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Old 01-08-2013, 10:01 AM   #1
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Default How to get rid of gunk at bottom of keg

I currently brew my beers in 25 liter buckets. I use yeasts that supposedly have a decent flocculation, and I put in beer finings at least 24 hours prior to racking it into a Corny keg. The beer going into the keg appears clear. After kegging I let the beer further mature in the keg at room or fridge temperatures (depending on style) for at least two weeks before further refrigerating the keg and the first tasting.

My problem is this: the first two liters or so of beer coming out of the keg are always cloudy, and they taste like it, too (read: lots of yeast and other rough stuff). Then the beer clears and all is well (including the flavor), until I move the keg, upon which the beer clouds up again. Obviously the sedimentation at the bottom of the keg directly around the extraction tube is cleared out after a few glasses, until motion stirs up the bottom gunk again and the whole problem starts all over again).

In comparison, bottling the same beer with priming sugar and regular bottle conditioning results in a crystal clear beer - much clearer than what comes out of the keg.

After emptying the keg I find a layer of sedimentation (gunk) at the bottom of the keg (with, indeed, a circle around the extractor tube that has been washed clear of gunk). From appearance the sedimentation looks to be the usual bottom-of-the-secondary-fermenter stuff: solids from the grains and hops, cold break residue, flocculated yeast, and all the other usual suspects.

How do I get rid of that? I don't really want to filter the beer (a pain with lots of potential for infection) and it should not be necessary, as plenty of craft breweries don't filter either, an their kegs are allright...

Suggestions welcome!! Thanks!

// FvW

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Old 01-08-2013, 11:59 AM   #2
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Other than cost of another keg, filtering looks to be pretty cheap to me. I'm with you though every time I tap a new keg, thinking I really want to get rid of the sediment, but then it clears and I forget about it over the next 18 litres or so.

Video of an easy setup:

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Old 01-08-2013, 05:00 PM   #3
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As you mentioned, unless you filter, there will always be some sediment. However, if you're careful when racking, you can minimize it. I had issues similar to what you describe until I started leaving a little more beer behind in the fermenter. Now when I transfer I lower the auto-siphon just deep enough to where it starts picking up yeast, then immediately raise it up a smidge so it's running clear again. The result is that I leave about 1/2" of beer above the trub, but much less of the yeast/trub makes it into the keg.
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Old 01-08-2013, 05:41 PM   #4
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Cold crashing before transferring to the keg will reduce the sediment a lot. I usually only get one cloudy pint, and then it pours clear. I'm also careful not to move my kegs around and disturb the sediment after they've carbed. If I need to move a keg, or am taking it to a party or something, I'll rack it off of the sediment into a clean keg first.
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