Oxygenation of hoppy wort

The Homebrew Forum

Help Support The Homebrew Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
Joined
Apr 27, 2020
Messages
1,084
Reaction score
875
Location
Berkshire
I am going to make a hoppy pale ale, which includes 100g hops at flameout and a substantial (300g) dry hop.
Ordinarily I would splash the wort in to the fermenter to get plenty of oxygen in for the yeast (London Ale III), but I am also very aware that this style oxidises easily. From which point does the oxygenation become an issue? Is from the point it is cooling, or am I ok to splash around to oxygenate for the yeast and then be careful from that point onward?
 
I'm planning to use wyeast London Ale III for this beer, but I could use dried now you mention it. Would I still need to avoid splashing when transferring wort to fermenter?
 
When I brew NEIPA I don’t worry about splashing the wort when transferring from boiler to fermenter. It’s the post fermentation transfer that I take precautions with, to try and eliminate any potential source of oxygen, within reason. Most recent change in this was to NOT use Oxy cleaner on my barrels before transfer. I’m sure that inadequate rinsing was the cause of me loosing a 5 gallon batch! I’m halfway through a repeat batch to see if it works.
 
I think your biggest risk is with your packaging as long as you take basic precautions when its in the fermenter. Transferring into a fully purged keg is best. Bottling can be risky unless you have the means to purge the bottle with something like a Blichmann beer gun or a counterflow bottle filler. You can always add about 0.3g of Sodium Metabisulphite (or is it Metabisulphate??) to scrub O2.

And don't forget to purge any lines you're using. I oxidised a NEIPA batch when I replaced the CO2 line and forgot to purge the metre or so long length of line and hooked it straight up to carbonate the beer. Impact of oxidation was pretty much immediately. Still drinkable for a couple of weeks even if it was not quite as tasty as it should have been, but the last quarter or so was fed to the drain.
 
Wet or dry yeast? Dry yeast you don't need to aerate at all.

Wet yeast pre fermentation you don't have any worries with aeration. The yeast will gobble up any oxygen it can during the lag/growth phases. I've bubbled two litres of pure Oxygen through my fermenter for a high gravity Triple IPA (containing around half a kilo of hops) multiple times. I'm pretty sensitive to those oxidised hop compounds and have not had any issues. I've also taken this beer to my homebrew club a couple of times, had 20+ people taste the beer and nobody has ever mentioned oxidised there either.

I think your biggest risk is with your packaging as long as you take basic precautions when its in the fermenter. Transferring into a fully purged keg is best.

Agreed - kegging into a purged keg makes the biggest difference for hoppy beers, alongside keeping oxygen out of your fermenter once fermentation has started.

Bottling can be risky unless you have the means to purge the bottle with something like a Blichmann beer gun or a counterflow bottle filler.

Also agreed - bottle conditioned NEIPAs in particular very very rarely work as the yeast just doesn't scrub enough oxygen in the bottle. I have tried many at the homebrew club and competitions and the guys that brew them well all have kegs. The key with bottling is to get some CO2 in there first to protect the beer during the turbulence of filling, don't leave too much headspace and then cap the bottle with foam coming out of the neck.

You can always add about 0.3g of Sodium Metabisulphite (or is it Metabisulphate??) to scrub O2.

Be really careful with this. If there's any residual yeast activity (including bottle conditioning), the yeast will turn the metabisulphite into hydrogen suphide and you will now have Egg IPA. I did this to two kegs of beer before I realised what was happening. The reward is not worth the risk imho.

And don't forget to purge any lines you're using. I oxidised a NEIPA batch when I replaced the CO2 line and forgot to purge the metre or so long length of line and hooked it straight up to carbonate the beer. Impact of oxidation was pretty much immediately. Still drinkable for a couple of weeks even if it was not quite as tasty as it should have been, but the last quarter or so was fed to the drain.

Also well worth noting. Just a blast of CO2 down a line/tubing is enough.
 
From which point does the oxygenation become an issue? Is from the point it is cooling, or am I ok to splash around to oxygenate for the yeast and then be careful from that point onward?
From the point of view of hops - it's an issue once the hops are in, but particularly once you're releasing thiols into the wort - so mostly dry hopping. That's why the commercial practice these days is generally to cool crash to 10-15C to drop the yeast to the bottom of the conical, then dry hop, which at homebrew scale only needs to be for a day or two. You can broadly assume that oxygen is scrubbed from the beer within a day or two of fermentation starting, but then it's a question of avoiding adding it during packaging etc.
 
Oxygenation at the start of fermentation will last hours.

Oxygenation after fermentation will last until you drink the beer.

Concentrate after fermentation slows until you’ve got it as good as you can, then worry about beforehand.
 
Use the London Ale III correct cell count for your batch, use pure oxygen if you want most professionals will.
But the next time that beer gets any oxygen exposure should be when it comes out of the tap or bottle.

Remember it's not the presence of oxygen but it's reactions that causes the problems.
 
If you're worried about the initial oxygen hit on the hops at start of fermentation and you're keeping eveeything sealed through the whole process and pressure transferring to keg, you could delay the dry hop addition with a bag suspended with magnets and drop them in after a couple of days of fermentation. Keeps everything sealed through the whole process and O2 should be consumed by then.

Might need a decent sized bag and few magnets for 300g of hops though, not to mention enough head space to keep it dry. If it's pellets you'll need a bag big enough to accommodate the 2 to 3 x size increase you'll get to avoid it escaping, ask me how I know.....
 
I was thinking about the dry hop.
Is it the case that even lifting the lid and dropping them in followed by purging headspace with CO2 would result in sufficient oxygen to cause a problem? Considering any oxygen in the transfer line when transferring would be an issie, I suppose I should avoid removing the lid at all for the dry hop.
 
I was thinking about the dry hop.
Is it the case that even lifting the lid and dropping them in followed by purging headspace with CO2 would result in sufficient oxygen to cause a problem? Considering any oxygen in the transfer line when transferring would be an issie, I suppose I should avoid removing the lid at all for the dry hop.

Not in my experience.
 

Latest posts

Back
Top