Originally Posted by mooney
Ah cool that's good to know. That wand looks like the sort of thing I was thinking of making out of an air stone and some rubber. My oxygen bottles are a bit bigger and have their own trolly but its the same stuff. That's good theirs says 50 seconds so if I blast it gently for a min or two It should do it. I take it oxidation before pitching the yeast only? You would not repeat until this 1/3 sugar break I keep reading about along with staggered nutrients? Just a Goood shake to get some co2 out
Oxygenation is only needed at the start of fermentation...generally I do it before I pitch yeast, and if it's a mead (or higher gravity beer), I sometimes add a second burst of oxygen at 24 hrs when I add my first staggered nutrient addition. After that, specifically oxygenating is not necessary, and potentially could be harmful (actually oxidizing
[a bad thing that causes off flavors] the brew, rather than oxygenating
[a very beneficial, good thing] to give the yeast the benefit of that respiratory fuel).
When it comes to degassing, I do what I call the "fly by" technique...every time I go near the carboy I swirl the $h!t out of it. BTW, I do recommend usind a blow off tube rather than a regular airlock...with proper oxygenation and "fly by" degassing, you will blow out your airlock fluid and be constantly trying to replace it, even if you don't actually have foam blowing out (which you certainly could have as well...) I have never used one of the vacuum techniques, so I can't comment on that, but I have tried other mechanical means, aka a degassing wand, and they just seem to be more trouble than they're worth. For one thing if you're not extremely careful, you *will* be cleaning up a MEA (Mead Eruption Accident), and then there's the whole sanitizing the wand, opening the carboy, etc, etc...just more chances for contamination. I think I get pretty good degassing with my fly by swirling, but I suppose I should try one time using the degassing wand after I think I've degassed adequately with swirling, and see if I get anything else out with the wand...
Oh, and if you do add oxygen at 24 hrs, after fermentation has started, *definitely* do some sort of degassing first, and be very cautious with your oxygen flow rates...this process is also very prone to creating a MEA!
Originally Posted by ThorGodOfThunder
Some people go overboard when aerating, imo. Go get a length of tubing for your siphon and close off one end (hot glue guns work great), then poke a bunch of 1/8" holes around that end of the tube, going up a few inches. Then when you siphon it was splash all around and get plenty of O2 in the liquid.
I have to disagree...you need to research this more. It is physically impossible to get optimal levels of dissolved oxygen in your must/wort using mechanical agitation like this. I highly recommend that every brewer read the book Yeast
(co-authored by Chris White, of White Labs). This book more than almost any other has changed my homebrewing for the better...if you treat your yeast well (proper pitch rates, oxygenation, nutrients, degassing, fermentation temps), your mead/beer/cider/whatever will be infinitely better, and will mature faster. I think the reason why mead has a reputation for taking forever to be drinkable is that people essentially (unintentionally) make every mistake you can possibly make with fermentation when making mead -- ferment a high gravity must with a single yeast packet, no oxygenation, and with no temp control. (Fortunately the staggered nutrient idea is becoming pretty widespread.) You can more cleanly get away with these things with most beers which have much lower OG's, but given the average OG of mead being over 1.100, you really need to control the fermentation well, and if you do, your mead will be very drinkable much sooner (months rather than years...)
Sorry for the rant...