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Written by Michael Korbel on May 22, 2011.

Depending on your skill and equipment level, there are a few different ways you could go about aerating your homebrew. We all know aeration is very important for starting a good healthy fermentation. If you didn’t know that, or just want to know more about aeration, check out our article titled: Wort Aeration: Why It’s So Important.

Three ways to aerate:

  • Lift the carboy and shake the hell outa’ it.
  • Aeration stone and wand
  • Inline

Please note that when using any any aeration method that it is advisable to use an inline sanitary filter to protect against the chance of bacterial contamination. The image to the left shows what it looks like. If you are using a tank of oxygen this is less necessary because of the unfavorable conditions inside the tank. Bacteria cannot live in those pressure conditions. Click the image for a larger view.

Aerate by shaking the carboy

If you are just getting into home brewing, or are budget conscious, you can utilize the method described in many homebrewing books such as Charlie Papazian’s The Complete Joy of Homebrewing. This method is basically lifting up your fermenter and shaking the hell out of it until the wort is nice and frothy. This method works and some people stick with this method for their entire brewing careers.

Aeration Stone / Wand

If you want to step it up, or just don’t want to risk dropping 5 gallons of wort you can use an aeration stone and a very inexpensive aquarium pumpaeration stoneSome homebrewers also use Benzomatic compressed oxygen instead of the aquarium pump.

The use of an aeration stone is simple. There are thousands of little pores on the stone which allows the oxygen to get pushed through. This whole setup is super cheap, works just was well as shaking the fermented, but there is obviously less risk of carboy bombs, breaking backs, or hernias. This setup can be compiled DIY from parts found locally, or you can spend a bit more and have everything shipped from a home brewing specialty store such as Northern Brewer or Williams Brewing.

Inline Wort Aeration

If you are the type who wants to take it even one step further you could assemble an inline wort aerator. These can be purchased pre-fabricated online from a variety of vendors or you could just walk to the local hardware store and assemble the parts yourself. Here is a photo of the one I built from parts found at the local hardware store. The parts include a .5mm stainless diffusion stone, three brass nipples, and a brass T. All brass parts were soaked in a vinegar/hydrogen peroxide solution to remove surface lead. I have used mine many times and never had any problems with backflow into the oxygen in tube. This is a common criticism of this design, although I never experienced any problems. I also control flow rate of both wort to oxygen to get it just right. Criticism to this method quite possibly has to do with lack of flow rate control by the brewer.

Here are some photos I found online of how other people accomplished aerating their wort inline (Photos from Oregon Brew Crew, ):

Works Cited:

  • “Is it possible to aerate your yeast too much?” 2003. 22 October. 2003.
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