It just makes me puzzled. ;D
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Offline pkrone

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My 2 cents:

As always, more experiments are needed.

And, I will let someone else run them.

Cheers.
Wise words. Personally, I will continue to minimize O2 on the hot side when practicle/simple to do. The more time-comsuming processes that don't fit into my brew day easily will wait until I have time to test it myself, or if I see enough compelling data to make me want to take the extra effort. Until then, I will remain a LODO-agnostic.

I can appreciate your time concern.   Finding time to brew and trying to minimize the total time spent was a big issue for me 10 years ago when my kids were little and my wife traveled a lot for work.    Lucky for me, it's not a big issue any more.

However, here's an example.  This past Friday I got off work early.  Mixed up my brewing water and added the yeast and sugar to deoxygenate it.   I then had 2 hrs to kill and filled that time doing honey-do's and other things.  The rest of the brew day was no different (ie, required no more time) than a regular brew day.  The only things I've "invested" in to make a LoDo beer is SMB (cheap), ascorbic acid (cheap),  Brewtan B (not so cheap), and 5 bucks in materials to make a homemade mash cap.  I still use my copper CFC. 

I can tell a difference.  My friends can tell a difference.   That's good enough for me.    Maybe I'll get a stainless chiller for my birthday next month... :)
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Offline narvin

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Interesting, it seems like the brewer has repeatedly seen lower OG with this method?

I've only done a couple of batches (both no sparge) and the gravity was what I expected, almost to the point.  I can recirculate but only do so before draining the tun.
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