I was siphoning beer to a secondary fermentation vessel so that I could reuse the "primary" bucket. A steady stream of bubbles inside the cane part of the autosiphon should have set off alarm bells inside my head, but I was a bit distracted. When I finally paid closer attention to it, I realized that there was a new crack in the plastic which wasn't sufficient to prevent the siphon from working but acted was a perfect mechanism for introducing air into the liquid. By that time, the destination carboy was full.

Is there anything I can do to save this beer? I don't have a keg or any means of force-carbonating it. Conversely, if I bottle and drink it sufficiently quickly, will the extra oxygenation have only a minimal impact?

  • This is my standard response for any brewing error (for when it's not too much extra work): Go ahead and bottle a few. Worst case scenario, you have a few bottles of beer that exhibit a particular brewing flaw so you can learn the off-flavors. Of course, I usually also try to have something more helpful after that. :P – fire.eagle Mar 26 '12 at 16:58
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    This is speculation, so take my comment with a grain of salt. Yeast cells will switch to aerobic metabolism in the presence of oxygen. It's possible that the yeast will consume any oxygen introduced into the wort if you add some fermentable sugars. After all, many brewers oxygenate the wort just prior to pitching, and this does not result of oxidation. – FishesCycle Mar 26 '12 at 18:11

You can add one eighth a teaspoon of ascorbic acid for 5 gallons. It will mop up a lot of the dissolved oxygen. One campden tablet can also do the same job.

However, if there are still yeast in suspension, which there probably is considering you've got it in secondary, then they will naturally scrub out most of the dissolved oxygen as part of the small amount of propagation that happens in the secondary.

I wouldn't bother with the additives and just let this one ride. If this happened after secondary on the way to the bottling bucket or keg, then that's a different matter, and some additives to prevent oxidization might have been called for. But here I think your beer is going to be ok.

  • Yeah, let it ride. – Graham Mar 26 '12 at 20:18

Are you sure it was oxygen and not CO2 coming out of solution? If it was oxygen, I don't know of any "fix". Drink the beer soon before the effects become too pronounced.

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