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Oxygen and Beer
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I was asked during a recent meeting about preventing your beer from darkening. Beer changes over time naturally and is one of the things that makes it so intriguing. Hops start to round off, losing their early bite. The malt starts to shine through a little more, alcohol usually takes a back seat and the yeast and proteins drop out clearing the beer. Unfortunately not all changes are preferred and color changes are one of them. As beer ages it may start to take on a brownish tint as opposed to the golden hue we prefer for many styles.

This is primarily caused by the effects of oxidation, but it can be minimized. This website http://www.lowoxygenbrewing.com/ lists several methods for minimizing the amount of oxygen that our wort and beer is exposed to. Some of these methods are pretty time and/or labor intensive or complicated. For me the biggest change I made was to stop splashing my water and wort everywhere. I use food grade silicone tubing (available at Gary's Homebrew--shameless plug) to gently drain my wort from the mash tun to the boil kettle (think laminar flow). I also siphon the wort into the carboy gently, and again, gently, into the keg. I know your thinking "BUT we are supposed to oxygenate the wort!" And this is true, but it's done right before pitching your yeast. Yeast will consume dissolved oxygen in wort typically within 30 minutes. All that time before and after may be working against preserving that golden color you're looking for.

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