I have so many questions about the low O2 paper

Infusion, Decoction, Step, etc

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uberg33k
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I have so many questions about the low O2 paper

Postby uberg33k » Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:41 pm

So, I read the paper and had many, many questions about the process. First, allow me to recap to verify I fully have captured the methodology being prescribed.
    1. All water is boiled to remove DO and treated with sodium metabisulfate
    2. Bottom inlet mash is preferred, but if you must, mash in from the top with as little splashing as possible.
    3. Don't stir the mash
    4. Transfer to the BK with minimal splashing
    5. After chilling, do not oxygenate wort until you have mixed in active yeast
    6. Rack off the fermenter and finish out fermentation/carbonation using a spunding valve
Does that cover it? And this methodology was primarily developed based on texts of Narziss and Kunze, correct? If that's it, here goes the questions.

  • How does decoction work in this system? I mean, you have to keep stirring the mash to keep it from scorching and there's many cycles of removing and adding heated mash. That would seem like a lot of O2 is getting in at that point.
  • Adding a ton of metabisulfate seems very un-German. I mean, is this a case of the ends justifying the means? I just have a hard time thinking about doing it and not having some German master brewer scowling at me in disapproval.
  • Where is the data mentioned in the paper? It read as if there were many trials run of low O2 produced beers vs a more standard homebrew procedure. Where can I read up on that?
  • From a food chemistry perspective, it would seem that all the sodium from the SMB would have a large impact on flavor. Have any trials been done with a homebrew method not utilizing SMB in a low O2 production vs low O2 with SMB? How about standard homebrew with higher sodium vs low O2 with SMB?
  • I'm sure there are plenty of big name breweries using low O2/inert brewing systems, but what about the little guys? There are still plenty of breweries out there using equipment from the 60's and I don't see them being able to pull something like this off. Are they just not seen as producing beer that's as good?
  • What about open fermentation? I know of at least one lager brewer in Bamberg (Griefenklau) that does open fermentation on their lager. I'm guessing there are others as well. Are their beers just not considered as good? I know the PDF is focused on lager, but wouldn't the techniques apply to all German beers like a hefe that also might be open fermented? What about those beers?
  • Is there a wiki or some kind of document repository here for all the papers written by forum members and the documents they reference? I admit my German is bad, so those papers might not help me much, but I'd like to review what got people started down this path.
I know that's a lot, so I thank you in advance for your time and patience.
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Ancient Abbey
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I have so many questions about the low O2 paper

Postby Ancient Abbey » Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:08 pm

[*] How does decoction work in this system? I mean, you have to keep stirring the mash to keep it from scorching and there's many cycles of removing and adding heated mash. That would seem like a lot of O2 is getting in at that point.
- yes, that's true, but also why they mash under inert gases, like nitrogen.

[*] Adding a ton of metabisulfate seems very un-German. I mean, is this a case of the ends justifying the means? I just have a hard time thinking about doing it and not having some German master brewer scowling at me in disapproval.
- The RHG allows german brewers to add salts to the brewing water, SMB is no different than Gypsum. Also, we are adapting to homebrewing equipment. You can install a port to flush with nitrogen, but SMB is much easier.


[*] Where is the data mentioned in the paper? It read as if there were many trials run of low O2 produced beers vs a more standard homebrew procedure. Where can I read up on that?
- Just try it for yourself. We even posted a mini-mash method.


[*] From a food chemistry perspective, it would seem that all the sodium from the SMB would have a large impact on flavor. Have any trials been done with a homebrew method not utilizing SMB in a low O2 production vs low O2 with SMB? How about standard homebrew with higher sodium vs low O2 with SMB?
- Again, if you have a system capable of flushing with nitrogen, we are happy to test lodo with SMB and lodo without. We didn't have the ability (yet) to continuously use inert gases. Again, just try it.


[*] I'm sure there are plenty of big name breweries using low O2/inert brewing systems, but what about the little guys? There are still plenty of breweries out there using equipment from the 60's and I don't see them being able to pull something like this off. Are they just not seen as producing beer that's as good?
- Are you sure about that? If you can get them to squeal about what they add to their water, then we'd love to know. Bavarian brewers are very tight lipped.


[*] What about open fermentation? I know of at least one lager brewer in Bamberg (Griefenklau) that does open fermentation on their lager. I'm guessing there are others as well. Are their beers just not considered as good? I know the PDF is focused on lager, but wouldn't the techniques apply to all German beers like a hefe that also might be open fermented? What about those beers?
- What about those beers? We don't claim to know what every brewery does, but while primary may be open, they can still transfer to a closed vessel to spunden and lager.


[*] Is there a wiki or some kind of document repository here for all the papers written by forum members and the documents they reference? I admit my German is bad, so those papers might not help me much, but I'd like to review what got people started down this path.[/list]
- Just on all of our computers. Everything was found via google or brewing texts.

You can try to convince yourself it works upfront, or you can simply perform the mini-mash. If you aren't convinced, then move on. If you are, then you will tackled questions like above with a different mindset. Good luck!
Last edited by Ancient Abbey on Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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caedus
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Re: I have so many questions about the low O2 paper

Postby caedus » Tue Apr 26, 2016 7:09 pm

Can you guys post what info you do have?

A 10 page paper doesn't mean much when you make big claims without data. For every claim you make there should be data to back it up, for every fact you reference there should be someone else's paper/data/chemical analyses. This paper is hardly complete.

From the rules for the forum:

essentially, if it wouldn't be taken seriously in a professional or scholarly environment, it won't be taken seriously here.


If someone were to bring me this paper I would tell them to get some more resources. But, I am an "outsider." Don't want to mix up the forum too much or you'll close it down again.
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ajk
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I have so many questions about the low O2 paper

Postby ajk » Tue Apr 26, 2016 7:53 pm

uberg33k wrote:So, I read the paper and had many, many questions about the process.

I'm not one of the paper's authors, but I had already implemented many of these techniques, and I can answer based on what my thought process was.

  • How does decoction work in this system? I mean, you have to keep stirring the mash to keep it from scorching and there's many cycles of removing and adding heated mash. That would seem like a lot of O2 is getting in at that point.

I decoct on an induction stove. No stirring required. (I know, that's cheating.
  • From a food chemistry perspective, it would seem that all the sodium from the SMB would have a large impact on flavor. Have any trials been done with a homebrew method not utilizing SMB in a low O2 production vs low O2 with SMB? How about standard homebrew with higher sodium vs low O2 with SMB?

It's only 24 ppm, which shouldn't be enough to impact flavor negatively, even in a light beer. (Source: Martin Brungard)
  • I'm sure there are plenty of big name breweries using low O2/inert brewing systems, but what about the little guys? There are still plenty of breweries out there using equipment from the 60's and I don't see them being able to pull something like this off. Are they just not seen as producing beer that's as good?

Your assumption is correct, and some of them aren't producing beer that is as good. Many are, but it doesn't stay fresh nearly as long.
  • What about open fermentation? I know of at least one lager brewer in Bamberg (Griefenklau) that does open fermentation on their lager. I'm guessing there are others as well. Are their beers just not considered as good? I know the PDF is focused on lager, but wouldn't the techniques apply to all German beers like a hefe that also might be open fermented? What about those beers?

How long do they leave the fermentors open? In the breweries I've visited that use this technique (for Weissbier in all cases), they rely on a thick layer of kräusen to protect the beer, and then they either close the fermentor or rack the beer to a closed vessel as the kräusen is falling.

Again, I'm not one of the authors, but maybe this helped.
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Bilsch
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Re: I have so many questions about the low O2 paper

Postby Bilsch » Tue Apr 26, 2016 7:57 pm

What is all the fuss about data and more sources?
You are best judge of your own tastes. Try it and see for yourself, that's the best source you can have. If your scared about equipment changes do the mini mash first. I've been brewing for 31 years and the change to lodo was by far the single biggest improvement to my system, more then everything else combined. Don't worry, just try it!
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Re: I have so many questions about the low O2 paper

Postby Roachbrau » Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:07 pm

I can list page numbers in Technology Brewing & Malting by Wolfgang Kunze that answer many questions, and back up many statements, but is that really necessary?

Folks, these principles of preventing oxidation are used by 90% of the brewers on this planet, save for homebrewers and the craft beer industry that sprang from homebrewing. Everyone from the US macros to the Germans, Czechs, Belgians, we suspect even the Brits.

The world is not round.

Slice open an apple and let it sit for an hour, what happens? It turns brown. Why? Oxygen. That same thing happens to your wort if you don't take the necessary steps to prevent it.
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Ancient Abbey
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Re: I have so many questions about the low O2 paper

Postby Ancient Abbey » Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:59 pm

Exactly Roach, homo sapiens have pretty good senses. If you can taste the difference, then lodo might be for you. If you cannot, then honestly evaluate if you messed up a particular part of the process or if you simply cannot taste a difference. If you are trying to convince the masses, then do triangle tests. If you are trying to convince yourself, then just taste it and be honest.
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Kit_B
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Re: I have so many questions about the low O2 paper

Postby Kit_B » Wed Apr 27, 2016 10:05 am

Ancient Abbey wrote:Exactly Roach, homo sapiens have pretty good senses. If you can taste the difference, then lodo might be for you. If you cannot, then honestly evaluate if you messed up a particular part of the process or if you simply cannot taste a difference. If you are trying to convince the masses, then do triangle tests. If you are trying to convince yourself, then just taste it and be honest.


Well said!

To me, the difference is so drastic that triangles & testing weren't necessary.
The freshness of the wort & resulting beer speak volumes, on their own.
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Re: I have so many questions about the low O2 paper

Postby mchrispen » Wed Apr 27, 2016 12:16 pm

To me, the difference is so drastic that triangles & testing weren't necessary.
The freshness of the wort & resulting beer speak volumes, on their own.


It's the new home brewing culture. I actually hope people do triangle tests.
uberg33k
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Re: I have so many questions about the low O2 paper

Postby uberg33k » Wed Apr 27, 2016 12:30 pm

ajk wrote:I decoct on an induction stove. No stirring required. (I know, that's cheating.


Wait, what? How does that work? Heat is heat. There's not special magic that I can think of that prevents induction pots from scorching, unless I'm missing something here. Tell me more about how this setup works...

ajk wrote:It's only 24 ppm, which shouldn't be enough to impact flavor negatively, even in a light beer. (Source: Martin Brungard)


You're misunderstanding my meaning. I'm saying it would have a positive effect on flavor perception, not a negative one. Sodium at low levels will boost the perception of sweetness. Think of salted caramel and the like. Perhaps the shift that's being observed here isn't a result of low O2, but the effect of a change in water chemistry.


just about everyone else wrote:"Who cares about numbers or sources, try it and see"


Ok, I get where you're coming from on this. But I think it matters for two reasons...

    1. How much of an improvement are we talking about here? If you showed me some kind of data that said the same recipe brewed without these techniques scored a 35 in competition and with them scored a 44, then that's really saying something. If it only moved up to a 37, then maybe it isn't worth the time and investment. I've seen the "do the mini mash" thing, but I don't see how that's a valid representation of the end product. It would seem more a test of validating water chemistry. If the "it" you're tasting in German beers is slightly higher sodium and sulphur compounds, then dosing with SMB would do that.

    2. So, about that water chemistry kick ... if you've hit upon a change in chemistry that gives you the flavor you want, then perhaps it's an indication that your process is wrong or lacking. Let me explain. Let's run with the idea for a second that it's a water chemistry change that's causing a flavor shift and not redox reactions causing a loss of flavor. How would a brewer emulate this process naturally? Well, the sodium would just naturally be in the water, so simply looking at existing water profiles for the breweries you're emulating should let you know where to be on that front. Ok, that's easy, but what about the sulfur compounds? Sulfur does do a lot of interesting things in beer in regards to protecting against oxidation, but it also masks certain flavors like trans-2-nonenal and acetaldehyde by binding them into flavor neutral compounds. Sulfur also has a "bite" in terms of flavor. At low levels, it adds a certain crispness but at high levels it's the flavor of matches. How would a brewer get a tiny bit of sulphur in the final product without added compounds? Sulfur production in yeast is usually involved when there's a lack of Coenzyme-A (CoA). This can either be because of a lack of vitamin B5 (used in synthesis) or a lack of sterols (creating a thinner cell wall and causing CoA "leakage"). How do you achieve these conditions? Lack of vitamin B5 can be due to grain selection, so that's an interesting avenue that might be worth perusing. You can also cause sulphur reduction reactions by limiting the amount of protein available, which you could do by clarifying your wort. Most people here probably do that already and it would be in line with the pros. So, lack of sterols ... you say "ah ha! lower O2 in the wort!", which is true, but not the whole story. If you throw a large, well oxygenated pitch at your wort, they can have enough sterol reserves to not have a significant impact on the health of the yeast for a single fermentation. The only way you would get around this is a slight underpitching of yeast. With the underpitching, sterols becomes scarce, cell walls get thinner, and yeast start "leaking" CoA. To try and reclaim this, the cell utilizes alcohol acetyltransferase (AAT) in the cell membrane. The action of such produces a certain amount of acetate esters. Ever notice that many lagers, like Stiegl for instance, have a certain ethereal fruitiness to them when served fresh? It's just barely perceptible, but definitely there. That flavor is coming from esters.
The whole point to all that is without some hard numbers and data, how do you know what's helpful and what's just compensating for incorrect process? I guess if your opinion is "don't care, made good beer", then so be it. If you're really interested in dialing in your process to achieve a certain result, you would want this data in order to make adjustments. Germans have made awesome lager for quite some time. How? A certain water composition, clear wort that's slightly low on nutrients, low oxygenation of wort post-boil, underpitching, and stress from low fermentation temps would seem to emulate the historical process better than low DO and high SMB. But without more data and investigation, who's to say?

Oh, and I just thought of another question if I'm trying to investigate low DO brewing. I watched many of Mr. Rabe's videos on Youtube to get a feel for the process plays out in practice. Amazing set up btw! I noticed one thing in the video and that was the conditioning and milling of grain. I totally get why you'd want to condition the grain for a better crush, but if you're aerosolizing water, that's going to highly oxygenate it. You're now spreading that highly oxygenated water onto your grain and running it through a mill, which in a sense, is aerosolizing the grain. Does O2 not play a part in this step? When does the addition of O2 to the process become a detriment? Is it at a certain temperature or humidity/mash thickness? I realize the conclusion of this line of thinking would be to store your grain in CO2 or nitrogen flushed containers and mill underwater, so that's a bit extreme for most brewers, but I'm trying to figure out where O2 ingress has greater and lesser impacts.

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