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Old 12-01-2009, 01:26 AM   #1
WillowTheDog
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Default How do you keep the gunk out of the fermenter?

I tend to brew beers with a lot of hops and I always use pellets. After chilling in the BK, the last 1-2 gallons of wort is loaded with hop matter and break material. I even use a Jamil-style whirlpool wort chiller and I still have a hard time not throwing away a crap load of potential beer. Also, the ball valve on my boil kettle seems to always be below the level that the gunk starts, so I can never pull out clean wort.

How do I extract the most amount of clean wort from the boil kettle and only discard half gallon or less of sludge? What techniques are people using to minimize their waste?

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Old 12-01-2009, 02:13 AM   #2
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I've only done 2 batches (plus a wine), so take my advice with a grain of salt. I filter it through a grain bag folded over a couple times and placed in my funnel. I still let a little sludge into the porter I made the other night but very little compared to what stayed in the mesh. I had cacao in there too, so it was extra grimy...

EDIT: Also, if your not already, make sure you put the hop pellets into a mesh bag as well and not just chuck them into the kettle. I threw them directly into the boiling wort when I made my first batch and it was quite the mess.

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Old 12-01-2009, 03:07 AM   #3
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Edit (re-read the post)
+1 for pellets in the mesh bag
Get a good cold crash
Having a dip tube going to the bottom for your kettle , or to the side
helps keep the gunk out.

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Old 12-01-2009, 03:12 AM   #4
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If the pickup tube/valve opening is on the side, you can whirlpool. Stir the wort vigorously to get it moving in a whirlpool fashion. Wait a few minutes for the "current" to cease and all the "gunk" to settle. Drain the kettle. Most of the "gunk" should be piled in the center of the kettle.

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Old 12-01-2009, 03:13 AM   #5
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After I boil, I do an ice bath, then dump the whole thing into the fermenter. Everything settles down. More trouble than it's worth for me to try to remove it.

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Old 12-01-2009, 03:15 AM   #6
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Even with a whirlpool in my keg I have quite a bit of trub. I have a stainless braid and use a hop bag. Leave about a quart behind.

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Old 12-01-2009, 07:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ODaniel View Post
After I boil, I do an ice bath, then dump the whole thing into the fermenter. Everything settles down. More trouble than it's worth for me to try to remove it.
+1 to RDWAHAHB
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Old 12-01-2009, 09:37 AM   #8
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I whirpool and let settle. I then drain from the side of my kettle into a container. When most of the break/hop trub settles, I siphon into my fermenter leaving all the crap behind.
A bit more work, but it keeps the crap out and at the end of fermentation leaves me with cleaner yeast to reuse.

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Old 12-01-2009, 02:12 PM   #9
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Lots of hops soak up lots of wort. Figure on losing a cup of wort per ounce of hops. There's no way to prevent this from happening. You can bag, filter or let the hops settle out, but you still lose the same amount of beer.

Hop sludge

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Old 12-01-2009, 03:01 PM   #10
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I have a spigot on my kettle, but don't use it. I rack from Kettle to primary with my racking cane and manage the level of the cane so as to not pick up the trub at the bottom. As I get close to empting the kettle I tilt it the Trub stays behind untill just the last bit. I get about 1/2 -3/4 gal of trub in the bottom, but I adjust my water and ingrediant bill accordingly to get the 5 gal I want. Yea... wastefull I know... But I like my beer to clear and find that the ones where I have had the trub get into the primary, take a long time to clear.... sometimes 1/2 way through the keg.. Then they are BRILIANTLY clear...


but you could just say I'm "not patient enough".... Heck it's beer and I want to taste it.. So sue me.

I've tried the filter bag on the bottom of my racking cane but that just increased the "Airation" of the wort in the cane... Grrrr. So Now I just rack carefully and adjust for the lost wort.

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