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Old 02-16-2011, 08:06 PM   #1
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Default Dry Ice To Prevent Oxidization During Racking

Anyone else doing this?
I searched HBT through Google and all the results were about using dry ice to carbonate or to keep a cooler cold, to cold crash or to store hops.

The General Technique I am referring to is placing a pound or so of dry ice in the bottom of your bottling bucket or secondary and letting it sublimate prior to racking. The CO2, being heavier than air, displaces the air in the bucket and pools at the bottom. So long as you keep the exposed end of the siphon tube below the visible cloud of gas the outflow of beer is protected from oxidation. You also get the most awesome effect of the CO2 cloud rising and pouring off the top as the liquid level rises.

Dry ice is cheap in my area if you must buy it and free if you don't. It is commonly thrown away at food distribution docks (hint). Storing it is somewhat of a problem so you do have to obtain it relatively soon prior to bottling. I don't always use it thanks to this but I do when I can. I can't say I've found a difference in my beer but I can say the peace of mind during transfers is worth it.

I would expect dry ice to be unsanitary so I do douse it in Star San which only helps it to sublimate that much faster.

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Old 02-16-2011, 08:57 PM   #2
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No offense, but it sounds like a lot of wasted time. I've never had an oxidized beer other than ones that weren't capped properly. Its a good idea, just not worth the extra time in my opinion.

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Old 02-16-2011, 09:02 PM   #3
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No offense taken. I was wondering if this was an extraneous step that needed to be removed or if the sheer genius of it would blister the minds of HBT. Sounds like the former. There seems to be a great deal of consternation over oxidization during transfers. The dry ice is free for me and a brewing friend who works a food dock and lives close to me brings it home all the time so the only time I lose is the 5 minutes sublimation during which I am busy sanitizing and readying for transfer.

I think I might omit this step but I am waiting for a blistered mind or two before I completely let go of the idea.

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Old 02-16-2011, 09:04 PM   #4
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No offense taken. I was wondering if this was an extraneous step that needed to be removed or if the sheer genius of it would blister the minds of HBT. Sounds like the former. There seems to be a great deal of consternation over oxidization during transfers. The dry ice is free for me and a brewing friend who works a food dock and lives close to me brings it home all the time so the only time I lose is the 5 minutes sublimation during which I am busy sanitizing and readying for transfer.

I think I might omit this step but I am waiting for a blistered mind or two before I completely let go of the idea.
If it's free for you, then do it. I've seen a lot of people on here mention purging the secondary or keg with CO2 gas prior to transferring. Basically, you are doing the same but it's free and little to no effort for you.
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I'll make my buddy do it with me next time. That'll make me go harder at it.
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Old 02-16-2011, 09:12 PM   #5
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Try this first (even more fun if you have kids), take a chunk of dry ice and put it in clean water in a clean bucket and play with the fog created. After the ice and fog have dissipated look at the tremendous amount of dirt/crud/sand/rust/etc. in the formerly clean bucket.

IFF you have a inexpensive source of medically clean dry ice go for it. If you are picking up dry ice from the local supermarket/ice company it is almost certainly filthy since it is not expected you will remove it from the protective packaging and place it in direct contact with food. In my experience it is not made in a way that is clean.

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Old 02-16-2011, 09:14 PM   #6
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The above poster has a good point. If you aren't sure of the cleanliness, be wary of putting it in your beer.

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Old 02-16-2011, 09:23 PM   #7
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You don't want to oxidize the beer by splashing it, but if you're just gentle it won't be an issue.
Your idea is perfectly sound, just overkill.

Now, if you could rig it into a keg lid somehow so it would purge the headspace after kegging, that'd save some CO2 from the cylinder and be a nice passive way to purge the air out.

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Old 02-16-2011, 09:50 PM   #8
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Idea sounds fine, but I would be concerned about getting dirt in my beer based on what camiller said.

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Old 02-17-2011, 12:02 AM   #9
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The dry ice my friend brings home is "food grade" in the sense that it comes in direct contact with food. I have used it many times for Halloween and other such fun and have never noticed any traces or deposits left behind.

It would certainly be a sound idea to test your source first.

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Old 02-18-2011, 12:24 PM   #10
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Try it. I haven't done it yet but I can do O2 free transfers between better bottles using CO2 and a couple hoses when using two better bottles. It's a sweet setup. If it makes you feel better and you can tell a difference I can't see why to not do it. Other thing to consider is that you don't need to use a large piece of dry ice. So if there is dirt in it and you just rack on top of the ice before it fully sublimates you should have very minimal residue if any. After a quick lookup 1g of Dry Ice will occupy about .5L of space. So to occupy a 5 gal carboy you'd need only about 40g or 1.5oz. So if you throw 2oz in you'll do what you want.

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