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Old 11-13-2011, 08:53 PM   #1
la_zonon
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Default Saison, yeast, and pressure

I've been thinking recently about trying my hand at a few different Saison recipes, and, what would you know, the current issue of Zymurgy features an article on the style by Drew Beechum.

I found the article generally insightful, but I was puzzled by one thing in particular. Beechum writes that Saison yeasts "cannot handle pressure. Conducting your primary ferment with a covering of sanitized foil keeps the pressure down and the yeast happier..."

Can anyone clarify this for me? What "pressure" is actually involved here?

Also, this foil-covering method, is it a common practice? Is the foil perforated to allow gas to escape, or just fitted on loosely?

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Old 11-14-2011, 03:35 AM   #2
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Pressure because of an airlock? I call BS...

I've used foil on my better bottles for a long time, but I can't for the life of me imagine that there's any real environmental difference from a bubbler airlock.

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Old 11-16-2011, 05:35 AM   #3
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Howdy,

I don't have my notes in front of me, but that little tidbit came straight from one of the yeast doctors. It does seem to back up some of what my experiments with pressure capping batches show. Regardless the Dupont strains can be finicky until you get into a zen lock with them.

-- Drew

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Old 11-16-2011, 05:38 AM   #4
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Honestly, for about a year now I've been itching to get one of those polycarbonate long flat food containers. About 5 gallons takes up less than 4 inches in height, I would love to see how a saison under such miniscule pressure would turn out. I think it would be amazing.

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Old 11-16-2011, 11:40 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbeechum View Post
Howdy,

I don't have my notes in front of me, but that little tidbit came straight from one of the yeast doctors. It does seem to back up some of what my experiments with pressure capping batches show. Regardless the Dupont strains can be finicky until you get into a zen lock with them.

-- Drew
Definitely, and I don't doubt that pressure is a big part of that finickiness. Still, like DannPM alludes to, I've got to think that fermentor geometry impacts those pressure dynamics by orders of magnitude beyond what the presence or lack of an airlock does. I certainly could be wrong, but as far as I can tell the pressure differential only needs to become trivially small before the chamber starts bubbling.
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Old 11-16-2011, 05:45 PM   #6
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Agreed, geometry is key. When I last saw dupont's system, they used big squares.

Since most homebrewers aren't going to have access to different geometry shapes, the easiest thing they can do is eliminate any back pressure within their standard control.

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Old 11-16-2011, 05:57 PM   #7
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DB, I beg to differ, these containers are about as much as a carboy ($50 with lid) as an example here. You could drill a hole for the airlock without spending more than maybe $5 on a drill bit and you've got a super shallow ultra low pressure fermentor for ~$55

Now you've got me badly thinking I want one of these again damn it!

Another advantage is that the beer will clear faster as well since the yeast only has to drop ~4 inches vs well over a foot with the standard carboy!

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Old 11-16-2011, 09:44 PM   #8
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Oxidation might be a problem with such a large surface area. You'd want to get it into secondary or bottle keg or whatever pretty much as soon as fg was hit.

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Old 11-17-2011, 12:46 AM   #9
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There would be quite a co2 blanket over it and if you're really concerned you could flush with some co2.

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Old 11-17-2011, 05:46 AM   #10
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If it's in a long container that magic blanket would probably be easily removed, the whole idea is not to have any pressure on the beer so I'd assume there wouldn't be much to stop the co2 being removed by changes in the ambient pressure or even light gusts near it.

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