March 26, 2021 2 min read

There is a lot of information on the internets and there is a lot of different options and ways to oxygenate your wort.  Below I will explain my preferred method, a couple of equipment options and considerations.

Why oxygenate your chilled wort?  Well it helps make for happy yeast cells.  I don't have the data in front of me, however from what I learned at brewing school.  Oxygenated wort will be consumed by the yeast, will shorten the lag phase and result is a quicker, cleaner and more effective fermentation.

I have worked in five different breweries, most of them have similar chilled wort oxygenation techniques, but there is always some variance.  My preferred option is to have an oxygenation stone in an inlet line between the heat exchanger and an in line sight glass.  The inlet line also has a ball valve to control the flow of the bubbles and the size of the bubbles.  However the cost of the equipment needed to do this can be a bit prohibitive.

The most important thing is to use food safe or beverage grade oxygen and not industrial oxygen.  Beverage grade oxygen is filtered, clean and safe to use with your wort.  Next you have to ensure that your connection is after the wort is chilled in order to avoid any hot side aeration (that is a whole other discussion topic).  

The next thing is an aeration stone, the size or the length aren't as important because you can adjust the pressure and/or the flow, which is mainly affected by the flow rate of your liquid.  When the wort is flowing through the sight glass and over the stone, it is ideal to have the stone completely covered. Then you turn on the gas flow starting at a pressure of 1.5 bar and slowly open the ball valve until you can see preferably small bubbles flowing with the wort.  This is easier to see and adjust with a pale beer or a light lager.

What if you don't have an aeration stone or a sight glass or a bottled oxygen source?  When I used to home brew with glass carboys, when transferring from the kettle to the carboy, I tried to have a 30cm drop between the kettle outlet and the funnel and then the wort would drop further into the carboy.  This obviously caused some foaming and frothing and it is less of a perfect science.  My thoughts were something is better than nothing.

So, why not try it out.  I have attached a video of us aerating our wort, just by pumping the wort back over itself, creating some foaming and hopefully some aerated wort.

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