Belgian golden strong remains cloudy

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jackbflyin

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Second batch of Belgian golden strong style and again it’s not clearing after two months at 35 degrees. Great flavor and aroma. White labs 570 yeast. Used appropriate dose of biofine. Any suggestions for improving clarity? Change yeast is what Im thinking because my other style beers come out clear. BrewFather recipe link below. Thanks for the input!

https://share.brewfather.app/ZMvjzXr54nL6xD
 
Perhaps it's polyphenols. Those can be stubborn, even with fining agents. Did you use a lot of hops? Some types of hops, particularly low-alpha varieties, are prone to this. Were you able to remove most of the hot break?
 
I think I got a reasonable hot break and most of it was left in the kettle. Seemed normal for my sessions which produce good clarity (usually). The styrian Golding is 3.2 % so maybe the polyphenols has something to do with it. This recipe has produced similar cloudiness twice so must be something in my ingredients… maybe.

Blichmann 5 gal

80.2% efficiency
Batch Volume: 5.8 gal
Boil Time: 75 min
Mash Water: 5.27 gal
Sparge Water: 4 gal / 4.15 gal HLT water @ 170 °F
Total Water: 9.43 gal
Boil Volume: 7.9 gal
Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.050 (less the syrup)

Vitals​

Original Gravity: 1.067
Total Gravity: 1.078
Final Gravity (Adv): 1.006
IBU (Tinseth): 31
BU/GU: 0.40
Color: 3.8 SRM


Mash​

Strike Temp — 141.1 °F
Protien Rest — 131 °F15 min
B-amylase Saccharification — 146 °F60 min
Mash out — 168 °F15 min

Malts (13 lb 2 oz)

13 lb 2 oz (82.4%) — Dingemans Pilsen MD — Grain — 1.7 °L — Mash

Other (2 lb 13 oz)

2 lb (12.6%) — Candi Syrup Candi Syrup, Simplicity — Sugar — 1.3 °L — Primary Fermentation day 2
11 oz (4.3%) — Candi Sugar, Clear — Sugar — 0.9 °L — Flameout
2 oz (0.8%) — Briess Rice Hulls — Adjunct — 0 °L
1.8 oz (18 IBU) — Styrian Goldings 3.2% — Boil — 60 min
0.3 oz
(5 IBU) — Saaz 5.8% — Boil — 50 min
0.7 oz
(6 IBU) — Saaz 5.8% — Boil — 15 min
0.2 oz
(1 IBU) — Styrian Goldings 3.2% — Boil — 15 min


Miscs​

3.34 g — Calcium Chloride (CaCl2) — Mash
0.87 g
— Canning Salt (NaCl) — Mash
1.31 g
— Chalk (CaCO3) — Mash
0.48 g
— Epsom Salt (MgSO4) — Mash
1.75 g
— Gypsum (CaSO4) — Mash
2.2 ml
— Lactic Acid 80% — Mash
0.48 g
— Magnesium Chloride (MgCl2) — Mash
0.2 g
— Sodium Metabisulfite (Na2S2O5) — Mash
2.58 g
— Calcium Chloride (CaCl2) — Sparge
0.67 g
— Canning Salt (NaCl) — Sparge
0.37 g
— Epsom Salt (MgSO4) — Sparge
1.35 g
— Gypsum (CaSO4) — Sparge
0.37 g
— Magnesium Chloride (MgCl2) — Sparge
1 items
— Whirlfloc — Boil15 min
1 items
— Servomyces — Boil10 min

Yeast​

1 pkg — White Labs WLP570 Belgian Golden Ale 78%
3.3 L starter
11.43 oz DME / 13.97 oz LME
494 billion yeast cells
1.28 million cells / ml / °P

Fermentation​

Pitch — 64 °F0.4 days
Heating up — 80 °F (5 day ramp) — 13 days
Cold Crash — 45 °F7 days
Conditioning — 35 °F80 days
Carbonation: 3 CO2-vol

Water Profile​

Ca 80 Mg 5, Na 19, SO4 68, Cl 115, HCO3 45
 
Last edited:
Fahrenheit or Celsius?

Assuming Fahrenheit, then I guess this is a cold crash you are waiting to clear? Or is it bottled and kegged and you are waiting for it to clear?

Just put it aside and check on it till it looks and/or tastes better. Or give up on it if you need the equipment or space. Your call.

I recently had an ale that got a chill haze that took 2 to 3 week to clear after I put them in the refrigerator. It was the same basic recipe as others that I had no issue with. However this particular batch I forgot to use whirlfloc near the end of boil.

I usually ferment in the upper third of the ideal range of the yeast I'm using. And I keep my beers in the FV at that range till it clears. I don't do any cold crashing.
 
You mentioned the beer has great aroma/flavor. Still, any hint of astringency in there, even just a little tang on the back end? Polyphenols can contribute astringency, though that are other things that can add that off-flavor.

Biofine touts its ability to reduce polyphenols, but as I said above, sometimes, the haze can evade that. Have you tried Polyclar, or some other PVPP type of clarifier? I've never used it, but read that it does a good job on polyphenols.
 
It’s been at 35f for two months. Nice flavor and aroma without noticeable astringency. I put a shot of gelatin into the keg today so I’ll see in a couple days how that helps. I’m going to read up on Polyclar and consider how to reduce polyphenals next time. Thanks again for the ideas.
 
Do you usually use chalk in your mash? You seem to have a lot of additions in your mash. Maybe the chalk is not fully dissolving. Just a SWAG.
I use chalk when I need to for the desired water profile but I try to get calcium other ways first. When I use it I mix chalk with water in a 2 liter bottle and then carbonate roughly 25 psi. Carbonic acid is made and magic happens. It mixes. Technique no good? I’m not a chemist but the science makes sense. My water profile could certainly play into this.
Ca: 80, Mg:5, Na: 10, So4: 70 Cl: 115
 

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I use chalk when I need to for the desired water profile but I try to get calcium other ways first. When I use it I mix chalk with water in a 2 liter bottle and then carbonate roughly 25 psi. Carbonic acid is made and magic happens. It mixes. Technique no good? I’m not a chemist but the science makes sense. My water profile could certainly play into this.
Ca: 80, Mg:5, Na: 10, So4: 70 Cl: 115

That's a clever way to get calcium carbonate to dissolve. What few times I need to increase alkalinity in brewing water, I've used slaked lime. But I'll have to remember the carbonic trick for CaCo3.
 
I use chalk when I need to for the desired water profile but I try to get calcium other ways first. When I use it I mix chalk with water in a 2 liter bottle and then carbonate roughly 25 psi. Carbonic acid is made and magic happens. It mixes. Technique no good? I’m not a chemist but the science makes sense. My water profile could certainly play into this.
Ca: 80, Mg:5, Na: 10, So4: 70 Cl: 115
It is probably not related to your clarity, but there is not much reason to add both Chalk (used to raise mash pH) and Lactic Acid (used to lower mash pH). Given that this recipe is 100% Pilsner malt, you should be able to just drop the Chalk. If the chalk is to hit a target Bicarbonate level, then just focus on mash pH and ignore the target Bicarbonate level.

It seems like a recipe that would drop clear.
 
@jackbflyin - I am pretty sure your clarity issue is the choice of yeast choice, WLP570. White Labs has WLP570 categorized as a low flocculating yeast. Last year, I made two batches, a Belgian Blonde then a Belgian Golden Strong and both never cleared. Well, the last pint out of each keg was clear, but that’s it. I did use whirlfloc in the BK. I didn’t use any fining agents in the fermenter or kegs. Both batches tasted great.

I will be brewing the Belgian Blonde again this Friday, but using WLP550. White Labs categorizes WLP550 as a medium flocculating yeast. Hopefully I will have better clarity with this yeast. There is a local craft brewery that uses WLP550 in their Belgian Blonde and it tastes very similar to what I made with WLP570, except there's is clear.

Just curious, why such a high pitch rate, 1.28 million cells/ml/P, instead of the standard ale pitch rate of 0.75 million cells/ml/P?
 
It is probably not related to your clarity, but there is not much reason to add both Chalk (used to raise mash pH) and Lactic Acid (used to lower mash pH). Given that this recipe is 100% Pilsner malt, you should be able to just drop the Chalk. If the chalk is to hit a target Bicarbonate level, then just focus on mash pH and ignore the target Bicarbonate level.

It seems like a recipe that would drop clear.
It is probably not related to your clarity, but there is not much reason to add both Chalk (used to raise mash pH) and Lactic Acid (used to lower mash pH). Given that this recipe is 100% Pilsner malt, you should be able to just drop the Chalk. If the chalk is to hit a target Bicarbonate level, then just focus on mash pH and ignore the target Bicarbonate level.

It seems like a recipe that would drop clear

@jackbflyin - I am pretty sure your clarity issue is the choice of yeast choice, WLP570. White Labs has WLP570 categorized as a low flocculating yeast. Last year, I made two batches, a Belgian Blonde then a Belgian Golden Strong and both never cleared. Well, the last pint out of each keg was clear, but that’s it. I did use whirlfloc in the BK. I didn’t use any fining agents in the fermenter or kegs. Both batches tasted great.

I will be brewing the Belgian Blonde again this Friday, but using WLP550. White Labs categorizes WLP550 as a medium flocculating yeast. Hopefully I will have better clarity with this yeast. There is a local craft brewery that uses WLP550 in their Belgian Blonde and it tastes very similar to what I made with WLP570, except there's is clear.

Just curious, why such a high pitch rate, 1.28 million cells/ml/P, instead of the standard ale pitch rate of 0.75 million cells/ml/P?
I did a 3.3L starter for 1.28 because Brewfather recommends it for 1.00-1.060 Ale and I read pitch recommendations for that style which were from underpitching to stress the yeast a bit up to a solid pitch rate….Isn’t that underpitching a bit? Both of my fermentations took approximately 25 days and not the 1 week I’ve read about. What do you recommend? What’s worked for you?

As for the chalk, I add it only to achieve the calcium (80) requirements of target water profile after my gypsum and calcium chloride additions. Too much?
Thanks
 
As for the chalk, I add it only to achieve the calcium (80) requirements of target water profile after my gypsum and calcium chloride additions. Too much?

The first question might be: does it make a difference if your Calcium level is 50 or 60 vs 80? Probably not. The impact of Calcium is hard to tease out with all the variables in a beer. I have 30 ppm in my tap water, and I try to get my Calcium into the 50 to 100 range for most beers.

Are you starting with RO water? I don't use RO myself and my tap water has enough Sodium and Magnesium that I don't worry about adjusting them. I just feel like your use of 6 different salts points towards trying to micromanage minerals levels more than needed. Many RO users just add Gypsum and Calcium Chloride. Some might add a little Sodium. From what I can tell, most don't worry about adjusting Magnesium. If you are happy with your process and beers fine. It just seems that dissolving Chalk in carbonated water just to get a little more Calcium is a lot of effort for little gain.

Though, in theory, higher levels of Calcium will help with yeast flocculation and produce clear beer.
 
I use BruN Water for my RO additions calculation and enter those additions into Brewfather. RO water because well and softener water not good and so recipe/RO often requires additional calcium. I try to get the content down to the nats-ass which could be an overkill, especially since it may not make a difference. I appreciate your input.
 
I did a 3.3L starter for 1.28 because Brewfather recommends it for 1.00-1.060 Ale and I read pitch recommendations for that style which were from underpitching to stress the yeast a bit up to a solid pitch rate….Isn’t that underpitching a bit? Both of my fermentations took approximately 25 days and not the 1 week I’ve read about. What do you recommend? What’s worked for you?
My understanding is that ales should typically use a pitch rate of 0.75 million cells/ml/P, lagers 1.5 million cells/ml/P. This is why I referred to your 1.25 million cells/ml/P as a high pitch rate. I am surprised that Brewfather or any other brewing software would recommend such a pitch rate for the OG range you mention. Could you site the references you came across that suggests under pitching for the Belgian Blonde style, I would am interested? I have always used a target pitch rate of 0.75 million cells/ml/P for ales.

I fermented the Belgian Blonde (OG = 1.065, FG = 1.011) for two weeks which is normal process for me. I don't rush the fermentation process. The Belgian Golden Strong (OG = 1.080, FG = 1.011) took four weeks to ferment. I pitched both at 62 F and let it free rise to 74 F over a week and kept it at 74 F until fermentation was complete. After that was a cold crash for 5 days, then kegged, then carbonated for two weeks.
 
I use chalk when I need to for the desired water profile but I try to get calcium other ways first. When I use it I mix chalk with water in a 2 liter bottle and then carbonate roughly 25 psi. Carbonic acid is made and magic happens. It mixes. Technique no good? I’m not a chemist but the science makes sense. My water profile could certainly play into this.
Ca: 80, Mg:5, Na: 10, So4: 70 Cl: 115
Personally I wouldn't sweat the anions so much - US water software always has slightly funny ideas that don't always bear much resemblance to how beer is brewed in Europe. In particular for anything other than lagers I'd always insist on at least 100ppm calcium, particularly with a low-flocculating yeast.

And if that means adding gypsum/CaCl2 so that SO4 and Cl creep up a bit to say 100 & 150 then meh - it doesn't really matter.
 
My understanding is that ales should typically use a pitch rate of 0.75 million cells/ml/P, lagers 1.5 million cells/ml/P. This is why I referred to your 1.25 million cells/ml/P as a high pitch rate. I am surprised that Brewfather or any other brewing software would recommend such a pitch rate for the OG range you mention. Could you site the references you came across that suggests under pitching for the Belgian Blonde style, I would am interested? I have always used a target pitch rate of 0.75 million cells/ml/P for ales.

I fermented the Belgian Blonde (OG = 1.065, FG = 1.011) for two weeks which is normal process for me. I don't rush the fermentation process. The Belgian Golden Strong (OG = 1.080, FG = 1.011) took four weeks to ferment. I pitched both at 62 F and let it free rise to 74 F over a week and kept it at 74 F until fermentation was complete. After that was a cold crash for 5 days, then kegged, then carbonated for two weeks.
There are additional articles which I now cannot locate. However the book, brew like a monk- by Hieronymus, discusses yeast and pitch rates so I’ll post a couple pages along with this link below.

https://byo.com/article/yeast-strains-for-belgian-strong-ales/
 

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The BYO article uses pitch rates very close to 0.75 million cells/ml/P in the Yeast Starter table. This was published in 2007.

The learn.kegerator article suggests a pitch rate between 0.75 and 1.0 million cells/ml/P and was published in 2017.

I enjoyed reading both articles. Thanks.

Hieronymus’ book is the source suggesting that very high pitch rates are used at named breweries for the Belgian Golden Strong style.
 
The BYO article uses pitch rates very close to 0.75 million cells/ml/P in the Yeast Starter table. This was published in 2007.

The learn.kegerator article suggests a pitch rate between 0.75 and 1.0 million cells/ml/P and was published in 2017.

I enjoyed reading both articles. Thanks.

Hieronymus’ book is the source suggesting that very high pitch rates are used at named breweries for the Belgian Golden Strong style.
What’s your take…stick with the .75-1 mil unless you have tanks of yeast?
 
Stan’s numbers seem way high to me, but what do I know. I am just a retired electrical engineer who brews for a hobby. Ok maybe it’s a compulsion. Engineers can be that way.

1 million cells/ml/P probably wont hurt any and likely needed if the OG is >= 1.070. Yeast has gotten expensive compared to what it was. That’s why I buy one pack of yeast, make a starter for a relatively low to medium OG batch, Belgian Blonde in this case and then reuse yeast slurry for other higher OG recipes like a Belgian Golden Strong.

I have come to accept that we do our best as home brewers to control the outcome of our brewing, but so much of it is just a SWAG. So we have to do what we think is best and stay with what works for us as individual brewers.
 
I wanted to report back on my recent results of brewing the Belgian Blonde and Belgian Golden Strong recipes with WLP550 (Belgian Ale Yeast, Schoffel strain, I believe) and provide my taste comparisons to prior batches using WLP570 (Belgian Golden Ale Yeast, Duval strain, I believe).

The Belgian Blonde batch with WLP550 did clear nicely. The Belgian Golden Strong with WLP550 is still fermenting. The Belgian Blonde with WLP550 definitely tastes like it was fermented with a Belgian yeast and has a bit of banana. The WLP550 Belgian flavor is not as predominate, softer I would say, as I recall was in the WLP570 batch. Also the WLP570 had a nice hit of black pepper which I found unique and enjoyed.

I prefer the flavors of WLP570 over WLP550, so I will stick with WLP570 and try using gelatin or some other fining agent after fermentation to deal with the lack of clarity from the yeast.
 

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