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Old 05-13-2012, 12:57 PM   #1
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Default Protien coagulation or lack of it.

What are the factors that leave a fine, non-coagulated trub after cooling in the boil kettle?
Of the 8 batches I've done so far, 3 of them had a very loose and fine trub after cooling. Compared to that nice coagulated trub cone I've seen in a few of my batches, there is a huge loss.
I thought maybe it was too much whirlfloc since the only other two times I've seen this correlated with the two times I threw a tab of it into the end of the boil. I was going to try a 1/4 tab on my last 5 gal batch, but I forgot to throw it in - and I ended up with fine trub again anyway.
I'm doing all grain 60 min boils on 5.5 gal batches.
I'd like to avoid this in the future, but I'm unsure what's causing it in the first place.

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Old 05-13-2012, 01:02 PM   #2
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"Fine trub" sounds like hot break, while the coarser fluffier material tends to be cold break. You should always have both.

To get a really good hot break, make sure you bring the wort to a nice rolling boil and wait until the foaming stops before adding the first hops. After the foam stops, you should have fine particles of hot break (looks like egg drop soup) throughout the wort.

To get a really good cold break, use enough whirlfloc (a whole tablet is fine) and chill rapidly once the wort is finished. That will make the clearest wort.

Leaving the break material "unbroken" so to speak leaves it suspended in the beer and causes cloudiness. Not only does it then create chill haze, it can decrease the long-term stability in the beer. So it's good to have both the cold break and hot break during/after the boil.

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Old 05-13-2012, 01:22 PM   #3
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Thanks for replying so fast.
I've kept the burner on high for all my batches, so there's at least one thing I've been consistent at - though I had a little more volume, and the hood was on high last night, so maybe the boil wasn't as strong.

The strange thing is this is the first batch I used a wort chiller. Other batches with ice and water baths have taken well over an hour to cool down to 70*f; this batch cooled to 68*f in less than half that time.

Does ph play a role? I only have the wide band 1-13 rolls, so I can only narrow it down to a range - but my wort was in-between 5 and 6 with a bias towards 6.

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Old 05-13-2012, 01:29 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Whoa View Post
Thanks for replying so fast.
I've kept the burner on high for all my batches, so there's at least one thing I've been consistent at - though I had a little more volume, and the hood was on high last night, so maybe the boil wasn't as strong.

The strange thing is this is the first batch I used a wort chiller. Other batches with ice and water baths have taken well over an hour to cool down to 70*f; this batch cooled to 68*f in less than half that time.

Does ph play a role? I only have the wide band 1-13 rolls, so I can only narrow it down to a range - but my wort was in-between 5 and 6 with a bias towards 6.
Mash pH is important, and should be 5.4-5.6 or so at room temperature. The wort pH will be lower. If your pH is 6 after the boil, that's an issue. The closer you are to a pH of 5, the better the hot break.
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Old 05-13-2012, 01:41 PM   #5
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My ph paper only have the color scale to compare to. It was under 6, but not by much. I didn't bother with a 5.2 buffer because I've always heard Chicago water is fine without it - I did use filtered water for the first time on this last batch, though.

Do the proteins need the lower ph to coagulate better?

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Old 05-13-2012, 01:44 PM   #6
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My ph paper only have the color scale to compare to. It was under 6, but not by much. I didn't bother with a 5.2 buffer because I've always heard Chicago water is fine without it - I did use filtered water for the first time on this last batch, though.

Do the proteins need the lower ph to coagulate better?
Don't use the buffer anyway! (Check out the brew science forum for more on that!).

Generally, the lower the pH, the more protein coagulation you get. But you don't want to go too low due to the flavor impact. (But you'd have to go pretty darn low to get the flavor impact).

It's off topic here, but I'd work on getting the mash pH to 5.4-5.6 (room temperature) by adding calcium chloride or other salts. Not because of the lack of protein coagulation, but just because the beer has a better flavor in the finish.

A full water report would be helpful, and then we could help you over in the Brew Science forum with the exact additions to get to a more suitable mash pH.
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Old 05-13-2012, 02:18 PM   #7
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Sounds like a good start, I'll do that and go from there.
I have the water report in my documents on my home computer, I'll post it in the science forum in the next couple of days. Thanks.

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