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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Filtered too early?
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:48 PM   #1
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Default Filtered too early?

I've been extract brewing for a few years now, and recently made the jump to all-grain brewing. My first all-grain batch was an amber ale, which I tasted for the first time last night. It was disappointingly weak tasting, with a slight sour, cidery taste to it.

Incidentally, I also experimented with filtering my beer for the first time (used a plate filter). I fermented in primary for 1 week, dropped yeast (I use a stainless conical), secondary for another week, then filtered and kegged the beer. I stored it at ~68 degrees for an additional week, the popped it in the fridge and force carbed for another week before the first tasting.

I have since read that it is better to age the beer BEFORE filtering, which I failed to do. I am wondering if my premature filtering may have caused the sour/cider taste by leaving the beer perpetually "green"? Any ideas? Is this beer salvagable? Will any further aging help this beer, or is it too late?

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Old 08-12-2012, 12:24 AM   #2
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You basically have a beer that fermented for 2 weeks, including primary. Depending on the filter, you essentially remove all yeast (to the point that filtration requires force carbonation). It's not "better" to filter last, it's the ONLY way to do it (unless you are going to re-pitch another yeast, say, for bottle conditioning). Your beer is probably under-fermented - do your gravities show this to be the case? What strain of yeast are you using? There are some that do produce various off flavors that disappear after proper aging (WLP 810 comes to mind), but even WLP001 can produce acetaldehyde before it's ready (this off flavor also can come from fermenting too warm). You probably COULD try to repitch to correct, but because this is already carbonated, you'd have keep the pressure release open. I'd chalk it up to a learning experience, and nail the recipe without filtration (especially if you're new to all grain), get your process down, and then experiment with filtration. In the 15 or so years I've been homebrewing, I've never found filtration desirable or necessary, kettle finings work well.

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Old 08-12-2012, 01:17 AM   #3
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Yeah that's what I was afraid of. Fortunately I've got another batch in their fermenter right now so I won't be dry for too long. I don't think I'll filter my next few batches and leave experimenting with that for the future once I've really got my process fine-tuned. At least I learned something out of this.

Thanks for the input, nbolmer, much appreciated.

As for filtration not being desirable or necessary, I can't really argue with you on that point. I personally have always liked my unfiltered homebrews just fine, but I've noticed in the past that some of my "uninitiated" friends tend to be intimidated by even the slightest bit of particulate or haze in beer, particularly in bottle conditioned or naturally carbed batches. I really just wanted to see if I could produce a "perfectly clear" beer without sacrificing flavor, but so far that's a bust haha. I think I'll stick with kettle findings for the time being.

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Old 08-12-2012, 11:07 PM   #4
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Try gelatin. I've had real good luck with it.

This is a beer that fermented for two weeks, crashed with gelatin five days then was on gas for 12 days.

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Old 08-13-2012, 08:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by November View Post
Try gelatin. I've had real good luck with it.

This is a beer that fermented for two weeks, crashed with gelatin five days then was on gas for 12 days.
Yep, gelatin works well. So does polyclar, and whirlfloc, and...

With the large variety of kettle finings available, there's really no reason to filter - unless you really need beer to be 1) polished; AND 2)in a hurry. This isn't a problem I've ever run into.

Still if one must (or just wants to) filter, I'd recommend doing so on a recipe that's already reliable, and on a system that has the kinks worked out.
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