Friday September 25th Self Portrait by Beak Brewery and how to avoid oxidation.

Posted on 28th September 2020 by Categories: Blog, How to...., Product Information

Hello, today I am drinking Self Portrait by Beak Brewery. Beak brewery has been set up by Robin Head Foreman who is an ex Burning Sky brewer so obviously you can expect them to deliver excellent beer.This is a 4.5% pale using Galaxy as the main flavour and aroma hop, this is backed up by Vic Secret, both of these are Australian hops and they go perfectly together, they really are a showcase for Australian hops.

Having spoken with Robin about the recipe for this beer it is a simple malt bill using pale malt and both malted and flaked wheat. That sounds like it could get pretty sticky to me so if you are looking to replicate I would advise some oat husks and to keep the sparge temperature up, this will help keep the grain bed fluid.

No oats were used in this as Robin wanted a lighter beer, none of the thickness that oats can add as we have spoken previously. This really lets the hops shine through.

So when brewing this style of beer there are a few pitfalls but let us concentrate on oxygen control or more precisely keeping oxygen away from fermented wort.

The only time we want to encourage the combination of Oxygen and wort is just before pitching the yeast. At all other times we must do all possible to stop wort or beer picking up oxygen. Even small amounts of oxygen pickup is damaging, the first signs are discolouration, we delight in the bright yellow to vibrant orange colours of modern pale beer, oxygen will result in anything from dulling to what resembles pond water.

Further contamination results in that slight to heavy taint of sherry, cidery flavour and heavy contamination results in a taste that is exactly as wet cardboard smells. I think that the best way to describe this contamination is that at the very least it dulls, it dulls colour, aroma and flavour.

So, as brewers, how do we do our utmost to keep oxygen out? The first time that contact can be an issue is during the mash, we need to keep splashing or wort to a minimum, this means stir gently, and if you have a system of returning wort to the mash tun, maybe herm / rims or simply recirculating then make sure that the return is under the surface of the mash.

Next, during transfer from one fermenter to another. This process needs to be limited and is the single most useful part of a conical fermenter. If you do need to transfer then make sure that equipment and beer is cold and it is flushed with CO2, again no splashing and make sure that the beer is added to the second vessel as low as possible, under the surface of the beer.

For pale and hoppy beer bottling and bottle conditioning is very tricky to get right, we would always advise kegging, empty kegs and transfer lines have to be flushed with CO2, again both beer and equipment is best cold. CO2 can be used to add head pressure to your fermenter enabling closed transfer and this is key. We have a couple of very economical, simple kits that allow closed transfer from almost any fermenter, even plastic bucket type to keg.

One tip that Robin suggested is to transfer beer from the fermenter to a keg, a couple of gravity points before fermentation has finished. If you cut the dip tube of your keg, need to take a couple of inches off, you can then dry hop within this keg. When the beer is ready you can carry out a keg to keg transfer, this is pushing the beer with CO2 utilising the black, beer out post on both kegs. We also have a very simple kit for this job and one that contains a inline filter to catch any hop material that maybe present.

One last point to look at is oxygen control using a Brewtan B, this is added to the mash liquor and or the kettle. The science behind it, now I must admit this does go somewhat over my head but the results mean that the wort is far less likely to pick up oxygen, it is used extensively in commercial breweries on the continent and we have it available in homebrew friendly packaging.


For further research Google low oxygen brewing, I will add a link on our blog post .


That’s all for this week, cheers.

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