Advantage of clear wort during mash recirculation?

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wepeeler

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I currently BIAB but have been looking into AIO systems. Most seem to have recirculation for the mash (I've never recirculated). After some research, I see a recurring theme in videos where the brewer talks about the recirculated wort being so clear on top of the grain bed. Is there any advantage to having clear wort recirculating? Since I BIAB and stir a few times during the mash, I certainly do not have clear wort, and my beer turns out fine. I still plan to use a bag in the basket for easier cleanup. Any ideas on why brewers all seem to mention how clear their recirculating wort is? The only thing I can think of is that clear wort is a sign of the grain being thoroughly rinsed of the starch? Thoughts?
 
This questions is touched upon from time to time. As far as I can tell, the lovely clarity of recirculated wort has no effect on the finished product, as the grain particles in non-clear wort are left behind in the kettle and fermenter, don't adversely affect anything, and don't make it into the bottle or glass.

We usually want our beers to be clear -- never mind NEIPAs and hefeweizens. So we naturally see clear wort as a good thing. But this is apparently quite unimportant.
 
kettle trub in the fermentors
Yes, it's good if one can get the desired amount of (clear) beer at the end of the process. But this begs the question: does recirculating wort significantly reduce the trub in the kettle? in the fermenter? It could, unless the amount of material captured by recirculation is quite small as I suspect.

Without data, this is a matter of speculation. Even if one were inclined to try to test, it might be somewhat difficult to measure.
 
i switched from biab to aio and yes it definitely makes crystal clear wort. a color refractometer could definately measure the clarity of the wort but its not needed as said above.
the only advantage i see to clear wort is that my lagers clear faster when they start out clearer. this actually is an advantage to me IMO because i feel that clearer beer definitely tastes different.

one reason for this is that a large percentage of the pleasure one derives from eating and drinking comes from the visual aspect of the food or liquid.

another reason i feel is because the particles (likely mostly yeast) that are removed through - whether it be gravity time or filtration - make the beer taste cleaner to me.


btw i wouldnt use a bag in an aio. its easier for me to clean my basket than a bag. the basket disassembles very easy and can be hosed or sprayed very clean. never had a problem with stuck grain bed
 
The difference between the BIAB and my MIAB is I vorlof the mash tun and run clear wort into the BK. I've noticed less hop utilization in the cloudy wort. I do 11 gal batches in the tun and 6 gal in the bag.
 
This paper has a nice overview of industry studies on lauter wort clarity and its impacts. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/j.2050-0416.2006.tb00716.x

Basically, the topic has positive and negatives. The industry has improved equipment these days which leads to clearer wort but some negatives with yeast performance appear to crop up due to the wort being 'stripped' through the brew process. I think these challenges can be overcome with yeast management. I see this as similar to using RO water. If you have a clean slate, itis important to add back in the important things. Clear lauter wort does take out some negative things, which is why the industry likes it, but just remember to boost your yeast and probably yeast nutrients for solid fermentations.

In the end, I, like the industry, prefer the achievement of clear wort but it does not seem to be as important as one would think. So I am inclined to put this in the don't worry about it category for homebrewers. Thanks for the topic, it was enlightening to look into!
 
This paper has a nice overview of industry studies on lauter wort clarity and its impacts. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/j.2050-0416.2006.tb00716.x

Basically, the topic has positive and negatives. The industry has improved equipment these days which leads to clearer wort but some negatives with yeast performance appear to crop up due to the wort being 'stripped' through the brew process. I think these challenges can be overcome with yeast management. I see this as similar to using RO water. If you have a clean slate, itis important to add back in the important things. Clear lauter wort does take out some negative things, which is why the industry likes it, but just remember to boost your yeast and probably yeast nutrients for solid fermentations.

In the end, I, like the industry, prefer the achievement of clear wort but it does not seem to be as important as one would think. So I am inclined to put this in the don't worry about it category for homebrewers. Thanks for the topic, it was enlightening to look into!
thats interesting thanks it also seems similar to me to adding nutrients to my ciders which are extremely "stripped" since i use supermarket juice.

i could see how proper or "superpowered" yeast could get around this. maybe like huge stepped up starters with nutrients additions and temp control. etc
 
I feel that it helps keep the temperature more consistent throughout the mash and that is a good enough reason to recirculate for me.
That's the obvious reason. I can't wait for that! I was wondering if the clarity was an advantage. Seems like clarity means the grain bed is filtering out sediment which means clearer wort into the kettle.
 
Advantages of clear wort during mash recirculation? Preventing grain bits from getting into your boil kettle prevents compounds that may lead to unpleasant flavors in your finished beer.

If you want clear wort coming out of your mash tun without recirculation just conduct what most of us did as standard practice before affordable pumps and continuous recirculation became a thing... a vorlauf step. (even though vorlauf means recirculation) It was common practice when I first started brewing to slowly drain wort from the mash tun into a measuring cup or pint jar and gently reintroduce it over the top of the grain bed. Repeat a few times until what comes out is clear. This was done before wort was transferred to the bk.
 
This paper has a nice overview of industry studies on lauter wort clarity and its impacts. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/j.2050-0416.2006.tb00716.x

Basically, the topic has positive and negatives. The industry has improved equipment these days which leads to clearer wort but some negatives with yeast performance appear to crop up due to the wort being 'stripped' through the brew process. I think these challenges can be overcome with yeast management. I see this as similar to using RO water. If you have a clean slate, itis important to add back in the important things. Clear lauter wort does take out some negative things, which is why the industry likes it, but just remember to boost your yeast and probably yeast nutrients for solid fermentations.

In the end, I, like the industry, prefer the achievement of clear wort but it does not seem to be as important as one would think. So I am inclined to put this in the don't worry about it category for homebrewers. Thanks for the topic, it was enlightening to look into!
Thanks for this reference, I have been looking for some science to answer this question.
 
i switched from biab to aio and yes it definitely makes crystal clear wort. a color refractometer could definately measure the clarity of the wort but its not needed as said above.
the only advantage i see to clear wort is that my lagers clear faster when they start out clearer. this actually is an advantage to me IMO because i feel that clearer beer definitely tastes different.

one reason for this is that a large percentage of the pleasure one derives from eating and drinking comes from the visual aspect of the food or liquid.

another reason i feel is because the particles (likely mostly yeast) that are removed through - whether it be gravity time or filtration - make the beer taste cleaner to me.


btw i wouldnt use a bag in an aio. its easier for me to clean my basket than a bag. the basket disassembles very easy and can be hosed or sprayed very clean. never had a problem with stuck grain bed

You're conflating clear wort with clear beer and they are not the same thing. Not only that, there's some convincing experimentation that shows a slightly more turbid wort will clear faster.

Brulosophy replicated it a few times and almost all of the higher trub attenuated a little more and cleared faster.


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It is a complex topic no doubt. I have had very good results with end beer clarity and I am anal about wort clarity. So they are not always connected. A lot of particles will drag more particles downward out of solution. So there is a physical explanation for heavy trub beers dropping a lot out. But I pretty much only have yeast & wort in the fermenter these days and it drops bright as well.

BTW, I did not read flutetamer's post to be about end beer clarity. He said clear wort tends to result in clear beer for him.
 
Gravity is always taking its toll, so all things drop clear unless there is a haze from a process error. How fast is fast? At transfer or after some time after transfer? If one is dealing with truly clear wort throughout the process, there is nothing to drop out with only yeast in the fermenter. Then beers clear based upon the yeast flocc. Granted, I am talking about naturally clear, not macro filtered clear.

For me, the wort clarity struggle is between not having the negative aspects of trub present like lipids and other staling mechanisms vs yeast performance. This is something I will be experimenting with going forward.
 
recirculation is more about maintaining an even temperature though out the mash. No hot spots and no cold spots. Also eliminates and "dead spots" of wort outside the grain bed.

Clear or cloudy wort makes no difference. It all drops out during the fermentation and cold crash.

Even crystal clear wort will become hazy again once the yeast starts up.

The only benefit of nice clear wort in the fermenter is if you plan to harvest the yeast cake.
 
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