Wort Oxygenator




Introduction: Wort Oxygenator

Total price for me was about $64.  Most expensive part was the O2 regulator.

After you chill the wort, but before pitching the yeast, you need to aerate. Otherwise the yeast won't be able to do its business. For years, I tried things like shaking the fermenter or stirring like a madman. Then I read an article saying that one of the biggest things you can do to make better beer is to pump in oxygen. Here is the device I made to to it.

Step 1: Cut Pex & Instert Stone

Cut your pex tubing long enough so it easily reaches bottom of your carboy or bucket.  At first I tried just regular flexible tubing (the stuff they sell in coils and bends really easily), but when it went into my carboys it curled up and would never reach the bottom.  While pex is 'flexible', it is rigid enough so it can hold the aerating stone wherever you want it.

The stone barb is 1/4" and so is the pex.. I couldn't force the barb into the tubing at room temperature, so I stuck that end in some boiling water for 5 minutes .  When the tubing was hot, I was able to get the barbs all into it (see pic).  Don't burn your hands; use a towel or oven mitt to hold the hot tubing.

Step 2: Connect Tubes

Set up the sleeve & compression fitting as shown...

I used 5/8" and 9/16" wrenches to tighten up the fitting.  Now that I'm done, I wonder if I should have used one of the plastic sleeves that came with the insert.  When I turn it on, I hear no leaks, and the stone bubbles in water, so I'm not going to worry about it.

Step 3: Done

Connect the tubing to the regulator and you're done.



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    7 Discussions

    Nice, well written Instructable! I'm curious about the bubbler stone. Your notes say you bought it through a brewing supply company. Would a regular aquarium "air stone" (just a couple of bucks at a pet store) work equivalently?

    2 replies

    No. The ones that you buy from a homebrew supplier are metal (and food grade). The ones from the pet store are usually a ceramic-like material (not sure on exact composition) and are very unlikely to be food grade. Plus, if you've ever had a fish tank, and used the common bubble stones, you know that they degrade and lose bits here and there.

    The homebrew ones aren't the cheapest, but if taken care of, should last forever. With that being said - They do make air stones for fish that are plastic, this may be a cheap alternative. You couldn't boil them, but you could soak them in some sanitizer solution (ie. iodine or phosphoric acid - the same stuff found in Coca-Cola). But, I'd be curious as to the type of plastic, it may only last a few uses before the plastic breaks down. It could also leach chemicals if a certain kind of plastic.

    I'm all for keeping things affordable, but be careful.

    Thank you very much! I appreciate the detail, and the explanations of "why" behind the OP's choices.

    Your last comment, "I'm all for keeping things affordable, but be careful." is right on target. There are sometimes good reasons to spend more (durability, safety, etc.), and it definitely sounds like this is one of them.

    Interesting project, but I'm not sure whether it's a good idea.
    The way I understand it, fermentation occurs in 2 phases :-  Initially an aerobic phase where the yeast breeds like mad until the dissolved oxygen is depleted,  and then an anaerobic phase where it gets down to the serious business of alcohol production. 
    I give the wort a good bubbly stirring after pitching the yeast to oxygenate it, but I think if you give a constant oxygen atmosphere you would have the yeast reproducing at the expense of fermenting.

    2 replies

    I think you skimmed a bit, the author states - "After you chill the wort, but before pitching the yeast, you need to aerate." But yes, you only oxygenate prior to fermentation starting.

    Ah - Before pitching the yeast - You're right.  Reading through I wasn't sure whether this was a one-off or also during fermentation.
    Either way, it seems rather a sledgehammer to crack a nut approach, when in all the brews I've made a good rousing with a (well sterilised) wooden spoon has never failed.