Whirlpool - The big How-To
One of the problems that may home brewers (especially beginners) are struggling with is the separation of trub/hops and wort. My first approach to this was using a large funnel with a mesh screen. This screen clogged up immediately, causing a lot of stress when I was concerned about getting the wort as fast as possible out of the way of germs and into the primary. I ended up dumping most of the trub into the primary as well.
Pretty much the same happened with the 2nd batch when I thought A colander would do a better job. It wasn't until my 3rd batch that I gave the idea of whirpooling a try. But it didn't work as well as I thought it would. With subsequent batches I improved the technique and are now able to completely relax when it comes to transferring the wort into the primary and leaving most of the trub behind.
Whirpooling employs 2 methods of seperating the trub from the wort. The first one is sedimentation, which means the trub will sink to the bottom when left alone. The second one is centrifugal force which forces the trub into the center of the pot. If both methods are used, the trub will be collected in a nice trub-cone in the center of the pot. This is the main trub seperation technique that is used in commercial breweries before the wort is chilled.
Just sedimentation would work to. But since the trub would be evenly spread on the bottom of the pot, you cannot siphon as low as you can if the trub is collected in a cone.
Here is what I do:
I chill the wort with an immersion chiller. Note that I left the spoon in the pot during the boil and when the wort is being chilled.
Then I move the pot to an elevated position. After the whirlpool has been started you shoud not move or disturb it. The whirlpool is started with the spoon. After that, the spoon is taken out.
Now rest the wort for at least 20-30 min. You should keep it covered during this time. During this time sanitize my fermentation gear.
Then you can set up your siphoning gear. If you keep the wort covered, there is no worry about infection. The set-up shown here is more complicated than necessary as I added a chiller to get the pitching temp down to 60F. I oxygenate later with O2 and an SS stone, which means I don't worry about sufficient aeration at this point. When you put in the racking cane, slide it only half way down into the wort. You don't want to disturb the trub cone by accident.
.. to be contiued (I can only use 4 images per post)
After a while the top of the trub cone will come into view and you can see how steep its sides actually are, meaning that you will be able to get the end of the racking cane pretty close to the bottom of the pot. The wider the pot, the closer you can get the racking cane to the bottom.
As you come closer the trub cone will start to drift out.
This is when you start siphoning some of the trub. I use pellet hops for my beers. They are less likely to clogg up the racking cane as they are small enough be be sucked up. But whole hops will work to, if you are careful.
This is the amount of sediment that I got into the primary. If this is your first time, I recommend siphoning into a funnel with a mesh screen. This way you have some sort of insurance. I stopped doing this, however. One less item to sanitize :) . The trubid stuff in there is yeast and cold break. The cold break is actually desired. Some sources suggest that the removal of all trub from the wort will lead to an "empty" tasting beer.
As you may have already noted, there is still some wort left in the kettle with all the trub. This wort should not go to waste
I use a colander with a paper towel to seperate the remaining wort from the trub. Since none of the equipment is sanitized I would refrain from adding this to the primary without boiling it first . Use it as gyle/speise for priming or for future starters (decant the starter liquid in this case and pitch only the yeast sediment).
This is the only thing I need to throw away. All the wort has been saved from the brew kettle.
Since there will be a disturbance of the rotation, a whirlpool will not work that well for kettles where a screen is attached to the spigot. When I'm going to build a bigger brew kettle, I plan to insert a slotted ring, that is connected to the spigot. This ring will not disturb the rotation and I will get a trub-cone. I can then draw the clear wort from the base of the trub cone into the primary or CFC.
Gosh, I had to spread this over 3 threads (to many pictures). Luckily, nobody interrupted me :)
Cool! Nice write up.
Very nice post!
I have been wondering why someone would whirlpool, and then try to use a spigot that draws from the center of a keggle. Makes little sense. Perhaps I won't even put one on mine. Of course, my mash tun and HLT will need spigots (ball valves)....
Edited: Looks like I jumped the gun. So you are going to eventually go with a spigot. Hmm....
Would a Hop Stopper keep all the crud out just as well?
Kaiser, freaking awesome write-up! :rockin:
Superb thread!!! :rockin:
Very nice information and the pictures really help. I tried this the last time I brewed and I thought I swirled pretty good. I was not able to get a nice cone in the center so my results were not that good.
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