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Old 10-11-2011, 05:59 PM   #1
cbulman
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Default Irish Moss & Wort Straining

In the quest for clearer beer, I'd like to try using Irish moss. However, I'm also in the habit of straining my wort as it goes into the fermenter. By doing this, will I be holding back the Irish moss and prevent it from doing its job? Or has it already made its contribution during the boil?

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Old 10-11-2011, 06:33 PM   #2
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Irish Moss works during the boil by coagulating proteins. This causes a better break formation and the proteins precipitate out of the beer much easier during cooling. I don't like to use it because I've been taught that a lot of the cold break is actually beneficial to fermentation early on, but I don't think you'd notice a difference otherwise.

So...you'll be fine using it with your method.

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Old 10-11-2011, 08:47 PM   #3
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Irish Moss works during the boil by coagulating proteins. This causes a better break formation and the proteins precipitate out of the beer much easier during cooling. I don't like to use it because I've been taught that a lot of the cold break is actually beneficial to fermentation early on, but I don't think you'd notice a difference otherwise.

So...you'll be fine using it with your method.
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?
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Old 10-11-2011, 08:57 PM   #4
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By chilling the wort down to pitch temp as quickly as possible,you get some cold break action. That's one reason I got to like pouring my chilled wort through a fine mesh strainer I set on top of the FV. It also is a very good way to aerate the wort while pouring it in,straining hop & break material all at the same time.
Now,if you do late malt/hop additions,then you won't be straining all the proteins out. So you should still get good head. But you will get less chill haze that takes some 24 hours or so to form,& settles out faster. Always looked like a settling fog to me. Still waiting for Lon Chaney jr to jump out at me from that fog...
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Old 10-11-2011, 09:25 PM   #5
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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.
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Old 10-11-2011, 09:32 PM   #6
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There's about 4 things to use.

Irish Moss and Whirlfloc do the same and coagulate proteins
Cold Crashing drops everything out of suspension and gives you a tighter yeast cake
Gelatin coagulates everything and drops it out to the bottom for a very clear beer

I've done all but Whirlfloc and have never had a problem.

Essentially add the Irish Moss, chill with wort chiller to get a good cold break, pour into fermenter with my strainer funnel, sit in fermenter for 4 weeks to allow the yeast to clean itself up, put in secondary and gelatin, finally cold crash for 3-4 days then bottle.

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