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Aquarium pump oxygenation – Fear the Foam?

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Rick_R

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First time oxygenating with the aquarium pump method - other than containing it, is this an issue (see pic below)? Does it get worse? I've got fifty more minutes of this (to get an hour's worth).



Rick
 

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Your pic isn't showing up for me. I'm guessing you are getting a ton of foam. Don't use the aeration stone if you are. I just bubble air from the air tubing at a rate that doesn't create so much foam it will overflow my carboy. You will get plenty of O2 into solution that way. If you are really concerned (ie a really big beer) then what I do is bubble for the first 24 hours after pitching to keep it well aerated. You won't cause oxidation off flavours as fermentation will not begin until the beer is anaerobic.

GT
 
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Rick_R

Rick_R

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Image is at: http://www.bodock.org/PostImages/FearTheFoam.jpg

Not sure why it isn't showing up for you.

I was just a tad surprised at the amount of foam (and the "head" grew beyond what's in the picture). It isn't a big beer (1.049 OG), but I plan for the one that follows this one to be a big beer and, from reading, this is still better than just shaking -- though my shaking involved lying the fermenter on it's side and really shaking from top to bottom.

In any case, it's done now and cleaning up is all that's left. I'll take a look at just using the hose next time; thanks for the suggestion.

Rick
 
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Rick_R

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I always went what I felt to be the proverbial extra mile with the shaking-to-aerate method by putting a triple cover of cling wrap on the top (long doubled piece, put one (sanitized) end on, secure with rubber band, fold back over top, secure with rubber band, fold one more time, secure with rubber band) then lying the carboy (better bottle) on its side and shaking/sloshing/rotating. Using the aquarium pump -- even though this isn't my biggest beer to date -- gave me my most active fermentation ever. Going strong this morning through the blow-off tube with loud "gurgles" that can be heard throughout the area. Apparently the aquarium pump does make a significant difference.

Rick
 

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I use an aquarium pump but aerate in my kettle during my whirlpool (while under 80degF). I don't get foam like that. Anyway, if you remove the air-stone from your pump it is not worth using a pump. You will get better aeration by shaking that using a pump with no air-stone, the bubbles are way to big to get absorbed.

Try aerating before putting it in the fermenter. If that doesn't work, try some fermcap-S.
 
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Rick_R

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whats the fish pump method and why?
You want to start the fermentation process with the wort loaded with oxygen; that's why many of the recipes suggest splashing while pouring and such. You can also aerate in a couple of other methods. One is to use pure oxygen from a tank and flow it through an air stone (aquarium bubbler) and another is to use an aquarium pump through a filter, then to the air stone. The pure oxygen method takes about a minute, the aquarium pump method takes about an hour. Both are much better at getting oxygen into your wort than the shake/splash method.

Edit: I should mention that there are 2-micron stainless steel air stones that will do a better job and are available from homebrew stores. I just used a standard aquarium air stone, first sanitizing it. See
Five Easy Projects for more details.

Rick
 

Kevin Dean

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Not to flare up debate, but I had that foam as well. For me, I found that using a plastic ferementer bucket and pouring my wort into that (plus using starters!) caused more active fermentations than using my air stone did, with less spillage.

YMMV.
 

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DAMHIK, but make sure you run the air thru a HEPA filter. Otherwise, you're just blowing whatever contaminated air into your "doesn't like bacteria" wort.
 
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Rick_R

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make sure you run the air thru a HEPA filter.
I did use a HEPA filter, but I'll post a second warning: don't find out at the last second that the aquarium hose won't fit the HEPA filter barbs. I was heating and stretching tubing trying to get it to fit with the brew ready to be aerated. Between now and the next brew I'll work on a nicer looking connection, but I did put together something that worked.

Rick
 

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Hello everyone,

Rick, you said that you aerate for an hour - isn't that a bit much? I am going to use my new Shirron plate chiller on my next batch and do not want to have my wort sitting around for too long before I pitch.

Can/Should I aerate while running the plate chiller? What about aerating after pitching?

As you can tell this will be my first time using an aeration set up and would like to do all of my homework prior to using.

Thanks...
 
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Rick_R

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Rick, you said that you aerate for an hour - isn't that a bit much?
Could be. I based it on an article at BYO titled Five Easy Homebrew Projects which said "under an hour." I went an hour to be safe (I figured if it had been 45 minutes, it would'a said 45 minutes).

In reading some more (now that you questioned it) I find a couple of things. One is that the numbers are all over the map, everywhere from five to ten minutes to forty-five minutes to an hour. The other is that I shouldn't have let the foam escape as it contains valuable nutrients.

I'll probably adjust downward in the future and then run it intermittently to let the foam subside. Not sure how long yet as I'll do some more reading. I saw that one hour number somewhere else as I recall.

As to worrying about the length of time it sits, I use a better bottle carboy and covered the top with sanitized aluminum foil wrapped around the racking cane. The cane is a stainless steel 1/2 ID cane I don't use anymore now that I have an auto-siphon. I ran the aquarium hose through the cane so the stone would stay on the bottom. If you do similar, make sure and sanitize the inside of the cane prior to putting in the hose as it's easer to get the sanitizer in that way.

Never used a plate chiller but I cooled down with a copper coil chiller prior to moving to the carboy and aerated after that.

Rick
 

fastricky

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Hey folks, kicking this one up again... did a search and of the numerous threads regarding 'foam' this is the only one I found that starts to speak of this topic.

So! What is the solution to this exactly? I have the same exact situation happen on practically every brew I make when I kick on my stone/aqua pump apparatus.

All I gathered is either:

A) Aerate in the kettle

B) Use foam drops.

Yes? Isn't this a common problem? Based on the lack of threads doesn't seem to be... :confused:
 

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I ferment in a bucket, so I don't have too much problem. The foam stays in the bucket. I run the pump for maybe 30 minutes, while I finish cleaning up the equipment, then turn it off when it's foamy and pitch the yeast. I also pour into the fermenter, to help aerate.
 

mahilly

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What is the advantage of a very active fermentation from a well oxygenated wort over a "regular" fermentation from a not-so-oxygenated wort? As long as the wort ferments all the way down does it really matter how active or subtle the fermentation is? Just wondering.
 

MT2sum

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Good question .... wonder if there are any answers yet - it's been since 2009 ;)
 
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