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Old 03-26-2013, 05:08 PM   #1
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Default Do conical fermenters give you clearer beer?

I've read that conical fermenters help you get beer off the grub better. I assume that would give you a clearer beer, especially if you don't secondary. Is this true? I'm just curious, I don't have the money to buy a conical anyway.

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Old 03-26-2013, 06:34 PM   #2
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Not really. I use both a conical and buckets, and I don't really notice much of a difference.

The key is really on your post-fermentation practices. Waiting long enough for all the yeast and trub to fall out of suspension, cold crashing/conditioning, use of gelatin, filtering, etc can all get you clear beer out of any fermenter, and likewise bad practices can get you cloudy beer no matter what you are using.

It is handy to be able to drop trub and flocculated yeast out of the bottom port on a conical, but in my experience it doesn't really make it much clearer. There's just less crap sitting at the bottom that might get accidentally kicked-up when moving the fermenter. At least that's been my experience....

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Old 03-26-2013, 07:25 PM   #3
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As far as I can tell, the conical bottom merely provides more surface area for the yeast to settle on. Anyone with a better bottle carboy can see how yeast will seem to settle out on any available surface (the little ridges collect quite a bit). I suspect the yeast would settle out evenly on more cone, which would also increase the amount of trub in contact with your beer (which I've read may aid in the 'cleaning up' process of yeast biproducts). The other thing that it would change is the pressure exerted on the trub (pressure would be least at the highest part of the cone where the surface area is also greatest and increases as you move toward the deepest part of the cone).
If any of that actually buys you anything with homebrew techniques and five gallon batches, I haven't the slightest. Well except for possibly ease of harvesting yeast. For larger quantities on the commercial level (100+ gallons) I suspect conical vessels might aid in transferring beer and sanitizing, as well as might help keep things like autolysis that are especially concerns for large scale brewing at bay.

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Old 03-27-2013, 01:07 AM   #4
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"clearer" depends, but they make clear beer.

People that use secondaries are simulating a conical. Instead of dumping the trub from the bottom and letting the beer clear in the same vessel, they are racking the beer off the trub and letting it clear in a 2nd vessel.

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Old 03-28-2013, 12:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hunter_la5
Not really. I use both a conical and buckets, and I don't really notice much of a difference.

The key is really on your post-fermentation practices. Waiting long enough for all the yeast and trub to fall out of suspension, cold crashing/conditioning, use of gelatin, filtering, etc can all get you clear beer out of any fermenter, and likewise bad practices can get you cloudy beer no matter what you are using.

It is handy to be able to drop trub and flocculated yeast out of the bottom port on a conical, but in my experience it doesn't really make it much clearer. There's just less crap sitting at the bottom that might get accidentally kicked-up when moving the fermenter. At least that's been my experience....
Hey can you talk a little more about filtering post fermentation. I am 4 days away from transferring my brew from primary to secondary fermenter would that be an ideal time to filter my brew? Additionally can you recommend the most appropriate filtration method/ product. Thank you in advance for your help hunter!
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Old 03-28-2013, 03:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aidinyadegar

Hey can you talk a little more about filtering post fermentation. I am 4 days away from transferring my brew from primary to secondary fermenter would that be an ideal time to filter my brew? Additionally can you recommend the most appropriate filtration method/ product. Thank you in advance for your help hunter!
First, I would recommend giving the beer time to age before filtering. I age mine in the keg 2-4 weeks at room temp after a two week primary (I don't use a secondary vessel, unless you count the keg). If you filter too early you risk leaving your beer tasting "green", or at least that was my experience. You might consider cold crashing and/or using gelatin finings before transferring to secondary to make sure you leave as crap behind as possible.

Second, I would be sure to cold crash the keg a few days before filtering. The more stuff you can get to drop out of suspension, the smoother the filtering will go, and will help to prevent chill haze.

Third, only carbonate AFTER filtering. Trying to filter carbonated beer will be an exercise in frustration.

As far as which product, I use the large white plate filters from Austin Homebrew Supply, though they are also available elsewhere. These require a keg to filter from, so if you exclusively bottle I'm not sure what options there are for that. Some people have had a hard time with these, but I've found if you keep the pressure between 1 and 5 psi and make sure all the bolts are tightened evenly then it works just fine.

http://www.austinhomebrew.com/produc...594d4404969f80

I've only ever had to use the coarse filter pads to get crystal clear beer, so I've never even bothered with the medium or fine filters.
I'm told that the filter pads need to be rinsed with water to keep them from imparting a papery taste to the beers, so I usually just run a little Star San water through them before the beer.

There are also other types of filters, but I have no experience with those.

To be honest, most people don't bother with filtering at all. Generally proper aging, cold conditioning, and gelatin seems to be enough. I don't bother either for certain styles (wheat beers, stouts, porters, IPAs, etc) but for lighter colored styles such as golden ales, pilsners, etc i think filtering really helps them shine beautifully.
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Old 03-28-2013, 05:35 AM   #7
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I don't use whirlfloc, gelatin, cold crashing or secondaries and I have gotten several comments from other brewers about how clear my beer is.
Time and good yeast are all you really need.

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Old 03-28-2013, 12:23 PM   #8
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Bleme: what would be a good yeast to get clearer beer?

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Old 03-28-2013, 01:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StrongBad42
Bleme: what would be a good yeast to get clearer beer?
Search on a homebrew website for the yeasts. You are looking for flocculation (yeast grouping together to fall out of suspension). Strains that are highly flocculant drop out of suspension better/faster. Low/medium flocculation is for cloudier beers such as wits.

There are lots of highly flocculant strains and lots of less-flocculant strains. Depends on what you are making.
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:57 PM   #10
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StrongBad, are you bottling or kegging your beer?

The fermentation vessel definitely has little influance on the clarity of the final beer. Here's all I do to get clear beer:

1) Whirlfloc with 10 minutes left in the boil.
2) A 2-3 week primary to give everything time to settle
3) CAREFULLY rack above the trub layer when I keg
4) Another week or two in the keg at serving temps allows the last bits of sediment to settle and come out in the first draw.

If you bottle, remember that sediment is part of natural carbing...you can't do without it. The same yeast that carbonate your beer will multiply and settle to the bottom of your bottle when there are no more available sugars. The best thing to do with a naturally carbonated bottle is let it sit at fridge temps for a couple weeks to allow the sediment to compact, then pour all but the last 1/2 inch or so of the beer, leaving the compact sediment behind in the bottle.

Anyway, don't spend $400-700 on a conical, or worry about filtering beer post-fermentation. Work on your process, and you can have sparkling clear beer for free.

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