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Old 07-13-2010, 05:37 PM   #1
Almighty
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Default Added Oak Dowel - Craziness Ensues

So about 2 weeks ago I decided that it would be a good idea to add an Oak Dowel to my 2 month old Flanders Red. It already had a nice pellicle as you can see below.

For the Oak Dowel I boiled it three times and then stuck through a sanitized rubber stopper that was drilled to fit. So after 2 weeks I checked on it and this is what I found.

I have no clue what that is and if it is ok or not. The other strange part is that the pellicle is gone. I decided to clean the dowel and stopper in place with sanitizer. Should I scrap the dowel method or boil it and try it again. Also I am just going to hope nothing happened to the beer but it doesn't appear that there is any mold in the beer. Any feedback or reassurance would be great.
I have more details on the brew here:http://jeffreycrane.blogspot.com/201...nders-red.html

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Old 07-13-2010, 06:05 PM   #2
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My money is that beer went up the dowel via capilary action, and some mold spores found it. I doubt that mold got into your beer.

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Old 07-14-2010, 02:07 PM   #3
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Any idea why the pellicle would disappear. I thought if anything that by opening the carboy I would let in Oxygen and with the dowel providing Oxygen the pellicle would grow.

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Old 07-14-2010, 06:59 PM   #4
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I had the same issue when I used oak pegs like that. As far as I could figure the issue is that CO2 pressure builds up in the headspace pushes on the beer which escapes up through the wood. My results have been better just doing airlock plus oak cubes, and it is certainly much easier.

If you want to give it another try, sanitize the wood and put another small hole in the stopper for a airlock to release any pressure that builds up. This worked for me, but I still didn't think the resulting beer was especially good.

Edit: Just a guess, but the pellicle might be gone because the movement of the wort disturbed it.

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Old 07-14-2010, 08:41 PM   #5
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Should the oak peg be touching the beer? I thought the oak peg was just to let in oxygen and oak cubes added the flavor.

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Old 07-14-2010, 08:50 PM   #6
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When I removed the oak dowel I did notice considerable pressure. So you aren't using Oak dowels anymore? Do you think that the Better Bottles are permeable enough? I might try to replace it at the 6 month point when most of the fermentation has settled.
And you might be right about the pellicle, I'll monitor it to see if it returns.

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Old 07-14-2010, 08:51 PM   #7
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No, it should be touching. If the point of it was solely introducing oxygen, you could do that a number of different ways.

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Old 07-14-2010, 09:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Almighty View Post
When I removed the oak dowel I did notice considerable pressure. So you aren't using Oak dowels anymore? Do you think that the Better Bottles are permeable enough? I might try to replace it at the 6 month point when most of the fermentation has settled.
And you might be right about the pellicle, I'll monitor it to see if it returns.
Plenty of argument over how permeable BBs are, their tech guys say they aren't, plenty of other knowledgeable plastics people say yes. Honestly I think oxygen in a sour is at the same category as water adjustments, unless you really know what your doing you have a better shot to screw your beer up than make it better. Lactic acid bacteria don't like oxygen, so it shouldn't effect the beer getting sour, and Brett will make funk without it so I don't worry about it much. If you want an acetic character I think blending is the best way to go.
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:00 PM   #9
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Thanks so in your opinion the only advantage of the oak dowel is to provide wood for the bugs to live in. Which can be done with oak cubes and I guess oak cubes can be reused with greater ease.

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Old 07-15-2010, 12:31 PM   #10
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Thanks so in your opinion the only advantage of the oak dowel is to provide wood for the bugs to live in. Which can be done with oak cubes and I guess oak cubes can be reused with greater ease.
Pretty much. I've always suspected there is something wrong with Raj Apte's calculations that lead him to the dowel method. Rodenbach ends up more acetic than lambics which are aged in small barrels (for the most part), so it makes sense that it should be getting more oxygen, not less (as he suggests). I suspect that while there isn't much oxgen getting though the swelled wood on the sides of the massive tuns the "dry" roof might be letting in more than the math suggests. Personally I like acetic acid at sub-threshold levels, a lot of Flanders Reds taste like sweetened malt vinegar to me.
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