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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Cold crashing question:
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:21 PM   #1
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Default Cold crashing question:

Hey guys,

I keep seeing references to "cold crashing" beer. What is the purpose of this? And they usually seem to be referring to kegging. Is this technique strictly for keg setups? I bottle my beers and I put them in the fridge a couple of days prior to drinking. Is that considered "cold crashing"?

Just curious,

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Old 07-22-2008, 12:58 PM   #2
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I'm no expert, but I think the cold crashing quickly puts the yeast into a dormant state, causing them to fall to the bottom of the vessel they are in (along with other sediment). As far as I know, this can apply to any container the beer is in; keg, carboy, or bottle.

Putting your bottles in the fridge for a couple of days would do this, as long as you don't disturb the yeast sediment when pouring. I think most people use this technique to get the yeast out of suspension when kegging, since you can force carb your keg and keep the yeast dormant (no added priming sugar for them to feed on).

Keep in mind that I'm still a noob, so I'm sure one of the more experienced brewers here will give a better explanation.

Try this thread:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthre...=cold+crashing

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Old 07-22-2008, 01:07 PM   #3
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You can do that with a carboy too- just stick the carboy in the fridge for a few days, and the beer will be clearer. Usually there is still plenty of yeast in suspension for bottling.

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Old 07-22-2008, 01:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
You can do that with a carboy too- just stick the carboy in the fridge for a few days, and the beer will be clearer. Usually there is still plenty of yeast in suspension for bottling.
Does the addition of priming sugar in the bottles negate the effects of cold crashing? Or are there other solids in the beer that come out of suspension when cold crashing?

Thanks, I'm still learning!
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Old 07-22-2008, 01:36 PM   #5
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Oh, the cold crashing helps alot! You'll have more yeast flocculate out, and those proteins that cause chill haze will precipitate out. So, the beer is usually much clearer than not doing it. Then, when you add the priming sugar, you cause a mini-fermentation in the bottle, but once it sits for those 3 weeks to carbonate, the yeast will flocculate out and the beer remains clear.

Many things help make clear beer- kettle finings (say, whirlfloc in the boil), chilling the wort ASAP to get a good cold break (which is generally coagulated proteins), allowing the beer to remain in the fermenter for 3-4 weeks (to allow more suspended stuff to fall out) and then cold crashing. If you follow those steps (or most of them), you should have clear beer without using gelatin or other finings. Bottle conditioning won't affect an already clear beer, once it's done carbonating and the yeast flocculate out. Especially if you stick the bottle in the fridge 48 hours or more before you drink it.

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Old 07-22-2008, 01:46 PM   #6
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Yooper- How would what you are saying be done with bottles? Would you bottle the batch and place it in the fridge for a couple days. Then uncap them all and add priming sugar, and wait the normal three weeks for carbonation?

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Old 07-22-2008, 01:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Yooper- How would what you are saying be done with bottles? Would you bottle the batch and place it in the fridge for a couple days. Then uncap them all and add priming sugar, and wait the normal three weeks for carbonation?
No, I wouldn't suggest that at all. If I didn't have a way to chill the carboy before bottling, I'd bottle as normal. After a month or so at room temperature, I'd stick them in the fridge.

If you bottle, then uncap, you'd be asking for problems. First, risk of infection, but mostly adding priming sugar then would cause beer volcanoes (nucleation points in the beer) so I wouldn't try that.
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Old 07-22-2008, 03:15 PM   #8
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Cold crashing the carboy is about getting the most sediment/yeast to floc out BEFORE kegging or bottling. However, if you just can't do that, you can carb your bottles and then dedicated some fridge space to an extended cold conditioning (only after you've verified proper carbonation). The longer the bottles stay cold, the more clear the beer is and the more compact the yeast cake will be allowing you to decant nicely.

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Old 07-22-2008, 04:54 PM   #9
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Here is a picture of an accidental cold-crash in a secondary - I had racked to my secondary the night before and the temps in my garage dropped down into the low 40's unexpectantly. You can see how much difference just a few hours of cold crashing can make. Thanks again to Bobby M for letting me know what happened.

coldcrash.jpg

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Old 06-09-2011, 07:13 PM   #10
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So, to be clear, you ferment primary, sit in secondary, cold crash (a couple of days), then keg? Do you keep the keg cold? Or bring the keg back up to ferm temp for conditioning/aging?

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