I don’t feel attacked.
I wrote and re-wrote my response, editing it carefully to remove negativity, trying to keep it about me and my reasoning.
Questions cause me to review my processes to determine what, if anything, I might consider changing. A question about my process is what prompted me to ask Dr Bamforth a question. He sent me that article as his reply. I learned a ton from it.
It’s all good. I have found it a healthy discussion.
How far must I go to reduce O2 exposure?
I can tell you I’ve settled on trying to “Keep out the oxygen from the final package and keep the beer cold. And minimise the time from production to consumption. Worry about these things before anything else.” (Bamforth).
I don’t have state-of-the-art packaging equipment Bamforth suggests. Using closed transfer to a CO2 purged keg with extract remaining so the last 1-2% of attenuation is completed in the keg is my effort to limit O2 in final packaging. (Annemüller) After all, draining a fermenter thru the lid or thru the QD post takes the same amount of time and effort so I figured why not. It’s easy enough and I save on bottled CO2.
Bamforth also discusses metal ions, bottom-filling of vessels, using deaerated water for slurries, limit transfers, etc. as less important but additional steps that can be taken.
I also incorporate information I received from Joe Formanek concerning a combination of oxygen reduction and ion removal as what he termed in his note “the best case scenario”. He recommended Brewtan B to bind up Fenton-like metals and prevents the formation of superoxides in solution, thereby reducing the oxidation potential of any dissolved oxygen in the wort.
That’s why I use distilled or RO water (to reduce ions), deaerate my water (using bread yeast and table sugar), add Brewtan B (settles trüb fast to make clear beer), use no sparge (it’s faster and easier), and underlet my mash (so I don’t have to lift 7+ gallons of hot water and pour it in a MLT). These were easy, data based, common sense techniques — most with a dual purpose in mind.
I don’t use NaMeta because I’ve had bad experiences with it. It crossed the PITA line. I do use Ascorbic Acid. Ascorbic acid is a proven antioxidant, though slightly less effective in solution at scavenging oxygen than NaMeta. However, enzymes exist within the malt that increase the effectiveness of AA as an oxygen scavenger. The guys at Genus Brewing use 3-5 grams Ascorbic Acid to their mash to fend off oxidation. 1 tsp. Easy enough. But whether any of that matters or not, most importantly, in combination with Calcium I add that reacts with phosphates in the grain husks to release phytic acid which lowers the mash pH naturally, it’s a weak acid that gets my mash pH in my desired range (5.2-5.4).
These things are not an issue for me. I find them easily accomplished whether they make a difference or not. …but these things may be in the ‘not worth the trouble’ category for someone else if they cannot detect a distinct difference. I’m ok with that. I looked at the data and the effort required to implement these actions and decided on my own this was the direction I would take. I feel good brewing this way.
I do a lot less than others espouse and my beer tastes fine.
Some would probably say I don’t go far enough. Others would probably say I’ve gone too far. I actually have no idea what my O2 levels are. …and I don’t really plan to find out. I do what I can without crossing my PITA line and I like the way things are going. I keep the beer cold and the pipeline moving (drink fresh).
…and I agree: Your beer does taste fine. In fact, I think we should brew the same recipe and do our taste test again. Not necessarily to determine who’s beer or process is better, but because I thought it was fun to do. I enjoyed it.