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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Hot Break and Racking to Fermenter
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:49 AM   #1
mgortel
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Default Hot Break and Racking to Fermenter

Been brewing a few years...did my first all grain batches last year. This year I have been unable to brew until now....well this weekend coming up....so I am a bit rusty and re-educating myself....

Anyway, in all of my previous batches of beer (extract and all grain)....I would finish my boil and cool the wort with my submersion chiller ...and then just dump it into my fermenter (ale pail)......hot break and all. This was based on advice from others.,....that there is no need to remove hot break.

I have read in a few sources recently that leaving the hot break can cause some off flavors.....is this true in your experience? If so.....and I want to minimize the hot break in my wort going into fermenter....it seems that the following is the process to use....can you guys confirm please. (BTW....my kettle does not have bottom valve...so I will have to use racking cane for this).

1) After boil.......whirlpool wort with my metal spoon for 30-60 seconds.
2) Insert sanitized chiller.....chill wort
3) Once chilled let set for 20-30 mins so break settles
4) Rack to fermenter with racking cane careful to not disturb hot break which has hopefully settled in center of kettle.

Does this sound right...?? Or should I cool wort.....then whirlpool ad let set for 20-30 mins...then rack out. Seems lie whirlpooling then putting chiller in would disturb whirlpool effect.

ANy advice is much appreciated.....

Cheers!

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Old 11-13-2012, 05:05 AM   #2
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I'm personally of the opinion that the more you expose your beer under 140*, the more risks you're taking with your beer. When I was doing extracts, I would do a mild filter between my BK and fermenter, mostly to catch whole hops and reasonably large break material. I never really worried about the hot break too much. I didn't notice any consistent off flavors to speak of...almost all of them came from high fermentation temps, delayed fermentation or other problems.

That said, your process isn't a bad idea if you want to filter the break. All you really have to do, though, is make sure it settles and rack from the midpoint of the kettle down, trying to avoid whatever's at the bottom. The whirlpool probably won't do a ton, especially with the IC in there to stop the motion. The break will settle on it's own if the temps are cold enough to bring things out of suspension. Time + temp = settling.

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Old 11-13-2012, 05:24 AM   #3
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I don't separate out the hot, or cold, break in my batches. I get the wort chilled as fast as I can (<12 minutes typically with my plate chiller setup) and into fermenter. I recirculate for the start of the chill, then run right into fermenter once it's hit a good level (and I know the chiller will get it to my target with a good flow speed).

IMO, the less things that touch your wort post boil the better. Faster chill times are not a bad thing. IMO, leaving the cooled wort in kettle 20-30 minutes could very well be a bad thing. Racking via a racking cane, from kettle to fermenter is going to suck. I would get a ball valve (1/2" full bore) and install it into your kettle before brew day. Or use the same method you used before your break to get the wort into fermenter.

For reference, I chill just over 7 gallons of wort post boil. I aim to get 6-3/4 to 7 gallons into fermenting vessel for my normal batches.

If you've not actually HAD any off flavors that you can trace back (100% certain) to hot/cold break, don't mess with what you were doing.

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Old 11-13-2012, 01:01 PM   #4
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SO if I want to try to minimize hot break into fermenter maybe better to cool wort as fast as possible with my IC.....letting the hot break settle out during the process and then just rack to fermenter with racking cane.

Otherwise I can just dump and run like I used to! I would like to try both metheods at some poiint on the same beer recipe as an experiment to see if any noticable difference....

BTW.....how hard would it be to install a ball valve myself? Maybe I just need to buy another brewpot with a temp gauge and ball valve built in

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Old 11-13-2012, 01:08 PM   #5
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I use a plate chiller now but when I used a IC, I would put it in the kettle about 15 minutes from flame out just to kill anything that may be living in the cracks and recesses. Copper is naturally antibacterial but I always had some little crusty things clinging to it somewhere that were almost impossible to clean.

As for the cold break after chilling, I have done it both ways and it has never ruined my beer either way. I don't have any data to suggest that it is better or worse though.

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Old 11-13-2012, 02:44 PM   #6
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Since you're using a bucket, just go to Home Depot or any other hardware store and buy a nylon paint strainer. Sanitize it and then you can dump your wort into your primary as usual after chilling. Then lift the strainer bag out and Viola, no extra junk in the fermenter. You'll have to squeeze the bag to get all of the wort out, but it works great.

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Old 11-13-2012, 03:15 PM   #7
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I have a keggle with ball valve & would always gets tons of break in my fermenter no matter what I tried when using the valve. I have since moved to the racking method & has worked perfectly & not difficult at all. Just insert gently & attach tot he side of the vessel with a racking cane clip. Now I only get break material in the fermenter if I'm greedy trying to get the most wort out of the bottom. Some say some break material helps with yeast viability....

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Old 11-13-2012, 03:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgortel View Post
BTW.....how hard would it be to install a ball valve myself? Maybe I just need to buy another brewpot with a temp gauge and ball valve built in
Gotta say, it's a nice feature. It's not hard to install. Just a step bit, some oil and some time. You drill a hole, per the requirements of the valve and then install the valve. So long as you're spot on with the sizing, you shouldn't have any leaks. It's nice to just let 'er rip into the fermenter at the end of brew day. I wouldn't ever go back. I would only get another pot if I were looking to upgrade.
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Old 11-13-2012, 04:02 PM   #9
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You could try something I've been eyeing (came from this board): after cooling to your temp pull your immersion chiller out, wrap in sanitized paint strainer, binder clip so it is secure, dunk it back in your pot and siphon from inside of the immersion chiller/strainer.

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Old 11-13-2012, 04:38 PM   #10
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I think people are getting wrapped around their underwear when it comes to the hot and cold break material. Just let it go into the fermenting vessel and don't worry about it.

There is a thread about a member doing a test where he split a batch into two fermenters. He made sure to not get any of the break matter, or other particles, into one, and dumped everything into the other. While the first (no break matter, etc.) looked clearer during fermentation, and the other was not, the one with the break matter in it ended up clearer in glass AND tasted better.

Let's see... Less worry, work, stress and better beer as a result... Hmmmmm do you really need to think about it???

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