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Author Replies
SteveG
06/04/07 04:47 PM  
A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
Tomme mentioned this at the swap session last night. It seems at New Belgium they experimented with replacing aeration with something that would serve the same purpose - a bit olive oil! He just sent me the explaination...

A few weeks back, I had an interesting conversation with a local craft brewer here in NH. When he was at the Craft Brewers Conference in Austin this year he saw a talk given by folks from the New Belgium Brewing Company about how you can add olive oil to wort, instead of injecting oxygen, to essentially "aerate" the wort. I emailed the folks at New Belgium, and here's what they said:

"The olive oil thing was the result of some research done first at the University of Leuven in Belgium, and then some full scale testing we did here at New Belgium.

"The basic concept is that since yeast uses an oxygen atom to pull a hydrogen away from an 18 carbon chain unsaturated fatty acid to make a monounsaturated fatty acid chain to help it grow, you could simply provide an 18 carbon monounsaturated fatty acid and it would be able to use that. This works well in practice, we made a little over 1 million bottles with beer where the yeast had had olive oil added.

"The main thing to remember is that since you're working on a molecular level, and the olive oil has a high concentration of that molecule, the amount you actually need is pretty small. Additionally, you want to use a very small amount to avoid any detrimental effects that the oil would have on the beer's head retention.

"For the volume of wort we normally ferment, we would pitch about 4500L of yeast, and to that we would add around 300mL of olive oil. To translate that into a 5 gallon size, you would need to measure about 0.0000833mL of olive oil. For any practical purpose, that is much too small an amount to accurately measure out. You could fudge and just add the tiniest imaginable drop to the yeast you have, but you'd be over-dosing the oil by thousands of times the required amount, and run the risk of having zero foam retention. Not a good compromise in my opinion.

"The bigger picture is this: for us, we did this as a way to avoid potential for oxygen free radicals to contribute to staling off flavors, and hopefully could count on getting an extra 2-3 weeks of shelf life time in the finished product."

Ross Lunato
06/04/07 08:34 PM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
Wow! To think about the possibility that adding a drop of olive oil instead of aerating blows my mind! I've always been a bit uneasy using an oxygen stone and that stupid little oxygen tank from the hardware store. I would love to know more about this technique Steve.
Mike M(cuda)
06/04/07 11:02 PM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
I did read about this but the problem is...

"For the volume of wort we normally ferment, we would pitch about 4500L of yeast, and to that we would add around 300mL of olive oil. To translate that into a 5 gallon size, you would need to measure about 0.0000833mL of olive oil. For any practical purpose, that is much too small an amount to accurately measure out.

Maybe just dip a clean needle in the olive oil then dip it in the wort. That might get you .0000833ml???

who is first to try??

SteveG
06/05/07 06:35 AM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
Tomme has actually tried this, results not in yet. But you nailed it Cuda, we need so little that its hard to measure. Here's a little more on that:

"Obviously, I was a bit concerned with head retention, so I simply added a tiny drop of olive oil to a Pyrex measuring cup, then I used a clean paper towel to wipe out most of what I had added. So, what was left in the measuring cup was the smallest amout of olive oil that I could add. Then I added my yeast to the cup, let it sit for a while then pitched into the wort. So far, fermentation has appeared to be normal and vigorous. I just made the beer last weekend, so the batch hasn't finished primary fermentation yet, once it does I'll post the attenuation numbers. Later I'll be sure to post feedback on tasting.

Maybe some of you fine folks could try this method too. I think it could really help homebrewers with a different way to aerate wort, other than the old shaking of the carboy method. If anyone wants to try, please post results here, I'd love to hear how things are working for everyone. Also, if anyone else has better ideas as to how to pratically measure 0.0000833mL, I'd love to hear about it."

mallace
06/05/07 07:19 AM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
If it will help anyone visualize the volume we're talking about here, .0000833mL would occupy a cube about .45mm per side...call it .5 ml. Pretty small, but not unmeasurable.

Alternatively, it might work to add 1mL olive oil to 1L of water, emulsify it somehow (blender, maybe?), take .8mL of that solution, and add that to the boil.

Jus for the record, does anyone know if other oils such as grape seed would also work?

Mike T
06/05/07 08:43 AM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
What I donít understand is where they came up with 0.0000833mL

Say we assume that we use proper pitching rates for a mid-gravity beer, youíre looking at something like 100mL of yeast slurry for 5 gallons of beer.

They use 300mL of olive oil for 4,500,000mL of yeast (.00006667mL olive oil per mL of yeast)

In your case that would be .006667 mL of olive oil. It is still a small number, but it is a factor of almost 100 larger than what they estimate.

Iím still amazed that that small an amount of olive oil could have the same benefit to the yeast as saturating 5 gallons of wort with O2.

SteveG
06/05/07 09:37 AM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
Mallace, I was thinking about that too. Get it into a solution that is easier to measure, I was going to see if shaking the hell out of a bit of oil in water could break it up.

Mike, glad someone here has better math skills than I do! It may be worth mentioning the slurry of BC that Al gave me was more like 300mL, maybe that makes the amount of oil you need more like .020001 mL. My only question here is would the thing you measure against be the volume of yeast or the production volume? Batch size was not mentioned in NBs notes.

Brendan
06/05/07 10:08 AM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
Some folks that work at a near by ethanol plant mentioned something similar but with a very small amount of hydrogen peroxide.

What the hell would that do? similar? Different?

Bad?

Mike T
06/05/07 10:16 AM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
The batch size and yeast count should be closely correlated, and since the olive oil is used by the yeast I assume that they would be the determining factor in how much oil to use. However, the more yeast you pitch the less multiplying they need to do (which is what aeration helps them do), so for all I know there is an inverse relationship between the amount of yeast pitched in a given batch and the amount of oil needed.

I think the more important question is would you use Extra Virgin or regular olive oil.

Hydrogen peroxide would theoretically add dissolved oxygen to the wort (the same as traditional aeration techniques). I've heard this suggestion before, but I donít think I have read about anyone actually trying it.

SteveG
06/05/07 10:28 AM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
Humm, I did a website for an olive oil guy once. I think the difference between virgin and extra virgin comes down to a couple percentage points of acid in the mix. What kind of acid I can't say, but I guess since we are trying to get monounsaturated fatty acid it is a potential concern.
mallace
06/05/07 10:42 AM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
Mike T--was that extra virgin comment tongue-in-cheek? Have you been watching too much Rachel Ray? { 8 ^ P

Extra virgin olive oil might have a touch fewer impurities, but the fats would be basically the same in regular olive oil, at a fraction of the cost (and when you have to pitch .02mL per batch, you know how costs can just spiral right out of control...). To qualify as extra virgin, the olives need to be pressed within 48 hours of picking, and the pressing is very light, sort of like with free-run wine and press wine. Chemically the same, but one is just more delicately flavored.

SteveG
06/05/07 11:47 AM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
Mallace, not so sure about that. Did a little searching, found this (foodnetwork.com encyclopedia):

Extra virgin olive oil, the cold-pressed result of the first pressing of the olives, is only 1 percent acid ... [stuff about flavor] ... After extra virgin, olive oils are classified in order of ascending acidity. Virgin olive oil is also a first-press oil, with a slightly higher level of acidity of between 1 and 3 percent.

Being that the operative component here is "monounsaturated fatty acid", the acid level 2 or 3 times greater may well be a concern.

Baums
06/05/07 12:48 PM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
Wow. I've heard it suggested that oxygen might be practically subbed out for various oils, but never heard of any kind of commercial application. Amazing.

It's definitely known that the addition of pure unsaturated C18 fatty acids (oleic, linoleic acid, etc) eliminates one reason yeast would need oxygen--but these pure acids are pretty expensive I think. The usual cooking oils are primarily just mixtures of these same fatty acids though. Olive oil is high in the acid Tomme mentioned (oleic), but other oils are high in linoleic, which has also been shown to be helpful.

Is there a paper where some level of equivalency (ppm oil vs ppm O2) is calculated? I feel like there should be a straighforward way to estimate that.

Like everyone else, I would worry about making sure there is not "too much" oil (i.e. more than the yeast can use). Not just for head retention but also for fear of nasty oxidation products of leftover oil.

What about the OTHER use that yeast have for oxygen, which I think is to make sterols? I'm not certain how that complicates things.

Baums

mallace
06/05/07 01:32 PM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
Steve--Do you know how, exactly, the fatty acids fit into the overall acidity picture? I was under the impression that fatty acids are more fat than acid.

By what you're saying, it seems that a regular olive oil might be better to use, if it has a higher concentration of fatty acids.

For the chemistry wonks: (don't forget your 3 w's) oliveoilsource.com/olivechemistry.htm

Hormel.com also claims that fat content does not change as the olive oil grade changes...but it didn't say if the types of fat present (which I guess would change acidity?) differ. (3 w's, please)hormel.com/templates/knowledge/knowledge.asp?catitemid=40&id=189

SteveG
06/05/07 01:50 PM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
I'm afraid I have no good detailed data here Mallace, for me this is more a flag going up than a point being made. But it does seem Mikes question could have merit.

I wonder if you could use Tommes method, put a drop in your yeast container then wipe most of it out. Then add some wort solution and yeast. Let it settle out, then pour off the fluid just before pitching adding fresh wort. Might residual oil tend to be poured off? I mean oil would float, wouldn't it?

Baums
06/05/07 02:52 PM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
Some people here must surely have access to very nice lab scales. Using one, the measuring problem might be solved this way:

1. get a piece of thin wire of a known guage (24 guage or something?) about three inches long

2. mark it 1" from the end

3. put the wire in a petri dish and weigh it

4. dip the wire 1" into some room temp olive oil using your handy 1" mark

5. put it back in the dish and weigh it

If this is too small a difference to weigh, we just dip a longer length of wire (or more wires). All we need to know is how much oil remains on a length of standard guage wire after dipping into a common brand (Bertoli?) of olive oil.

Al B
06/05/07 07:06 PM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
Its certaintly a curious topic.

A certain Microbiogical Manual on specific media for the propagation of yeasts employs the addition of ....glycerol (although I believe its primarily intended for sterols in building cell membranes).

Al Bertoli

WitSok
06/05/07 08:56 PM  
H2O2
Hydrogen peroxide was discussed in the March/April 2004 Zymurgy. Perhaps they used to mush H2O2, but the results were not favorable.

Dan

WitSok
06/06/07 08:51 AM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
<<Perhaps they used to mush H2O2, but the results were not favorable.>>

Can't spell!!!!!!!!! too much, not to mush!

Baums
06/06/07 10:23 AM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
Yeah, Al, my understanding was that as long as you give yeast fatty acids and ergosterol then they require no oxygen to reproduce indefinitely. The oil covers the fatty acid part, but I am not so sure about the sterol.

Obviously New Belgium's process works for them; given their pitching rate (which is probably similar to other breweries in requiring the yeast to go through ~3 generations to finish the ferment) the oil is sufficient.

What I wonder about is whether oil is good enough to allow yeast to grow without oxygen for *many* generations. If so, that would open up the compelling option of pitching much less yeast (with proper sanitation). We can't do that with O2 because we don't want to aerate over and over and we can only get so much O2 into solution. But with oil, neither of these would be an issue.

Jimbo
10/18/07 06:30 PM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
Old topic, I know, but has anyone tried this yet? I thought SteveG's question of whether to base the oil amount on the yeast slurry size or the batch size was quite pertinent. Wouldn't be too hard to take one drop of olive oil, dissolve it in 100 mL Everclear as a stock soln. and use the appropriate portion depending on slurry/batch size. Baby medicine syringes are quite handy for this type of thing.

Regarding sterols, all I could find is that yeast synthesise them from Acetyl coenzyme A, but couldn't figure out whether oxygen was needed for their sythesis is this was provided to the yeasties.

I was thinking this method could potentially assist huge brews (~25% ABV) in getting fired up. I've read of people needing daily aeration for the first 5 days or so using WLP099 to attack the increasing gravities effectively. Seeing as how brews this big are often not carbonated (Sam Adams Utopia,) their also shouldn't be any concern with head retention.

Again, anyone of the brave brewers around here aerated with olive oil yet?

BPotts
10/19/07 12:04 AM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
wish i saw this earlier, coulda tried it for my super-high gravity brew...
Jimbo
10/19/07 10:38 AM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
Hey BPotts, got a link for the info on that super-high gravity brew or feel like posting it? I'd love to hear how it went as I've got plans to do one soon.
BPotts
10/19/07 01:00 PM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
You can find how it's turned out so far in the post titled "Red wine yeast in high gravity sour brew" I've also discussed it in other posts....You should be able to find the info with search tool, or it should only be a page or two back in the archives....I used both the SHG yeast, and various bretts/bacterias. I've had issues with this beer, which you will read in the post, and there's some interesting discussion on the topic of White Labs SHG yeast. My beer is still in the secondary, and after reading that post you'll understand more when I say that it's still chugging along slowly, after trying numerous different ways to try and finish the beer up.....
Baums
10/22/07 12:15 PM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
"Old topic, I know, but has anyone tried this yet?"

Maybe search HBD for details, but at this point I think adding olive oil (fatty acids) at the level used at New Belgium, is not nearly enough to "replace" the level of oxygen traditionally provided through aeration of the wort. (And that no amount of olive oil will provide sterols, which yeast normally use oxygen to produce.)

How then can New Belgium get strong fermentations with this technique? One theory is that their yeast already have all the fatty acids and sterols they need, and thus don't need any oxygen (or olive oil). It is certainly possible to get the yeast into this condition before pitching them--I brew this way and I think some others on this board do also.

(Or, I could be missing something important altogether.)

Darren
10/24/07 06:07 AM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
Wouldn't the olive oil float on top and hence, not be available for the yeast?

cheers

Darren

Jimbo
10/24/07 01:46 PM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
So, while discussing over at gotmead the way cider pushes yeasts to ferment further than they normally will, someone mentioned sterols and I searched out the following link:

WOOPS LINK WOULDN'T MAKE IT PAST THE SPAMBLOCKER.Search ergosterol apple juice in google. It'll be the first thing that comes up.

According to this, apples contain ergosterol in continuously greater quantities as they "decay." This would explain why apple juice makes such a good starter and may be the missing link in this whole olive oil oxygenation thing. It is likely that other fruit contain it as well, but I'm gonna do a huge cyser in the very near future with olive oil as the fatty acid source and cider as the ergosterol source, of course. I'm gonna try to push wlp099 to it's breaking point with this technique and see what happens. I'll keep y'all posted.

Jimbo

SteveG
10/24/07 01:53 PM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
Jimbo, of course links will make it past the spamblocker...

www.babblebelt.com/newboard/thread.html?tid=1108752780&th=1180990051&pg=1&tpg=1&add=1

Its pretty common knowledge here that h t t p : / / is not allowed, the rest of the link is fine and can be conveniently copied and pasted for use.

Jimbo
10/24/07 03:30 PM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
Oh, here it is then:

www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T6R-4CB65PF-2&_user=10&_coverDate=04%2F30%2F2005&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=ea3c8bddab503aac70b70c381bc9dc59

Baums
10/25/07 09:28 AM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
Jimbo,

That does seem like a fair bit of ergosterol in that paper. I believe that "well stocked" yeast are about 1% ergosterol. If you had 5G of juice from "30% decayed apples" there'd be about half a gram of ergosterol--and (assuming it's in a form the yeast can actually use) that sounds like enough to "stock up" about 50 grams of yeast!

As for the olive oil, I think you will need a lot of olive oil for it to make a difference. My recollection is that the olive oil only seemed to make sense if you use something like 1000 or 10000X more than was indicated in the post a while back. But in a cyser, maybe a couple tablespoons isn't so worrying. Seems like adding it near the end of primary fermenation would be good--that way it will replenish the yeast at a good time, and get "stirred in" by the ferment action.

My guess is in a cyser the yeast will run out of amino acids before they run out of these things--but you were probably already planning for that, with incremental nutrient additions.

Baums

Jimbo
10/25/07 03:37 PM  
Re: A new way to aerate - using olive oil!
Thanks for the feedback, Baums! I wasn't sure how much ergosterol yeasties usually need.

Seeing as how I'm going to try this very soon, I've been doing some calculations. I agree about the quantity of oil. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out where they got that "0.000083 mL" number. Here are my calculations. It seems like they're basing the amount of oil needed on the starter size, so I'm gonna run with that. Let's say a homebrewer uses a 1 Liter starter (common and for the ease of the math involved) while they use a 4500 L starter. That means that we'll need 1/4500th the amount of olive oil they do, right? So, 300/4500=0.0667 mL. To get 4 zeros behind the decimal point, we would have to assume a 1mL starter(?!) to arrive at 0.0000667 mL. I think they tossed in an extra zero by accident and were assuming homebrewers are using a ~13mL which would give us 0.00084 mL according to my rounded off calculations. That makes more sense to me as the white labs liquid yeast tubes hold 35mL and are only about half full or so. Therefore, if I'm using a 1L starter, I need about 0.0667 mL. Considering that a metric drop is 0.05 mL, we need about a drop for the batch! Easy, peasy. I still think that it should be dissolved into a few mL of everclear to help in dissolve into the brew, but anyway...thanks again. I'll keep progress posted when I get a chance to start this experiment.

Jimbo

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