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Aeration / Oxygenation while transferring from kettle

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85 Haro Designs

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As a relatively newby brewer I had a question concerning something that I read recently about getting oxygen in your wort.

I've heard that allowing the oxygenation of your wort while transferring it from the brew kettle to 1st fermenting carboy is "GOOD" for it.

Can someone explain, somewhat scientifically why this is?

Why is oxygen at THIS stage good for it and not any other?

I was concerned that pouring the wort into a plastic funnel on top of a carboy containing the other 3 gallons of cold water was mixing too much oxygen into the first fermentor - until I read that this could be a GOOD thing?

2nd question - during bottling what if 2" of air were left in the top of a bottle rather than the recommended 1" air gap? Is that enough additional air to significantly effect taste / infection levels?
 

Yooper

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Before fermentation takes place, it's important to aerate/oxygenate your wort. That is important for healthy yeast reproduction, and healthy yeast make better beer. Stressed yeast can lead to off-flavors in your beer, as well as a poor fermentation.
Of course, you don't want to oxygenate beer once fermentation has taken place because then the beer will taste oxidized. That's a stale wet cardboard kind of taste.
Headspace in the bottle won't cause a problem with infection or oxidation- but it might have your beers overcarbonate a little bit. It should be ok.
 

bradsul

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I can't provide a very scientific explanation, but I do know that during their initial growth phase, the yeast need a lot of oxygen. Everything you add to the wort at that point is used up and doesn't affect the beer. If you add oxygen once the yeast growth phase is complete it will cause chemical changes in the beer affecting the flavours.
 

Kai

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The debates around aeration in the transfer from kettle to primary are mainly about HSA, Hot Side Aeration. The idea is that, if your wort gets oxygenated while it's still hot (eg above 80 or so degrees), the oxygen binds to this and that, some chemistry happens, and you get potential flavour issues and very likely shelf-life issues. It's not, however, the end of the world.

You do need to oxygenate the wort somehow before fermentation. The yeast need the oxygen for their growth phase, when they build up their numbers in order to take on all the sugars in your beer. Some brewers strain their cooled wort on the way into the carboy to get as much air as possible in, some shake the filled carboy for several minutes, some bubble air or oxygen through it with an aquarium pump or oxygen tank. Methods vary, but good aeration is necessary for a good fermentation, and a good fermentation is the most important factor in good beer.

In terms of headspace: I don't know for sure, but my inclination is to say that your 12oz of beer will still create the same amount of carbon dioxide, and that it diffuses evenly through the beer regardless, pressures equal and all, so you'll end up with little difference with the larger headspace. Let's wait for someone else to weigh in on that.

edit: wow, when I started typing I was the first. I guess I take too long.
 

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85 Haro Designs said:
As a relatively newby brewer I had a question concerning something that I read recently about getting oxygen in your wort.

I've heard that allowing the oxygenation of your wort while transferring it from the brew kettle to 1st fermenting carboy is "GOOD" for it.

Can someone explain, somewhat scientifically why this is?

Why is oxygen at THIS stage good for it and not any other?
Here you go:
 
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85 Haro Designs

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Wow, I wish I had 8 hours a day to read and post messages to this forum. Just awesome and very helpful information supplied almost instantly.

Thank all of you for such succint answers.
 
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