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Aeration Practices Simplified

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

In the interests of simplifying the brewing process I no longer aerate with an oxygen tank and stone! This saves the trouble of sanitizing the tube and stone each brew day. There is no worry of running out of oxygen, or keeping a second tank on hand. My tube is impossible to clean thoroughly because the stone is fused to the tube and water will not run through it.

oxygen tank for brewing

(O2 tank is no longer needed!)

aeration kit brewing

(Hose and regulator are no longer needed!)

The way I aerate is so simple it seems lazy. Just splash around the wort as it drains into the fermenter. The procedure is to occasionally shake the bucket or carboy as it is draining to build up a nice frothy head. It reminds me of early extract brewing days. Some people sanitize a large spoon and stir up the wort. Some people rock the carboy back and forth, I find that takes extra effort though.

In the future I plan to rig up a splash manifold at the end of the drain hose. It would be suspended above the wort level in the fermenter and cause the wort pouring in to go all over the place. Stay tuned for a future article on that. It should be a pretty cool looking gadget and cost next to nothing.

I am an all grain brewer, so aeration is especially important because of the full wort boil (which drives off oxygen). The last four batches I brewed have been aerated with the new lazy approach. I have noticed zero problems with fermentation time, attenuation, and flavor. Aeration in home brewing is over emphasized by some sources. There is at least one experiment showing it is okay to be “lazy” about it. The following test indicated little if any improvement with using an aeration system, vs shaking:

Link: Aeration Experiment Including Time Lapse Video of the Sample Fermentations

For a commercial brewery, monitoring exact levels of oxygen in the wort is important for quality control. Personally, I am not going to loose sleep over O2 levels in my brewing. This information will hopefully save some readers the $50 it costs for a basic aeration system, if not more in time and hassles.

  1. 10 Responses to “Aeration Practices Simplified”

  2. I actually aerate mine by filling the carboy from up high, near the top, and swirling and shaking the wort. This builds up plenty of air as it’s splashing in. Like a waterfall 🙂

    By Ray Krueger on Jul 29, 2011

  3. i’m using a wine aerator, an air venturi for infusing air into red wines as it is poured, such as this one:
    just set atop the carboy, direct the siphon hose stream thru the device. works like a charm.
    i used to just pour with lotsa splash as in ray’s method. works just as well, i’m sure.

    By Richard Donnelly on Aug 2, 2011

  4. I dont aerate at all and I`m allways happy with result. I agree to this -> “Aeration in home brewing is over emphasized by some sources”

    By smiga on Aug 23, 2011

  5. I typically pour my wort into the primary through a standard (sanitized) kitchen strainer. The diffusion action as the wort gets poured into the bucket works much like a kitchen sink nozzle. I repeat this process going from primary into secondary and simply hold a large funnel below the strainer to direct everything into the carboy. Works great!

    By Gordon Barr on Oct 3, 2011

  6. I love the strainer solution because it is simple and cheap.

    However, I would seriously avoid aerating when going from the primary into the secondary!! Oxygen is the enemy of beer after it has fermented. You may be getting off flavors and stability problems from this practice.

    By Larry on Oct 5, 2011

  7. I too use a wire strainer method of aeration . This has been very sucessfull, noticing early activity and enriched fermintation process as a whole.

    By jim on Oct 31, 2011

  8. I put my primary fermenter in an ice bath in my main sink in my kitchen. I buy 6LBs of high quality ice, sanitize the bag, scissors and put that in the bucket. Once my boil is finished I pour it over the ice which brings me up to about 4 gallons. I stir with a sanitized spoon to get a nice swirl going. This brings the temp down QUICK and works pretty nicely. Once the temp has dropped a bit I fill the bucket with the sprayer hose that most sinks have. That aerates the heck out of the beer and is pretty quick and cheap. I’ve done a couple of batches this way using packet yeast and the fermentation starts VERY fast.

    By Ryan on Mar 13, 2012

  9. When you say ‘high quality ice’, where are you getting that? This ice is dissolving and ultimately becoming part of the beer, so water quality and flavor is a concern in my mind. How many quarts/gallons does 6lb of ice come out to?

    By Larry on Mar 13, 2012

  10. On brew day, I keep a long handled kitchen whisk in my tub of sanitizer solution. I use it to agitate the wort while I am cooling it with the wort chiller. It keeps the liquid moving and helps to bring the temp down more quickly and the whisk aerates the wort.

    By Craig on Apr 5, 2012

  11. i use a 5 gal paint stirrer 2 dollars at hardware store put it on my drill 5 min later done

    By chris on Apr 10, 2012

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