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Old 10-18-2011, 04:32 AM   #1
r8rphan
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Default Cold Crashing... How too..

So, this is the first batch I've done using my new fermentation chamber.. It's awesome.. Temp locked right at 65 degrees the whole time... And I love that the blow off gasses are contained in the freezer so that when I open it once a day to take a peek, I'm hit with a serious blast of sweet beer gas...

Anyways, I was just realizing that I can use this thing for cold crashing, if I'm understanding things correctly...

As I understand it, the purpose of cold crashing is to rapidly drop the yeast and other suspended stuff out of the beer to help clarify it...

So, since I'm planning on transferring to keg tomorrow, is it just a simple matter of resetting the temp on the fermentation chamber controller to 40 degrees (or?) tonight and then transferring tomorrow afternoon?

Or is there a certain amount of time it has to sit at temperature, or does it have to be brought down in stages, or what?

Thanks,
Mark

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Old 10-18-2011, 05:21 AM   #2
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"Crash" pretty much means "as quick as it can be chilled".

The closer you can get to 32°F the more effective the "cold crash" will be. That said I don't want to stress the heck out of my ferm fridges so I set mine for 34°F (as measured with the Ranco external controller's probe pressed up against the carboy and insulated with a piece of inch-thick closed cell foam).

My ales typically run for two weeks of fermentation before I cold crash them. I set the fridge for 34°F and after 3-4 days all the trub, dry-hop pellet mush and virtually all of the yeast and chill haze particles have packed it in on the bottom of the carboy(s) and the brew(s) are ready to rack to kegs.

Cheers!

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Old 10-18-2011, 11:03 AM   #3
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I do a cold crash for pretty much everything.
It does an amazing job clarifying the beer and makes racking easier, because the yeast-cake gets much more compact in the fermenter.

Something to think about is suck-back.
The cooling beer pulls in air through the airlock, so if you leave that on, you'll have a few ounces of fluid get into your fermenter. (maybe more with a blow-off tube)
I pull off the airlock when I crash, and wrap the top up with some star-san sprayed tinfoil.

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Old 10-18-2011, 01:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nohup View Post
[...]Something to think about is suck-back.
The cooling beer pulls in air through the airlock, so if you leave that on, you'll have a few ounces of fluid get into your fermenter. (maybe more with a blow-off tube)
I pull off the airlock when I crash, and wrap the top up with some star-san sprayed tinfoil.
This is a good point - and the reason why when I remove my 1" ID blow-off tube after the vigorous primary fermentation phase has ended I always install a fermentation lock filled with cheap unflavored vodka.

I think the "suck-back" phenomenon might be less of an issue with multi-chamber S-type locks than the three-piece locks I use, but as I've never used the former I'm not certain about that...

Cheers!
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Old 10-18-2011, 02:00 PM   #5
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In the S-type airlocks you don't get 'total suck back'. That is, the liquid will only enter your carboy in the case of very fast sucking. Under normal conditions bubbles will pass through in the same way they pass out of the airlock. So I don't think this is as much of a concern, but replacing it with vodka isn't a bad idea.

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Old 10-18-2011, 02:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nohup View Post
Something to think about is suck-back.
The cooling beer pulls in air through the airlock, so if you leave that on, you'll have a few ounces of fluid get into your fermenter. (maybe more with a blow-off tube)
I pull off the airlock when I crash, and wrap the top up with some star-san sprayed tinfoil.
Yeah, I always top off my 3-piece airlocks with vodka when I put them in to cold crash (which is anywhere from 34-40 degrees F). I usually check them again once they cool down to ensure that all of the vodka hasn't been sucked into the fermenter.

I'm not entirely sure that cold crashing is any better if you leave it longer but I'd shoot for 1-2 days at least. And I highly recommend it because it does a fantastic job clearing beer; that and a long primary (3-4 wks).
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Old 10-18-2011, 03:00 PM   #7
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I have a quick question, I just finished my first batch (extract). It's been in the primary for a few days now, after a full week I was thinking about moving it to a secondary and leaving for 2 more weeks. Then cold crashing. But is the secondary necessary if I'm am going to cold crash? Or should I just leave is in the primary for another week and then cold crash.

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Old 10-18-2011, 03:16 PM   #8
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Thanks for the replies...

Now I'm 'really' loving this Fermentation Chamber..

I brewed a batch of Bee Cave IPA, and screwed the mash up.. It came out way low (either that or I diluted the sampling), so I'm not gonna let this sit in ferment that long, but instead opt to just get another brew going.. This is gonna be some very bitter light IPA.. LOL

I am going out of town this weekend (KC @ Raiders game.. Yay!) and was gonna try and brew before I went , thus transfer the beer to kegs today (it's day 10), mash this afternoon, and brew tomorrow.. But I'm running out of time now for other things.. So in light of the suggestions to let it cold crash for a couple days minimum, I guess I'll wait till I get back, and then cold crash it...

Hopefully, it's drinkable... I guess I can always 'blend' it with something else if it's too bitter...

Great tip about the suck back.. didn't think of that... I have both types of airlocks.. I'll pull my 1" blow off tubes and fill the S type airlocks with vodka...

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Old 10-18-2011, 03:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cossacks19 View Post
I have a quick question, I just finished my first batch (extract). It's been in the primary for a few days now, after a full week I was thinking about moving it to a secondary and leaving for 2 more weeks. Then cold crashing. But is the secondary necessary if I'm am going to cold crash? Or should I just leave is in the primary for another week and then cold crash.
I've never used a secondary... Tried it once (using a corny as a secondary) and didn't see the point in it... I sometimes leave the beer sitting on the yeast for a month... Usually before the beer is half consumed (it will have then been under pressure and at temp for a good two weeks, usually more), it gets crystal clear with little or no chill haze or floaties...

I was thinking of doing a two stage transfer at one point so that I could filter during the transfer from the first keg to the second.. But if this cold crash method works out, I won't have to bother...
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Old 10-19-2011, 12:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cossacks19 View Post
I have a quick question, I just finished my first batch (extract). It's been in the primary for a few days now, after a full week I was thinking about moving it to a secondary and leaving for 2 more weeks. Then cold crashing. But is the secondary necessary if I'm am going to cold crash? Or should I just leave is in the primary for another week and then cold crash.
There are a lot of threads on HBT regarding whether to secondary or not. It sounds like many people skip it these days. For example if you want to dry hop, most people will just do a 3-4 week primary and dry hop in the primary. But if you're going to be using oak, fruit, liquor, etc., most people will rack into a secondary before using these additives to get the beer off the yeast. That seems to be the general consensus as far as I can tell.

Personally, I have only 2 brew buckets so I'll rack to secondary to free up room for the next batch. Otherwise, I skip it and don't really think it's worth it since a long primary and cold crashing will clear up beer quite well on its own.
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