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Old 06-04-2013, 03:03 AM   #1
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Default All You Ever Wanted to Know About Oxygenation

** NOTE: Oxygenation equation updated based on data from dstar26t **

Does it seem like it’s hard to get all the information you need in one place? Since I just came down the learning curve on oxygenation, here’s what I hope is some valuable information.

You need to get oxygen into the wort for good fermentation (I assume most people know this). Splashing and sloshing is probably okay for low to medium gravities, but isn’t sufficient for high gravities, is not a very controlled process, and is hard to do with volumes greater than 5 gallons. If you want control and like high gravity beers (like I do) you need to aerate with oxygen.

General consensus is you need to be north of 8 ppm for standard gravities for medium gravity beers and north of 10-15 ppm for high gravity beers. Good references are Wyeast (http://www.wyeastlab.com/hb_oxygenation.cfm) and Yeast book by White and Zainasheff.

If you’ve read along this far, you’re either ready to upgrade to an oxygenation system or upgrade your current system. A basic system which gets the job done, but isn’t controlled and can be expensive in the long run (by buying disposable, red oxygen canisters) is the William’s Brewing System (http://www.williamsbrewing.com/WILLI...STEM-P699.aspx). I’ve used this system for a number of years and it’s served me well. However, I was never sure how much to open the valve and I always had to have extra tanks on hand never knowing when I might run out.

How do you control the process? Ideally you directly measure oxygen ppm (
http://www.milwaukeetesters.com/MW600.html - $169) and adjust your process from there. Whether or not you opt to buy a meter and take measurements, you can somewhat consistently control oxygen levels from flow rate. Here’s the equation assuming a 0.5 micron stone:

time = 0.113 * (volume / flow rate) * (ppm - 8.1019)

where “time” is oxygenation time in minutes, “ppm” is target parts per million (ppm) oxygenation, “volume” is volume of fermenter in gallons, and “flowrate” is oxygen flow rate in liters per minute (LPM). This is based on a couple data points from White and Zainasheff and a lot of data from dstar26t where they measured dissolved PPM after a known flowrate and aeration time. It's a rough equation which depends on things like wort temperature, wort density, and aeration method (in-line or submerged), but gets you close.

How to not run out of oxygen and control the process? Buy an industrial oxygen tank and regulator. The former is easy. Try any welding supply store or Airgas. Avoid medical oxygen tanks. They’re expensive, hard to find a place to fill, and use the same oxygen just in a fancier tank. The regulator is the tricky part. There’s lots of oxygen regulators out there (mostly medical) including on eBay. The problem is that most have a scale from 1 to 15 LPM. This is too coarse for fractions of LPM needed. The answer is a pediatric oxygen regulator. These are somewhat hard to find, but here’s the one I went with: http://www.respondo2.com/Pediatric_O2_Regulators.html.

It was only $48, has a CGA 540 interface which is what most industrial oxygen tanks have, has a barb output, and has adjustable flow rate in 11 settings with as little as 0.03 LPM.

I hope that helps!! I scrounged the web for a while to both find a full equation for calculating flow rate and a suitable regulator that would have low enough flow rate.


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Old 06-04-2013, 01:02 PM   #2
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Thanks for doing this. Just ordered the regulator then I'll pick up a nice big oxygen tank.
Always been half assed about oxygenation. Great post.


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Old 06-04-2013, 06:02 PM   #3
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So if I have a 5 gallon batch of 1.065 gravity wort and my oxygen regulators lowest setting is .25 lpm how long should I leave it in the wort to achieve 10ppm total? 53 seconds?
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shutupjojo View Post
Thanks for doing this. Just ordered the regulator then I'll pick up a nice big oxygen tank.
Always been half assed about oxygenation. Great post.
now where to find an inexpensive tank
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
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now where to find an inexpensive tank
Got one off Ebay for about $75. I did a lot of research. It's much cheaper to buy your own than buy one from the filling place. Just make sure you have a receipt from a company in the business of selling tanks or the filling places will not fill them.
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:22 PM   #6
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I found a medical oxygen tank with stand and regulator for $30 off Craigslist and it still has gas. I also found a place that will swap medical tanks, as all they do is take off the medical oxygen sticker, all for a $11 swap.
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:27 PM   #7
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I found a medical oxygen tank with stand and regulator for $30 off Craigslist and it still has gas. I also found a place that will swap medical tanks, as all they do is take off the medical oxygen sticker, all for a $11 swap.
What size is the tank? Considering I'm in Texas and just bought an oxygenation system from Midwest I need to get a tank and I wouldn't mind following your process.
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:31 PM   #8
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Alternatively.... for thrifty people.

Shaking or an aquarium pump provides basically perfect aeration for everything other than big beers. 8ppm. It actually is a quite controlled process since you saturate at 8ppm.

An initial aeration followed again in 8 hours provides the perfect levels for most big beers. 8ppm+8ppm = 16ppm
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:40 PM   #9
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It is a 20CF tank that is 25" tall, 4.3" diameter.

If you're having trouble finding some place to swap tanks, don't forget welding supply shops.
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Old 06-04-2013, 07:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewrifle View Post
So if I have a 5 gallon batch of 1.065 gravity wort and my oxygen regulators lowest setting is .25 lpm how long should I leave it in the wort to achieve 10ppm total? 53 seconds?
Duration would be 0.53 minutes = 32 seconds. It's a fairly short duration and you may not get a lot of flow rate accuracy at the lowest end of your regulator. Your best option is to oxygenate for a little longer just to be on the safe side since over oxygenation is generally considered not to be an issue.


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