Process Tweaks and Aeration

Post #1 made 6 years ago
I have gotten almost all my process stuff from different posts on this board, the biabacus has been awesome and every time I think I'll tweak it I realize that it is right and I am wrong and I should have just done what it suggested. I'm pretty happy with my beers so far -- 4 of them total, all of them electric, biab, no chill. What I was hoping you guys could do is look at my process and see if there are things I could tweak out. My specific question is about aeration. I wouldn't say I'm lazy per se -- but I do like simple.

1. Crush grain / Heat full volume / Mash in where biabacus tells me
2. Mash for 90 mins, stirring about every 20 mins
3. Mash out for usually 3 mins - pull bag - take gravity reading - set controller to manual 100% headed to boil
4. Boil for 90 mins -- adjusted hop additions (everything into the cube from advertised "15 min additions on down")
5. At 90 mins cut the heating element (i actually leave the PID on so i can monitor the temp for a few mins)
6. I drain the kettle into a win-pak via ball valve and silicon tubing
7. Throw it into 60'ish degree fridge for about 24 hours
8. At 24 hours it's usually cooled -- I pour it from one win-oak into another through a funnel with strainer -- i think this is providing aeration.
9. Pitch from starter (or dry yeast, which i'm kind of liking)
10. hook up blow off tube -- wait for magic.

Here's my question ---- at step 8 I'm using up 2 win-paks. I'm thinking of NOT doing that for this brew tomorrow night. I'm thinking of simply shaking the hell out of the win-pak that I drained into (the no-chill container if you will -- I ferment in them as well by simply using a screw on solid top to chill and a self-made top that has a blow off tube to ferment). Not only would I save some cleaning -- but the funnel step is wonky at best (does that translate? if not -- imagine my 9 year old holding her hands out while i star san them, serious expression on her face, then her holding a giant funnel whilst I pour 5.5 gallons of cooled wort through it, "Daddy, it's spilling over", "I know darling, just keep holding the funnel!", etc). Beyond that -- it is my understanding that screwing with the wort before the yeast does it's business is the WORST time to be screwing with it more than necessary in terms of infection potential etc. So if I don't have to actually transfer vessels at this stage I'd certainly dodge it. Seems like shaking the hell out of the vessel I chilled in, then switching tops and just pitching and fermenting in that would be a more simple answer IF you guys think that is a decent enough amount of aeration (?).

I'm all for experiments -- but I don't have a ton of time to brew (2 daughters below age 9) -- and I hate to waste a brew session.

What do you guys think?


Post #2 made 6 years ago
FFL, only time for one or two posts tonight and yours looks like it will stretch the time I have available so forgive me if my answer is incomplete...

What's a win-pak? What's a winoak? What's 60'ish degrees? (Remember this is an international forum so people like me have no idea what you are talking about ;)).

Anyway, I think I get what you mean. Less vessels the better for sure. Shaking will do the job but to make it easier, buy an aquarium pump and an aeration stone.

Easy peasy ;)
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Post #3 made 6 years ago

Thanks for taking the time to reply. ... head-pails

that's a win-pak. stole the idea from someone on here -- I guess I thought they were more common than they are. They work well. A "win-oak" is what my spelling autocorrect does to the phrase "win-pak" if I don't catch it. I attribute me not catching that one to 3 Jai Alai's (Cigar City brewing -- it's like they have fresh hops under the can lid that magically explode when you open the can...). Whats cool about them is that they come w/ a 3" (approx) screw on top -- the center of which has threads but is sold solid -- so if you order extra lids you can simply cut the portion above the threads (carefully) and simply thread in a 3/4" hose barb -- voila -- blow off tube. I chill, store and ferment in these.

60 deg was F -- apologies (Again, I blame Cigar City brewing and all that damn hoppy goodness).

For posterity sake -- I have looked at the aeration stone method. I'd try that but for two things -- one, it seems like a tough thing to sanitize. Two -- many sources point to this being only really "better" with pure O2, which I can get, but it seems like a lot of work. Plus this "evidence" and others along the same vein: ... ethods.pdf -- seems like the old shaking method really isn't that bad. Lastly - to be truly "better" than shaking it seems the numbers indicate that you not only have to use pure O2 but also it takes a WHILE, over 20 mins. I'm still strong enough to hold 5 gallon vessel and shake the heck out of it ("Shake-Weight" joke here? Worth a google of "shake weight" for the laugh -- we Americans are often downright idiotic.)

Ok -- with that encouragement at least I'm going to drop a vessel out of my process and simply shake the be-jesus out of the cooled wort in the win-pak, then pitch, attach handy-dandy DIY blow-off tube assembly, and pray to the gods of yeast. This is a reasonably big beer (for me), starter on stir plate, 6 Ounces of hops in the fridge -- we'll see how it goes.


Post #5 made 6 years ago
I agree with Mad Scientist. That is a huge load for the fridge. A friend of mine, absolutely not me :nup: sets his cube beside his wife's side of the bed and he says it is ready to pitch first thing in the morning! :o

Post #7 made 6 years ago
Lylo wrote:A friend of mine, absolutely not me :nup:

That link on aearation is a great one FFL :thumbs: :salute: :champ:,

Don't worry about the winoak and temp thing. That's just me running out of fuel (or too much fuel on board :interesting:). We used to have a great thing on the site that would actually convert all the units automatically for you but the co that made it stopped supporting it :sad:.

Anyway on the aeration, the only thing I don't like about shaking is that you are putting wort all over the inside of your container. Not a biggie and fascinating to see it works so well. I do mine with option 2 in the article and I do it for about 20 minutes. I have a micro air filter on the out side of the aquarium pump and the stone, I just give a boil in some water afterwards so it's pretty easy.

As for dropping a vessel, for me it would largely depend on how much trub you can avoid getting into the cube (winpak). Let the wort siot after flame-out for 15 minutes before transfer and try not to get too much crap through. Not enough research has been done on how a lot of kettle trub affects the finished product so stay on the safe side for now.

Last edited by PistolPatch on 31 May 2014, 17:42, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #8 made 6 years ago
So I did it.

Brought the temp in the no-chill/fermentation down to 90 F w/ immersion chiller post boil. Then stuck it in the fridge at 48 F. The next morning it was down to pitching temp. I shook the heck out of the no-chill/fermentation container, standing it upright and removing the lid a few times (to "change the air out"? I dunno, seemed like the right thing to do). Then I pitched slurry from a starter I had going for a few days.

The results? Excellent fermentation action about 5 hours later. I realize that just because it's fermenting doesn't mean it's properly oxygenated -- but it's a start.

So - this much I can say for sure. Chilling under 100 F w/ immersion chiller, into cube, into fridge, getting to pitch temps, shaking, then pitching ---- it gets at least enough oxygen in there to HAVE fermentation. I'll try and remember to follow up here in a few weeks w/ how it tastes when kegged.


Re: Process Tweaks and Aeration

Post #10 made 3 years ago
Jmstroup wrote:
3 years ago
How important is the "micro air filter" ? Is in inline? where do you find one? - thanks
yes it will be inline of the air system/airlock/or what you want to filter

A micro air filter is only as important as it's micron level and what you are trying to filter out. Some brewers use one as a airlock, using a micron rating smaller than bacteria and yeast.
personally, I aerate with pure oxygen and use blow off tubes so I do not use air filters. My way is not everyones way. there are different approaches to the fermentation environment.
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Post #11 made 3 years ago
Mad_Scientist wrote:
6 years ago

Your step #7, I would leave your container out for 12-24 hours to cool down to ambient temp before putting it in the fridge. That is a big load on the fridge I would think.
This is a complicated scenario.
Yes there will be a large total BTU load to cool it, how that load is spread out (how long it will take) depends on the mass percentage it represents to already chilled mass in the unit.
So the load being spread out longer by being less of a total mass makes the load not as large for each minute in the frig till the total BTU load has been overcome.
kinda like putting an ice tray in a empty freezer, the unit will react to only the tray and water in it, place that same tray into a freezer with 100 pounds of frozen food in it, and the control unit will barely perceive a need to run. Yes it will have to overcome the load to freeze the ice, however that need will be spread over a very long time as much of the load is transferred to the frozen food it will replace that over a longer time.
Just my 2 cents
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