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Purging bucket and bottles with Argon

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tubbsy

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I've got a NEIPA to bottle hopefully this weekend, but I don't have any CO2 to purge bottling bucket and bottles. Plenty of argon though. Can I use that instead?
 

MHB

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Sure, take it you do a bit of welding. Just like purging before welding stainless, it is more expensive and you will use more but it will do the job.
Assuming its pure Argon, not a blend with O2, worth checking that first.
Mark
 

tubbsy

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Thanks Mark. Yeah, I'm practicing TIG welding (mostly stainless), so I make sure I've always got plenty of pure Ar on hand.
 

tubbsy

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Do you do closed transfers with bottling?
No, but that sounds intriguing. Is that basically having pressure in the "bucket", then sucking/venting the air out of the bottle which is replaced by the beer? No purging of the bottles required?
 

BrewLizard

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Was just wondering why you were purging a bottling bucket/bottles if not doing closed transfers and counter-pressure filling. I've only seen it done with kegging setups.

If not, the air will just mix back in with your argon. Better off saving that gaseous gold for TIG welding.
 

tubbsy

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The purging of the bottle is more about the head space of the bottle. Bubble the inert gas in and the head space will be filled with froth/bubbles that contain no air. Purging of the bucket will be a continuous bubbling to keep pushing the air out. Shouldn't need more than a litre or 2 a minute.

I was reading a page online last night about some tests done on the oxidation of high hop beers and purging the head space had the greatest impact.
 

yankinoz

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I was reading a page online last night about some tests done on the oxidation of high hop beers and purging the head space had the greatest impact.
[/QUOTE]

What's the link? If the page was dealing with final bottling of already carbonated beers, as from kegs or pressurised secondary fermenters in commercial production, it has no certain bearing on your setup. If it was about bottling with sugars to initiate carbonation in bottles, it does. Conventional advice is that activated yeasts soon consume the oxygen in the headspace, though I've never come across any attempts to measure how fast that happens or whether the yeasts beat everything else in the beer to the oxygen.
 

tubbsy

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MHB

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More recent studies indicate that the Oxygen will do lots of harm before its consumed by the yeast. That's the simple answer, long one gets way more complex, once O2 is involved in reactions it can get sort shared around, acts like a free radical and just keeps doing harm and the yeast cant get at it.
Its looking more and more like elimination/exclusion of Oxygen is the only answer. Work is ongoing, suppressing Lipoxygenase is going to help to.
Basically the more hops you use the harder it gets to stop the harm from O2, NEIPA's being the pits.
Mark
 

tubbsy

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Mark, what about ascorbic acid? I've read that it can help also, but I haven't seen anything on dosing (when and how much) and what it actually does.
 

MHB

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It can be used to de-air water, this is brewing so here comes the but!
Its very sour, enough to scrub finished beer will be enough to be very noticeable in the flavour.
If you want Low DO, or even approaching zero O2 you need to start planning oxygen exclusion from before you mash in.
Some commercial brewers have gone the whole hog, even purging the malt before milling and excluding Oxygen through the rest of the process. Hasn't worked as well as hoped, other problems started to show up, mainly involving enzymic oxidization and yeast stress, yes yeast likes O2 a lot more than brewers do.

Next time I try to make a hop monster I'll be dropping an air stone in the strike water and bubbling N2 through it and carrying on that through to the kettle.
If you have a big enough starter you can oxygenate that or use dry yeast rather than oxygenate the wort.
None of this is easy and the commercial work is all about shelf life, for home brewers minimising the O2 exposure and not trying to hold onto to your highly hopped beers is the best answer I can find.
Mark
 

S.E

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More recent studies indicate that the Oxygen will do lots of harm before its consumed by the yeast. That's the simple answer, long one gets way more complex, once O2 is involved in reactions it can get sort shared around, acts like a free radical and just keeps doing harm and the yeast cant get at it.
Its looking more and more like elimination/exclusion of Oxygen is the only answer. Work is ongoing, suppressing Lipoxygenase is going to help to.
Basically the more hops you use the harder it gets to stop the harm from O2, NEIPA's being the pits.
Mark
Good point Mark, but it should also be mentioned that that Oxygen is not always considered to harm or at least ruin beer if it is packaged in a suitably sized container and/or consumed in a timely manner. Traditional cask ales including IPA (without the NE) only has a shelf life of a few days and the oxidation and change in taste over that time is part of the style.

Talking of traditional, I’ve provided further info and comments on our discussion over on this tread which I think you will be very interested in? no chill into white plastic fermenter?
 

kadmium

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Good point Mark, but it should also be mentioned that that Oxygen is not always considered to harm or at least ruin beer if it is packaged in a suitably sized container and/or consumed in a timely manner. Traditional cask ales including IPA (without the NE) only has a shelf life of a few days and the oxidation and change in taste over that time is part of the style.

Talking of traditional, I’ve provided further info and comments on our discussion over on this tread which I think you will be very interested in? no chill into white plastic fermenter?
I wouldn't be following people around hijacking threads to make your point. If MHB wanted to reply to that thread I'm sure he would but its kinda creepy to follow his posts and try link them back to an argument you two are having over BIAB.

In relation to the o2 reduction, I think the less you can get during mashing / brewing as well as post fermentation starting is better. Using something like KMETA will scrub some o2 out of the water, and can be used at packaging to reduce o2.

Yes, oxygen in the neck of the bottle will harm the beer. It's like wine or mead etc, don't shake the bottle up if you can help it.

Gash on YouTube did a demo where he bottled the same NEIPA, one he squeezed the neck and got all air out, the other he shook the bottle with the air inside the neck and after it carbed (a couple weeks) the shook bottle looked muddy and was quite muted in taste (according to him) and the one with the neck squeezed looked fine.
 

tubbsy

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Gash on YouTube did a demo where he bottled the same NEIPA, one he squeezed the neck and got all air out, the other he shook the bottle with the air inside the neck and after it carbed (a couple weeks) the shook bottle looked muddy and was quite muted in taste (according to him) and the one with the neck squeezed looked fine.
Sounds like the easiest way to go might be to get some PET bottles and do the squeeze after filling.
 

BrewLizard

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Gash on YouTube did a demo where he bottled the same NEIPA, one he squeezed the neck and got all air out, the other he shook the bottle with the air inside the neck and after it carbed (a couple weeks) the shook bottle looked muddy and was quite muted in taste (according to him) and the one with the neck squeezed looked fine.
I remember that video. I think that's definitely the simplest way to do low O2 bottling. The only other alternative (for glass bottles) is counter-pressure filling from a carbonated keg – ensuring that all fermentation is finished.

Any method that assumes CO2 is a liquid at atmospheric temp and pressure, or that foam somehow has no O2 in it, will not work as well.
 

S.E

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I wouldn't be following people around hijacking threads to make your point. If MHB wanted to reply to that thread I'm sure he would but its kinda creepy to follow his posts and try link them back to an argument you two are having over BIAB.

In relation to the o2 reduction, I think the less you can get during mashing / brewing as well as post fermentation starting is better. Using something like KMETA will scrub some o2 out of the water, and can be used at packaging to reduce o2.
I’m hardly hijacking threads or following anyone around the post above is the first time I mentioned and linked it. MHB often misses replies as do I. I sometimes don’t see them for months.

For years myself and others have posted evidence that BIAB is one of the oldest mashing methods when the question has come up but MHB always seems to miss, ignore, or perhaps just forget the overwhelming evidence and reply every year or two often quite rudely, claiming it is a recent innovation and demanding evidence to the contrary so we go round in circles which is a bit frustrating. I included the link above so hopefully MHB would see it if replying here.

Oxygen should be avoided for sure but the point I was making is it’s not as bad on a home brewing scale as the impression given in threads like this one. All this closed transfer, fermenting under pressure, purging bottles and kegs etc is great if you have the time and equipment but when discussed on the forum I think new brewers get the impression that you need to go to great lengths to make good beer.

If you have ever seen casks of real being filled in a brewery they are often open filled with a tube the beer sloshing and swirling then sealed up with no purging. Its only after they are eventually vented and exposed to the air for a few days while being consumed that they begin to spoil.
 

S.E

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Yes, oxygen in the neck of the bottle will harm the beer.
You would think! A couple years ago I visited a friend while he was brewing his first ever beer. He had bought a Robobrew and gone straight in to all grain. He over sparged or topped up the kettle too much and ended up boiling for 2-3 hours I think so I had left before the end but think he had late hopped and/or dry hopped in the fermenter.

Apparently fermentation went ok (HDPE fermenter with airlock) he crash chilled the fermenter primed and bottled the beer but made a rookie mistake, he put the bottles straight in to the fridge and chilled them. After about two weeks or maybe sooner he tried one and it was still completely flat.

He took them out of the fridge and left them at room temp. I thought the beer would be pretty average after that but it turned out to be an amazing beer, exploding with hop taste and aroma.
 

yankinoz

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A couple years ago I visited a friend while he was brewing his first ever beer. He had bought a Robobrew and gone straight in to all grain. He over sparged or topped up the kettle too much and ended up boiling for 2-3 hours I think so I had left before the end but think he had late hopped and/or dry hopped in the fermenter.

Apparently fermentation went ok (HDPE fermenter with airlock) he crash chilled the fermenter primed and bottled the beer but made a rookie mistake, he put the bottles straight in to the fridge and chilled them. After about two weeks or maybe sooner he tried one and it was still completely flat.

He took them out of the fridge and left them at room temp. I thought the beer would be pretty average after that but it turned out to be an amazing beer, exploding with hop taste and aroma.
[/QUOTE]

Back when I had fridge time to brew lagers, I kept newly sugared bottled beers cold for eight weeks before warming for carbonation and rechilling. On the basis of two trials, both dunkels, I cannot say the procedure always gives good results, but I was pleased both times.
 
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tubbsy

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Bottled this last night with argon bubbling in the bottling bucket and the bottles purged after filling before capping. I had 2 argon bottles so I could turn one off easily when purging bottles. It all went pretty smoothly once I was set up.

I also filled a couple other bottle types to test a few things out. One is a 750mL glass bottle that I purged and the other is a PET bottle I squeezed the head space out of.

For the most part I left the fermentation alone. Pitched yeast Sunday night and quickly added dry hops Tuesday arvo while there was still some CO2 being produced. FG was 1.013 which I only tested immediately prior to bottling. The airlock had stopped bubbling the day before. It didn't end up as bright as I imagined. Maybe I need to get better back-lighting for my photos :p

20210122_063832.jpg
 

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