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Old 11-12-2007, 04:16 PM   #1
Doc Thirst
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Default Hot Break & Cold Break

I did a search and found a ton of threads containing this text (20+ pages), but I didn't find exactly what I was looking for. Perhaps a more experienced brewer can help me out. During my last brew I had a ton of suspended "protein" in my wort. I noticed this in my hose from my brew pot, into my counter-flow, and again after the counter-flow into the carboy. It has since dropped out and settled on the bottom, or disappeared all together. Can someone please clear up the a few questions about Hot and Cold Breaks, as I understand this is what caused the issue. I would love a basic definition, causes and effect, ways to avoid, methods of repair, and any other info that might help me get my head around these concepts. It might also help to mention the only times I see this is when I brew with honey, or that just might be a coincidence.

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Old 11-12-2007, 04:27 PM   #2
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I think you're misunderstanding the terms, it's something you WANT to happen, not something to avoid or try to repair. Simply put, hot break and cold break are when you force the proteins in the beer to coagulate and fall out of suspension. You can then leave it all behind when you transfer the wort to the fermenter.

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Old 11-12-2007, 04:29 PM   #3
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Hot Break as per http://www.howtobrew.com : The foam caused by proteins in the wort that coagulate due to the rolling action of the boil. The wort will continue to foam until the protein clumps get heavy enough to sink back into the pot.

Cold Break: This is composed of another group of proteins that need to be thermally shocked into precipitating out of the wort. Slow cooling will not affect them. Cold break, or rather the lack of it, is the cause of Chill Haze. When a beer is chilled for drinking, these proteins partially precipitate forming a haze. As the beer warms up, the proteins re-dissolve. Only by rapid chilling from near-boiling to room temperature will the Cold Break proteins permanently precipitate and not cause Chill Haze. Chill haze is usually regarded as a cosmetic problem. You cannot taste it. However, chill haze indicates that there is an appreciable level of cold-break-type protein in the beer, which has been linked to long-term stability problems. Hazy beer tends to become stale sooner than non-hazy beer.



As for avoiding....you WANT both breaks, so don't avoid em.

Should be nothing to repair, just clean out your equipment well after use.

So basicaly you want to boil your wort, which will lead to a hot break. You also want to cool your wort to pitching temps as fast as possible..which causes cold break.

Dunno if any of this will help ya but there it is.

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Old 11-12-2007, 04:45 PM   #4
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Using irish moss in the last 10 minutes of your boil will really clear up the pre-chiller wort. The wort coming out of your chiller will always have cold break in it, I've read and heard that it is actually good for your yeast too.

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Old 11-12-2007, 05:12 PM   #5
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To sum up:
Just because it breaks, don't mean it's broken.

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Old 11-12-2007, 06:57 PM   #6
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Humm, great stuff here, thanks for the responses. I guess I'm baffled as to what that %$#^ floating around in my wort was then. I assumed it was a product of the proteins not being broken down enough after I talked to a fellow brewer, I guess I misunderstood.

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Old 11-13-2007, 04:38 PM   #7
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Just did my first batch in a while, extract-based, boiling the full volume.

I noticed after chilling (boiling to 72F in about 15 minutes) that there was no cold break material at the bottom of my kettle after I siphoned to my carboy. In fact, since I bagged my whole hops, there was essentially nothing left in the kettle (!).

Does this mean I'm more prone to chill haze problems with this beer, or should I expect the cold break to settle out in (1) fermenting, (2) Secondary conditioning, or (3) Crash cooling in the keg?

I suppose I could use gelatin or polyclar in the secondary. I just thought it was weird that I didn't have any leftover cold break after chilling. FWIW, I also didn't add any irish moss (thought I had some, thought wrong).

Either way, I'm drinking it.

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Old 11-13-2007, 04:44 PM   #8
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Extract batches don't tend to have a lot of break material as the hot break happened during the manufacturing process. Did you whirlpool and allow the cold break to settle after cooling? If not it did make it into the fermenter but the cold break is actually good for the yeast so I wouldn't worry about it. When you use a CFC you get all of your cold break into the fermenter as well.

Chill haze really isn't worth worrying about as it doesn't affect the flavour of the beer. If you chill quickly (which you did) then you should have a pretty clear beer, especially if you are going to crash cool it in a keg.

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Old 08-07-2010, 11:03 PM   #9
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This is great info. I'm still working on cooling the wort fast enough. I guess that means I just have to brew more beer!!

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Old 08-07-2010, 11:15 PM   #10
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Default hot weather

Yup, I have the same problem. It's really hot here in LA (lower Alabama) and the ground water is about 80* F. I've started using a prechiller with an old immersion chiller I had. I have another immersion chiller that I place in my hot wort and I place my old one in an ice chest full of ice water. It makes a difference, but still takes me too long to get my temps down to pitching temperatures. I'm tossing around the idea of getting a counterflow chiller and using the prechiller in combination. Of course, that means I will also have to get a pump, but, that is something I will ultimately use with the Brutus style setup I'm slowly putting together...

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