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Old 06-10-2009, 02:18 AM   #1
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Default Filtering out bottle sediment

My first batch of homebrew came out pretty decent, but I was nervous it was infected at first because of all the gooey looking cloudiness in it after about 2 weeks bottle conditioning at around 65 deg. I chilled it, and the sediment all settled, so I am convinced it's yeast and/or proteins. Tastes pretty good (although I think I know what extract "twang" is now), smells good, and I've drunk about 6 and I'm not dead, so I think it's okay.

My question: is there any good way to filter out all the bottle sediment? I don't mind some sediment, but I'm losing anywhere from 1/2 to 1 inch of beer in a 12 oz. bottle to sediment and I'd like to filter it somehow to get all that tasty goodness in me without having to chew on it. I tried pouring through a fat skimmer, but that was too coarse. A paper towel was to fine (what a mess too...). A friend suggested cheesecloth, but I haven't picked any up yet to try it. Anyone ever try that? Any suggestions are appreciated.

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Old 06-10-2009, 02:31 AM   #2
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BB, welcome to HBT!

Most of us aren't concerned with filtering out the yeast.

It helps if you chill your bottles 24 hours before drinking. Try not to jostle them too much when opening/serving. When you get down to the last third, just pour slower and keep an eye on the sediment.

The yeast in bottom won't hurt you. However, the resulting flatulence may damage your house plants.

cheers!

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Old 06-10-2009, 02:38 AM   #3
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Please don't pour your fermented beer through anything!

The answer to your problem is time. How soon did you bottle your beer? If you are getting an inch of sediment, you bottled really soon. My bottles have a light dusting of yeast and that's it. I've bought commercial beers with more sediment than I get in my bottles. I leave my beers in the primary for 4 to 6 weeks and they come out crystal clear.

The other answer is Irish moss or Whirlfloc. Put it in the last 15 minutes of the boil and it will help all the junk fall out of suspension in the primary.

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Old 06-10-2009, 02:45 AM   #4
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Thanks arturo - I have been following your suggestions, but I still lose more beer than I'd like to the sediment. After all, more beer is always better, right? As for the flatulence, I am no stranger to that, and find it a constant source of amusement still at 35. My wife is less amused, for some reason...

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Old 06-10-2009, 02:49 AM   #5
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Hey Nurmey - I used Irish Moss at the 15 minute mark during the boil. When I bottled (1 week in primary, 2 weeks in secondary, 3 weeks in bottle), it was very clear. Also, I wasn't clear, but I meant I am losing an inch of beer to the sediment - I didn't mean I have an inch of sediment. It's probably more like 1/4 inch of sediment, but it's very light and disturbs easily when pouring. Is there any reason not to pour that last bit through a filtering medium? I wouldn't pour the entire beer through anything, just that last inch or so.

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Old 06-10-2009, 02:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeerBalls View Post
Hey Nurmey - I used Irish Moss at the 15 minute mark during the boil. When I bottled (1 week in primary, 2 weeks in secondary, 3 weeks in bottle), it was very clear. Also, I wasn't clear, but I meant I am losing an inch of beer to the sediment - I didn't mean I have an inch of sediment. It's probably more like 1/4 inch of sediment, but it's very light and disturbs easily when pouring. Is there any reason not to pour that last bit through a filtering medium? I wouldn't pour the entire beer through anything, just that last inch or so.
It probably won't work all that well.

I'd suggest chilling the beer for several days before pouring, and then pouring it all in one pour. If you use a flocculant yeast, it will compact into a tightly compacted little yeast cake, and won't disturb as easily. The longer chilling really helps with this. Then, pour down the side of the glass, and do it in one motion, slowly tilting the beer (but not raising it) as you fill the glass.

With practice, you'll be able to pour a homebrew without disturbing any sediment, and only losing about a teaspoon of beer in the bottom.
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Old 06-10-2009, 02:55 AM   #7
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Oh gotcha. I'm very tired and apparently not reading very well.

Chilling the bottles for a few days will indeed help that sediment compacted on the bottom. Other than that, pouring carefully should get you a little more beer, however, as long as you bottle condition you are going to lose a bit a beer to the yeast.

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Old 06-10-2009, 03:02 AM   #8
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With regards to pouring technique, I find that if I pour against a well-lit white background (like the top of my stove), then I can see inside the bottle well enough to see when the yeast sediment starts making its way towards the mouth of the bottle. Then I stop pouring.

Probably overboard like usual, but hey, that's me.

-Steve

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Old 06-10-2009, 04:08 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by BeerBalls View Post
Hey Nurmey - I used Irish Moss at the 15 minute mark during the boil. When I bottled (1 week in primary, 2 weeks in secondary, 3 weeks in bottle), it was very clear. Also, I wasn't clear, but I meant I am losing an inch of beer to the sediment - I didn't mean I have an inch of sediment. It's probably more like 1/4 inch of sediment, but it's very light and disturbs easily when pouring. Is there any reason not to pour that last bit through a filtering medium? I wouldn't pour the entire beer through anything, just that last inch or so.
Hi Beerballs,
Let's get down to the source of your problem. "1 week in primary, 2 weeks in secondary......." is not necessarily a long enough time. If you had allowed 2 weeks in the primary and 1 week in the secondary, you would have done much better.

Let's start with "1 week in primary". Do you know why you only allowed 1 week? If you can't answer that, we're making progress. When brewing most ales, you should leave the beer in the primary until it is has essentially finished fermenting and the yeast has had time to absorb some of the nasty byproducts of brewing. Two weeks or longer in the primary for an ale is not excessive, and lagers generally need much longer times.

Transferring to a secondary is optional, but helps tremendously in helping to clear the beer. The secondary is more of a clarifying and conditioning step and can also take some time. This step is most effective at lower temps-close to freezing is real nice. This will help the suspended yeast and protein sediments to fall out.

When you are ready to bottle, the beer should already be clearing up pretty good. Your bottled beer should only have a little yeast sediment from the bottle conditioning.

The bottom line is: Don't rush your beer.

BTW, flatulence is no laughing matter.....................bwaaaaaaaaaaahahahahaha ahahahahahah!!!
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Old 06-10-2009, 04:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Hi Beerballs,
Let's get down to the source of your problem. "1 week in primary, 2 weeks in secondary......." is not necessarily a long enough time. If you had allowed 2 weeks in the primary and 1 week in the secondary, you would have done much better.

Let's start with "1 week in primary". Do you know why you only allowed 1 week? If you can't answer that, we're making progress. When brewing most ales, you should leave the beer in the primary until it is has essentially finished fermenting and the yeast has had time to absorb some of the nasty byproducts of brewing. Two weeks or longer in the primary for an ale is not excessive, and lagers generally need much longer times.
His timeline is fine. Most ales are completely done fermenting in a week, but you really should be using your hydrometer to make sure.. I'm not sure why you think he'll get less sediment in the bottles with 2 weeks in the primary and 1 in the secondary.
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