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Old 11-23-2013, 04:50 AM   #1
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Default Used whirlfloc with disasterous results.

So I tried whirlfloc for the first time tonight. I do partial mashes on the stove (BIAB). Tonight I used 8lbs of grain and 7lbs of DME. I mashed in kettle one (2.5gal) and sparged in kettle two (1.75gal). I combined and added water till I hit 3.75gal.

Normally, using that much grain means I get a lot of debris floating in the wort that takes FOREVER to settle out, so I tried whirlfloc to speed up the process.
Boil finished around 6:30'ish, I whirlpooled it, and put it in my 35deg container of water outside. Around 7 when it was cool enough, I brought it in and set it on the counter. I racked it to my fermenter around 9:30, giving it plenty of time to settle...just like I always do.

As I start racking, I keep the end up on the auto siphon near the surface of the wort, sucking bubbles every once in a while. Worts flowing nice and clear...for about 1 gallon. Nearly the next 3 gallons it looked like I was sucking chocolate milk (brewed a porter). Normally, with a lot of grain, I get that towards the last 1 gallon and feel bad for having to waste that gallon, but 3/4 of the wort was like that! I can't just dump everything down the drain and leave only about 1.5 gallons (once I add top-up water to lower the gravity) to ferment.

Any ideas what happened? I see so many rave reviews on whirlfloc and thus far this has been the dirtiest, nastiest wort ever. I've done batches with 14lbs of grain and 6oz of hops and it was very close to being as bad as this, but it was because I racked over too much hop material.

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Old 11-23-2013, 05:20 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by looneybomber View Post
So I tried whirlfloc for the first time tonight. I do partial mashes on the stove (BIAB). Tonight I used 8lbs of grain and 7lbs of DME. I mashed in kettle one (2.5gal) and sparged in kettle two (1.75gal). I combined and added water till I hit 3.75gal.

Normally, using that much grain means I get a lot of debris floating in the wort that takes FOREVER to settle out, so I tried whirlfloc to speed up the process.
Boil finished around 6:30'ish, I whirlpooled it, and put it in my 35deg container of water outside. Around 7 when it was cool enough, I brought it in and set it on the counter. I racked it to my fermenter around 9:30, giving it plenty of time to settle...just like I always do.

As I start racking, I keep the end up on the auto siphon near the surface of the wort, sucking bubbles every once in a while. Worts flowing nice and clear...for about 1 gallon. Nearly the next 3 gallons it looked like I was sucking chocolate milk (brewed a porter). Normally, with a lot of grain, I get that towards the last 1 gallon and feel bad for having to waste that gallon, but 3/4 of the wort was like that! I can't just dump everything down the drain and leave only about 1.5 gallons (once I add top-up water to lower the gravity) to ferment.

Any ideas what happened? I see so many rave reviews on whirlfloc and thus far this has been the dirtiest, nastiest wort ever. I've done batches with 14lbs of grain and 6oz of hops and it was very close to being as bad as this, but it was because I racked over too much hop material.
Was it protein clumps? Like egg drop soup?http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/ques...diment-431257/
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Old 11-23-2013, 05:32 AM   #3
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I believe that the sludgy stuff you saw was cold break - exactly what whirlfloc is intended to generate. The way to go is to just dump that all into your fermenter, and it'll drop out at the end of fermentation, leaving that haze-inducing crap in with the trub.

It's a definite RDWHAHB situation. Wort is gross looking, fermenting beer is gross looking, clear, finished, carbed beer is wonderful

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Old 11-23-2013, 05:35 AM   #4
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How much whirlfloc did you use and when did you add it?

How fine was your crush? If you happen to get a bunch of suspended grain flour in the boil, whirlfloc isn't going to help clear that out. The good news is that it will drop out during ferment. Cold crashing will help to firm up the trub layer and make it harder to suck out of the primary. My first batch on my E-BIAB rig was like this before I tweaked my processes on it. It looked like a bunch of tan mud going into the fermenter. After cold crash, it was very clear going into the bottling bucket. Tasted great too.
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Old 11-23-2013, 05:50 AM   #5
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Yeah it isn't in the boil that wirlfloc is effective - it sets up the solids to drop in fermentation. The wort I use it in look way different than when I don't. Wait until it is done, you'll see.

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Old 11-23-2013, 06:21 AM   #6
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That is totally normal.

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Old 11-23-2013, 09:11 AM   #7
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As has been said, this is the normal result of using whirlfloc (or Irish moss - Whirlfloc is just a compressed for of Irish moss, in fact), hence the name - it causes the cold break to flocculate into larger chunks, so it can fall out of suspension more readily. Once the cold break settles, the beer will be clearer than it would be otherwise.

Note that it is unusual to use it with a dark beer like a porter (though if it's meant to be a ruby porter I could see using it, I guess); the main goal is that it settles out the proteins than cause chill haze, which isn't an issue with darker beers as any haze won't be readily visible. Even if the beer isn't opaque (which porter shouldn't be), it would be dark enough to make chill haze a moot point, I would think. I would save the Whirlfloc for paler beers (Pilsners, Pale Ales, Tripels) rather than use it where the results won't be noticeable.

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Old 11-23-2013, 09:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
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I would save the Whirlfloc for paler beers (Pilsners, Pale Ales, Tripels) rather than use it where the results won't be noticeable.
Why do you feel you need to "save" it at all? It's not in short supply, and the stuff is dirt cheap, so I find this kind of thinking rather baffling. There's no real reason you can't do both.
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Old 11-23-2013, 09:27 AM   #9
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True, but my point is that there's little reason to use it in darker beers.

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Old 11-23-2013, 10:25 AM   #10
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You will end up with clearer beer when you go to all grain and do a full boil. I use whirlfloc myself, but sometimes forget to put it in, and I always end up with clear beer now. There are things in extract that don't settle out, proteins I guess. And doing all grain BIAB needs a full boil just because you want to mash the grains that way. One or the other has made my beer clear. Or maybe there's a third thing I do, I bought a keg, and chilling the beer in the keg, and having it all settle out in one vessel, makes for a clear tap.

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