Cold crashing- a couple of questions

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I recently brewed an Oktoberfest German lager. Now, criticize me all you want but I used liquid California ale yeast to ferment it. It was the only yeast I had on hand and I fermented it at around 70F (ambient temperature) so I know technically it is not a lager. I am a beginner homebrewer and I am seeking advice in a variety of areas. This was my first all-grain brew and I did not account for sparge water evaporation during heating. I ended up with closer to 3.8 gallons of wort instead of my intended 5 gallons. My original gravity ended up being 1.069 (too high I am aware). I just didn't want to add tap water to my wort. After a week of fermenting I noticed almost no bubbling in my airlock. I took a gravity reading and it was 1.0098. This was actually much crispier than I anticipated with such a high starting gravity. I decided to move the beer into another plastic bucket and place it in the fridge overnight. Tomorrow I plan to begin bottle conditioning. A question I have: is cold crashing worth it? I was wondering if cold crashing drops enough yeast out of solution to affect my bottle conditioning time. I would like a clearer beer but I would like to know what I am sacrificing in doing so. Also, I welcome any criticisms of my process as I have described. I am new to homebrewing and I welcome any advice. I will not be offended. Thanks.
 

VikeMan

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Also, I welcome any criticisms of my process as I have described. I am new to homebrewing and I welcome any advice. I will not be offended. Thanks.

There's a lot to unpack here. So please don't be taken aback if I address lots of this in pieces.

I recently brewed an Oktoberfest German lager. Now, criticize me all you want but I used liquid California ale yeast to ferment it. It was the only yeast I had on hand and I fermented it at around 70F (ambient temperature) so I know technically it is not a lager.

You made an amber ale. There's nothing at all wrong with that. Just just call it what it is.

This was my first all-grain brew and I did not account for sparge water evaporation during heating. I ended up with closer to 3.8 gallons of wort instead of my intended 5 gallons. My original gravity ended up being 1.069 (too high I am aware). I just didn't want to add tap water to my wort.

Heating sparge water up to sparge temp didn't result in the evaporation of 1.2 gallons of water. Perhaps you mean you boiled away more than you planned/expected during the actual boil? Also, how did you determine the total water needed? Here's the total amount water you should need for any given batch:

Desired batch size into the fermenter
+ grain absorption
+ unrecoverable mash tun dead space
+ tun to kettle transfer losses
+ kettle hop/trub absorption
+ boil off
+ kettle to fermenter transfer losses.

Some of the above may not be applicable, depending on your equipment and process. Are you using brewing software? If so, be sure to tweak its parameters to match your equipment/process.

I decided to move the beer into another plastic bucket and place it in the fridge overnight. Tomorrow I plan to begin bottle conditioning. A question I have: is cold crashing worth it?

There was really no need to move the beer to another bucket. And that exposes the beer to more oxygen, which is generally not a good thing. In general, you only want to add oxygen when you are pitching the yeast, before fermentation.

A question I have: is cold crashing worth it?

Cold crashing can definitely help clarify beer, and can be worth it if clear beer is important to you. But cold crashing reduces pressure inside the fermenter, and unless you have a way to prevent oxygen from being sucked into the fermenter during the crash, I would recommend not doing it. (A standard airlock won't prevent O2 being sucked in.)

I was wondering if cold crashing drops enough yeast out of solution to affect my bottle conditioning time.

I suppose it could affect conditioning time a little. The usual question is "will there be enough yeast left in the beer to bottle condition?" And the answer to that is "almost always." It's very hard to remove all of the yeast. Only filtering (or perhaps centrifuging) can do that. People have lagered beers for weeks or months and then bottle conditioned without issues.

Congrats on your first all grain beer!
 
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Thank you for all the advice! I understand the 1.2 gallons was a combination of things and yes I did use a calculator but not according to my equipment. I detailed some of my equipment in my introductory post if you are curious. I suppose you are right about unnecessary oxygen exposure. I used tubing for the transfer to prevent exposure and I removed the airlock and plugged the hole before placing it in the fridge for the same reason. Also thanks for your advice on cold crashing. That eases my worries about loss of yeast. Time to bottle soon!
 

Beermeister32

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Some brewers top up after a boil using jug distilled water. Pre-boiled would be even better, but I’ve used distilled a number of times with no issues. Tap water in my area is hideous and organic smelling, not going there…

One great thing about this method is you can pre-chill the jugs in the freezer. Bring them down to about 34 degrees, it is a great way to help bring your beers down to pitching temperatures quickly. When topping up, I usually shoot for 5.25 gallons into the carboy. This gets you pretty close to 5 gallons finished beer.
 
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That’s a great idea! The wort chiller I was gifted has a hole in it anyway, plus my apartment sink can’t have any attachments. I’ll be sure to grab some jugs before my next brew
 

hotbeer

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Cold crashing is probably only necessary when you don't want to wait for your everything to drop out of your beer on it's own. As well are most other methods for clarifying beer. Many people do cold crash just as part of their standard SOP.

I just leave the beer in the primary FV until it's cleaned up on it's own. That might be 10 days to six weeks. I'm not in a hurry and the beers that stayed in the FV longer have always been some of my favorite beers.

As for yeast when carbonating naturally... IMO, the bigger concern is whether your beer has more ABV than the yeast can tolerate. Otherwise there should be plenty of yeast in the beer solution itself. For sure you are probably going to stir up a minute amount from the bottom any how no matter how careful you think you are and that will be plenty.

If your beer is a very, very high ABV, then maybe consider adding some yeast with higher alcohol tolerance to your priming solution when you bottle. SafeAle F-2 is specifically for this. However there are other yeasts that can be used too. And probably doesn't have to specifically be a beer yeast.
 
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