Oxygen quickly makes the transition from essential to detrimental during the brewing process. It is required in the early stages so that yeast can generate more biomass and ensure it is in top physical condition prior to the onset of fermentation.
However, once the yeast has done its job any oxygen coming into contact with the beer is bad news. Oxygen can make its way into vessels via a variety of processes towards the end of and post-fermentation.
Once it does it sets off a cascade of reactions which result in continual decreases in bitterness and other positive flavour compounds alongside continual increases in the concentration of negative flavour and aroma compounds. The higher the concentration of oxygen, the faster these reactions take place, the shorter the shelf-life of your beer. In a nutshell, it undoes all the hard work and investment put into making your beer.
Carbon dioxide levels post-fermentation also require attention. CO2 levels affect foam production during dispense but also contribute to pH and sensory descriptors such as fullness, lively/dull, aroma (it forces volatile compounds into the headspace above the beer) and mouthfeel.
It is important to keep the concentration of CO2 (carbonation) consistent as changes are highly noticeable to the consumer and can also cause issues with bottling and canning if not within certain limits.
Monitoring the concentration of oxygen and carbon dioxide at different points of the process means you can keep a log of trends. This aids procedure improvement and enables issues to be intercepted further upstream.
We now stock an affordable range of Pentair and Hamilton Dissolved Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide and combined meters to help your beer stay consistent and fresher for longer. Please click here to full range and find out more details.