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Old 10-27-2008, 07:08 PM   #1
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Default Just how bad is oxygen anyway?

I got some air bubbles in my siphon part way thru my transfer from primary to secondary. Is this going to ruin my batch? I put in some stuff to prevent oxidation and I hope it helps. Everything I read here says oxygen is the enemy after the initial spurge into the fermentor.

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Old 10-27-2008, 07:11 PM   #2
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Not to worry, I get those bubbles every time I siphon and I have never had an oxidation problem.

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Old 10-27-2008, 07:11 PM   #3
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I would think that a few bubbles in the siphon wouldn't cause massive oxidation...

What did you add to ward off the oxidation?

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Old 10-27-2008, 07:16 PM   #4
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I think most of those bubbles are off-gassing CO2 anyway so I don't worry too much about them. As long as both ends of the siphon are below the liquid surface you should be golden.

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Old 10-27-2008, 07:23 PM   #5
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There is a big difference between getting a bubble that lodges itself at the cane/tubing interface and having a leak there that is drawing air in. Picking up an occasional bubble (especially if it originates in the fermenter, e.g. oxygen depleted) will not have any effect.
Springing an active leak can oxygenate the beer pretty effectively if left unattended. Unless you saw some foaming at the receiving end of that transfer, there will probably be no noticeable effect.

I'm not sure what you did to correct it (ascorbic acid?) but I would probably have recommended against it. Minor oxidation will likely just reduce your shelf life and give a slight papery off flavor. That's just a good reason to drink faster

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Old 10-27-2008, 07:29 PM   #6
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It take a heck of a lot of O2 to oxydize your beer...more than normal racking activity, or even most of our more common boneheaded moves/mistake that we all make...our beer is hardier than most new brewers give it credit. Besides, oxydation is more of a down the road problem, the effects don't show up overnight...and even if we did introduce enough ppm's of O2 to damage it, most of the time we finish drinking the batch before it develops.

You almost need to be pumping an entire bottle of pure O2 into your wort to do enough damage...Nowadays it's even encouraged in higher grav (1.070 +) to introduce more O2 into the wort between 10-12 hours after yeast pitching (according to Chris White of Whitelabs)...an idea that was considered verboten not to long ago, but ideas change.

In otherwords, take proper precautions but don't obsess/worry about it.

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Old 10-27-2008, 07:41 PM   #7
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When I rack I get those little bubbles. They seem to sneak in through some unseen leak.

What I do is VERY GENTLY put a vice grips over the hose and it shuts it off. More like a vice pressure as opposed to vice grip.

Still, I have never had problems in the past.

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Old 10-27-2008, 08:22 PM   #8
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It take a heck of a lot of O2 to oxydize your beer...
This may be true, but would depend on the amount of continued yeast activity over the remainder of fermentation. Small amounts of O2 may well be converted by the yeast with some additional conditioning time, but, small amounts of O2 can also oxidize a beer to threshold flavor.
The BJCP recipe for producing an oxidized beer is...
"open bottle to air, reseal, incubate at 100°for several days"
The incubation is primarily to speed up the reaction and should not really add much to the flavor change.

To be sure, I am splitting hairs and do not mean to imply "spoiled batch" by any of this.
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Old 10-27-2008, 11:44 PM   #9
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Just a quick note to add to what I said ... (I try to follow rules and keep it breif). I used a grain bag around the "from" end of the siphon as someone here recommended to help filter. The top of the grain bag was exposed and the bag started sucking the air into the siphon. It wasn't the whole batch by any stretch. Maybe 1/2 to 3/4 gallon before I corrected but restarting the siphon a couple times pumped a little more in. I was really hoping I would get this kind of feedback ... (optimistic I mean) Particularly since this was an expensive kit. Thankx for the hope that springs eternal.

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Old 10-28-2008, 12:23 AM   #10
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I'm still very new to home brewing and am looking forward to brewing my first batch soon. In reading Palmer's "How to Brew," there are numerous warnings against oxygen exposure.

According to him, oxidation leads to flavor and long term stability problems. What does that mean? My beer won't last 2 years? I doubt it lasts 2 months hehe. How overly careful do I have to be?

Has anyone had oxidation problems, and what did you do to cause it?

Thanks!

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