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Old 01-29-2013, 06:36 PM   #1
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Default Remove krausen?

In Charlie Papazian's book, he says it "advisable" to remove the krausen if you can do so under sanitary conditions. He says the krausen has bitter oils that contribute to fusels in the beer and bitter flavors.

Does anyone here remove the krausen from their fermenters?

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Old 01-29-2013, 06:37 PM   #2
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Skimming is one of those oldschool ideas that came from a time when brewers were scared of their yeast. They believed that prolonged yeast contact was a bad thing- it contributed to things like the big homebrew Bogeyman, autolysis.

Those ideas are 40 years out of date. Just like Papa Charlie's book......So many views have changed.

There's been a big shift in brewing consciousness in the last few years where many of us believe that yeast is a good thing, and besides just fermenting the beer, that they are fastidious creatures who go back and clean up any by products created by themselves during fermentation, which may lead to off flavors.

Rather than the yeast being the cause of off flavors, it is now looked at by many of us, that they will if left alone actually remove those off flavors, and make for clearer and cleaner tasting beers.

Leaving the yeast alone, and letting the krausen fall through will act like a filter as it sinks, pulling down any proteins and other off flavor causes.

That's why also many of us leave out beers on the yeast cake for 3-4 weeks, and skip secondaries. To let the yeast do their thing.

Like so much of brewing you will find people believing and practicing things they read in books, while others are brewing based on information that is more current. This is an ever evolving hobby, and information and ideas change. And now with places like this with a huuge amount of dedicated and serious brewers, as well as all the podcasts online, you will find the most state of the art brewing info.

Things have changed, we're not so afraid of so called "off flavors" by things that are part of the natural process of the beer production, touching the beer-yeast, trub, spent hops, break matter. Yeast are fastidious creatures, if left to their own devices they will go back and clean up any byproducts that cause off flavors. In fact you find a lot of things that used to freak people out just have proven to be less true. And some processes that were de-riguer back in the day, such as skimming off krausen aren't all that common any more.

It's not like the 60's and 70's (when most of those opinions espoused about autolysis originated from) when our hobby was still illegal, and there wasn't a lot of FRESH yeast available to us. The yeast used in hobby brewing was usually in cake form, which came from Germany and England in hot cargo ships and may have sat on a store shelf for a long time....or the brewer just used bread yeast.

From John Palmer, author of How to brew, on why he changed his opinion about autolysis...

Quote:
So the whole health and vitality of yeast was different back then compared to now. Back then it made sense. You had weaker yeast that had finished fermentation that were more susceptible to autolysis and breaking down. Now that is not the case. The bar of homebrewing has risen to where we are able to make beer that has the same robustness as professional beer. We've gotten our techniques and understanding of what makes a good fermentation up to that level, so you don't need to transfer the beer off the yeast to avoid autolysis like we used to recommend.
Yeast in the 21st century is much healthier to begin with, and is less prone to have issues like their cells autolysing....just like our own health tends to be better these days.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:45 PM   #3
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Well said! I love how we get into philosophical discussion about various parts of our process vs someone else's. I still remember the reaming I got for making small starters for dry yeast just to guage How the wort would react vs pitching dry. Rehydrating at 90F,then matching it's temp 30 minutes later to the current cooler wort temp to prevent yeast shock. Tap water,distilled water,spring water in different brewing styles.
Etc,etc...you just never know what new idea you'll come across on here on any given day. he's hooked,he's hooked,his brain is cooked.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosvineer View Post
Does anyone here remove the krausen from their fermenters?
I do, but for the purpose of harvesting the yeast (aka top cropping).

After 24ish hours I skim the braun hefe and toss it, then a fluffy white krausen reforms and I skim that into a sanitized mason jar for reuse.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:54 PM   #5
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Also, the bigger question would be to ask Charlie, if he still skims today?

Just because it's in a book, doesn't mean it's correct. Or up to date these days, Just that it's in a book.

A book is a snapshot of the author's body of knowlege and the "common wisdom" at the time the author wrote the book, which may mean 3 years before it was even published. Papazian's book is 30+ years old. The basic knowlege is good, but brewing science and experience has progressed to where some things an author believes or says at that time may no-longer be valid...even to the author.

John Palmer has changed many ideas since the online version of HIS book went up several years ago.

Most of the time when someone "revises" a book they don't necessarilly "re-write" the entire thing...and unless they annotated the changes, often all a "revised" edition has to make it up to date is a new introduction, and maybe the addition or removal of some things. But Rarely is a revision in a book a serious comb through of the entire book.

This is an ever evolving hobby, and information and ideas change. And now with places like this with a huuge amount of dedicated and serious brewers, as well as all the podcasts online, you will find the most state of the art brewing info.

Papazain is a good example. as wonderful as it is, was written over 30 years ago...and a lot of "science" or "common wisdom" that he as an author tapped into has evolved....all authors face this issue with their work.

Charlie Papazian said it But he might not necessarily say it now....see the difference?

His basic info is timeless....how to brew beer, figure out recipes, etc...but some of the info is just a reflection of the "opinions," or prevailing wisdom of the times, and may not even reflect his current beliefs...There's a podcast with Papazian from a couple years or so ago, where he talks about just having started using rice hulls in his mash ton, and another a year later where he just discovered something else, that a bunch of US have been doing for years that he started trying...so if he doesn't update the book again, or write a new one, unless you've heard the podcast or read it on here, you won't KNOW about it.

For example, not we know that fusels are caused not BY the yeast, but because we ferment at too high temps, or because of an infection. It's not the yeast's fault that there's fusels, it's OUR FAULT, for mistreating the yeast....not creating a good habitation for them to work in.

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Old 01-29-2013, 06:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TyTanium View Post
I do, but for the purpose of harvesting the yeast (aka top cropping).
Yup, Top croppers are probably the last few to still skim, and even that is something that few homebrewers even do these days.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:07 PM   #7
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Thanks for the responses. This is my first batch and I only read the beginners section of the book before brewing. I'm on the intermediate part now and it's making me question some of what I did

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Old 01-29-2013, 09:26 PM   #8
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When in doubt, ask Revvy.

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