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Old 03-19-2010, 06:30 PM   #1
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Default Cold crash, and whirlpool and trub oh my!!!!

Brewers,

So I have learned a great deal from reading, listening, and mistakes. While preparing to brew recently I was listening to Jamil's radio show and he was talking about transferring his wort and letting it sit so that all the cold break and trub could drop out. He would then move to another fermentor and pitch.

So this whole time I have been thinking that all the thick crap at the bottom of my wort was a good thing and trying to ensure I got it all in the fermentor. With this new information in had, I researched, saw pictures of giant mounds of trub and even redid my keggle to allow crap to settle in the bottom. I then brewed (lager), dropped my wort down to around 50 (I pitch cold) did a giant swirl (I believe this is whirlpooling) and let it sit for around an hour so that things would settle. I drained slowly to avoid sucking up bad stuff. I ended up with very little in the way of what I believe is trub and I still got all the cold break stuff in my fermentor.

So is the thick cold break stuff bad? Why do I see pictures on the net of giant mounds of trub and I barely had any? Is my method of swirling not what others are referring to as whirlpooling? Thanks!!!!!

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Reason: edited to indicate cold break not cold crash
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Old 03-19-2010, 07:36 PM   #2
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Cold Crash is a term that some homebrewers call dropping the temperature down so most things drops out of solution to clarify their brews. as in cold conditioning or lagering (Brite tanks)

The word you are looking for is "Cold Break" material. To get good cold break, you have to chill(cold crash) the wort very quickly after the boil to at least 50*F. Commercial breweries (cold crash) take the wort down to a slush (33-34*F) very, very, quickly, then the rack the cleared wort over to the fermenter vessels, and bring the temperature back up toward fermentation specs of the yeast.
They store their yeast very cold after they acid wash it, so they pitch it while the wort is within 5*F of the yeasts temperature, they then keep moving up until they hit the target temps for that specific yeast strain Brewer consider this as cold pitching.

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Old 03-19-2010, 10:15 PM   #3
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. . . . Why do I see pictures on the net of giant mounds of trub and I barely had any? Is my method of swirling not what others are referring to as whirlpooling? Thanks!!!!!
Are you swirling in the correct clockwise direction? . . . I believe it is clockwise for northern hemisphere.
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Old 03-19-2010, 11:22 PM   #4
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Cold Crash is a term that some homebrewers call dropping the temperature down so most things drops out of solution to clarify their brews. as in cold conditioning or lagering (Brite tanks)

The word you are looking for is "Cold Break" material

Yes that is what I meant. I edited the post above. So is the cold break bad to have in there? Is there anyway around it?

And yes I was spinning clockwise not counterclockwise.
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Old 03-19-2010, 11:31 PM   #5
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Yes that is what I meant. I edited the post above. So is the cold break bad to have in there? Is there anyway around it?

And yes I was spinning clockwise not counterclockwise.
Cold break is fine, it gives the yeast some nutrients.

Is there a large dip tube in your keggle/kettle? Are you swirling enough to get the whole mass rotating?

My method is to swirl after chilling and swirling enough to try and get a nice vortex all the way down the keggle, some brewpots are not large enough for this though.

Brew on my friend
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Old 03-20-2010, 01:34 AM   #6
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Agree, cold break is fine. As I understand it, in most pro breweries all the cold break ends up in the fermenter. And the size or strength (for lack of a better word) of the break doesn't depend on how fast your cool the wort, just how cold you get it.

Now that's not to say everything that is in the boil should go in the fermenter. I think generally it's a good thing to separate hop material out. In my process, after strike out I whirlpool (clockwise for the northern hemisphere ) and let the hot wort settle for about 20 minutes. I then run it through ye olde counterflow chiller into the fermenter. I end up with a beautiful cone of hops, etc., in my kettle and all the fluffy cold break in the fermenter. The yeast love cold break. Gives 'em something to ride up and down in the fermenter.

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Old 03-20-2010, 09:37 AM   #7
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Agree, cold break is fine. As I understand it, in most pro breweries all the cold break ends up in the fermenter. And the size or strength (for lack of a better word) of the break doesn't depend on how fast your cool the wort, just how cold you get it.

Now that's not to say everything that is in the boil should go in the fermenter. I think generally it's a good thing to separate hop material out. In my process, after strike out I whirlpool (clockwise for the northern hemisphere ) and let the hot wort settle for about 20 minutes. I then run it through ye olde counterflow chiller into the fermenter. I end up with a beautiful cone of hops, etc., in my kettle and all the fluffy cold break in the fermenter. The yeast love cold break. Gives 'em something to ride up and down in the fermenter.
I don't believe this to be true,it does matter how fast (time)the temperature is dropped, and not only to what temperature it ends at.

Not many breweries do what you are saying when doing lager or pils styles. The cold break is mostly left behind through centrifugal systems, fermenter dumps, or racking methods. The break is good at first for the yeast if enough oxygen (aeration) isn't used, but can contribute to staling later on.

Good Pilsner and lite Lager Home Brewers will either chill/whirlpool then rack off prior to fermentation, or start the fermentation in a primary, then rack to the secondary right after high kraeusen to get the good viable yeast off the decaying yeast, hop/trub. This will make sure that no off flavors are picked up toward the end of the fermentation stage.

Some guys on here just throw everything in the primary bucket, ferment it then call it great beer. Well after throwing 120 ibu's into the boil, A cat could piss in the ale brews, and you wouldn't know the difference. So I guess the hop heads can get away with it?

It's the guys that try to use 100% pils malt and brew an under 20 IBU pils brew with delicate hops that will have problems

Not many good pils brewers will use that dump all and ferment practice.

Homebrewers that have immersion chillers are the ones that benefit the most from the whirlpool after the wort has chilled in the boiler.
The cold break mostly drops out of the solution, then is left behind in the boiler when racked/emptied.
Jamil is one such brewer that brings the wort down quickly with immersion chiller, then through an ice bath he whirlpools using a herms type coil and a pump in reverse (pumps the wort from the boiler through the coil in the cold ice bath in the hlt then back into the boiler creating a whirlpool effect).
What ends up in his fermenter is pretty clear wort to begin with prior to fermentation.
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Old 03-20-2010, 01:59 PM   #8
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I think there are lots of good reason to chill rapidly, but I am not convinced that increasing the amount of cold break is one of them. If you can cite a reference that states otherwise, I'll eat my words, but cold break is a precipitation process and depends on the temperature-dependent solubility of the proteins and polyphenols that compose the cold break. So, now matter how fast I cool to 70*F, I will not have as much cold break as I would if I cooled slowly to 60*F, for example. This is one of the reasons why lagering clarifies beer, the lower temperatures precipitate more cold break. The temperature drop to lagering temps does not have to be rapid to precipitate cold break.

Now, I'm not personally a pro brewer, so I can't speak to the practices of most pro breweries, but I did read in this article that "Most American breweries no longer remove cold trub." The article also discusses the varied opinions on the impact of cold trub on the beer.

I'll not argue that leaving large amounts of cold break in contact with the beer for long periods of time won't have an impact on flavor. But, I think on the time scales of the primary ferment (for an ale or lager) the cold break will not detectably negatively impact flavor or stability. Yes, polyphenols will increase oxidation, but oxidation requires oxygen and the yeast will consume all oxygen available during the primary ferment. I absolutely agree that racking off the cold break/trub is a good thing before packaging or lagering, but I know that a good pils can be made without separating the cold break from the primary.

EDIT: Just found the reference I was looking for about chilling speed and precipitation. In the Brew Strong episode on Beer Haze, Dr. Charlie Bamforth states: "...it's the temperature much more than the time that matters." (51:35 in the show). He was talking about cold condition, but the principles are the same.

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Old 03-20-2010, 06:34 PM   #9
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Thank you for the responses. To answer a few implied questions. I am brewing with a 15 gallon keggle. I use an immersion chiller. Originally my drain tube (with screen) was centered in the bottom, but I moved it off to the side and slightly raised to allow the "trub" a place to accumulate and not be sucked up.

So my take away is that cold break is okay as it feeds the yeast. I can't really do a whirlpool since I don't use a counterflow chiller. For pilsners and "sensitive" beers, having a bunch of "stuff" (which I don't) dumped into the fermenter is bad.

I REALLY appreciate the assistance. What a wealth of knowledge there is here. Thank you.

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Old 03-20-2010, 07:26 PM   #10
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No problem! I've gotten so much out of this forum, it's ridiculous.

And I think you could still do a whirlpool with an immersion chiller. I used to just swirl an immersion chiller around in the cooling wort to create a whirlpool before I had a counter-flow. The Jamil-o-Chill also uses an immersion chiller with a whirlpool action. What I found with an immersion chiller and whirlpooling is that the very fluffy cold break does not settle in to a nice firm cone in the center of the kettle like the spent hops do. So with whirlpooling in the cold wort, I was still picking up a lot of cold break. My dip tube is situated on the side of the kettle and all the way down to the bottom. It sounds like with the new location of your dip tube, you should be good to go!

Brew on!

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