Originally Posted by cbulman
I hadn't heard that about the cold break being good for fermentation. So, do you do something different for clarity, or just rely on everything settling out over time?
I meant to say...a little cold break is beneficial. Protein and amino acids are both good for yeast reproduction at the beginning of fermentation, but you don't want a lot so that you avoid haze. As long as you cool your wort down as fast as possible (it takes me about 10 minutes to go from boiling to 65F) and allow your beer to sit for 3-4 weeks in primary, you'll usually have a good clarity. I also boil my wort very hard. I go through a little more propane, and I have to adjust my recipes for the higher boiloff ratio, but it works. I rarely use Irish Moss because of this. I have a solid pipeline going, so most of my beers sit for at least 4 weeks in primary and 4 weeks in the bottle/keg. At this point, they all look great.
If you're brewing all-grain, a protein rest may help. I only do protein rests if I'm using a high amount of pilsner malt or english malts.
The only time I use a strainer before my fermentor is when I'm using a lot of leaf hops. The leaf hops make it difficult for me to get a good whirlpool, so it's harder to siphon off of them.