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9am53 06-13-2011 07:46 PM

cold crashing tips
Hey, so I made my first batch over the Easter long weekend, it has been in secondary for like 3 weeks. I am sick as hell of waiting for the damn thing to finish. OG 1044, sofar I am down to 1014...and it is still bubbling like 3 times a minute, so it is going down and the yeast are still active. I however and getting sick of waiting, I planned on having this one drank by now, and my next batch should be done around Canada Day, so I want to start another batch so I can have something to drink during the middle of July. I want to say screw it and cold crash and keg it over the weekend, but there are so many articles and things written about cold crashing that I am worried it may not work out. I have read that you need to drop the temp gradually, as in a degree or 2 per day, I have read that if you cold crash before the yeast are done they will excrete foul esters into the beer, and all sorts of other confusing stuff.

Question 1) If my beer is already a month and a half old, but the yeast are still slightly active, can I cold crash without any weird esters coming out? The beer has been fermenting between 62 and 68 degrees, so I don't think I need a diacetyl rest period.

Question 2) how do I go about cold crashing? I have a keezer that is pre-chilled to 38 degrees ready to go, do I just put the carboy in there for a couple days and then siphon into my keg?


TheMan 06-13-2011 07:57 PM

Check gravity a few days throughout the week. If the gravity doesn't change then you are done. Don't count bubbles, it's useless.

If you are kegging then just throw it in the 38 degree keezer. You don't need the yeast while kegging. You can just siphon into your serving keg and carbonate it. The yeast will drop out eventually. So if they die/drop out it's not a problem. And if they are done converting then they won't give esters.

If you are bottle carbing then I'd lower the temp a bit more gradually.

Furthermore, why are you cold crashing? You don't NEED to. If your gravity is stable then you can bottle or keg eithout fear.

duffman2 06-13-2011 08:04 PM

Yes. Double and triple check that OG through the week and if it stays at 1.014 then you are in good shape.

I have never gradually decreased my temp for bottle carbing or kegging and the yeast have always done their job. And the cold crash is a great tool for clear beers but you definitely do not have to do it.

If you are getting thirsty just make sure your gravity is stable and then bottle away!

9am53 06-13-2011 10:29 PM

Both of you have mentioned that if the SG is stable then it's done, that's the thing, I am going down 0.001 per week. I used expired yeast and I don't think I oxygenated enough. I don't want to wait for it to get down to 1005, that would take another 2 months!

Can I cold crash it now even though it's not done? I will just rack it to the keg this weekend if the cold crash will make it taste estery. I have learned my lesson, use quality ingredients and mix with the paint mixer I got instead of wimping out by hand.

9am53 06-13-2011 10:30 PM

BTW I want to cold crash because I want a clear beer (it's going in fluted pilsener glasses) and I don't like the yeasty homebrew taste.

RighteousFire 06-13-2011 10:51 PM

Cold crashing will have no adverse effect on flavor at all. Also the yeast in suspension (approx 100,000 cells per mL) will wake back up to carbonate if you instead wanted to bottle condition. Bottle or keg, cold crashing won't hurt, as long as you don't freeze it.

As for the fermentation, if you want it to finish up quicker, throw in some dry yeast, since they don't "need" oxygen as they have nutrients in reserve due to the manufacturers process. It's always handy to keep some Nottingham around just for this reason.

Also, maybe you moved to secondary too soon. If you plan on actually doing a "true" secondary fermentation, you would want to wait until the beer has reached 80-85% of it's max attenuation before racking.

If you just want to use a secondary for clearing, you would want to leave it in the primary for a couple weeks.

Finally, if it tastes fine now, crash it and keg it. Taste is all that matters.

duffman2 06-14-2011 01:36 AM

+1 on pitching more yeast. You don't want to bottle that puppy if you aren't finished fermenting. If you are tired of waiting, get some extra dry yeast like Nottingham and you can pitch and warm your beer slightly (70+ degrees). It's cheap and it'll do the trick for you. Either that or pitch some champagne yeast, that may do get it done pretty quickly.

But get the fermentation done first.

jbsg02 06-14-2011 02:14 AM

If it's a month and a half old, I'd bet the yeast have done all they are going to do. If you're getting airlock activity, it's probably just CO2 coming out of solution or possibly an infection

duffman2 06-14-2011 04:06 AM

Yes but he said his gravity is still moving

9am53 06-14-2011 10:25 AM

I racked into secondary when the activity had stopped for over a week...the beer was just sitting there, doing nothing. I pitched a second packet of S-04 that I had lying around to get it going and it woke up for a bit, then nothing. (both yeasts were expired btw) This is when I put it into secondary and it seemed to wake up again and has been slowly going until now. I realize this won't be the best beer ever, but ti does taste pretty good already, I just want to get this one done, I am sick of looking at it, I was just worried that the cold crash when things aren't totally done would have some adverse affect on the flavour.

I took your advice and pitched a fresh packet of coopers ale yeast 5 minutes ago. I will give it until the weekend to start moving, if it's still dead and still 1014 I will crash and keg it.

Hmm, triple leavened mut ale, sounds like a nice beer :)

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