Experiences and issues with low O2 process

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Brandon
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Experiences and issues with low O2 process

Postby Brandon » Tue Apr 26, 2016 10:25 am

I would like to start a thread specifically discussing some of the issues we have encountered using the low oxygen processes we've outlined. Folks from the team, please chime in and add your notes, cautions, observations and caveats.

I know for me, I have been making improvements to minimize oxygen exposure throughout the process, and am now dialing in fermentation. I really love German light lagers, so capturing that distinctive flavor is important. But not always achievable to the level I desire. The oxygen control methods I use definitely make a better beer, the malt flavors, especially with caramalts are night and day different. Recipe formulation, especially with a high pilsner malt grain bill has an impact on the profile, as well as clean fermentation, and very tight oxygen control on the cold side...more than the typical homebrewer is used to doing. Use of gelatin, unsealed transfers to secondary, and lack of residual extract during transfers dramatically affect the finished product and shelf life. We're still working on dialing all of this in as optimally as possible, but I thought I'd throw some topics out to discuss, that folks will inevitably encounter as they try the approach we have described.
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Re: Experiences and issues with low O2 process

Postby wobdee » Tue Apr 26, 2016 10:51 am

An issue I see with my process is loss of some of that German flavor and aroma half way through the keg. My last Helles was fantastic the first couple weeks then started to fade. It was still good at the end but it lost some IT.

I'm sure it's my kegging process since I just gravity feed from the fermenter to Co2 purged keg with 10mg/l sulfites. Last couple kegs I upped the dosage slightly and shall see what happens. Ideally I need to transfer in a closed system and or cold ferment with spunding valve but that may be awhile yet.
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Re: Experiences and issues with low O2 process

Postby Roachbrau » Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:20 am

I'm completely convinced at this point that active yeast via spunding or bottle conditioning is the only way to save it, unless you want to take it to the level that the pros do and completely remove all air from everything with a combination of degassed water and inert gas.

I dosed with sulfite at packaging as well for awhile, and even with a high enough dose to cause a noticeable "cheap wine" sulfite taste, it would still start fading at some point within a matter of weeks.
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Re: Experiences and issues with low O2 process

Postby Brody » Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:23 pm

I'm two batches into low O2:

1) Pale Ale: This beer tasted really great on brew day and in the keg after spunding/dry hopping. However, I made a couple of mistakes. By dry hopping & spunding in the serving keg I can't seem to pull clean pints. I gelatined it without really thinking about all the 02 it would introduce it and noticed some of the flavor drop off as time went on. Next time I'm going to make sure to use a shortened dip tube.

2) Helles: This beer hit 82% EVG and is in the lagering keg now. Samples taste fantastic. That lingering fresh grain taste is absolutely their and I'm hoping it continues. The plan is to leave it lagering at 31f for a month and see how it clears out.

While I didn't find brewday overly complex the main hassle with this method is the increased time from brew day to turn around (with only 2 chest freezers I have capacity issues if I have my lagering/Fermentation freezer tied up near freezing for a month or 2). Has anyone with a meter experimented with ways to either filter, gelatin, or keg jump? I'm wondering if pre-boiling, quickly cooling, and SMS dosing a few oz of water used for the gelatin solution gently added to the keg I spunded in would add enough O2 to affect the flavor.
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Re: Experiences and issues with low O2 process

Postby ajk » Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:56 pm

Brody wrote:Has anyone with a meter experimented with ways to either filter, gelatin, or keg jump? I'm wondering if pre-boiling, quickly cooling, and SMS dosing a few oz of water used for the gelatin solution gently added to the keg I spunded in would add enough O2 to affect the flavor.

Keg jumps, yes. I fill the destination keg to the top with sanitizer (maybe I should start boiling it first ), seal it, and push it out with CO₂. Then I elevate the source keg, and keeping both kegs sealed and pressurized, jumper the beverage posts *and the gas posts*. Then give the destination keg release valve a brief pull to start the siphon. Jumpers should likewise be purged with sanitizer then CO₂.

I try never to use gelatin unless it's an emergency. I have no experience with filtering.
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Re: Experiences and issues with low O2 process

Postby mpietropaoli » Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:08 pm

wobdee wrote:
I'm sure it's my kegging process since I just gravity feed from the fermenter to Co2 purged keg with 10mg/l sulfites. Last couple kegs I upped the dosage slightly and shall see what happens. Ideally I need to transfer in a closed system and or cold ferment with spunding valve but that may be awhile yet.


So all you would do in your case would be to hook up a liquid post to your 'fermenter liquid-out' hose, then hook a gas post to a gas line, then to a bung in the fermenter (similar to Bryan's setup), correct?
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Re: Experiences and issues with low O2 process

Postby Bryan R » Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:14 pm

Image

This my method for my closed transfer to spunding vessel. I fill the keg full of low foaming sanitizer(saniclean) and push it all out. Attach jumpers and go.
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Re: Experiences and issues with low O2 process

Postby wobdee » Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:26 pm

mpietropaoli wrote:
wobdee wrote:
I'm sure it's my kegging process since I just gravity feed from the fermenter to Co2 purged keg with 10mg/l sulfites. Last couple kegs I upped the dosage slightly and shall see what happens. Ideally I need to transfer in a closed system and or cold ferment with spunding valve but that may be awhile yet.


So all you would do in your case would be to hook up a liquid post to your 'fermenter liquid-out' hose, then hook a gas post to a gas line, then to a bung in the fermenter (similar to Bryan's setup), correct?


Ya, something like that. Also need to have the receiving keg filled with sanitizer and pushed out with co2 beforehand. With my setup I believe it to be better and easier to cold ferment and transfer to keg with spunden valve, naturally carb and serve from the same keg. I just don't have all my ducks in a row on this yet.
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Re: Experiences and issues with low O2 process

Postby wobdee » Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:31 pm

Bryan, how do you get that last little bit of sanitizer out of the bottom of the keg? My out dip tubes are all cut a little short so pushing the sanitizer out would still leave a bit in the bottom. Maybe not enough to worry about?
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Re: Experiences and issues with low O2 process

Postby Bryan R » Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:42 pm

There is little if any left, I use full length dip tubes.

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