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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > LHBS: nice people, bad advice
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:12 PM   #1
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Default LHBS: nice people, bad advice

I recently posted here to brag on how great my LHBS was (I had lost a gift certificate, and they basically used the honor system with me). They are friendly and helpful people, and seem to be genuinely good folks.

But for the second time, they have given me advice that I know to be bad.

I've decided that my next gear addition will be an oxygen setup. Nothing fancy; just a regulator, some tubing, and a stone. I'll power it from a $10 Home Depot oxygen tank meant for welding. Life will be good.

I have discovered that these are not the simplest pieces of gear to find. I figured that before I ordered online, I'd check with the LHBS.

The owner's wife answered my phone call, and had no idea if they carried what I needed; she gave the phone to the owner. First, he explained that they did not carry oxygen tanks (I assumed this and had not asked for one).

He then explained to me that he never personally uses pure oxygen, that bubbling plain air is enough. He went further to tell me that using oxygen is really not a good idea, that it's easy to use too much, and that I could end up with bad results. I politely thanked him for his time and got off of the phone.

It bothers me that this is his livelihood, and nice as he is, he is dead wrong on this. This is a subject that has been researched quite a few times; it's widely accepted that for ideal fermentation, you need at least 10 PPM of dissolved O2, and that higher gravities can benefit from higher levels. It's also widely accepted that you cannot achieve more than 8 PPM of dissolved O2 from the use of air alone, no matter how vigorously you might shake, or how long you might run an aquarium pump.

According to Wyeast, you literally cannot get too much O2 in your wort; even if you get it as high as 26 PPM, all of the oxygen will either be consumed or will bubble out of solution.

This is pretty common knowledge. I'd like to think that I would keep abreast of information better than this if I owned such a store.

But then, I'm not as nice a guy as he is. I guess it all balances somewhere...

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Old 03-08-2013, 04:28 PM   #2
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Given the shear number of brewers that DO NOT use pure oxygen and still produce great beer, I'd be inclined to believe that the LHBS is correct in saying an aquarium pump (or shaking) is 'enough. I don't agree with him saying pure oxygen is bad though... that's nothing more than ignorance or misinformation.

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Old 03-08-2013, 04:34 PM   #3
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Given the shear number of brewers that DO NOT use pure oxygen and still produce great beer, I'd be inclined to believe that the LHBS is correct in saying an aquarium pump (or shaking) is 'enough. I don't agree with him saying pure oxygen is bad though... that's nothing more than ignorance or misinformation.
I'm not saying that plain air isn't "enough". I've been brewing for better than a year now, and have been quite happy with my shaken carboy beers. I'm simply trying to take my beer from good to great, and proper oxygenation is a component of that.

My issue is with the advice that one should be careful when using oxygen, that it's easy to get too much, etc.
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:37 PM   #4
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I am pretty sure I have read somewhere that getting too much oxygen is an issue. I don't remember where I saw that but he is not the only one that thinks that. He probably read it somewhere and just has not researched enough to debunk it.

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Old 03-08-2013, 04:41 PM   #5
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I am pretty sure I have read somewhere that getting too much oxygen is an issue. I don't remember where I saw that but he is not the only one that thinks that. He probably read it somewhere and just has not researched enough to debunk it.
Perhaps. I think my original point still stands - if this is my livelihood, I need to know what I'm talking about.

That being said, understand his tone and mannerisms weren't "be careful that you don't use too much", they were "don't use oxygen, you'll mess up your beer".
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:49 PM   #6
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Perhaps. I think my original point still stands - if this is my livelihood, I need to know what I'm talking about.
One can say this about any business, but it doesn't change the fact that its best to be an educated consumer and make your own decision.
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:52 PM   #7
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One can say this about any business, but it doesn't change the fact that its best to be an educated consumer and make your own decision.
Agreed. That being said, the LHBS fills an important niche for the homebrewer - especially, the newer one.

This is the second piece of bad advice I have been given. The first was to use B-Brite as a sanitizer (which I understand is debatable), but to assume an instant contact time for sanitizing with it.

One piece of bad advice is dismissible. Two starts to worry me.
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:00 PM   #8
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I hate to break it to you, but I've gotten bad advice from every LHBS I've been to. The issue is they tend to be run by older folks that still hang onto ancient knowledge without even knowing how the body of knowledge is changing on a forum like this.

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Old 03-08-2013, 05:02 PM   #9
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There is a section in either how to brew or designing great beers that discusses oxygen vs air. I believe there is a small (debateable) issue against pure oxygen but I'm at work and can't remember what it said. Maybe someone can post the section if they can find it, otherwise I'll do it when I get home.

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Old 03-08-2013, 05:03 PM   #10
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I hate to break it to you, but I've gotten bad advice from every LHBS I've been to. The issue is they tend to be run by older folks that still hang onto ancient knowledge without even knowing how the body of knowledge is changing on a forum like this.
I know, I know. Doesn't make me any less convinced that they SHOULD know better.
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