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Old 11-06-2011, 02:28 PM   #1
jaredkent
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Default How do I avoid chunky yeast?

So here's a question for you guys. I used White Labs WLP002 English Ale yeast recently on a brown ale. The strain of yeast was somewhat chunky. Now I just chalked this up to being a characteristic of that particular strain. When it came time to bottle my beer, all that chunkiness sat in the bottom of the bottle, which was unpleasant in the last sip or two of the bottle, but I typically pour into a glass anyway. The problem is I entered this beer into a competition (place 3rd in English Brown Ales), and one gripe was the chunky yeast. How could I avoid this, if thats how this particular strain is.

I did a search on here for "chunky yeast" and the thread that came up was referring to the exact same yeast strain, saying it looked like cottage cheese when it came time to shake and pitch the vial. I'd rather not switch strains, as I don't want the flavors changing too much, but is that my only option aside from kegging and force carbonating?



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Old 11-06-2011, 02:38 PM   #2
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You don;t have any control over the characteristics of a yeast. So what if it's chunky or not. That's purely cosmetic.

If you have enough yeast in the bottom that you can tell if it's chunky or not then the problem is not with the yeast it's with your conditioning/ bottling process. Your transfering too much yeast over. That begs to the idea that you are probably not suing a long primary/or long enough secondary to remove the majority of the yeast from the beer BEFORE it gets into the bottle.

I have very little sedimentation in my bottles just a small enough of a smear in my bottles to get the job done. I use month long primaries. By the time I'm ready to bottle, the yeast layer in the bottom is so compacted that it's nearly a solid mass.

This is my yeastcake for my Sri Lankin Stout that sat in primary for 5 weeks. Notice how tight the yeast cake is? None of that got racked over to my bottling bucket. And the beer is extremely clear.



That little bit of beer to the right is all of the 5 gallons that DIDN'T get vaccumed off the surface of the tight trub. Note how clear it is, there's little if any floaties in there.

When I put 5 gallons in my fermenter, I tend to get 5 gallons into bottles. The cake itself is like cement, it's about an inch thick and very, very dense, you can't just tilt your bucket and have it fall out. I had to use water pressure to get it to come out.



This is the last little bit of the same beer in the bottling bucket, this is the only sediment that made it though and that was done on purpose, when I rack I always make sure to rub the autosiphon across the bottom of the primary to make sure there's plenty of yeast in suspension to carb the beer, but my bottles are all crystal clear and have little sediment in them.

Chilling them for a long time also helps compact what yeast layer there is inside the bottles. I once had a beer in the back of my fridge for like 3 months that was so tight you could totally upend the bottle and still no yeast came out.



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Old 11-06-2011, 02:40 PM   #3
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That yeast is highly flocculent. I wouldn't worry about the chunks, that's just a characteristic of flocculent yeasts. Just be a bit more careful when you pour out the bottom third of your beer.

As for competitions, I'm not sure that even should have been taken into consideration in the judging of the beer - it's through no fault of your own. If the judge was knowledgeable, he should know that many english yeasts have medium to high flocculation.

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Old 11-06-2011, 02:43 PM   #4
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+10 on what revvy said. Long primary is great. I also like to cold crash the whole fermenter for a week in my spare fridge.

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Old 11-06-2011, 02:45 PM   #5
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I'd also have to blame the stewards for not carefully pouring out the beers. They're not pouring to the shoulder to leave the yeast behind. That's bottle conditioned beer pouring 101.

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Old 11-06-2011, 03:55 PM   #6
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Thanks for the tips. The yeast bed was actually pretty compact, more compact then most of my other brews, but I'll try your tips and tighten my technique to avoid racking too much yeast over during my next batch.

And I agree with you about the pouring and knowledge of yeast strains. I got a 1/3 in appearance due to chunky beer. Though due to the amount of feedback on the scoresheets, I got the impression both judges were either fairly new, or brought in as fillers because they didn't have enough volunteers.

Apparently my bottle had overflowed when opening, which hadn't happened in any of the other 46 bottles of the batch. Not sure why it happened but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and say that's why the yeast got stirred up instead of improper pouring.

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Old 11-08-2011, 06:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaredkent View Post

I got a 1/3 in appearance due to chunky beer. Though due to the amount of feedback on the scoresheets, I got the impression both judges were either fairly new, or brought in as fillers because they didn't have enough volunteers.
A. You need to email those judges and kindly let them know this is a normal characteristic of highly flocculate english yeasts, and they might want to seek out a BJCP course before judging another competition.

B. You should email the competition coordinator, let him/her know about the feedback you received, and that the quality of judging is subpar at best.

That's probably one of the worst judging stories i've ever heard.
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Old 11-11-2011, 01:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottland View Post
A. You need to email those judges and kindly let them know this is a normal characteristic of highly flocculate english yeasts, and they might want to seek out a BJCP course before judging another competition.

B. You should email the competition coordinator, let him/her know about the feedback you received, and that the quality of judging is subpar at best.

That's probably one of the worst judging stories i've ever heard.
Shot off an email today. There were a few problems on top of losing points for chunky yeast. Horrible math, one score off 3 points. A HUGE disagreement between the two judges a 32 and a 40, and was given almost opposite results between the two (one said dry, one said too sweet, one too much head, one not enough, etc.) Hard to get a read on where to improve under those circumstances.
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Old 11-11-2011, 01:26 PM   #9
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That's, sadly, the norm for homebrew competitions - getting a good judge who is familiar with the style is much less common than it should be. You get similar quality feedback by going downtown and serving your beer to the residents of the local tent city.

I wish the AHA and BJCP would get their act together, considering how much people spend in terms of time and money to brew and ship beers to these competitions.

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Old 11-11-2011, 03:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArcaneXor
That's, sadly, the norm for homebrew competitions - getting a good judge who is familiar with the style is much less common than it should be. You get similar quality feedback by going downtown and serving your beer to the residents of the local tent city.

I wish the AHA and BJCP would get their act together, considering how much people spend in terms of time and money to brew and ship beers to these competitions.
That's not my experience normally. You get good and bad yes, but it's not the norm.

Why is that the BJCP's fault? They are doing all they can to improve comps and judging, including changing the format of the exam to allow more prospective judges. This hobby has blown up, the amount of entries to comps is rising at a huge rate.

Are you a certified judge? I'm of the opinion that competitive brewing is a communal hobby. If one has a problem with a lack of certified judges, they best damn be one or on a list to take the exam.


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