How to Prevent Oxidation in Beer?
As a humble beer lover, there isn’t much you can do about oxidation. However, homebrewers or craft beer producers can prevent oxidized beer by eliminating oxygen after fermentation. It is generally advisable to avoid introducing any air into the aerated wort once oxygenation has occurred and the yeast has been pitched.
During the growth and preparation phase for fermentation, yeast requires oxygen. However, yeast’s oxygen consumption decreases once it begins working, making it crucial to avoid aeration.
Ensure that the wort is not splashed or agitated after fermentation, particularly during racking.
Maintain a full airlock.
Make sure that fermentation containers, kegs, and bottles are completely airtight.
Whenever possible, purge fermented wort from kegs, bottles, and fermenters with CO2.
Is it Safe to Drink Oxidized Beer?
Although its taste may not be pleasant, it is safe to drink oxidized beer once you get past its unpleasant flavor.
Oxidation can be advantageous for homebrewers, especially in the early stages of the brewing process. Properly aerating the wort on brewing day is crucial for successful homebrewing because yeast requires oxygen to grow. Take a few minutes to vigorously stir or shake your wort after boiling and cooling, then transfer it to your primary fermenter. At this early stage, it is important to create a frothy head on the wort, as the yeast needs air to grow and consumes oxygen during fermentation. Aeration devices can be purchased to aid this process.
Once the yeast has been pitched and fermentation has started, it is important to minimize agitation and shaking of the beer.
Some beer styles may benefit from prolonged exposure to oxygen (NOT ALWAYS). These styles are typically dark, high in alcohol, and malt-focused. In dark beers, oxidized melanoid produces sherry-like flavors that complement dark malts but do not work well with lighter Pils-colored beers. However, intentionally adding oxygen to your beer is not advisable, as you will likely introduce oxygen unintentionally.
In summary, do everything you can to avoid exposing your beer to oxygen after fermentation. Reducing oxygen exposure time will help preserve the freshness of your beer.