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Old 05-16-2012, 07:41 PM   #1
dkbanjo
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Default oxidation question?

I have recently been allowing my barleywines and other beers that are about 10.5-12% abv to age in the seconary fermenter for around 6-8 weeks. I have noticed a very strong oxidation flavor in my brews and I have also noticed that after a period of time, the carboy is actually pulling air into it through the airlock. Its like a reverse flow. Has anyone experienced this?

I also wonder if its my brewing process contributing to the long term stability of my beer. I usually take about an hour to sparge with no splashing of any kind using a tube and it usually takes about 3-4 hours for my beer to cool in the brew pot with the lid on. I cool the pot in a big tub of water.

Thank you in advance for any input.


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Old 05-16-2012, 07:47 PM   #2
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Hot side aeration is a topic that has much debate. Theory is that hot side aeration will affect beers that are stored for a long time (much longer than 6 - 8 weeks). Due to this many professionals will not use copper in any part of the HLT, MLT, or kettle.

Cold side aeration is much more common, usually occurring during the bottling process.

As temperature and pressure change carboys/buckets will draw in through the airlock, happens all of the time.

Can you describe the oxidation flavor that you have? Oxidation usually tastes like cardboard.


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Old 05-16-2012, 07:53 PM   #3
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I'm not a fan of using a secondary fermenter for just this reason. After the ferment I put my beer in a keg, seal it up, purge with co2 and let it age in the keg.

I don't think hot side aeration has nearly the effect that some people claim. I'm inclined to think that your oxidation problems come from the extended time in the secondary. That's my 2 cents
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Old 05-16-2012, 07:59 PM   #4
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What flavors are you picking up, exactly, that you're associating with oxidation? It's possible that you've got something else going on altogether, and maybe we can help with that. Or, it could be truly oxidation and then we'd be best off helping to investigate that. But a little more info will help us all make sure we're helping chase down the right problem!
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Old 05-16-2012, 07:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfonnes
Hot side aeration is a topic that has much debate. Theory is that hot side aeration will affect beers that are stored for a long time (much longer than 6 - 8 weeks). Due to this many professionals will not use copper in any part of the HLT, MLT, or kettle.

Cold side aeration is much more common, usually occurring during the bottling process.

As temperature and pressure change carboys/buckets will draw in through the airlock, happens all of the time.

Can you describe the oxidation flavor that you have? Oxidation usually tastes like cardboard.
My impression of hot side aeration is that it not something to worry about. Also, what does copper have to do with it? Copper is indeed used throughout the hot side process.

To the OP - if you minimize the amount of headspace in your secondary, you'll limit 1) the surface area potentially exposed to oxygen and 2) have minimal, if any, "suck back"'through the airlock. Suck back occurs when there's a lot of headspace and a drop in temp. The drop in temp causes the gasses in the headspace to contract, creating a vacuum and sucking air in.

How big is your secondary and how much volume are you filling it with?
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLem View Post
Also, what does copper have to do with it? Copper is indeed used throughout the hot side process.
This is a good explanation from BYO. There is a lot of information on hot side aeration available by searching the internet.

Iron and Copper love to get oxidized. Just imagine what rust and blue-green copper can do for your beers flavor. Not very tasty. The various metals used in pipes and brewing vessels, along with your water supply can be a source of them.

http://www.byo.com/component/content/article/20/1835
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:09 PM   #7
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Also, glass carboys are not oxygen permeable but plastic fermenting buckets are. I have heard that it's not a good idea to go over 4 weeks in a bucket for this reason.
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfonnes

This is a good explanation from BYO. There is a lot of information on hot side aeration available by searching the internet.

Iron and Copper love to get oxidized. Just imagine what rust and blue-green copper can do for your beers flavor. Not very tasty. The various metals used in pipes and brewing vessels, along with your water supply can be a source of them.

http://www.byo.com/component/content/article/20/1835
Indeed metals can be oxidized, but this will not cause your beer to be oxidized...in fact, if the metal is being oxidized it means there is less oxygen to interact with the beer compounds so oxidation of the beer will be lessened. Besides the piece you quote is about metallic off-flavors associated with oxidized metals not with the off flavors associated with oxidized beer.

There's a podcast out there (i forget which one, but will try to find it) in which Dr. Charlie Bamforth debunks the importance of hotside aeration. Or at least he plays it down as a major concern. It really isn't something that we need to worry too much about.
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:24 PM   #9
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here's the podcast I mentioned above - http://thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/475
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:32 PM   #10
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Ok, I'm going to eliminate hot side oxidation for sure. The flavor is slightly metalic like pennies, and yes, maybe a little cardboard and a little solvent like.



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