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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > To strain or not to strain that is the question?
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Old 07-11-2005, 09:17 AM   #11
Dienekles
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On the subject of sterility:

With the amount of yeast you are pitching into their ideal habitat (assuming you have a good starter) and the speed at which yeast make the living space inside the fermenter anaerobic (and therefore hostile to most airborn bacteria that spoil beer), sterility may not be as big an issue as you thought.

Its survival of the fittest - the yeast is more fit to compete for resources. Not to mention you are putting a ton of yeast into the wort. So people are a little too paranoid about spoiling their beer; I'm not saying to not take the nessessary precautions to ensure that you will not contaminate your beer. But what I am saying is this:

In my experience a few lapses in sanitation will not ultimately lead to bad beer. Where as over stressing the idea of getting a perfectly sterile environment and leaving large amounts of sanitiser residue on your equipment can lead to off flavors.

Fact: if your sanitising every instrament that comes in contact with your wort after it has cooled, you will not have off flavors - where as leaving your beer in the primary on top of trub Will result in off flavors after the yeast has used up most available maltose and more complex sugars ect. (After about 6 or 7 days it will begin to have an eggy smell).

Oya! Hope I could help.

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Old 07-11-2005, 01:15 PM   #12
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Sterile is not the same thing as sanitary. Using the words interchangeably may cause some confusion. What we're striving for in homebrewing is sanitary. Sterilization is nearly impossible unless you are in a controlled environment such as a lab.

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Old 07-11-2005, 01:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dienekles
In my experience a few lapses in sanitation will not ultimately lead to bad beer. Where as over stressing the idea of getting a perfectly sterile environment and leaving large amounts of sanitiser residue on your equipment can lead to off flavors.
In my experience, I've tasted way too much bad homebrew not to take sanitation obsessively right after the boil. Perhaps if you brew a lot of Belgian beers, a little spoilage goes undetected, but for everything else, it matters. Yes, yeast are hearty and quick to set up shop in wort, yes, they soon outcompete other spoiling wild yeast and bacteria, but that doesn't mean you can't taste it. I would much rather have a few tablespoons of sanitizer in my beer than a few colonies of wild yeast. The whole issue of being able to taste a few parts per million of sanitizer in your beer is laughable. Who leaves a quart of sanitizer in their carboy and then siphons wort into it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dienekles
...where as leaving your beer in the primary on top of trub Will result in off flavors after the yeast has used up most available maltose and more complex sugars ect. (After about 6 or 7 days it will begin to have an eggy smell).
This has already been debated to death, but I still stand my ground. But before I rant, it's worth noting (getting back to the original subject of this thread) that I do strain my wort going into the primary. The only thing that makes it into the primary is cold break (I use a counter flow chiller). I'll be happy to share my straining methods with anyone who is interested. But.....

I have quit racking to a secondary. I routinely leave beer, even light styles like Cream Ale, in the primary for up to 4 weeks, sometimes as long as 5 weeks. The whole issue of leaving your wort on the trub and it getting off flavors just doesn't hold water in my book. In fact, I entered the same American IPA in 2 competions and recieved scores of 47.5 and 47. This IPA sat in the primary for 4 weeks. A Cream Ale scored 40+ in both as well. The Cream Ale spent the same 4 weeks in the primary. Perhaps straining hops is more important than we think.

Sanitation is your friend. Let down your guard and you will regret it.

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Old 07-11-2005, 02:00 PM   #14
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Tu Che!

I take sanitation very seriously. The longer I brew the more seriously I take it. I was just attempting to stir the waters a bit.

Well I can see how a Cream Ale or an IPA might mask the off flavors associated with leaving a beer on the trub too long.

If they are being ranked highly in competition then they must be good beer! Congratulations, you can defy science my boy! I wonder why the yeast never resorted to eating trub in your beers. What yeast were you using?

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Old 07-11-2005, 03:19 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dienekles
Well I can see how a Cream Ale or an IPA might mask the off flavors associated with leaving a beer on the trub too long.
Cream Ale masking off flavors? There's nothing in there to mask anything. No hops to speak of, no huge flavors to hide behind. Just a very light ale with a touch of corny sweetness. It's like brewing naked. Even small flaws stand out like Bill Gates in a mosh pit.

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...you can defy science my boy! I wonder why the yeast never resorted to eating trub in your beers. What yeast were you using?
I'm not a chemist, but I don't think yeast ever resort to cannibalism. They do eventually die and decompose (autolysis), but that usually takes months. I think that cold break acts as a nutrient early on in fermentation. Other than yeast and cold break, there's nothing else in there to eat but sugar. The specific strain was Wyeast 1056. Not sure about defying science, I've yet to see the science that says trub causes off flavors. Perhaps it's only the hop trub that causes off flavors? Another argument for straining the wort into the primary.

At least we agree on sanitation.

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Old 07-11-2005, 03:24 PM   #16
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Hmm, 1056 huh? Thats a fairly run of the mill yeast. Well I'm stumped.

Undoubtedly though, straining is worth the risk, if to do nothing more than save you a half gallon or so of beer that might have been trapped when it came time to transfer to a secondary.

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Old 07-11-2005, 03:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnlandsailor
I think that cold break acts as a nutrient early on in fermentation. Other than yeast and cold break, there's nothing else in there to eat but sugar.
I thought that cold break (like hot break) served to settle proteins out of the wort thus aiding clarity. I don't think that yeast can use these proteins as nutrients but hey, I am really a novice at all of this so I could certainly be wrong...
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Old 07-11-2005, 04:03 PM   #18
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Guys, thanks for all the input. I will be looking for someway of straining my wort as it goes into the primary. I don't yet have a wort chiller so I bring it down to pitching temp by setting the primary in a tub of ice water and mixing the 2.5 to 3 gals of wort with the balance of cool water. I may try HB99s method of stretching nylon mesh across the top of the primary since all the strainers I've seen out there are kind of pricy($18-25).

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Old 07-11-2005, 05:16 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2nd Street Brewery
Guys, thanks for all the input. I will be looking for someway of straining my wort as it goes into the primary. I don't yet have a wort chiller so I bring it down to pitching temp by setting the primary in a tub of ice water and mixing the 2.5 to 3 gals of wort with the balance of cool water. I may try HB99s method of stretching nylon mesh across the top of the primary since all the strainers I've seen out there are kind of pricy($18-25).
What are you using to get the wort into the fermenter? If you ferment in a carboy then just get a cheap funnel into which you can place a stainless steel kitchen strainer (shouldn't be nearly that expensive). You will of course need to sanatize both the funnel and the strainer first. If you use a plastic fermenter you can just skip the funnel. Most kitchen strainers have a long handle and a little hook to allow them to sit across the mouth of a container.

I highly recommend siphoning your wort into the fermenter if you strain. It will give you better control over the flow of wort through whatever you use to strain allowing you to stop the flow if the filter becomes clogged or backed up. Might be a little slower than pouring but definitely worth the extra time spent.
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Old 07-11-2005, 06:47 PM   #20
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I am just pouring from brewpot to plastic bucket. Most kitchen strainers are only about 4 ins across, I was looking at 8 to 10 in diameter ones. My HBS has a 10" one for the low $20s and Austin HBS online has an 8" for $18. Knowing what a slob I am I know I'll miss the little one

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