Using Olive oil instead of Oxygen

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Haputanlas

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It seems to me that people keep proving over and over that OO doesn't hurt anything. I'm on board with that. What I'm looking for is evidence that it actually helps.
Don't think you'll get it. There are obviously a few different goals for each of the users. Yours is to see if it will help your brew process, but mine was to make my brew day more convenient. Right now, I'm starting to brew 10 gallon batches without a good aeration system. I can't imagine trying to shake a sanke keg full of 10+ gallons of wort to get a 1.070+ beer enough oxygen.

Until I get an O2 system in place, this seems like a temporary solution to hold me off.
 

aiptasia

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My issue with it is the flavor of the OO. I recently tried a west coast ale (brewery to remain nameless) that was fed on EVOO and had another one at a bottle share yesterday that I didn't know was treated with OO.

The problem for me is, the olive taste is present in the final beer. Since I cook with EVOO and have several different varieties in my kitchen, I can generally pick it out and differentiate between different types of cooking oils by taste when i'm out at restaurants.

The taste is just foreign to me in beer and I don't like it. It doesn't belong in the flavor profile of most beer styles (vegetable beer the only exception) and I find it disgusting when mixing with hops flavors in a beer like an IPA.

I'm now marking any EVOO beers I come across in untapp'd to avoid buying them in the future.
 

broadbill

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Don't think you'll get it. There are obviously a few different goals for each of the users. Yours is to see if it will help your brew process, but mine was to make my brew day more convenient. Right now, I'm starting to brew 10 gallon batches without a good aeration system. I can't imagine trying to shake a sanke keg full of 10+ gallons of wort to get a 1.070+ beer enough oxygen.

Until I get an O2 system in place, this seems like a temporary solution to hold me off.
Do you know for a fact that added oxygenation/aeration is needed in the first place? You might be surprised by an experiment where you brew 10 gallons, and shake one 5 gallon sample and not shake the other.

You might not additional oxygenation/aeration for a variety of reasons. Your system and/or process might introduce enough in and by itself (something that is overlooked by alot of homebrewers). You might do a good job of yeast propagation, which minimizes the amount of aerobic respiration/reproduction that needs to happen in the wort. Anecdotal

This gets back to my main "beef" with the grady hull thesis: There was few differences between traditionally oxygenated and OO treated worts, but what wasn't shown is if either of these were any different than if they had not treating the wort at all. The conclusion in the thesis on the effect of OO hinges on the assumption that traditional oxygenation has an effect beyond not treating the wort at all, which the study did not demonstrate.

I know what the conventional wisdom dictates regarding dissolved oxygen in brewing, I understand the biochemical basis for it....but I sometimes question the applicability of this knowledge to the homebrew setting.Again, much depends on the brewers process and the recipe....but sweeping generalizations (adding oxygen is necessary for all worts) usually aren't correct either.
 

Denny

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Don't think you'll get it. There are obviously a few different goals for each of the users. Yours is to see if it will help your brew process, but mine was to make my brew day more convenient. Right now, I'm starting to brew 10 gallon batches without a good aeration system. I can't imagine trying to shake a sanke keg full of 10+ gallons of wort to get a 1.070+ beer enough oxygen.

Until I get an O2 system in place, this seems like a temporary solution to hold me off.
You need one of these....

 

Haputanlas

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If you can taste the actual OO, then way too much was used.
Agreed.

Do you know for a fact that added oxygenation/aeration is needed in the first place? You might be surprised by an experiment where you brew 10 gallons, and shake one 5 gallon sample and not shake the other.
I believe it. I've brewed batches before where I know I underaerated and they still came out quite good. Batches where I didn't have fermentation temp control, but aerated thoroughly, suffered far worse than those without aeration.

You need one of these....

Very good idea. As long as this will fit down a Sanke keg opening, that might be just what I need.
 

Haputanlas

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Just used Olive Oil again in a batch today.

Once I get that drill attachment Denny recommended, I'll try a three way split on a batch (Aerate / OO / Nothing)
 

Accidic

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Not the most beastly thread I've ever trudged through but one of the more interesting and equally frustrating. I read through the thread, the Grady Hull paper, as well as the experiment by Vance and as with everyone I got a very different take on the assertions.

The Grady Hull (referred to as Hull from here-on out) was fascinating but incredibly onesided in what it was testing for. It did however raise the question of whether the process could be adopted in other areas which many seemed to jump to moreso and missed the point of the original paper.

On the two sides of the fence seem to be (at least most recently) Wrynne and Denny so let me first start with Wrynne's (and if I screw this up I humbly apologize but that's a lotta data to absorb in quick fashion ;) ).

Wrynne:
If I remember correctly Wrynne implied that there wasn't any harm that could come from adding the Olive Oil of which I'd disagree and point to numerous points that pointed out a key example of one of the potential problems: Sterility/Sanitation. More than a few people reported contaminated batches when using OO. Does that mean it's clearly from the OO? No, but it doesn't mean that it isn't either.

My biggest question on the pro-side of the spectrum is the assertion over whether or not the oil can be heated. I do not recall seeing anyone naysay the heating of the oil in any of the groups (if I missed it please point it out if you would be so kind) and I only saw it posted as a bad thing here. Yes, excessive heat in olive oil can damage the Oleic that founded the Hull hypothesis in the first place but we're talking about heat nearing the smoke point which in the case of EVOO is still at least 300 degrees (well above that of boiling) and in somewhat more processed OO it's around 420 degrees. Neither of these should be even remotely approached if boiled in the water used be it the batch's wort or wort for a starter.


Denny:
I do not enjoy the results from using oxygen as opposed to agitation. As such I do not have plans on buying another oxygenation system (although I do kind of like the airpump/filter method's levels). Normally though I just shake the crap out of things and gain plenty of oxygen from the dump. That said, I don't like the drill stir as I've personally had really bad luck with contamination using them and while that may be purely my fault, it still doesn't give me any desire to use them. This could be the case with using Oil as well but if heated I don't see why it would be as likely. That said, I did not care for either of the two batches I simply forgot to oxygenate more than what they got during the siphoning process (both batches were due to being out of oxygen and I just pitched and locked em up out of frustration) but they were most definitely both beer and neither were stuck.

While I don't disagree with your assertions about people's results not being scientifically viable, I would point out that they seem to dismiss the possiblity of people gaining benefits they believe in which also may be mental aspects but who the hell cares as long as they're enjoying it. Coincidently, I let my daughter push my batches over to their resting spot on a dolly on the faint idea that that little bit of extra agitation puts them over the edge. It's stupid but it makes me feel better. Vance's experiment (this screws with my head every time I read it as I share the name), while mostly circumstantial and somewhat incomplete without the non-O2/OO batch did seem to consistently imply that you would get a slightly different flavor profile (albeit minor) which might be preferable to some. Outside of a few people that seem to share it as gospel though I really don't see anything being hurt here either way so long as you're participating in this great hobby. Don't get me wrong, I think I got your point but I didn't really take it that way until I'd read it a few times.


Noone in particular:
Further, OO was chosen because of the particular type of monounsaturated fat it contains (Oleic) so I don't really see why the somewhat more processed version should be bad for this. This should solve the problem of the person concerned about taste added by the Oil itself but if I remember correctly they also suggested that similar results might be achieved with alternative high monounsaturated fats such as Canola oil (high Oleic as well as moderate linoleic acid) which is slightly less ideal than Olive but still pretty high up on that chain. A possibly better alternative would be the high Oleic varieties of Sunflower oil (my wife uses this for her salads) which is much higher in Oleic acid than Olive Oil by about 15-20% if memory serves but more importantly it doesn't have that vegetable-ish taste. It does have a very low smoke point which is around 225 I think but that's still reasonably above boiling. I'm personally considering going this route with my next batch to see if I like the results but I think I'll wait til late in the boil to add it (at least unless someone can point to a place that says heating below the smoke point destroys the substance that it is suggested to possibly aid with anyway).

If nothing else, I used to enjoy several of the New Belgium offerings around the timeframe of this guys thesis. I don't know or remember anyone saying they definitively used it around that timeframe or not but I wonder if it's the little bit of oomph that's clearly missing from their current offerings. Poor case scenario is I waste a batch or two of potentially good beer to make subpar beer. Worst case scenario is it's undrinkable which doesn't seem too terribly likely judging from the great number of responses. In any event, where's the harm in developing another superstition or two? ;)
 

Accidic

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Oh and lest I forget, to the person who mentioned adding Ergosterol, this was addressed but not tested in several places (Hull's report included). It was also pointed out that while it is available to acquire it's not cheap ($100ish for 5g if memory serves) and has some pretty severe toxicity issues while dealing with it. Not worth messing in my opinion as adding a little harmless oil (assuming no contaminations) has no significant risks barring *MAYBE* head retention but Ergosterol can cause health issues if mishandled. We could differ on that outlook though I suppose.
 

Accidic

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From my wife:

Monounsaturated levels:
Canola (Rapeseed): About 60% by weight
Olive: About 70% by weight
Sunflower (High Poly): About 20% by weight
Sunflower (High Mono): Over 80% by weight
 

broadbill

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If nothing else, I used to enjoy several of the New Belgium offerings around the timeframe of this guys thesis. I don't know or remember anyone saying they definitively used it around that timeframe or not but I wonder if it's the little bit of oomph that's clearly missing from their current offerings. Poor case scenario is I waste a batch or two of potentially good beer to make subpar beer. Worst case scenario is it's undrinkable which doesn't seem too terribly likely judging from the great number of responses. In any event, where's the harm in developing another superstition or two? ;)
If I may summarize your summation :) you fall into the camp that is can't hurt (much) so we may as well add OO? Please correct me if I'm wrong.

I guess I'm with Denny on this one (if it wasn't obvious already)...that a treatment has to show some sort of positive effect for me to bother with it. Otherwise, where (or how) does one draw the line?

Lastly, I'd be interested to hear why you thought Vance's experiment was circumstantial and incomplete. From my reading, I thought it was much more solid analysis compared to Hull thesis. It is ironic that Hull, with his brewery and university affiliations (cough...money) couldn't pull off a better designed experiment than some dude in his basement.
 

Wynne-R

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It’s an oversimplification to characterize the viewpoints as ‘Why?’ and ‘Why not?’ I would group them as people who haven’t tried it and people who have. People who have tried it seem to like it and continue to use it. People who haven’t are inexplicably opposed. Which is the more compelling evidence?

Vance’s experiment is a question mark. We don’t know anything about the beer. There were two samples labeled OO and O2. How was the oil added? Was it a couple of drops in the starter or a toothpick in the wort?

It never occurred to me that pathogens live in oil. I have been adding it to my starters for years, just before the stirplate. I suppose you could add it to the hot starter wort. Good idea!
 

Haputanlas

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My whole experience with OO might be moot anyways. I was reading this from another HBT thread:

From the FAQ section on Danstar's website:

I always aerate my wort when using liquid yeast. Do I need to aerate the wort before pitching dry yeast?

No, there is no need to aerate the wort but it does not harm the yeast either.
Since I primarily use Dry Yeast and rarely use liquid, I probably am not doing much for the beer by using Olive Oil. However, I still believe I'm not hurting anything either.
 

luke2080

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My issue with it is the flavor of the OO. I recently tried a west coast ale (brewery to remain nameless) that was fed on EVOO and had another one at a bottle share yesterday that I didn't know was treated with OO.

The problem for me is, the olive taste is present in the final beer. Since I cook with EVOO and have several different varieties in my kitchen, I can generally pick it out and differentiate between different types of cooking oils by taste when i'm out at restaurants.

The taste is just foreign to me in beer and I don't like it. It doesn't belong in the flavor profile of most beer styles (vegetable beer the only exception) and I find it disgusting when mixing with hops flavors in a beer like an IPA.

I'm now marking any EVOO beers I come across in untapp'd to avoid buying them in the future.
I've used 1 miniscule drop (put some on a spoon, then let that drip free, then shake off one tiny drip) into the 1.6 ish Liter starter, which gets split to 2 5G batches. I cannot taste the OO. That is all the OO you need according to the research.

I haven't proved positive results from a fermentation standpoint yet, but no off-flavors.
 

Andrikos

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Wow, what a thread.
I finally went through it after a week of on and off reading.

From all the data and opinions I've read, these are my conclusions so far:

1) Add the OO in the starter and not the wort.

2) Only useful for liquid yeast starter. Don't bother with dry yeast.

3) Only use about half a drop (per 5 gallon wort) of (preferably sanitized) OO a few (5-6) hours before starter is to be poured into the wort.

4) Since oxygenation needs go up with higher OG, it seems that this would be more useful with higher gravity beers.

5) It looks like head retention is not affected by the tiny addition of OO.

6) People with little/no wort oxygenation wort abilities (other than splashing/shaking) seem to be the intended audience here despite the experiment's original goal (i.e. longer shelf stability). Brewers with wort oxygenation abilities need not (necessarily) bother with this method.

How am I doing so far?
Am I in the ballpark?
Did I miss anything?
 

Wynne-R

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Nailed it. I can’t think of anything you left out.

Brilliant synopsis.
 

luke2080

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How am I doing so far?
Am I in the ballpark?
Did I miss anything?
Yep - good recap.

Got results from the last batch I brewed. An FG of 1011 when this same beer with same starter usually finishes out at 1014. Now, I added a heater to my temp chamber to better get the diacytl rest, and I changed my fermentation temp schedule. But an encouraging result.

This weekend I'll split the starter for the batch. OO in one, not in the other. No other variables. I ordered an aquarium pump to for future high gravity beers anyway. May take me a year, but I'll collect up a bunch of data and post the results. Someone remind me to post those results in December 2013. :drunk:
 

Wynne-R

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It seems pretty silly to ignore the original experiment and the myriad anecdotal evidence and then say there’s no evidence.

Do you think we’re all deluded? I guess it would be a buzzkill to consider that your oxygen setup could be replaced by two cents worth of cooking oil.

Is there anything that would convince you?
 

Denny

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It seems pretty silly to ignore the original experiment and the myriad anecdotal evidence and then say there’s no evidence.

Do you think we’re all deluded? I guess it would be a buzzkill to consider that your oxygen setup could be replaced by two cents worth of cooking oil.

Is there anything that would convince you?
I don't have an oxygen setup and I really don't care about "buzzkill". What would convince me is to take a batch and split it, using OO in one half and a traditional aeration technique (O2, aquarium pump, MixStir, fermenter shaking, wort dropping...pick one) in the other half. Maybe even split into more portions to try more techniques. Pitch measured equal amounts of yeast into each. Measure fermentation time and FG. Then do a blind triangle tasting with the beers, both after about a month or so and again at maybe 3-4 months. Simply saying "I used OO and the beer came out good" doesn't cut it for me.
 

Haputanlas

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I don't have an oxygen setup and I really don't care about "buzzkill". What would convince me is to take a batch and split it, using OO in one half and a traditional aeration technique (O2, aquarium pump, MixStir, fermenter shaking, wort dropping...pick one) in the other half. Maybe even split into more portions to try more techniques. Pitch measured equal amounts of yeast into each. Measure fermentation time and FG. Then do a blind triangle tasting with the beers, both after about a month or so and again at maybe 3-4 months. Simply saying "I used OO and the beer came out good" doesn't cut it for me.
We need more experiments! I've got a few professional brewer friends that I'm going to bug about this. It would be awesome to see some larger systems and the affects that resulted.
 

luke2080

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We need more experiments! I've got a few professional brewer friends that I'm going to bug about this. It would be awesome to see some larger systems and the affects that resulted.
Agreed, which is the bigger point of this thread to me. This is a new topic, in a hobby where there are not a lot of new topics.

I've got the yeast in the starter, tomorrow morning going to split the yeast to two containers for the same 10G batch split to 2 5G fermentors. I'll put my tiny drop of OO into one before I start to the brew day. The other will only get the standard shake.
 

Denny

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We need more experiments! I've got a few professional brewer friends that I'm going to bug about this. It would be awesome to see some larger systems and the affects that resulted.
I'd much rather see experiments at the homebrew level. Many times the things commercial brewers do don't really have any bearing on us.
 

broadbill

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Agreed, which is the bigger point of this thread to me. This is a new topic, in a hobby where there are not a lot of new topics.

I've got the yeast in the starter, tomorrow morning going to split the yeast to two containers for the same 10G batch split to 2 5G fermentors. I'll put my tiny drop of OO into one before I start to the brew day. The other will only get the standard shake.

One problem you are going to have splitting up the yeast into equal batches. When you have a solution of yeast cells that equates to millions/billons of cells/mL, very small measurement differences (such as when you divide a yeast starter into 2 equal halves by eye, for example) result in huge differences in yeast number.

Additionally, even small differences in yeast numbers turn into huge differences in final yeast numbers after they have divided a number of times (as they tend to do in beer wort). See logarithmic growth curves, 2^n rule, etc.

The take away is if a difference is seen in your experiment you cannot rule out that each wort received the exact number of yeast cells. There is no way you can split a batch of starter and be sure that each one has a similar # of cells in it, unfortunately.

Second, your research plan follows Grady Hull's thesis, of which there is critical piece missing: it is unclear if oxygenation (with an method) is required in the first place, in the worts they studied. They did not include a wort that received no treatment whatsoever to test this. Their assertion is that OO has an effect because it was only minor differences between it and their typically oxygenation step (diffusion stone). Once again, this whole idea hinges on the assumption that the typical oxygenation step has an effect in the first place!!!

Let assume for a moment that adding supplemental oxygen does not have an effect on fermentation in the setup that Grady Hull used in his thesis studies. In this case, would you then see a difference in OO vs. their typical oxygen setup? No, because oxygenation doesn't have an effect in the first place, anything you add to the wort (provided it doesn't decrease yeast population) would not look any different when compared to it.

IN other words, their conclusion is based on an untested assumption...just like your experiment is. Ironically, both your experiment and Grady Hull's/New Belgium aren't being done correctly for the same reason....neither of you want to waste beer and therefore aren't willing to dedicate a batch of wort to a true negative control!
 

broadbill

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Better experiments to do to test effects of OO on fermenation:

1. Find a way to "strip oxygen" from a wort before treatment either with OO or with a traditional oxygen setup. This will remove endogenous oxygen from the starting material, allowing you to separate effects of oxygen already in the wort versus the treatment methods.

2. OO is postulated to work because it contains ergosterol that is utilized by yeast to build cell walls during division. Oils with different amounts of ergosterol should have different effects on fermenation, but in a predictable manner (high ergosterol, better fermentation; less ergosterol, poor fermentation). Addition of exogenous ergosterol should also be investigated (this has already been mentioned here).
 

broadbill

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It seems pretty silly to ignore the original experiment and the myriad anecdotal evidence and then say there’s no evidence.

Do you think we’re all deluded? I guess it would be a buzzkill to consider that your oxygen setup could be replaced by two cents worth of cooking oil.

Is there anything that would convince you?
Earlier in this thread, I've explained why the original experiments was flawed, and why we could not make any conclusions based on it. I've yet to hear any meaningful response to it, or any assertions as to why I may be incorrect in my position.

Anecdotal evidence is just that; I agree with Denny that it not worth much. If we hang our hats on anecdotal evidence, why not start adding marbles, tulip petals, and toothpicks dipped in petroleum jelly? After all, it couldn't hurt and there is just as much data on the advantages of adding these as there is for OO. :drunk:

Below I've outlined experiments that would test OO in a much better way. Unfortunately I'm not sure if they can be done at the homebrew level.
 

agenthucky

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The take away is if a difference is seen in your experiment you cannot rule out that each wort received the exact number of yeast cells.

Here is the fail-safe in his argument, this can't ever be achieved. There are not two batches of beer brewed, ever, in the world, that are known to have the same number of yeast cells. The point is somewhat valid, one can count and estimate yeast cells but there is a level of error that is acceptable, even when dogfish head brews one 60 minute to another.



Despite any lack of substantial evidence, they still think that if THEY try it, it will magically work...
They're trying it to see what happens for them. They aren't publishing a paper on it or forcing you to do it. It has never hurt to experiment, even if the first time they do it that it has it's flaws. You sound like an A$$ for shooting down people for trying.
 

broadbill

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Here is the fail-safe in his argument, this can't ever be achieved. There are not two batches of beer brewed, ever, in the world, that are known to have the same number of yeast cells. The point is somewhat valid, one can count and estimate yeast cells but there is a level of error that is acceptable, even when dogfish head brews one 60 minute to another.

They're trying it to see what happens for them. They aren't publishing a paper on it or forcing you to do it. It has never hurt to experiment, even if the first time they do it that it has it's flaws. You sound like an A$$ for shooting down people for trying.
So I have valid points, but I'm an ass for pointing them out. Got it.

I guess you could look at it that I'm not shooting down someone's idea, I'm saving somebody some time.

If I had a dumb/bad/not-well-thought-out idea I would hope someone would let me know....I guess were just a bunch of brainless cheerleaders around here, eh?
 

Denny

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agenthucky, the problem here is that the people who just want to see what happens for them aren't making objective judgements. As Bill has pointed out, there are no systems for controls or comparison.
 

agenthucky

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So I have valid points, but I'm an ass for pointing them out. Got it.
They were two separate points, you extrapolated them into one conclusion.

Are you having trouble separating concepts? Like lets say adding OO instead of adding O2 and whether that O2 in beneficial in the first place.

Also, you used 'ironically' incorrectly, probably to help make your point.
 

agenthucky

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agenthucky, the problem here is that the people who just want to see what happens for them aren't making objective judgements. As Bill has pointed out, there are no systems for controls or comparison.
I get it, these aren't scientific experiments. It is down right impossible for that level of control in homebrewing, and even more impossible for a scientific level of comparison. The results are gathered by people opinions and perceptions of taste. What you are asking of these people is impossible, exact cell counts, removal of O2, which makes it easy to shoot down. Repetition in large numbers however does have statistical value, and can lead to a scientific study. It seems neither you nor bill are interested in furthering the concept, with the excuse that if you try this, you have to try everything. That argument obviously isn't enough for the people who read this thread.

I don't see the harm in people just brewing as a constant (to their best ability), with one procedure changed. Whether or not whatever O2 is in there is moot, it is in both and it's effects on the beer, positive or not, are the same. To really test shelf life, yes it is crucial that you strip out all the O2. This conversation has got away from that though.
 

Wynne-R

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Olive Oil Addition to Yeast as an
Alternative to Wort Aeration

That’s the title to the original thesis. I think the effects of wort aeration are well known, born out by centuries of experience. Oh wait, that’s anecdotal. Well there are plenty of published experiments too.

The idea that the conclusions are not valid because they didn’t test some other hypothesis is ridiculous.

Anecdotal evidence lacks scientific rigor, but it would be wrong to ignore it. When I did my experiment I brewed the same recipe twice, a day apart. They were in five gallon carboys in the same closet and I observed the fermentation. Hmmn, observed, sciencey, right? Then I performed chemical analysis using pretty similar pint glasses and my own refined palate. I repeated this analysis over a period of weeks, until the beer ran out.

I don’t offer this as conclusive proof, but it is pretty solid evidence.
 

broadbill

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They were two separate points, you extrapolated them into one conclusion.

Are you having trouble separating concepts? Like lets say adding OO instead of adding O2 and whether that O2 in beneficial in the first place.

Also, you used 'ironically' incorrectly, probably to help make your point.
Thanks for the English lesson. Maybe since you seem like the smart person around these parts, care to take a shot at some of the points I've raised relative to OO vs. oxygen addition?

Otherwise you come off as just another wanker who has nothing important to say so they point out spelling and grammar errors.
 

agenthucky

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I guess you could look at it that I'm not shooting down someone's idea, I'm saving somebody some time.
Time is never wasted trying something new, and who are you to value their time anyhow?

How full of yourself and your ideas you must be to be that audacious
 

broadbill

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Olive Oil Addition to Yeast as an
Alternative to Wort Aeration

That’s the title to the original thesis. I think the effects of wort aeration are well known, born out by centuries of experience. Oh wait, that’s anecdotal. Well there are plenty of published experiments too.

The idea that the conclusions are not valid because they didn’t test some other hypothesis is ridiculous.

Anecdotal evidence lacks scientific rigor, but it would be wrong to ignore it. When I did my experiment I brewed the same recipe twice, a day apart. They were in five gallon carboys in the same closet and I observed the fermentation. Hmmn, observed, sciencey, right? Then I performed chemical analysis using pretty similar pint glasses and my own refined palate. I repeated this analysis over a period of weeks, until the beer ran out.

I don’t offer this as conclusive proof, but it is pretty solid evidence.
Um, where is the evidence you refer to? The only solid evidence presented here is you drank some beer. Nice work professor!:drunk:
 

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