Oxygen, how much is too much?

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BaldApe

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I started using a welding oxygen tank with a sintered stone, and have been getting solventy off flavors. I believe I have been adding too much oxygen.
I'm going to buy a flow meter, and I'm looking for pointers on how much oxygen should be added in the fermenter- flow rate and time.
I can do trial and error, but I'm tired of beer coming out barely drinkable.
 

BreezyBrew

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Over oxygenation is a real thing. I've done that to a batch or two. Agree that 8 ppm is the right amount.
 

day_trippr

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fwiw, Chris White of White Labs and Yeast recommended 12ppm...

Cheers!
 

stpug

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I started using a welding oxygen tank with a sintered stone, and have been getting solventy off flavors. I believe I have been adding too much oxygen.
I'm going to buy a flow meter, and I'm looking for pointers on how much oxygen should be added in the fermenter- flow rate and time.
I can do trial and error, but I'm tired of beer coming out barely drinkable.
Crack it open enough to start flowing and then back off a smidge. Use for 30 to 60 seconds (ales) depending on gravity. The tank should last many batches (12-15 for sure). That's adequate oxygenation for most ales. Lagers may need an additional 30-60 seconds.
 

BreezyBrew

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fwiw, Chris White of White Labs and Yeast recommended 12ppm...

Cheers!
No offense or anything, but, this makes me really curious as to where you saw this... "For the average wort and pitching rates, the proper amount of dissolved oxygen is 8 to 10 parts per million (Takacs, et. al., 2007)" pg. 78. :mug:
 

stpug

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No offense or anything, but, this makes me really curious as to where you saw this... "For the average wort and pitching rates, the proper amount of dissolved oxygen is 8 to 10 parts per million (Takacs, et. al., 2007)" pg. 78. :mug:
Yeast (White & Zainasheff), p.82: Recommended oxygen for standard gravity ales is 8-10ppm.

Agrees with BreezyBrew's source, and with everything I've ever read about standard ales. High gravity and lagers are a different matter (i.e. increased ppm's and/or additional aeration intervals).
 

BreezyBrew

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Yeast (White & Zainasheff), p.82: Recommended oxygen for standard gravity ales is 8-10ppm.

Agrees with BreezyBrew's source, and with everything I've ever read about standard ales. High gravity and lagers are a different matter (i.e. increased ppm's and/or additional aeration intervals).
My reference is also from the yeast book :D
 

day_trippr

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My bad, I was working from memory, and mine is getting old ;)

Perhaps interesting only to me, while the 8-10ppm is clearly stated in the book, there's the sentence "The only way to reach the recommended 10ppm minimum is with the addition of [pure] oxygen". (bracketed text added for missing context)...

Cheers!
 

BrewinBromanite

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Thanks for the info and discussion! Picked up an oxygenation 2.0 setup from Midwest a little while back waiting to be used for the first time in the next week or two. Very timely information. (Tired of shaking like crazy, which really is difficult if not impossible to reach ideal O2 levels from what I've read.)


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stpug

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Thanks for the info and discussion! Picked up an oxygenation 2.0 setup from Midwest a little while back waiting to be used for the first time in the next week or two. Very timely information. (Tired of shaking like crazy, which really is difficult if not impossible to reach ideal O2 levels from what I've read.)
Anecdotal evidence suggests that a good shake aeration is plenty sufficient for fermentation of "standard" gravity ales (at least, first generation fermentations). LOTS of folks use the shake method - along with others like whipping, splash racking, etc - and have very successful fermentations (myself included until about 2 years ago). Don't discount a good shaking to supply enough oxygen for a full, successful fermentation.

I did not experience the kind of improved beer qualities from O2 as I did from strict temperature control. The two biggest benefits to direct O2 is the lack of effort required, and the confidence that you can meet minimum and maximum ppm for various beer styles (standard ales, high gravity ales, lagers, etc...). You won't be disappointed in your purchase (hopefully).
 

day_trippr

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I'll add a third advantage with straight O2: done in a sanitary fashion, there's no risk of airborne critters being injected into the wort at a critical time...

Cheers!
 

bondra76

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I use air pump but with a hepa filter. No problems and only $20.

The O2 solution is just another in long list of unnecessary gadgets to push for add'l sales revenue.
 

j1n

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I use air pump but with a hepa filter. No problems and only $20.

The O2 solution is just another in long list of unnecessary gadgets to push for add'l sales revenue.
saves time. i run pure o2 into the wort for bout 20-30 seconds. i bet you run your air much longer.

also o2 canister at home depot cost like 10 dollars and i can get at least 10 batches aerated so it comes out to 1 dollar per batch.
 

bondra76

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saves time. i run pure o2 into the wort for bout 20-30 seconds. i bet you run your air much longer.

also o2 canister at home depot cost like 10 dollars and i can get at least 10 batches aerated so it comes out to 1 dollar per batch.
20-30 seconds vs. 5 minutes. I take the 5 minute route and now pay $0 per batch..just preference I guess

 

ajdelange

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As is the case with almost everything else in brewing the answer it 'It depends' in this case on the yeast strain. Some want more and some want less. I oxygenate in line as the chilled wort enters the fermenter running 1 LPM into the stone. This results in and O2 level of over 21 mg/L (the highest my meter will read). Within minutes the level is much reduced as the yeast really gobble O2 up. I have not noted detriment to my fermentations at this level (I do lagers for the most part) but that is not to say that the beer might not be better at 15 mg/L or 10. I have noticed detriment when oxygen does not reach the wort, however (had a leak in a flow meter once in which the O2 stream lifted the pith ball and then exited out of the back of the meter instead of going into the oxygenator).
 

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"Love is like oxygen, you get too much you get too high....not enough and your gonna die...." :D

Sing it with me!

I generally turn the tank to where there are small bubbles coming out and I stir around in the carboy from 30-60 seconds. If the wort is foaming out of the fermenter then turn the flow down.
 

grrickar

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For those using an air pump, do you aerate longer since air is only around 20% O2?
 

bondra76

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Where is that graph from?
It's from Zymurgy May/June 2014 issue which ran tests for oxygenating wort. After I read that article I decided not to buy O2. Pure O2 is a good solution, it's just not a must have. It saves you about 3 minutes in the whole brewing process. Just wasn't worth it to me.
 

stpug

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This study has some interesting results regarding aeration using "air" and various methods:
http://www.brewangels.com/Beerformation/AerationMethods.pdf

tl;dr
-The takeaway is that shaking is the most effective method as long as you can keep open headspace in your fermenter
-Aquarium pumps with/without stones are poor performers and require a lot of time
 

FarmerTed

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-The takeaway is that shaking is the most effective method as long as you can keep open headspace in your fermenter
-Aquarium pumps with/without stones are poor performers and require a lot of time
This is from the article:

The aeration methods tested in the current study
all utilized ambient air as the source of oxygen.
They didn't use pure O2, so rocking and shaking was the best method just using ambient air to oxygenate water.
 

bondra76

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-Aquarium pumps with/without stones are poor performers and require a lot of time
You may want to read your article again

These data also indicate that aeration by pumping air through a 2 μm pore aeration stone at approximately 1 liter per minute is also an effective and relatively quick method of
dissolving oxygen.
It is clear, however, that the flow rate delivered by the pump, especially when an aeration stone is used, is a major factor in how quickly the wort will be oxygenated, and the brewer should consider the delivery rate of the pump when considering this method of wort aeration.
 

BrewinBromanite

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Anecdotal evidence suggests that a good shake aeration is plenty sufficient for fermentation of "standard" gravity ales (at least, first generation fermentations). LOTS of folks use the shake method - along with others like whipping, splash racking, etc - and have very successful fermentations (myself included until about 2 years ago). Don't discount a good shaking to supply enough oxygen for a full, successful fermentation.



I did not experience the kind of improved beer qualities from O2 as I did from strict temperature control. The two biggest benefits to direct O2 is the lack of effort required, and the confidence that you can meet minimum and maximum ppm for various beer styles (standard ales, high gravity ales, lagers, etc...). You won't be disappointed in your purchase (hopefully).

Agree with everything you said 100%, including my own anecdotal evidence. Shaking is what I've done for 3 years and I've made great beer. If it's all you have available to do, then it's the absolute least of my worries (just don't skip the shaking or other some similar method altogether.)

I did get a few under attenuated beers on occasion - really until I learned to make adequate starters for liquid yeast, and massive flavor improvements once I got automated temp control and learned to dial in ferm temps for various strains of yeast. As I stated, I have just gotten tired of shaking. Hopefully this will save my back and ensure proper 02.

The only batches I've ever had under attenuation, where where my brew-bro and I were tired by the end of the day (and possibly a little tipsy...) and simply forgot to do much if any shaking (or earlier on in my home brewing, failed to do adequate starters).


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stpug

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This is from the article:



They didn't use pure O2, so rocking and shaking was the best method just using ambient air to oxygenate water.
Yep. I grasped that aspect of the article. I even pointed it out in my post (i.e. "air"). Thanks though.
 

stpug

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You may want to read your article again
Okay, I re-read it. On the flip side, YOU may want to read the article again.

The lower airflow rate [99 mL/min] was set to be similar to the rate delivered by an inexpensive aquarium pump. The high flow rate was the maximum flow rate that could be delivered by this particular pump/pump head combination [peristaltic pump (Masterflex)].
Now look at the graph again ;). Ninety minutes to get to 68-75% oxygen saturation in water with the "aquarium pump" proxy (keeping in mind that the solubility of oxygen in standard gravity wort is 15-25% less than water makes it even worse)
 

masaba

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As I stated, I have just gotten tired of shaking. Hopefully this will save my back and ensure proper 02.
I don't understand the save my back argument against shaking. I use a better bottle and just rock put a solid stopper on top and shake it back and forth on the ground for about 2 or 3 minutes; I release the stopper a few times to let more air into the headspace.

Actually, I could understand people with back problems having to avoid shaking. But it seems like a lot of things in the standard brewday involve a lot of lifting and moving heavy objects. At least for me, shaking the carboy to aerate is not really that much compared to to all of the rest of the tasks.
 

BrewinBromanite

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Well, I'm only 32, but have joint issues and had a hip replacement when I was 20. I feel older than 32 some days. Anything to reduce lifting helps. (Not trying to be a Debbie Downer...too lazy to insert SNL pic... ;) ). Although I agree, the rocking thing in a better bottle works perfectly well as you described. Just an added convenience, and I needed an excuse to buy some brew-toys.


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bondra76

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Okay, I re-read it. On the flip side, YOU may want to read the article again.



Now look at the graph again ;). Ninety minutes to get to 68-75% oxygen saturation in water with the "aquarium pump" proxy (keeping in mind that the solubility of oxygen in standard gravity wort is 15-25% less than water makes it even worse)

Agree to disagree. The guy doesn't use ppm which is probably the best way to measure oxygen. He states that he only conducted the tests once, which make the results pretty questionable. And lastly they state they tried the air experiments with or without the aeration stone. One thing I will agree with you on though - anyone trying to pump air into wort without a stone is really off the mark. Punching holes into a tube like the experiment suggests is a horrible method for introducing air and definitely would take 90 mins. I hope no brewer is using that method. But the stone is definitely a viable option with use of a hepa filter.
 

FarmerTed

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Agree to disagree. The guy doesn't use ppm which is probably the best way to measure oxygen. He states that he only conducted the tests once, which make the results pretty questionable. And lastly they state they tried the air experiments with or without the aeration stone. One thing I will agree with you on though - anyone trying to pump air into wort without a stone is really off the mark. Punching holes into a tube like the experiment suggests is a horrible method for introducing air and definitely would take 90 mins. I hope no brewer is using that method. But the stone is definitely a viable option with use of a hepa filter.
I think the basic assumption made in the article that aerating water and aerating wort is the same thing (with scaling for different oxygen solubilities) is flawed. Water and wort have very different properties. Water doesn't foam up the way that wort does, it is less viscous, and has a different surface tension (different density, too). My guess would be that it is easier to aerate wort to saturation just because of the foaming, and perhaps because of the greater viscosity relative to water. I'm not sure if the relative efficacies of the different techniques that they tested would be different, but then again, I have no real reason to believe that things would line up just they way that do when aerating water. And that is a very good point that they only did one test per technique.
 

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This is a weird thread. The OP asked how much oxygen is too much and there were a few good replies and then it got derailed into non-pure 02 discussions.

If you don't use pure 02 that is fine - noone is making you. I also find it strange that people say "I only aerate by shaking and I make good beer" without comparing it to the same beer made with pure 02. I'm sure the beers are great but it doesn't mean that you wouldn't get better results with 02 (or vice versa).

I used to shake and now use 02. I can't quantify if the beers are better but lagers require more 02 than you can get via shaking.
 

masaba

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To the OP. When you are getting the off-flavors, have you been using only one particular type of yeast? A few strains of yeast do in fact show poor performance in the presence of as little as 20 ppm of O2, a level that I am sure some people hit quite often with pure O2 setups. So, one option would be to try a few different strains of yeast and only use the ones where you don't experience the off flavors. Here's an article that shows the performance of yeast with different amounts of O2 for four different 'types' of yeast (See Figure 2).

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/j.2050-0416.1980.tb06882.x/epdf

I also find it interesting that the need for oxygen in the wort is essentially eliminated if you propagate your yeast in an oxygen rich environment (see Table 2). This could explain why some people experience big differences in fermentation when switching to pure O2 and others don't really see any difference.
 

ArcLight

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1. What most people don't realize when using Oxygen is that the bubbles that come up are not dissolving in your wort. After Oxygenating, seal up your fermentor and shake the crap out of it to better dissolve the O2 into the wort. Having a lot of O2 in the head space doesn't help that much. You need to rock and shake it to get the O2 dissolved.

2. I wouldn't worry so much about over oxygenating your wort unless you seriously over do it. 16 ppm wont be a problem. 35 ppm may be a problem. Chances are if you are using that much O2, a fair amount is bubbling out of the wort and not dissolving. Yeast will use Oxygen in preference to fermenting because respiration is far more efficient (i.e. makes better use of the available food for the yeast).
 
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BaldApe

BaldApe

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What I was doing is opening the valve close to all the way and running oxygen for 2 minutes. The headspace was filled with oxygen, so there was certainly the capacity to have way too much.
The yeast I had a problem with was the WLP001.
My plan is to aerate in the kettle after chilling, and only run the oxygen lightly for 30 seconds.
 

Iseneye

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What I was doing is opening the valve close to all the way and running oxygen for 2 minutes. The headspace was filled with oxygen, so there was certainly the capacity to have way too much.
The yeast I had a problem with was the WLP001.
My plan is to aerate in the kettle after chilling, and only run the oxygen lightly for 30 seconds.
Without putting a quantity to it, that sounds like way too much for a standard ale. Try 30sec to 60 sec. There should be very little bubbling on top of the wort when you have the 02 on. I barely turn my canister valve on.

Also good advice about closing fermenter and giving a small shake.
 

BrewSavage

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20-30 seconds vs. 5 minutes. I take the 5 minute route and now pay $0 per batch..just preference I guess

What does the "air" line mean in that chart above? Does is mean simply having your wort exposed the atmosphere?

So if I do nothing then after 5 minutes (300 sec) my wort will have 8 ppm of dissolved oxygen? Cooling my wort with my immersion chiller takes longer than 5 minutes.
 

bondra76

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What does the "air" line mean in that chart above? Does is mean simply having your wort exposed the atmosphere?

So if I do nothing then after 5 minutes (300 sec) my wort will have 8 ppm of dissolved oxygen? Cooling my wort with my immersion chiller takes longer than 5 minutes.
Sorry I'd post the article if Zymurgy let me copy/paste their archives..

The air injection method used a 2 liter per minute aquarium pump (Tetra Whisper model #77853) through a 0.2 micron air filter and a stone. Complete setup costs $30.

The interesting thing about the Zymurgy test is that they pumped nitrogen into the samples, and then pumped O2 or air into the sample and measured PPM that way.
 
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