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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2012 * Archive through April 03, 2012 * Bottling < Previous Next >

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Chumley
Senior Member
Username: Chumley

Post Number: 6414
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 63.118.227.254
Posted on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - 05:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Last Sunday the local homebrew club had a bottling session for our barrel-aged 10.4% Burton Ale. Each club member who contributed wort siphoned out their 5 gallons into their bottling buckets, then proceded to bottle at various locations around one of the club member's garage.

I hadn't bottled anything for at least 6 years, and I was certainly the dinosaur of the group. While everyone else had these spring-loaded racking canes, I just turned on the spigot of my bucket with the bottle slightly tilted to the side. When people questioned whether I was getting too much oxygen into my beer, I pointed to the foam that reached to the top of the neck, as CO2 going out of solution. I immediately placed a cap on the bottle after filling, and crimped it on.

A lot of people were impressed with this technique, as it was less messy and went somewhat faster than the spring-loaded cane, but I am somewhat hesitant in that I may be giving out bad advice from the old days (this is how I've bottled since 1990). Anyone care to comment?

PS: I sure like kegging better.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13629
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.9.127
Posted on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - 06:41 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I wish there was more documented evidence about oxygen pickup and staling. Obviously there's a connection of some kind, but so far I have never seen anything very concrete that a homebrewer could take away. The studies are about commercial beers and O2 pickup in the parts per billion range, something homebrewers are clearly unable to measure and achieve.

I do think that priming helps to scavenge some of the O2 picked up during the bottling process, but again I have no data as to the extent.
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 2874
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 72.15.96.196
Posted on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - 07:02 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'd be far more concerned with oxygen pickup if you were bottling an already-carbonated beer. Being facultative anaerobes, beer yeasts love oxygen because they generate a lot more ATP using the metabolic pathway that includes oxygen rather than the one that does not. A much more efficient use of resources for them and by several orders of magnitude. As long as they're alive and active and "eating", e.g. metabolizing priming sugar, they'll use all that oxygen, and rather quickly, too.

One thing to be concerned about in carelessly (or deliberately) introducing too much oxygen post-fermentation, though, is the possibility of diacetyl formation.
 

Kevin Kowalczyk
Senior Member
Username: Itsfunbrewingbeer

Post Number: 1065
Registered: 10-2007
Posted From: 64.134.228.248
Posted on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - 07:06 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If you're really worried about O2 at bottling, use a purged corny keg as your bottling bucket, and fill with a counter pressure filler. Less messy than usual, because you're filling the bottles with primed, uncarbonated beer. Well, carbonated to one atmosphere.
 

Chumley
Senior Member
Username: Chumley

Post Number: 6415
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 63.118.227.254
Posted on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - 08:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

One thing to be concerned about in carelessly (or deliberately) introducing too much oxygen post-fermentation, though, is the possibility of diacetyl formation.

I can honestly say that I have never had diacetyl issues in any of my bottled beers (with the exception of lambic/guezue), so I guess that sort of validates my technique. I only get diacetyl on rare occasions in very young British ales and Bohemian pilsners that are kegged, and that usually goes away after a week or so.

Thanks, guys. Think I will stick with the quick and easy bottling method.
 

mark taylor
Intermediate Member
Username: Marktaylo

Post Number: 412
Registered: 06-2003
Posted From: 201.159.211.52
Posted on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 03:40 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The only advantage I can see over your technique is the ability to place all the empty bottles as a group and fill them all by moving the wand from bottle to bottle. Sounds like you have to pick each bottle up, fill and then set it back down to get the next one. Filling all the bottles at one time and then capping sounds easier and quicker.
mark
www.backyardbrewer.blogspot.com
 

Marc Rehfuss
Intermediate Member
Username: Marc_rehfuss

Post Number: 329
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 67.164.3.189
Posted on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 06:13 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Getting sidetracked here-- Graham, via the Crabtree effect, yeast will still undergo fermentation provided that the glucose concentration is over the threshold required to initiate Crabtree. Available oxygen (or at least the vast majority of it) is not utilized for ATP production, but for sterol synthesis. ATP production is still by substrate level phosphorylation and not oxidative phosphorylation. In beer production, the Pasteur effect is not a factor. High glucose levels almost always override Pasteur with S cerevisiae, with one exception being in large scale industrial fermentations where they deliberately keep [glucose] low and bubble oxygen through the fermenter. Regardless, I definitely agree that oxygen introduced at bottling is utilized very quickly, though I suspect quite a bit remains, so sloppy bottling procedures can still result in a oxidized cardboard notes eventually.
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 2877
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 72.15.96.196
Posted on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 07:03 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Marc, I'll make a deal with you. I've just gone through the lactic acid bacteria portion of my Microbiology of Fermentation course. It will be a few weeks before I get into the yeast portion of the course. I'll table this discussion until then.

(Message edited by t2driver on February 16, 2012)
 

Marc Rehfuss
Intermediate Member
Username: Marc_rehfuss

Post Number: 330
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 12.204.98.94
Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 01:01 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Done, Graham. FWIW, I am a bacteriologist (not a yeast microbiologist) and would welcome any new data regarding the matter of yeast metabolism, be it fermentative or oxidative (or both).
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 2879
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 72.15.96.196
Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 03:20 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Exceptionally cool course, amazing even. It will be the crown jewel in my degree . The instructor wrote the textbook. http://www.amazon.com/Microbiology-Technology-Fermented-Foods-Press/dp/081380018 8

I would not have imagined that at my age I would be learning new concepts like the phosphoketolase-dependent phosphotransferase system, let alone how to spell it and pronounce it. ;)
 

mikel
Intermediate Member
Username: Mikel

Post Number: 434
Registered: 02-2001
Posted From: 166.181.3.237
Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 03:35 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have had the best bottling results as far as limiting oxidation by purging everything that is involved with bottling with CO2. This includes using a keg as a bottling tank and a counter pressure filler for the bottles even for bottle conditioned brews. I have asked several probrewers who bottle condition their beer and they all use similar techniques to limit O2 pickup as much as possible even for bottle conditioned beers.
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 7932
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 72.49.60.83
Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 04:02 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Phil's Philler was capable of putting the level anywhere and leaving it there when withdrawn. I learned quickly that leaving almost no head space retarded carbonation. It would seem that some O2 in the bottle during conditioning is useful.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13638
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.9.127
Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 04:55 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Dan, I don't believe it's the lack of O2 that retards carbonation when there is almost no head space. Rather it's that enough physical space is required for the CO2 to equilibrate.

(By the way, I'm very happy with my oldie-but-goodie Phil's Philler. The one I'd had for 12 years died, but David Waite was nice enough to let me have his that he no longer used. What I like most about it is the feature you mention: you can fill to the level you wish, which hardly changes at all when you remove the filler.)

(Message edited by BillPierce on February 16, 2012)
 

Marc Rehfuss
Intermediate Member
Username: Marc_rehfuss

Post Number: 333
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 67.164.3.189
Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 05:01 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Graham, IIRC, you are taking courses (online?) from Kansas State. I went to grad school there from 2000 - late 2004. Learned how to brew my first year of grad school partially because of the dearth of good beer there at the time. Love that place.

On a side note, "Brewing Yeast and Fermentation" by Boulton and Quaid is an excellent book that covers brewing yeast metabolism in exhausting detail. Crabtree is of course covered. I have it in pdf if anyone is interested. The "Biochemistry of Fermentation" chapter is gold.

Back to bottling-- I hate bottling entire batches and don't see myself doing it again. Absolutely hated that part of brewing. I like kegs for multiple reasons. Have a Blichmann Beergun in case in want to fill from keg for beers that have to sit around for a while.
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 7933
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 72.49.60.83
Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 01:44 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I don't see a need for gas volume as a factor influencing carbonation rate. What does the yeast care about headspace. It has sugar to ferment. Now the bit of O2 in the headspace might influence the amount of yeast produced, and this would influence the sped of carbonation.
 

Paul Hayslett
Senior Member
Username: Paulhayslett

Post Number: 3012
Registered: 02-2002
Posted From: 24.2.134.193
Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 02:43 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Chumley, you are fine. Ignore the douchey alpha posters and follow your senses. If your beer doesn't go stale in bottles before you drink it, then your method is sound.

FWIW, I use a non-spring-loaded bottle filler. (I forget the brand. It uses gravity to close the valve.) It has a high flow rate and can cause lots of splashing in the bottle if I have the bottle too far below the level of the beer in the bottling bucket. I can't imagine that would cause less oxygen pickup than your method. I get around this by holding the bottle higher to slow the flow. But your method sounds simpler.
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 2880
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 72.15.96.196
Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 04:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Marc, this particular course I'm taking at Nebraska through a consortium program. My home U. is Kansas State. This is the "hump" semester in my degree program - I hope to be finished either fall of '13 or spring of '14. I'll actually have two pieces of paper for my trouble, an M.S. in Food Science and a graduate certificate in Food Safety and Defense.

Last semester I took Grain Science. Invaluable.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13640
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.9.127
Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 04:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Learning is a wonderful thing. I'm sure you are having to make some sacrifices in your personal and work life, Graham, but I admire what you're doing.
 

Jack Horzempa
Member
Username: Jack_horzempa

Post Number: 173
Registered: 02-2007
Posted From: 68.82.57.55
Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 06:44 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I am a happy user of Phil's Philler. I purchased it a long time ago (over ten years ago). There was a discussion on the Homebrew Digest a long time ago and it was suggested that ‘excess’ headspace in the bottle would result in oxidation. Based upon that discussion I purchased the Phil’s Philler and I have been satisfied ever since. My practice is to fill the bottles to a headspace of about 1 inch. I very frequently let my bottled homebrew beers sit in the bottle for up to one year. I have not noticed any oxidation (i.e., cardboard flavors) in my homebrewed beers.

On a related note, I have noticed that a few of my homebrews even ‘improve’ with aging of 6+ months: California Common and Oatmeal Stout. My theory for the Oatmeal Stout is that the dark malt flavors ‘mellow’ with age. I have no idea why my California Common beers improve with age in the bottle.

Cheers!
 

Rob Farrell
Advanced Member
Username: Robf

Post Number: 640
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 72.83.254.246
Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 08:25 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

What does the yeast care about headspace?

Once the CO2 reaches saturation pressure in the beer, the yeast can no longer express it. This will happen much sooner without headspace to hold CO2 in equilibrium with the dissolved CO2
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 7936
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 208.102.247.68
Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 - 04:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would think that the yeast could not shut down fermentation until the fermentables are completely consumed, given good temperature. The saturation point would increase with pressure. This is how bottles explode.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13644
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.9.127
Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 - 04:07 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Dan, are you suggesting that bottles with a very small amount of head space are more prone to exploding?
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 7937
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 208.102.247.68
Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 - 05:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

No,no. I am saying that the saturation point for CO2 increases with pressure. For all practical purposes, the yeast is unaffected by pressure, even up to the point where the bottle will explode.

Still, I noticed retarded carbonation with little headspace. My theory is that the yeast has less O2 to use for reproduction so there is less yeast.
 

Jack Horzempa
Member
Username: Jack_horzempa

Post Number: 175
Registered: 02-2007
Posted From: 68.82.57.55
Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 - 06:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

This discussion about oxygen and bottle conditioning got me thinking. Below is something I found on the Sierra Nevada website where they discuss that they take steps to eliminate as much oxygen from their bottles prior to bottle conditioning their beers. So it would appear that with Sierra Nevada’s packaging technique there is very little ‘extra’ oxygen in the bottles for the process of bottle conditioning. Why then would homebrewed bottled beers come out undercarbonated if there is little headspace? It would seem that the ‘lack’ of oxygen would not be the reason.

“Take a deep breath. The air you’re breathing is almost one-fifth oxygen. We need oxygen to live, but it can ruin beer, giving it a stale, cardboard-like taste. Our entire brewing process is designed to eliminate dissolved oxygen in our beer. To keep it that way, we evacuate the air from our bottles prior to filling them, ensuring that no oxygen is introduced. Bottle conditioning removes the last traces, creating virtually oxygen-free beer that tastes better, fresher, longer.”
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 7938
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 208.102.247.68
Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 - 07:31 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I don't know, but it seems to me that the the bottling conditioning Sierra Navada does is very minimal, judging by the amount of sediment. If I had to guess, the beer is almost fully carbonated at bottling and only enough priming sugar is added to finish it off. I have never seen homebrew bottle conditioned beer with that little sediment.
 

Jack Horzempa
Member
Username: Jack_horzempa

Post Number: 176
Registered: 02-2007
Posted From: 68.82.57.55
Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 - 07:53 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It appears that the reason for so little sediment in Sierra Nevada bottle conditioned beers is that they have a ‘different’ method of bottle conditioning. It is my understanding that all of the CO2 in a Pale Ale is from the bottle conditioning process.

“Sierra Nevada, for example, filters their beer and then adds yeast back when bottling. The yeast is added in order to develop natural carbonation in the bottle, rather than using compressed carbon dioxide. Many brewers feel this gives a better flavor to the beer. But the quantity of yeast added to the bottle is very small; indeed, many drinkers do not even notice the small yeast film at the bottom of the bottle.”
 

Jack Horzempa
Member
Username: Jack_horzempa

Post Number: 178
Registered: 02-2007
Posted From: 68.82.57.55
Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 - 08:30 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

As a ‘follow up’ to my previous post, we homebrewers can achieve low sediment in out bottle conditioned beers if we so desire: http://byo.com/stories/wizard/article/section/121-mr-wizard/420-can-i-bottle-con dition-my-beers-but-somehow-not-have-that-layer-of-yeast-residue-at-the-bottom-o f-the-bottle

The part of the article that relates to Sierra Nevada is:

“The other reason to remove the fermenting yeast from the beer prior to packaging is consistency. If I want to bottle condition my beer and control the amount of yeast in the bottle, adding fresh yeast to filtered beer is a very good method of accomplishing these goals. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company uses this method for these two different reasons. Like you, Sierra Nevada wants a very faint film of yeast in their bottles that is almost imperceptible to most consumers. They also want to bottle-condition their tasty ales and do not want to trust this final step of brewing to any old yeast hanging about in the fermenter. Instead, they use freshly cropped yeast with the highest viability for this purpose. This is important since the amount of yeast added is just enough to get the job done, hence the freshest yeast is selected. The yeast concentration in a bottle of Sierra Nevada is about 1 million cells per milliliter of beer. This equates to about 1/10 of the yeast added for primary fermentation. Assuming the same cell density in the yeast slurry is 100 million cells per milliliter (typical for a starter) you need to add 3.5 milliliters or 1/10 of an ounce of slurry per bottle — a very small volume indeed.”
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 7939
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 208.102.247.68
Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 - 10:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would think that the bulk of the carbonation is from CO2 held back in the bright tanks. I would bet money that they have to counter pressure fill the bottles. This may give them the best of both worlds.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13645
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.9.127
Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 - 10:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It's not practical for homebrewers to filter their beer to remove the yeast, and then purge each bottle of O2 and dose it with an eyedropper of yeast slurry. I admire SN for their painstaking efforts to minimize O2 pickup and staling, but I want most to know about methods I can use in my own brewing.

However, the evidence would seem to add credence to the notion that the level of natural carbonation is not dependent on the amount of O2 in the head space. I still maintain it has to do with equilibrium between dissolved CO2 in the beer and the head space. If you don't have at least a minimal amount of head space, this can't occur and carbonation will suffer.
 

mikel
Intermediate Member
Username: Mikel

Post Number: 436
Registered: 02-2001
Posted From: 166.181.3.17
Posted on Saturday, February 18, 2012 - 04:42 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have bottled many batches by force carbonating to 2 volumes and adding priming and fresh yeast at bottling to get to 2.8 volumes. Pour fresh yeast and priming solution into a clean corny, purge and rack cold carbonated beer from the first keg onto the bottling keg the same way you would transfer from keg to keg, via the liquid out dip tubes. Bottle using a beer gun.

Works very well and I only get a small layer of yeast in the bottles.
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 7940
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 166.249.97.108
Posted on Saturday, February 18, 2012 - 07:41 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Oh, I doubt that the level of O2 in the head space does affects the amount of carbonation, that is dependent on the amount of fermentables available. I do think it affects the speed of carbonation though.
 

Bob G.
Advanced Member
Username: Brewerbob

Post Number: 801
Registered: 06-2002
Posted From: 50.136.130.98
Posted on Sunday, February 19, 2012 - 01:16 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Chumley, I didn't even read the other posters comments but, yes you are a Dinosaur but, not extinct! LOL I would not think that you are dispensing bad advice if this works for you. In this age of increasingly checking boxes for no reason, I would have to say that your advice is sound.