Clarity and Batch Sparge Question

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Kbrann

Member
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
20
Reaction score
3
Location
Dyer
Hey all,

I have been recently trying to get better clarity out of my beer and it seems like nothing we do is working. The beer itself is pretty clear but seem to always end up with chill haze. Beer tastes great, but am looking to refine the look some more.

We use a hop basket to contain most of the hop debris, a mesh screen on the outlet of the kettle, Add 2 whirfloc tablets (10 gal batches) with 15 min left in the boil, use a SS conical fermenter in a temp controlled freezer, cold crash for 2-3 days at 40 deg F at end of Fermentation, pressure feed the beer from the fermenter, through a 1 micron filter and into kegs where the beer is force carbonated with CO2 and served. We are meticulus about cleaning and sanitizing, and even kegerator lines are cleaned and sanitized every time keg is changed out. Was hoping someone may have some more insight on possible causes.

I did read that sparge temp could cause chill haze which brought me to another question. When batch sparging, if the sparge temp is say 168 deg, should the water be heated to 168, or should the water after it is poured into the mash be 168? If water is heated to 168, it will be more like 154 while sitting in the mash for 15 min. If I want it to be 168 in the mash I have to heat to about 190 which scares me about tannins and possibly causing the chill haze. Thoughts?
 

GoeHaarden

The best advice is unsolicited
HBT Supporter
Joined
Feb 1, 2017
Messages
1,187
Reaction score
657
Seems like you're doing the right things. My question to you is how fast are you chilling the wort after you boil? Chill haze can be caused by having a poor cold break (slowly cooling your wort). So that might be a cause...

As for your second question, adding ~190F sparge water seems about right depending on how much water you add. Once you add this 190F water it will be cooled quickly by you lower temp mash and equilibrate somewhere in between. Hopefully at 168F for mash out. Therefore, your total mash temp will not be 190F and I wouldn't worry about tannins being developed. I think I needed like 5 gallons of ~186F sparge water to get to mash out when I was batch sparging...
 
OP
K

Kbrann

Member
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
20
Reaction score
3
Location
Dyer
Thanks for the response, the cooling may be it. We never have been satisfied with speed of cooling. Currently we transfer beer to the conical after a 15 min whirlpool at flameout. The conical has a built in cooling coil which we run water from the outdoor spigot through 2 cooper immersion coils in an ice bath to get water as cold as possible and then through the coil in the fermenter. We just recently added a pump to our system and have been toying with the idea of a plate chiller or counterflow chiller. Maybe it is time for that upgrade.

Also wondered if using unfiltered tap water could have an affect on haze. Our water is straight out of Lake Michigan and supposed to be great for brewing (never actually had tested). We use the outdoor spigot with a white camper drinking water hose. Thought we could be getting some sediment in the water that is contributing to haze. We also currently don't have a PH meter so not sure if Mash or Sparge PH is getting too high or not.
 
OP
K

Kbrann

Member
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
20
Reaction score
3
Location
Dyer
Thanks for the article, it was a good read. Sounds like I should focus my attention on either the cold break or PH. Unfortunately I never seem to pay enough attention to the clarity of the wort before fermentation. I am pretty sure it is clear at that point because I feel I would take notice if it wasn't but by that point in the brew day who knows. It also doesn't help that we cool the wort in the fermenter making it harder to see. I will definitely be paying more attention going forward to help identify the problem. Up until now, the focus has been primarily on taste and not so much on appearance. Not that the beer is tasting great we are shifting focus to the finer details.
 

GoeHaarden

The best advice is unsolicited
HBT Supporter
Joined
Feb 1, 2017
Messages
1,187
Reaction score
657
The conical has a built in cooling coil which we run water from the outdoor spigot through 2 cooper immersion coils in an ice bath to get water as cold as possible and then through the coil in the fermenter.
Well, I may be wrong here but isn't the typical coil in a conical much shorter with much less surface area than say a 50' immersion chiller? Since you already have 2x ICs, I would try to put one in the kettle and use the other with your current ice bath configuration while whirlpooling. I do something similar, with an IC in an ice bath to pre-chill my counterflow water. Takes like ~8 min to get my wort to 65ish.
 

ESBrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2017
Messages
764
Reaction score
484
Location
Helsinki/Finland
"Vorlauf"ing (recirculating the wort) carefully before you collect the wort from mash tun, pH of the sparge water << pH6 & temp the same as mash temp (can be even colder), enough Ca2+ ions in the wort, vigorous boil & whirlfloc or protafloc, rapid and extensive cooling (cool as fast as is possibly preferaby with a cooler and cool even further than to pitching temp), let trub settle post cooling in a cool place for a good while, don't take any trub to fermenter. And when chill haze still forms when you are dry hopping (polyphenols from hops) use cold crashing (it may take quite a bit of time, to cut down cold crashing time you can use fermenter finings such as isinglass or gelatin that drop critical polyphenols and possibly silica gel for dropping some chill haze forming proteins). If the beer in bottle or keg still remains hazy, you can only give it more time in a very cold place and it should eventually clear up.
 
Last edited:
OP
K

Kbrann

Member
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
20
Reaction score
3
Location
Dyer
GoeHaarden we used to do things that way before getting the conical, but it still struggled to get under about 75 deg and took about 30 min. We switched to this way because even though the time to cooling is about the same, at least the wort is protected in the fermenter and not sitting out in the open garage for 30 min with who knows what in the air. The cooling time really hasn't been affected with the change. Getting a counterflow chiller with the 2 ICs in the ice bath may end up being the next step.

ESBrewer at the end of the mash and at the end of each batch sparge we use a pump to recirculate and set the grain bed for about 5-10 min and then also do a Vorlauf before transferring to kettle. Only reason we don't recirculate for the whole mash is because we mash in an igloo cooler so there is no heat source to keep temp from dropping. Just purchased a PH meter so I will be starting to check all of that on the next brew day. We also already use Whirfloc tablets and do a vigorous boil.
 

ESBrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2017
Messages
764
Reaction score
484
Location
Helsinki/Finland
Yes, it seems that you need more effective cooling mostly (this is very important cause it knocks much more polyphenol and protein out than a regular, lousy cooling style). And do not touch the trub after cooling, only take the clear liquid phase. If you take some trub, the reversible haze particles that have been sedimented tend to dissolve back in the heat of the fermenter. If you are not able to get rid of the haze to an extent that would make you happy you need cold & time, and possibly the fermenter finings if you choose to use one. But the time in cold will eventually do its job. Commercial breweries often remove this colloidal haze by filtration but it is not so convenient at home so you may need more time or some finings.
 
Last edited:

GoeHaarden

The best advice is unsolicited
HBT Supporter
Joined
Feb 1, 2017
Messages
1,187
Reaction score
657
but it still struggled to get under about 75 deg and took about 30 min
Seems like an awfully long time when you pre-chill with an IC in ice bath. How big are your ICs? Also, did you whirlpool while using you IC? An IC is waaayyy more effective when you whirlpool...
 
OP
K

Kbrann

Member
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
20
Reaction score
3
Location
Dyer
Seems like an awfully long time when you pre-chill with an IC in ice bath. How big are your ICs? Also, did you whirlpool while using you IC? An IC is waaayyy more effective when you whirlpool...
We did not whirlpool when using the IC in the wort, that was before we had the pump so it was harder to do so. Keep in mind we also do 10 gallon batches which take a lot longer to cool than 5 gallons. The one we put in the wort was a bigger one, the one in the ice bath was a smaller one from when we did 5 gallon batches. Unfortunately I do not know the size off hand.
 

GoeHaarden

The best advice is unsolicited
HBT Supporter
Joined
Feb 1, 2017
Messages
1,187
Reaction score
657
We did not whirlpool when using the IC in the wort, that was before we had the pump so it was harder to do so. Keep in mind we also do 10 gallon batches which take a lot longer to cool than 5 gallons. The one we put in the wort was a bigger one, the one in the ice bath was a smaller one from when we did 5 gallon batches. Unfortunately I do not know the size off hand.
I would try to whirlpool with the IC, and see what results you get before investing money in a CFC. That should help quite a bit.
 
Top