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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > secondary fermentation
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Old 03-14-2014, 09:31 PM   #21
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That was common sense to delete your post.

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Old 03-14-2014, 09:52 PM   #22
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Oh, I've seen people on this forum say things like 'don't worry about headspace- the co2 blanket will protect the beer'. That's true, very short term, but long term that c02 "blanket" disperses, and relatively quickly as gasses seek equilibrium. And a wide headspace, like a bucket, is a bad idea for secondary as a result. Partly it's because of the way gasses behave, but also it's due to oxygen permeability of plastic and so on.

Even in a glass carboy with an airlock, and with the wine totally topped up, there is some oxygen contact. Even the water in an airlock is a vector for the transmission of gasses. We're getting far beyond the scope of this discussion in this topic, but there is this really cool study done by the folks at Better Bottle that discusses oxygen permeability of fermenters, and even things like the bungs and airlocks. It's eye opening to people who believe in this imaginary "co2 blanket".

I don't have the link handy, and I'm on my way out the door, but it's definitely worth googling for or if somebody else remembers that study and the results and could post a link, that would be great!!!!
Great information, thanks. I guess this opens another question for me then, what about storing long term in a keg then? Is there any chance of oxygen permeability through the seals at all? Or will you be safe having purged the majority of O2 from the keg?
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Old 03-15-2014, 02:11 AM   #23
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Great information, thanks. I guess this opens another question for me then, what about storing long term in a keg then? Is there any chance of oxygen permeability through the seals at all? Or will you be safe having purged the majority of O2 from the keg?
A keg is probably THE best place for a beer long term. Or wine, too, I suppose. It's totally opaque, so no light at all. There is limited headspace- very little for 5 gallons, and if it's purged with c02, little "air" in there (but some). Just like in a wine bottle, the wine will still have a wee bit of oxygen contact over the minute headspace over time.

Beers that are aged, even in a bottle long term don't necessarily "suffer" from oxidation. Often, beers like barleywine have a tiny bit of oxidation apparent (so do some red wines aged long) and it's more of a pleasant "sherry" flavor that goes so nice with that beer style.

Many people will say things like "I left my beer in a bucket for 6 months and there are NO signs of oxidation!" Well, that's not true. Sure, the beer might taste great but of course there would be signs of oxidation however small. That's not unpleasant, necessarily. It could start as a slight "brandy" flavor in early oxidation, or a wee bit of "sherry" flavor. That's important to note. Just because someone doesn't perceive it doesn't mean it's not there to a trained beer judge.

Also, beer ages slower at cooler temperatures. A beer that may have some inadvertent oxidation will last longer at fridge temperatures or cellar temperatures than room temperature.

THE biggest flaw I see in homebrews in competition are oxidative in nature. Most homebrews I've judged display signs of oxidation (so do many commercial beers). It's just the nature of the beast. Many people think that oxidation means "cardboard" flavor. That's true, but that's only in extreme cases and I've only had "stale, musty, cardboard" one in all of the beers I've judged. Most of the time it's a bit metallic in darker beers, or a "sherry" flavor, or a bit of darkening, etc.
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Old 03-15-2014, 02:15 AM   #24
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Wow, thanks to everyone. This is definitely going to help.

I like how this thread has turned into class chemistry/mythbustsrs debate. Good stuff.

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