Vitamin C - The Game Changer?

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MaxStout

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I'm having a hard time imagining that ascorbic acid degrades so quickly on its own in solution. That would mean that all the fruit juices do not contain any vitamin C. The preserving qualities of it would be also quite limited, I think it wouldn't be used that often in the food industry if it deteriorates that quickly.

That raised an eyebrow with me, too. I'd hate to think my OJ will run out of AA in a couple days. :confused: Maybe the AA is depleted by the O2 scavenging.

On another note, I read some posts on the other site's discussion board, and there was some talk about some of the people foregoing AA and using more SMB in their trifecta, due to their concern that AA can become a "super oxidizer." I just skimmed the thread and didn't see links to any research that quantifies it, but what was posted in the thread seems to underpin some belief of AA's oxidation risk.

I know we're not making this discussion about trifecta, but that info may be relevant to our decisions re AA additions.
 

bwible

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I do bottle! I'm very nervous about the head space because back in the day I read something about pressure and head space and exploding but I'm just going to take a deep breath and trust you, I've read enough of your posts to see you know what you're doing.

I think I will do some bottles with the normal amount of headspace though so I can compare what difference the AA makes and what AA plus tiny head space makes.

Also I said it's too late to add AA before the mash BUT I do add sodium metabisulfite to my brewing water to neautralize chlorine and from what I'm reading that may prevent mash oxidizing too but clearly has been used up by the time I bottle. I think I may need to do a split batch in the future comparing AA cold side vs. SMB cold side.
There is headspace in every bottle of beer you buy and in every can also - you just can’t see through the can. Wine bottles have it too. I agree it is not advisable to completely fill bottles and leave no headspace.

I know the breweries cap on foam or can on foam, though that makes me ask how they are doing that and if that process itself isn’t introducing oxygen. They also have to do it to be providing the correct serving size listed on the label. The bottles are designed for 12 oz of beer and they print 12 oz on the label, so if they completely filled the bottle that would be more than 12 oz and there would be legal-eze to deal with there. Or does anybody think we’re getting less than 12 oz in a bottle because of the headspace?

[edit] I’ve found bottling to be enough of an inexact science as it is. You can take a million gravity readings, use 17 pieces of software and measure sugar with a gram scale accurate to 1/10th of a gram and still get overcarbonated beer. I’m just not going to take more chances.
 
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Miraculix

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There is headspace in every bottle of beer you buy and in every can also - you just can’t see through the can. Wine bottles have it too. I agree it is not advisable to completely fill bottles and leave no headspace.

I know the breweries cap on foam or can on foam, though that makes me ask how they are doing that and if that process itself isn’t introducing oxygen. They also have to do it to be providing the correct serving size listed on the label. The bottles are designed for 12 oz of beer and they print 12 oz on the label, so if they completely filled the bottle that would be more than 12 oz and there would be legal-eze to deal with there. Or does anybody think we’re getting less than 12 oz in a bottle because of the headspace?
I think I've seen a system where bottles filled with carbonated beer were kind of vibrated, which created the foam directly before the capping, but I don't remember where I saw that. It obviously only works if enough co2 is already in solution.
 
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day_trippr

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It may still be the case that large scale bottling machines use a tiny high pressure jet at the end of filling to create the foam to cap upon.
I do know the macros purge bottles as many as three times before filling as well...

Cheers!
 
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Miraculix

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That raised an eyebrow with me, too. I'd hate to think my OJ will run out of AA in a couple days. :confused: Maybe the AA is depleted by the O2 scavenging.

On another note, I read some posts on the other site's discussion board, and there was some talk about some of the people foregoing AA and using more SMB in their trifecta, due to their concern that AA can become a "super oxidizer." I just skimmed the thread and didn't see links to any research that quantifies it, but what was posted in the thread seems to underpin some belief of AA's oxidation risk.

I know we're not making this discussion about trifecta, but that info may be relevant to our decisions re AA additions.
There was this longer article linked to pon page one that discussed the topic of ascorbic acid being an oxidiser. It did not come to a final conclusion but it looks like as if sufficient iron /copper ions need to be present to turn ascorbic acid against us. There are a lot of ifs and wedontknowabouts in there, so all we can say is that we do not really know. Maybe that was the root of the scepticism regarding vitamin c? Maybe this does not apply to typical wort composition? We do not know yet. At least I don't. Let's find out!
 

MaxStout

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There was this longer article linked to pon page one that discussed the topic of ascorbic acid being an oxidiser. It did not come to a final conclusion but it looks like as if sufficient iron /copper ions need to be present to turn ascorbic acid against us. There are a lot of ifs and wedontknowabouts in there, so all we can say is that we do not really know. Maybe that was the root of the scepticism regarding vitamin c? Maybe this does not apply to typical wort composition? We do not know yet. At least I don't. Let's find out!

Perhaps copper chillers are the metal ion culprit. Every time I use an IC, the hot wort cleans all the oxide off. It has to go somewhere--into the wort.
 

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I know the breweries cap on foam or can on foam, though that makes me ask how they are doing that and if that process itself isn’t introducing oxygen.

It's known as fobbing. There are a few ways to do it, but one way is to inject a small amount of sterile, deaerated water right at the end of the fill, so that a fine foam rises to just over the top of the bottle just as the bottle is capped. The idea is that as the fine foam bubbles fill the headspace, it forces air out.

The bottles are designed for 12 oz of beer and they print 12 oz on the label, so if they completely filled the bottle that would be more than 12 oz and there would be legal-eze to deal with there. Or does anybody think we’re getting less than 12 oz in a bottle because of the headspace?

I have measured the volume of a standard LHBS type brown bottle and got 12.81 ounces. I did this by comparing the mass of the empty bottle to the same bottle filled with water.
 

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I bottle from the keg and purge the bottles with co2 as best as I can. I use a picknick tap with a piece of plastic racking cane. On the beer side I use the same but with a bottle filler wand with a stopper attached. Pulling on the side of the stopper when the beer slows down.
When the bottle is full I raise the wand up to the beer line and press against the neck . Then press on the picknick tap lightly a few times. This fills the bottle fuller and brings up the foam. Then just cap on foam. Leaves a smaller headspace and foams too.
 

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This discussion has interested me, as I'm LODO-curious, but definitely not intrigued by the hot side process (pre-boil my mash water? No thanks.)

So now I'm inspired to try a brewing experiment. Three separate mashes: one with mash and sparge water treated with my K-Campden tablet, one with ascorbic acid (ratio'd based on @Miraculix good experience above), and one with neither. The recipe will be the question. I brew a wide variety of things, so the LODO claims of malt taste sound very intriguing to try on a lager. But I don't have cooling capability or pressure capability on my 3 gallon Fermonsters, so that rules out a lager. (I'm not trying to prove whether I can taste the difference in warm fermented lager yeast.)

The description of an IPA tasting the same at 2 months as it did at day 2 sounds way too good to be true, yet as a hophead, it also sounds enticing to try. I've got a good NEIPA recipe I've had success with, and that seems to be the bellwether on oxidation. But that also seems too easily screwed up by extra process steps on the cold side, and potentially distract from the main factor here.

So I'm thinking a blonde ale or maybe a low bitterness Pale Ale using a plain California Ale yeast.

Anyone have any other suggestions or thoughts on best recipe to try to isolate the effect of AA used in the mash?
I chose to do a Centennial blonde with low IBU and Cal Ale as the yeast for my four batch test. I think it would be a good choice for all of these types of tests as we are all familiar with the yeast and a pale beer is best for discerning malt flavor. If you are going to do an experiment, I would save some time and go all the way with the Campden tablet batch using YOS strike water and upping the K-meta to 1 gram for a three gallon batch. If you do not treat the strike water for the campden & AA batches, you are fighting yourself when the additives are introduced to the mash.
 

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Regarding capping on foam, off the AA topic a bit. I'm using a counter pressure bottle filler ( williams warn type), it's a closed transfer from the keg to the purged bottle. You fill to the top from the bottom and it vents the bottle of CO2 to balance the pressure so no excess foaming and then when you take the bottle off the volume displaced by the filling straw means the headspace is left. Because the beer is carbonated it will bubble up slowly and fill that headspace to the top with foam or I just give the bottle a jiggle and when the foam rises I then cap on it. In the meantime I've already got the next bottle filling. It works really well and is a non messy procedure.
Getting back to AA I came across this paper
Chemical Stability of Ascorbic Acid Integrated into Commercial Products: A Review on Bioactivity and Delivery Technology published January this year so up to date.


" Ascorbic acid is also used as an antioxidant to protect the sensory and nutritional properties of foods. As an anti-browning agent, it can inhibit the browning of vegetables and fruits caused by oxidation. The formation of quinones mediated by polyphenol oxidase causes the accumulation of H2O2, which in turn causes the browning of polyphenols mediated by peroxidase [25]. Ascorbic acid inhibits browning by reducing the o-quinone produced by polyphenol oxidase to the original diphenol through a process called “deactivation reaction” [26]. In addition to the regeneration mechanism of polyphenols, the protective effect is also attributed to the competitive inhibition of polyphenol oxidase activity by ascorbic acid. Meanwhile, addition of ascorbic acid causes a decrease in pH and is not conducive to the expression of polyphenol oxidase activity [27]."

same paper re temperature

" The degradation or oxidation products of ascorbic acid heated at 100 °C for 2 h include furfural, 2-furoic acid, 3-hydroxy-2-pyrone and an unknown compound. Among them, furfural is one of the main degradation products of ascorbic acid, which can polymerize or combine with amino acids to form brown melanoids, causing the browning of ascorbic acid-containing juice products [62]. Furthermore, thermally oxidized ascorbic acid was identified as a potential precursor of furan; it is a possible carcinogen usually produced in some heated food products [71]. "

So I'm not sure how a one hour boil can see any residue carried over that's of benefit. Some of the above products are made below 100C and so will be forming during the mash.
But oxidation definitely makes NEIPA go brown so adding it later may be of benefit. Whether the prooxidative actions mentioned in the paper because of metal ions can be promoted the Mg and Ca ions I'm not sure, but Fe and Cu are implicated.
 
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Miraculix

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Regarding capping on foam, off the AA topic a bit. I'm using a counter pressure bottle filler ( williams warn type), it's a closed transfer from the keg to the purged bottle. You fill to the top from the bottom and it vents the bottle of CO2 to balance the pressure so no excess foaming and then when you take the bottle off the volume displaced by the filling straw means the headspace is left. Because the beer is carbonated it will bubble up slowly and fill that headspace to the top with foam or I just give the bottle a jiggle and when the foam rises I then cap on it. In the meantime I've already got the next bottle filling. It works really well and is a non messy procedure.
Getting back to AA I came across this paper
Chemical Stability of Ascorbic Acid Integrated into Commercial Products: A Review on Bioactivity and Delivery Technology published January this year so up to date.


" Ascorbic acid is also used as an antioxidant to protect the sensory and nutritional properties of foods. As an anti-browning agent, it can inhibit the browning of vegetables and fruits caused by oxidation. The formation of quinones mediated by polyphenol oxidase causes the accumulation of H2O2, which in turn causes the browning of polyphenols mediated by peroxidase [25]. Ascorbic acid inhibits browning by reducing the o-quinone produced by polyphenol oxidase to the original diphenol through a process called “deactivation reaction” [26]. In addition to the regeneration mechanism of polyphenols, the protective effect is also attributed to the competitive inhibition of polyphenol oxidase activity by ascorbic acid. Meanwhile, addition of ascorbic acid causes a decrease in pH and is not conducive to the expression of polyphenol oxidase activity [27]."

same paper re temperature

" The degradation or oxidation products of ascorbic acid heated at 100 °C for 2 h include furfural, 2-furoic acid, 3-hydroxy-2-pyrone and an unknown compound. Among them, furfural is one of the main degradation products of ascorbic acid, which can polymerize or combine with amino acids to form brown melanoids, causing the browning of ascorbic acid-containing juice products [62]. Furthermore, thermally oxidized ascorbic acid was identified as a potential precursor of furan; it is a possible carcinogen usually produced in some heated food products [71]. "

So I'm not sure how a one hour boil can see any residue carried over that's of benefit. Some of the above products are made below 100C and so will be forming during the mash.
But oxidation definitely makes NEIPA go brown so adding it later may be of benefit. Whether the prooxidative actions mentioned in the paper because of metal ions can be promoted the Mg and Ca ions I'm not sure, but Fe and Cu are implicated.
Thank you, very interesting indeed!

I see no reference that the vitamin C boiled for 2h is completely degraded, did I miss it? Otherwise there could be a big portion left after the boil.
 
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McMullan

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Forgive me if this has been posted already, but just stumbled onto this:

Two Faces of Vitamin C--Antioxidative and Pro-Oxidative Agent
Is this relevant to brewing, though? What might go on in cancerous cells is 'wrong' biologically and not necessarily relevant to brewing. About 10 years ago a clinical study was carried out to assess the effects of vit C supplements for cancer patients. The long short: it's accepted that chronic oxidative stress (e.g., caused by smoking, air pollution, etc.) is a key factor for promoting non-communable diseases like cancer. The levels of oxidative stress are much higher in cancerous cells. So logic suggested it might be beneficial to prescribe a safe antioxidant like vit C to limit, or even reverse, tumour growth. Sadly, the trial had to be stopped early. For some reason vit C supplements seemed to have the opposite effect. Tumour growth rates actually increased. It was suggested that a high level of oxidative stress is actually what limits the growth rate of cancerous tumours. Therefore prescribing vit C to reduce oxidative stress favoured the tumours not the patients. It wasn't meant literally, but it was suggested, within the context of this research, and its logic, vit C acted like a 'super oxidant'. I do wonder if LODO enthusiasts are cherry picking research from unassociated fields and naively extrapolating any findings to brewing? Claims vit C sometimes acts as a 'super oxidiser' within the contexts of brewing need to be substantiated with some credible evidence.
 

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Whilst I had my clinical head on something else occurred to me. Is AA a placebo? It's a very powerful effect and not to be considered unimportant. I think some blind tasting of the same recipe(s) with and without added AA are going to be needed to test this one.
 

McMullan

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Perhaps copper chillers are the metal ion culprit. Every time I use an IC, the hot wort cleans all the oxide off. It has to go somewhere--into the wort.
I swapped my long-time SS IC for a copper CFC (large ZChiller) a few years ago and I didn't notice any change in my house beers. In fact, when I think about it, I'm doing all I can to promote HSA. I brew in a braumeister, with mash liquor/first wort cascading, like a waterfall, over the malt pipe; sparge/rinse in the open air; then recirculate (for up to 50min) through silicone hose connected to the CFC. I don't know what else to do in order to experience the effects of HSA. I've run out of ideas. But I do plan to add AA next time I brew one of my house beers, just out of curiosity. It's possible I'm missing something, of course.
 

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@Miraculix
You are right it doesn't confirm all the AA is lost with the boil but given

"Studies have shown that the retention of ascorbic acid in the product after pasteurization (90 °C, 1 min) is about 82–92% "
and that
"The degradation of ascorbic acid during storage and heat treatment follows first-order kinetics based on a classic dynamic model "

I assumed that it would basically all disappear.

However having read this from the same paper

"Some researchers in food science believe that oxygen saturation decreases with increasing temperature and drops to 0 at 100 °C. However, according to the Tromans and Battino model, although 100–130 °C is the minimum oxygen solubility temperature, there is still dissolved oxygen in the system [73,74]. At temperatures above 100 °C, oxygen has a greater effect on ascorbic acid degradation than temperature. Therefore, removing all oxygen including dissolved oxygen is the best way to preserve ascorbic acid at high temperatures [75]."

I'm wondering if the best thing to do with the ascorbic acid is to add it towards the end of fermentation or once fermentation is really going, all of the oxygen from aeration will have been used up or significantly diluted. Adding in the whirlpool at 75 or into the fermenter would just expose it to the aerated wort
 
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Miraculix

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@Miraculix
You are right it doesn't confirm all the AA is lost with the boil but given

"Studies have shown that the retention of ascorbic acid in the product after pasteurization (90 °C, 1 min) is about 82–92% "
and that
"The degradation of ascorbic acid during storage and heat treatment follows first-order kinetics based on a classic dynamic model "

I assumed that it would basically all disappear.

However having read this from the same paper

"Some researchers in food science believe that oxygen saturation decreases with increasing temperature and drops to 0 at 100 °C. However, according to the Tromans and Battino model, although 100–130 °C is the minimum oxygen solubility temperature, there is still dissolved oxygen in the system [73,74]. At temperatures above 100 °C, oxygen has a greater effect on ascorbic acid degradation than temperature. Therefore, removing all oxygen including dissolved oxygen is the best way to preserve ascorbic acid at high temperatures [75]."

I'm wondering if the best thing to do with the ascorbic acid is to add it towards the end of fermentation or once fermentation is really going, all of the oxygen from aeration will have been used up or significantly diluted. Adding in the whirlpool at 75 or into the fermenter would just expose it to the aerated wort
As far as I understand it, the oxygen level is key here. And the more vitamin C gets oxidised the less oxygen is in solution this should mean that we just need to introduce enough vitamin C from the start so that oxygen is almost zero during the boil, this should prevent excessive loss of vitamin C due to heat during the boil.

We could monitor oxygen levels during the boil, pre and post. This should show if the vitamin C actually gets rid of the oxygen in total.
 

DuncB

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Seems to be a thermal and or oxidative breakdown of the AA. I think measuring the DO at those times a good idea but also how much AA is left.
Then AA added perhaps in whirlpool and later in the ferment might get the best bang for your buck, those oxidative flavours will be coming from the malt as well I suppose so it's not just a hop issue.
 

McMullan

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I think the common practice within the food industry involving use of AA to extend the shelf life/delay staling of products is mainly a business decision* and not really justification for adding AA to a brewery mash. It’s probably better to ignore that practice here. Again, O2 is unlikely to have much impact within the context (time frame) of the hot side. It’s not that reactive. Striving to keep it out likely reaches a point of diminishing returns quickly, denied by beliefs. There are far more reactive oxidizing chemicals already in there - that have nothing to do with ambient O2 on brew day. Whether there’s a benefit to adding antioxidants, generally or under certain conditions, remains to be demonstrated scientifically.

*It works, but with limits, is considered safe and, most importantly, is cheap as chips. If we were trying to preserve expensive truffles I’m sure we’d use something a bit more upmarket.

Edit: Here’s recent publication that might be of some interest. It might help some to better understand what I’m banging on about. But it is just one publication so it won’t change the world or anything like that. Unless you allow it to, of course.
 
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McMullan

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I'm fortunate to know and work with quite a few breweries now and again, and the guys paying attention to oxygen are for the most part making better beers (IMO, and to my own taste).

That’s an interesting observation, but it makes sense for other possible reasons, in my mind. I bet these brewers paying more attention to O2 just happen to be paying more attention to their processes generally, including following best practices to get consistent results. I bet some even use SOPs. In my experience, this is what produces better beers, regardless of consideration for O2. At the other end of the spectrum there’s bad practices and beers with too many flaws to fix.
 

MaxStout

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Whilst I had my clinical head on something else occurred to me. Is AA a placebo? It's a very powerful effect and not to be considered unimportant. I think some blind tasting of the same recipe(s) with and without added AA are going to be needed to test this one.

I think that's the missing element here. Lots of anecdotal data (including my own experiences), but no one has offered a study to affirm the claims being thrown around. Confirmation bias could very well be driving much of this.
 

MaxStout

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I swapped my long-time SS IC for a copper CFC (large ZChiller) a few years ago and I didn't notice any change in my house beers. In fact, when I think about it, I'm doing all I can to promote HSA. I brew in a braumeister, with mash liquor/first wort cascading, like a waterfall, over the malt pipe; sparge/rinse in the open air; then recirculate (for up to 50min) through silicone hose connected to the CFC. I don't know what else to do in order to experience the effects of HSA. I've run out of ideas. But I do plan to add AA next time I brew one of my house beers, just out of curiosity. It's possible I'm missing something, of course.

My process is probably just as pro-oxidative. No sparge BIAB, lots of stirring, no mash cap, squeezing the bag. I bottle, no spunding, and so on.

The additives I've been using have reduced staling, and extended shelf life. But I just incorporate the tweaks that are practical for me; I'm nowhere near a lo-O2 brewer.
 

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The way I see it, if you take several kg of malted barley, crush it then make a solution with it, you’re going to have a degree of redox reactions going on, even if mashed in a vacuum. But this is the norm. Most people are accustomed to it, culturally and genetically, so it stays below a sliding threshold above which it becomes a flaw/off flavour for some people. These people are more closely grouped with those weirdos who don’t like beer.

I’m looking forward to giving AA a go, though. I already have a big tub of the stuff, for inverting sugar, so I’m prepped to give it a whirl.

My worst fear is all my beers to date have been terrible in reality and people have been too PC (or too pissed) to tell me. The last thing I want to hear is “Wow! That’s improved, mate”. WTF! 😱
 
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Miraculix

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The way I see it, if you take several kg of malted barley, crush it then make a solution with it, you’re going to have a degree of redox reactions going on, even if mashed in a vacuum. But this is the norm. Most people are accustomed to it, culturally and genetically, so it stays below a sliding threshold above which it becomes a flaw/off flavour for some people. These people are more closely grouped with those weirdos who don’t like beer.

I’m looking forward to giving AA a go, though. I already have a big tub of the stuff, for inverting sugar, so I’m prepped to give it a whirl.

My worst fear is all my beers to date have been terrible in reality and people have been too PC (or too pissed) to tell me. The last thing I want to hear is “Wow! That’s improved, mate”. WTF! 😱
What's your workflow for inverting sugar with vitamin C? Dosage etc? Sounds like a good idea.

Edit: Found that one here:
 
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McMullan

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What's your workflow for inverting sugar with vitamin C? Dosage etc? Sounds like a good idea.

Sorry, that tub I’ve got is actually citric acid. But we have a bottle of vit C I can rob. I follow Ron P’s recipe (I’m sure he won’t mind):

F18C05E4-CA5B-41A6-A74A-86D41701551D.jpeg


Edit: Looks like I’m not ready to give it a whirl after all. I need some pure AA powder 🙄 Now to source some in Norway might be a challenge. If it’s not salt or pepper you’re in for a rough ride. Ebay might be a better option.
 
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MaxStout

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The way I see it, if you take several kg of malted barley, crush it then make a solution with it, you’re going to have a degree of redox reactions going on, even if mashed in a vacuum. But this is the norm. Most people are accustomed to it, culturally and genetically, so it stays below a sliding threshold above which it becomes a flaw/off flavour for some people. These people are more closely grouped with those weirdos who don’t like beer.

I’m looking forward to giving AA a go, though. I already have a big tub of the stuff, for inverting sugar, so I’m prepped to give it a whirl.

My worst fear is all my beers to date have been terrible in reality and people have been too PC (or too pissed) to tell me. The last thing I want to hear is “Wow! That’s improved, mate”. WTF! 😱

I get that too. Sometimes I think my family and friends don't want to critique my beer too harshly, for fear I won't give them any more. ;)

Maybe you know a local brewer you could ask to sample some? Tell them "it's my friend's beer," so they won't be afraid to be blunt.
 

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I've recently started adding AA (and other ingredients) .5 of a gram to strike water and with 20 mins left in the boil, I also use a 1/4 tsp of only AA at kegging and I can anecdotally attest to the improvement of the shelf life of my beers, especially my hoppy beers. I have an IPA that was been in the keg on CO2 for about 2 months and the hop flavor is way better that previous attempts. I have also heard somewhere that AA is a short acting anti O and k/smeta are longer acting. Not sure if I have this right or not, but that is why I only use the AA at kegging.
 
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Miraculix

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Looks like maybe heat is the culprit.
Yes, it might be. But as long as we don't have ballpark rates, like 50% gone after half an hour boil, wet cannot really say if there's enough left after mashing and boiling to affect it in the fermenter or bottle.
 

schmurf

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Sorry, that tub I’ve got is actually citric acid. But we have a bottle of vit C I can rob. I follow Ron P’s recipe (I’m sure he won’t mind):

View attachment 756982

Edit: Looks like I’m not ready to give it a whirl after all. I need some pure AA powder 🙄 Now to source some in Norway might be a challenge. If it’s not salt or pepper you’re in for a rough ride. Ebay might be a better option.
Are you not able to get this? I thought it was available in Norway too.
 
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Miraculix

Miraculix

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None in the local supermarket. Found some sold by an online health shop, but they wanted an arm for the powder and a leg for postage. So I ordered some from Poland through eBay.
Weird. In Germany you can buy that plain powder everywhere. Most supermarkets have it and every pharmacie for sure.
 
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Brooothru

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There was this longer article linked to pon page one that discussed the topic of ascorbic acid being an oxidiser. It did not come to a final conclusion but it looks like as if sufficient iron /copper ions need to be present to turn ascorbic acid against us. There are a lot of ifs and wedontknowabouts in there, so all we can say is that we do not really know. Maybe that was the root of the scepticism regarding vitamin c? Maybe this does not apply to typical wort composition? We do not know yet. At least I don't. Let's find out!
Don't SMB/BtB promote the precipitation of metallic ions? I'm not a chemist, but I believe there is some connection to this.
 
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