For the “Talking the Talk” series, we’ll talk about some brewing terms so that when you join that brew club you won’t even sound like a newbie. For now we’ll introduce the following term and a brief explanation and hopefully not bore you to the point of giving up the hobby.
Aerate – the boring version:
“To expose to the action of air or to cause circulate through.”
This is as explained in the dictionary (Webster’s).
Aerate – according to Dave: Think of it as though you are going for a swim in a large swimming pool of beer/wort (wort will be explained later) – I know, heaven right? Unlike the usual swim, this time you start in the (empty) pool first, and the beer/wort is filled in around you. In this scenario you are the yeast. As much as this sounds like such a great situation, you still have to breathe. So it is with yeast. Just like you and I, yeast needs air. Without air the yeast just sits there unable to do what yeast was meant to do, which is convert the sugars to alcohol. Thus it is very important to aerate the beer/wort. Without the oxygen in this process there will not be any alcohol present. Incidentally, this is the only stage in the process in which you want to introduce oxygen into your beer. (More about that later.)
To summarize: yeast needs oxygen in order to convert sugars into alcohol. To do so is to “aerate” the yeast. There are numerous ways to accomplish this. Just remember that it has to be done. I will discuss some of those ways in future articles.