Clearing Beer: Bottle Conditioning

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yard_bird

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My last brewing milestone was more precise temperature control (Son of a Fermentation Chiller) and have really enjoyed the benefits of being able to dial in a specific temperature for fermentation (diacetyl rest). My next challenge is clarity.

I typically brew 3 gallons at a time, boiling 4 gallons of wort for 60'-90'. I would describe my boil as medium, not sure if it's "rigorous" but I understand that helps coagulate protein. Last 10-15 minutes I add Irish moss for more coagulation/precipitation.

I submerge my kettle in a 15 gallon ice bath and get it to ~120F in about 30 minutes to an hour. I stir my wort (doing my best not to agitate) in the kettle to help speed this up. Clearly not the best method, but it's the best I've been able to do. Not sure if this is sufficient for a cold break.

I siphon ~100F wort to the fermentation chamber and leave as much of the gunk I can in the kettle. Set SoaFC to pitch temp, clean up, and pitch in the morning.

After fermentation is finished, I rack to a bottling bucket, and fill my bottles bottom to top with a wand. Store at room temp until carbonated. Add to fridge for 24+hrs to chill and pour a glass of chill haze the next day. This has not bothered me or the people I give free beer to in the past, but now I want clear beer. I have a kolsch in primary with WLP029 which is a poor floccer.

Clearing Concepts:
Cold store bottles in fridge for weeks: Proposed current strategy. I don't have space for a full fermenter in the fridge, so this would be done ~six 22oz bottles at a time (far from ideal). Assuming about a month at fridge temp.
Faster chilling method: Minimize gunk transfer may reduce chill haze? Hard time abandoning my ice bath since it uses <20gallons of water.
Gelatin: My understanding is that I need to get my primary down to ~40F to generate haze, add gelatin, and hold for 48 hrs prior to racking to my bottling bucket/bottles. Not sure if I can get SoaFC down cold enough and long enough. Any issue in trying to cold crash my primary and if I get it down to 50 have it rise again?
Biofine: I hear this can work at room temp though I'm not sure. Have not heard consistent results with this.

Really appreciate feedback. Thanks.
 
After fermentation is finished, I rack to a bottling bucket
After fermentation is finished, I leave the beer in the fermenter until it clears up. With clear carboys I waited till I could see all the way across the trub layer on the bottom to the other side. With a conical that I can't see through, I put a sight glass below it and wait until the beer is pristine as I want it to be in my drinking glass.

Might happen in 10 days, might be 6 weeks.

I do use whirlfloc near the end of boil to help give me cleaner wort to the FV. But even if it isn't clean wort, it still becomes trub on the bottom.
 
Thanks . I assume the colder the fv the faster this happens/clearer the beer gets. Any chance this could clear up at room temp within say 3 months?
 
Thanks . I assume the colder the fv the faster this happens/clearer the beer gets.
Yes, that's why Lagers are lagered at near freezing temps for 1-6 months.

Any chance this could clear up at room temp within say 3 months?
It should eventually clear, even at room temps, yes. How long it takes depends on the yeast and if the beer contains the proteins that create chill haze.
Adding some (dissolved) gelatin will speed clarification too, quite remarkably, but again, works much quicker/thorough in cool/cold conditions. Either way it will take more than 2 days, more like 1-2 weeks when kept cold.
 
I submerge my kettle in a 15 gallon ice bath and get it to ~120F in about 30 minutes to an hour.
You're going at the wrong way, throwing ice at hot wort, not having enough ice to use where it really counts: at the end!

Just use regular tap water to get your kettle down to 140-120F, as low as you can get it, using regular water. THEN start using ice and/or pre-chilled water. to bring it down to 80-70F, or even lower.

It may take 2 or 3 refreshings of regular (cool) tap water to get it to 140-120F, around 10-15 gallons total for a 3 gallon batch. Save and use the hot water for cleanup.
Then do the ice bath, maybe even in 2 stages, to be more effective/efficient.

Have you looked into using a wort chiller?
 
Any chance this could clear up at room temp within say 3 months?
What is "this". I didn't notice that you'd given any specific instance.

Yes, in general you can cold crash at the end of your fermentation process to speed things up. If you are doing lagers, then my advice isn't for them. They have several steps that are important for them.

For the ales I've done just leaving them extra time at their ferment temp of 69°F (20°C) clears them up pretty well. It's taken as long as 6 weeks for a few beers I've done, if I had to let them go 3 months I would have. But so far I'm getting better at something as my typical time in the FV lately to get clear and clean beer is 14 to 18 maybe 21 days.

I haven't really noticed a correlation yet between how clean the wort is going into the FV and it clearing up later in the FV with everything becoming trub. I've put some really clean wort in the FV and have it stay cloudy with yeast suspended for a long time.
 
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For cooling, @IslandLizard stated the order well. I have a 7.5G kettle. Just after boil, I run cold water over the outside of the kettle (my sink has a movable head) for a few minutes to take the initial heat off the kettle. Then I place the kettle in the sink of just cold water which I replace once or twice at about 10 and 20 minutes. Then I add ice to the water and let it sit. I can usually get down to 68-70 in just over an hour. For lagers or brews where I want to pitch really cold, I siphon to the fermenter and place it in the chamber set to the temp I want. To get from 68 down to 48 can take several hours, but the ferm tank is sealed so I figure it's fine.

For clarity, I cold crash for 48-96 hours at the end of fermentation. This really helps clear the beer. It is also an ideal time to use gelatin. When the beer is cold (<40), add gelatin for 36-48 hours before siphoning to bottling bucket. It means I am bottling cold which may add a day or so to carbonation time, but the cold also helps settle any residual gunk to the bottom of the bottles.

My ferm chamber is a chest freezer connected to an inkbird controller so I can can go as low as needed. If you can't get that cold then get as cold as you can and plan on letting the beer set in the primary longer. Cold and time are keys to clarity. I am not an expert, but I have heard that gelatin works best when the beer is cold (<40). Not sure how effective it is when the beer is 60+.

I use Irish moss, a cold crash, and gelatin when needed and my beers come out really clear. The gelatin has the most noticeable impact, but I only use it when it really matters (i.e. lighter colored brews.)

If you start to cold crash do some reading about suck back. It can be an issue. I use a cold crash guardian (brewhardware.com) and it works great.
 
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Thanks all for the tips and advice, looks like I have some extra reading and research this weekend.

Much appreciated
 
Letting the beer stay in the fermenter long enough will let it clear, but it will still get a chill haze when you put it in the fridge. One low-tech fix: Let the beer warm up some before serving. I like it better if it sits out for 20 - 30 minutes before opening, and the chill haze is gone.
 
Cold store bottles in fridge for weeks: Proposed current strategy. I don't have space for a full fermenter in the fridge, so this would be done ~six 22oz bottles at a time (far from ideal). Assuming about a month at fridge temp.
I find that the chill haze drops out in about a week in the fridge for 12 oz bottles - probably quite a bit longer for 22 oz bottles - maybe 2 weeks, but I haven't tried it. From what I've read, if you then take them out, and later put them back in the fridge, chill haze forms again.
 
From what I've read, if you then take them out, and later put them back in the fridge, chill haze forms again.

I don't think that's the case. After chill haze forms and drops (literally), there wouldn't be any chill-haze-causing proteins left suspended in the beer. No precursors, no chill haze.
 
Letting the beer stay in the fermenter long enough will let it clear, but it will still get a chill haze when you put it in the fridge. One low-tech fix: Let the beer warm up some before serving. I like it better if it sits out for 20 - 30 minutes before opening, and the chill haze is gone.
Thanks, I did this last night with my biere de garde and it worked pretty well. I have a kolsch churning currently and serving temp for that is pretty low from what I remember, but I think at this point I'll just chill them in the fridge for a week or two before serving.

Then research the cold crash guardian and implement on future brews and see how cold my ferm chamber can get. It's a great idea, can't believe I haven't come across it before.
 
The biggest change w.r.t. chill haze I had, was to acidify my brewing liquor/sparging water to a pH of 5,5. Suddenly, I got much better coagulation in the boil (and even outside it: I tend to mash one evening, boil for five minutes, hermetically seal my boil kettle, and move it to cool place so it can cool overnight. Possibly simpler if one brews only 2 gallons). Also, when putting my beers in the garage after carbonation, where it is chilly, I noticed I didn't have chill haze anymore.
 
Greetings all.

Biere de garde cleared up after about 10-14 days in the fridge. It’s been in bottles for about 6 weeks now so, that’s another factor.

I brewed a cream ale 5 weeks ago. Crystal clear in the bottle and surprisingly clear in the glass after 24 hrs, though still a little haze.

Took a sample of my Kolsch this weekend. The beer itself is pretty clear (at fermentation temp) but of course there’s still a ton of yeast floating around.

Thank you all for your tips.
 
You're acidifying the  water, not the mash, to 5.5? What is your mash pH?
I also acidify my mash to around 5.4-5.3. And I used to do that before I acidified my sparging water.

But when sparging, the acidified sparging water helps keeping the pH of the filtered wort low. And that gave an immediate improvement in protein coagulation and a noted improvement in (absence of) chill haze.
 
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How does this work? What is happening to the haze causing proteins as they warm?
I don't know how it works - I assume it's the reverse of how the haze forms when chilled. But I use this technique fairly often, and it has always worked.

Stone Brewing wrote an article about this several years ago: Chill Haze...The More You Know
 
There's a lot of technics to speed it up, I tried some of them, but I didn't saw big differences. Just more work. And a angry wife (cold crash... space in the fridge... you know...)

This beer in the picture had been boiled for 20 min. No whirflock, no gelatin, no cold crash, no secondaries... Only thing that I do it's filter through a hop bag while transfer to the fermentor, and I empty the kettle. No losses.

The difference probably it's due to time. Usually I let it fermenter for 20 to 30 days. Then bottle and start to drink after 2 months from the brewday. It's a hard time waiting, but completely worth it.

Cheers!

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