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Diesel30 11-13-2010 10:31 PM

Cold Break
Ok, so I have been reading in Palmer's "Learn to Brew" about cold break. As I understand it, this is important to have a clear beer. The thing I am not understanding is how to keep it out of the beer. I use a wort chiller and the beeer cools down quite fast (I am actuall using two wort chillers, one in an ice bath and the other in the wort). I can usually get the wort down to pitching temps in about 20 to 45 minutes (depending on the outside temps). I am pretty sure that this is getting the cold break taken care of, but how do I keep the cold break from being siphoned into the fermenter and then on to the bottles from there? Is there something that can be done or is it just enough to cool the beer quickly? This may not even be an issue as my beers are not THAT hazy and I am not getting any off flavors from anything. But I would really like someone to help me understand this a little better.

bgraham 11-13-2010 10:57 PM

I used to obsess over exactly what you're talking about. You could look up whirlpooling and do that, it is quite popular. I've tried it and all I ever do anymore is once I hit about 70F I just let it sit in the kettle covered for about 15 or 20 minutes. Then I siphon by starting at the top and lowering the siphon with the top of the wort giving all the cold break and hops extra time to settle.

My personal experience has been that all that junk doesn't really make much difference in the taste or appearance in the end. Taking along a bunch of hops isn't great but coldbreak doesn't matter, it's not going to redissolve back into your beer. However, I do like to keep as much of it out of the primary as possible to minimize what could possibly come back out of the primary when going into the secondary or into the keg.

Diesel30 11-14-2010 03:18 AM

Thanks for the input. I do somewhat filter my wort when transferring to the primary, so I am sure that helps some. I use a standard strainer and a funnel with a screen in it to keep as much of the hops and irish moss from being transferred to the fermenter. But I guess I am worried about nothing when it comes to the cold break.

bgraham 11-14-2010 09:45 PM

i was thinking about this some more last night looking at some fresh wort i just pitched yeast into. everything always completely settles out in an hour or so, so why not just wait an hour and then siphon into the fermenter. fermentation always takes a couple hours for me to kick off anyways regardless of what yeast i use. if using a liquid, just wait and if you're using a dry yeast, just hydrate it and let it sit for that hour. it's only going to help dry yeast and not make any difference with a liquid yeast.

i think that is what i will do on my next batch. i think beginning brewing books make too big a deal about immediately starting off fermentation. i don't see how it would matter to wait an hour to pitch yeast when a lot of time fermentation doesn’t start for 8 or 12 hours anyway. it's probably more beneficial to just be patient and get that junk out.

Revvy 11-14-2010 09:52 PM

Actually pulling the break material out of solution rapidly is what matters, but whether it goes into the fermenter or not, really doesn't. If you pull the break it just settles to the trub with everything else, and doesn't affect the taste or clarity of your beer. It is the mechanics of getting those proteins out of solution that really matters. Think of it as if you dropped some vinegar into a glass of milk, how some stuff comes out of the solution and curdles (the whey and curds break apart) that is what we're talking about with "break" material..Certain proteins actually breaking down out of the wort. Get it? "Break?"

But whether you leave it behind or put it in the fermenter? It really doesn't matter either way.

Some dump everything in, without straining, just pour it in the bucket or in the funnel....Some use a big strainer that fit in the funnel for a carboy, or a sanitized 5 gallon nylon paint strainer bag in the bucket...

I have done it all ways. It really doesn't matter...anything will settle, my beer is plenty clear either way.

In other words, there is no wrong way to do it, or better way, or way that will make the best beer...they all work...the choice is what will work the best for you. That's how you develop you own unique brewing process. By trying all ways and deciding what works best for you.

What I do with my IC, is chill the wort, then I lean the bottom of my autosiphon about two coils up from the bottom on the metal of the siphon. That rests it above most of the break material and trub, then I rack it to the fermenter until I'm down to that and carefully lower the siphon down into the gunk, just trying to get as much of the wort as possible without letting in the hops and break matter.

But pretty much up until I got my immersion chiller for christmas last year I just dumped for the majority of my batches.

Tiber_Brew 11-14-2010 09:58 PM

I use a CFC, and all the cold break ends up in my primaries. Like Revvy said, it settles out with the rest of the particulates (trub) and is left behind when I rack to secondary or keg/bottle. My beers are clear (provided I'm not using low flocculating yeast). I also whirlpool in the kettle before running through my chiller, and leaves behind a lot of protein and hop matter, which helps.

In other words, don't worry about it.


SeaBass512 11-14-2010 10:42 PM


n other words, there is no wrong way to do it, or better way, or way that will make the best beer...they all work...the choice is what will work the best for you. That's how you develop you own unique brewing process. By trying all ways and deciding what works best for you.
That pretty much sums up about 90% of the questions/discussions on here. I have spent too many hours on this forum for various topics, and finally realized there is rarely a "best" way for anything.

Diesel30 11-19-2010 02:08 AM

When Whirlpooling, do you wait until the wort is cooled or do you do it when it is hot? I have heard concerns about airation problems if the wort is cold, but not as much of a problem when it is cooled. Not exactly on topic, but another question I have that I thought I would ask to some more experienced brewers.

matalec1984 12-07-2011 02:04 AM

Question about the cold break especially pertaining to light lagers, i.e. helles, pils etc.

Generally with all of my ales Revvy's cold break concept works fine for me. I use my IC chill down my wort and siphon into my primary leaving behind the all the junk and the last little bit of wort. However I keep reading that the cold break or making sure you get it out plays a much bigger role in light lagers due to their color and expected clarity. Does anyone have any advice or input about the cold break pertaining to this?

Diesel30 12-07-2011 12:54 PM

Well, I know I'm the one who started this and I was confused myself, but since I posted this original question I have tried a few new things that seem to work just fine. First of all, I don't concern myself with cold break at all. First off I don't use hop socks in the boil anymore. Then after cool down, I siphon everything into my primary. I get a lot of hops, cold break, and even some of the Irish moss. Then before I bottle, I cold crash the beer for at least a week after leaving it in primary for at least 4 weeks. With this method I have been able get very clear beers. If I can get a picture to upload then I will show you some of my results from this method.

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