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New here. I've been reading up on transferring from fermenter to keg (or secondary FM) and the associated concerns with introducing oxygen into the beer. IPA styles in particular seem to run the risk of completely loosing their hop profile if any oxygen is introduced. Then there's the whole concept of open fermentation and what's going on with oxidation there but that's probably another discussion in itself.

Other than taste tests, is there any way, (similar to a pH strip maybe?) to test beer for oxidation? I'd like to try some different recipes but it would be nice to know if something I don't like was screwed up by my own doing (dry-hopping/transfer/gawd-dont-secondary) or if the recipe just isn't my style.

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  • Taste is really what matters, does it matter if it's objectively oxidised but nobody can detect it? Colour is another, oxidation causes a rusty/brownish shine to the beer.
    – andy
    Jun 24, 2020 at 13:00
  • Not an answer to the question, but perhaps a partial solution to the underlying issue. It is my understanding that in the presence of oxygen AND fermentable sugars, yeast will consume the available oxygen while consuming the sugars. In other words, if you are doing something that will introduce oxygen, you can mitigate the impact by also providing a small amount of fermentable sugars. The oxygen will be sequestered until the yeast cells start to decompose (which should be long after you should have consumed the beer!).
    – Rob
    Apr 18, 2023 at 21:43

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Oxidation generally produces a taste and/or aroma reminiscent of wet paper or cardboard. It also (as you already noticed) tends to affect hop character by means of oxidizing your hop compounds.

So if you detect any of these on the palate, that is an indication of oxidation. j

The only other way of testing for oxidation in the beer is to run it through some very expensive lab tests. Even commercial mega-breweries rarely do that; if you taste a problem with the beer that is bad enough to reject the batch you do the latter, otherwise you don't worry about it.

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  • Thanks for answering. It's been a number of years since I posted and can say I've not had an oxidized batch yet. I'm finding most of the homebrewing horrors I've read about are somewhat rare and actually quite easy to stay away from if care is taken in cleaning and sanitization. I've managed to stay away from any oxidation by using closed transfers and dry hopping when fermentation is still active (for anyone stumbling across this with the same question some day)
    – HomeBrew
    Apr 21, 2023 at 11:54

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