There are many ways to get a good fermentation, most of them fairly simple: keeping an eye on temperatures during pitching and the actual ferment, using yeast starters and making sure that your cell count is good (more on that in a later post)
This time we’re looking at getting a good level of dissolved oxygen in your wort.
A good level of dissolved oxygen in your wort before you pitch the yeast should increase the vigour of the ferment, lessen the chances of a stuck fermentation, increase the speed of the ferment and also has the added bonus of giving you increased girth and virility in the bedroom.
Now, there are loads of articles about wort aeration on the Internet, most are very detailed and maybe just a bit confusing…The best I’ve found so far is this one from White Labs, who’s advice I think we can reliably trust:
So…shaking is not great, but better than nothing and aquarium pumps are OK but don’t really get you where you need to be.
It was at this point that I knew I just had to get an oxygen set-up (cue more eye-rolling from Eve)
I built my kit up, thus:
- A disposable tank of oxygen and regulator from WeldUK for 50 or so quid:
- A scintered stainless steel airstone from The Home Brew Shop for 6 quid
- And a length of PVC tube from my local DIY shop for 65p
(Beware: the barb on the regulator is weeny, so you might need to get busy with the PTFE tape or another inner tube to make it all fit nicely)
Once assembled I looked at a couple of videos on you tube to see what constituted a good level of bubbliness for aeration. The most helpful advice so far has been: “If the surface of the wort looks like it’s boiling then the flow rate is too high, notch the O2 back to a gentle simmer”
Another site recommends moving the airstone around in the wort to make sure you’re getting the maximum coverage.
One important thing to definitely not do is touch the airstone – apparently the oil on your hands can block the pores up.
I intend to go with White Lab’s advice and let my gentle simmer run for about a minute. Then I’ll wash it, boil it for a few minutes and before it’s next use, dunk it in star san.
I’ll let you know how it goes when I next brew up…
This should keep me happy until I decide that I need a dissolved oxygen meter…