Does anyone else run their chilled wort through a paint straining bag before going into fermenter?

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TkmLinus

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After getting tired of trying to do my best with getting the most wort that I can out of my kettle with just my autosiphon I decided to start running it through paint straining bags. I simply boil up some water and when it is up to temp I cut off the heat and let the bags sit for 5 minutes to sanitize. I put a large bag in my bottling bucket and a small one in my fermenter. Now I just pour all the wort/trub/hops into the strainer in the bottling bucket. From there I just open the spigot and run the wort into the smaller bag in my fermenter. When the flow slows down I pick the large straining bag up and hang it over the bottling bucket, this gets several more cups of wort out. I have done this for several brews now and have not had any ill effects from it. I was wondering if anyone else does this. Also are there any potential downsides that I have not thought of? (So far I have found none except for the extended time and little extra clean up)

Cheers!
 

IslandLizard

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Many homebrewers do something similar. You're using 2 stages, that's more unique.

The only downside I see, it's difficult to keep those mesh bags sanitized to any standard, they're not smooth. Stuff (wort, trub, etc.) gets trapped in the fibers, and may cause infections over time.

I therefore always have (fine mesh) straining bags living in my Starsan bucket, permanently, if they're not being used. They get cleaner (brighter) with time spent in there too. Aside from rinsing well, I boil them up from time to time with some PBW and a few ml of lye solution added.

An alternate process would be letting the (chilled) wort sit in the kettle for an hour or so, all or most trub will have precipitated to the bottom. Siphon from the top (avoid the bottom!), lowering as the wort level drops. Toward the end of the transfer tilt the kettle slowly and carefully (prop it up on one side with a rolled up towel or so) to keep the wort well deep, and stop when you're starting sucking up trub. Put one of those flow inverter tippies on the bottom of your siphon.

That way much of the cold break will be left behind too.
 
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TkmLinus

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Many homebrewers do something similar. You're using 2 stages, that's more unique.

The only downside I see, it's difficult to keep those mesh bags sanitized to any standard, they're not smooth. Stuff (wort, trub, etc.) gets trapped in the fibers, and may cause infections over time.

I therefore always have (fine mesh) straining bags living in my Starsan bucket, permanently, if they're not being used. They get cleaner (brighter) with time spent in there too. Aside from rinsing well, I boil them up from time to time with some PBW and a few ml of lye solution added.

An alternate process would be letting the (chilled) wort sit in the kettle for an hour or so, all or most trub will have precipitated to the bottom. Siphon from the top (avoid the bottom!), lowering as the wort level drops. Toward the end of the transfer tilt the kettle slowly and carefully (prop it up on one side with a rolled up towel or so) to keep the wort well deep, and stop when you're starting sucking up trub. Put one of those flow inverter tippies on the bottom of your siphon.

That way much of the cold break will be left behind too.
To reduce chance of infection I put the bags in boiling hot water for 5 minutes before using, is this not enough to properly sterilize? I had been under the assumption that it was enough time. Thanks!
 

IslandLizard

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To reduce chance of infection I put the bags in boiling hot water for 5 minutes before using, is this not enough to properly sterilize? I had been under the assumption that it was enough time. Thanks!
You need to autoclave (heating to 250F under pressure) to sterilize. We're merely sanitizing, but there are many levels of that.

After a good rinse out, I'd probably boil them after use with some (homemade) PBW, Oxiclean, washing soda, or whatever you have as long as it's alkaline (basic). Then rinse again, and store them under Starsan, until next time. I've some paint strainer bags that were stored under Starsan for over 6 months. They got a lot brighter. ;)
 

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I'm interested in trying this. It's related to something I see that kind of conflicts:

* Pour everything into the fermenter, it doesn't matter (this will include your hops all along the brew day itself)
* If you add hops to your fermentation, do it at the end so they are only in there for 3 or so days, or you'll get strange vegetal flavors

I give my wort about a half hour to settle while I do other stuff. Tons gets into the fermenter and I don't sweat it. But a lot also stays behind, and this doesn't make me sad at all.

I have not tried a back to back test each way myself, or split a batch.
 

Dland

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Here is my version of that sort of thing:

First picture is partially cooled wort (by immersion chiller in BK) going into 4th vessel, which is just cleaned out mash tun. Leaf hops are in fine mesh stainless hop spider.

Second picture shows gravity drain from BK to 4th vessel, (hop back, sort of).

Third picture is hot break left behind in BK, with the help of a short but vigorous whirlpool.

I used to use hop bags, but found cleaning them a pain compared to hop spider.

As has been pointed out, leaving the hot break behind is not necessary for good beer, but I like to keep the bulk of it out of fermentor when I can. Especially now I'm running the "how long can I keep putting onto yeast cake w/o opening and cleaning fermentor" experiment.

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jerrylotto

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I usually just put the washed bag into the boiling wort for the last 10 minutes, and then after flameout use it to filter the hot (about 150F - 170F) wort into my fermenter. Most of the cooling is done in my fermentation vessel before I oxygenate and pitch my yeast starter.
 

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After getting tired of trying to do my best with getting the most wort that I can out of my kettle with just my autosiphon I decided to start running it through paint straining bags. I simply boil up some water and when it is up to temp I cut off the heat and let the bags sit for 5 minutes to sanitize. I put a large bag in my bottling bucket and a small one in my fermenter. Now I just pour all the wort/trub/hops into the strainer in the bottling bucket. From there I just open the spigot and run the wort into the smaller bag in my fermenter. When the flow slows down I pick the large straining bag up and hang it over the bottling bucket, this gets several more cups of wort out. I have done this for several brews now and have not had any ill effects from it. I was wondering if anyone else does this. Also are there any potential downsides that I have not thought of? (So far I have found none except for the extended time and little extra clean up)

Cheers!
I've been using a honey strainer for years. It works well on buckets. Amazon.com : Honey Keeper Honey Strainer Double Sieve #304 Stainless Steel Beekeeping Equipment Mesh Filter Screen : Garden & Outdoor
 

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odie

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bucket strainer. Posted on several other threads. Will produce very clear wort. Fits a fermenter bucket perfectly and gives a nice seal to keep your wort in the fermenter protected while it's draining.

As the Lizard says...let your kettle settle an hour or longer so most of the trub falls out. Run the top wort thru the strainer/bag/whatever and then the last gallon of crap gets dumped into the strainer and will drip out clear over several hours.

100% of your wort is now in the fermenter and all the trub is captured. Your reward in the cleanest yeast cake you have ever seen when you are done fermenting.
 

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MicroMickey

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There's an old German technique of cleaning wort by using a trubsack. I use a fine mesh nylon bag to line my hopback and strain the chilled wort into the fermenter. I've been doing it this way for 30 years. Of all the possible disasters which might or could happen, none have.
 

odie

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That stainless mesh honey strainer or a colander will catch the big stuff. But a lot of finer trub will still pass thru. If you can see the individual holes it's too coarse. Same with those paint strainer bags. Paint is very viscous. Your wort is not.

If it's fast, it's not catching much of anything. A fine mesh is what you need. But you must let the kettle settle for a couple hours or more. Otherwise your mesh will plug up fast and then 20-30 minutes to strain that first 4 gallons takes 20-30 hours.
 

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Otherwise your mesh will plug up fast and then 20-30 minutes to strain that first 4 gallons takes 20-30 hours.
This made me think of something - what I do - If it's a hop spider you can do a bunch of rapid short shakes, and any hops and debris in there will tend to collect in a ball that can be dumped out within about 10 seconds or so of work. The wort will be splashing around and out of it so you have to consider that. But the spider can be made to be reusable pretty dang fast with minimal if any beer loss if the spider itself can fit in your fermenter.
 

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You need to autoclave (heating to 250F under pressure) to sterilize. We're merely sanitizing, but there are many levels of that.

After a good rinse out, I'd probably boil them after use with some (homemade) PBW, Oxiclean, washing soda, or whatever you have as long as it's alkaline (basic). Then rinse again, and store them under Starsan, until next time. I've some paint strainer bags that were stored under Starsan for over 6 months. They got a lot brighter. ;)
Boiling (rolling boil, at sea level) for 5 minutes also "sterilizes".
If it's good enough For surgical instruments in the field, it's good enough for beer.
Yes I have tested this micro biologically.
 

amber-ale

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This made me think of something - what I do - If it's a hop spider you can do a bunch of rapid short shakes, and any hops and debris in there will tend to collect in a ball that can be dumped out within about 10 seconds or so of work. The wort will be splashing around and out of it so you have to consider that. But the spider can be made to be reusable pretty dang fast with minimal if any beer loss if the spider itself can fit in your fermenter.
I v tried the hopspider. Works well.
 

IslandLizard

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Boiling (rolling boil, at sea level) for 5 minutes also "sterilizes".
If it's good enough For surgical instruments in the field, it's good enough for beer.
Yes I have tested this micro biologically.
That does not make them sterile, but may be good enough when needed in a pinch, such as in the field, when there are no better options available.

Same true for beer, sure, as long as other factors aren't stacking up the odds of a possible infection. Such as a good healthy yeast pitch, to reduce lag time.

BTW, I didn't claim the mesh bags have to be sterile, just mentioned that sterilization takes a different approach.

Any thoughts on whether boiling (210-212F) those mesh bags for 5 minutes in water would be better than 1-5' in Starsan?
 

CascadesBrewer

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Any thoughts on whether boiling (210-212F) those mesh bags for 5 minutes in water would be better than 1-5' in Starsan?
I would put my money on the boiling water. My understanding is that Iodophor is a little better general purpose sanitizer than Starsan as well (if you don't mind the smell, longer contact time, and stained equipment). I have always wondered how well a contact sanitizer like Starsan or Iodophor will penetrate into all the little areas of fabric (especially the bag strings).
 

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I thought about getting one of these Bouncer filters - but not sure how well it would work or how fast it would clog up, etc. With any of these filters or pouring through a bag there’s that whole oxygen exposure thing too. In days gone by we were told yeast needed oxygen and people sold oxygen tanks with diffusion stones to oxygenate your wort. Now today oxygen is bad.

 
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renstyle

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I pull my hop spider from the kettle as it hits 80C, then blast out the hops with my sprayer...

I then let it sit in my StarsSan bucket, along with a funnel with a mesh filter, till we are cooled to pitch temps...

Then set the funnel in the fermenter, and prop the spider on top, letting the kettle spigot keep it centered.

It may be a slower drain, but it keeps a lot of cruft out of the fermenter, and I don't need to use a lot of xtra equipment.

Nearly a dozen brews in, and it's doing what I need it to do.
 

odie

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sounds like a lot of work. I just let my kettle settle a couple/few hours and by then everything above the spigot is pretty clear and will flow thru very fine mesh fairly fast. I think my bucket strainer is 200 micron. Similar to a Wilser bag or honey strainer bag (around 150 microns). Then all that's left is about a gallon of trub in the bottom of the kettle. Just dump all that into the strainer and walk away until tomorrow. Next day collect the last of your clear wort to add to the fermenter that is already bubbling away.

I have both of these strainers. I find the bucket insert much easier to clean and sanitize. Plus it's above the wort when in a 6.5-7 gal fermenter bucket. You can pitch the yeast as the bucket fills. Then dump the kettle bottom after the spigot quits flowing and let it drip out overnight. Remove the strainer with dry trub cake in the morning and put your lid and air lock on the bucket.

The honey sock is harder to clean IMO and you would need to pour off into a second bucket. But if your fermenter is not a standard width bucket it is an option.


 
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renstyle

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Regarding extra work... to each their own, honestly I'd say similar to extending brewday into two. Definitely keep going with what works for you.

I ferment in kegs, so only 5 gal max to cool which goes fairly quickly.

Even then, that time is plenty to let the StarSan do its magic.

Kettle is usually drained within 30mins of cutting power.

Then I can use my 10 gal of hot water from the chiller coil to clean everything up.

I've done back-to-back brew days a few times, and this helps facilitate that as well.
 

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After getting tired of trying to do my best with getting the most wort that I can out of my kettle with just my autosiphon I decided to start running it through paint straining bags. I simply boil up some water and when it is up to temp I cut off the heat and let the bags sit for 5 minutes to sanitize. I put a large bag in my bottling bucket and a small one in my fermenter. Now I just pour all the wort/trub/hops into the strainer in the bottling bucket. From there I just open the spigot and run the wort into the smaller bag in my fermenter. When the flow slows down I pick the large straining bag up and hang it over the bottling bucket, this gets several more cups of wort out. I have done this for several brews now and have not had any ill effects from it. I was wondering if anyone else does this. Also are there any potential downsides that I have not thought of? (So far I have found none except for the extended time and little extra clean up)

Cheers!
I do it very similar; I soak the bag in StarSan while I'm chilling the wort. Then put the bag in a sanitized 6 gallon bucket and run the warm (my chiller sucks) wort into the bag. Then lift and drain the bag when it's done. (I started doing this when I quit using a hop sock and just add the hops directly to the kettle.) I add a sanitized bottle of ice to finish chilling the wort, unless I am pitching kveik yeast.

I ferment in the bucket until fermentation subsides, then rack to a carboy to finish, with a tablespoon of sugar to make sure the yeast quickly scavenges the oxygen from this racking. Then I bottle directly from the carboy in a week or two when the beer is finished.
 

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I was using a large strainer I got at my lhbs. It has 2 layers of mesh, I laid a paint strainer bag in it. It worked good I guess, it would clog so you know it was stopping a lot of trub. However I have now a tarted down the whole low oxygen path and think doing this would add a lot of o2. I still don’t understand why you aren’t supposed to add o2 by agitation or straining/splashing but you are supposed to use an o2 tank/stone to add o2 after pitching. For me it is like a 5 minutes from transfer to pitch. Does adding the o2 5 minutes early really kill your beer?!
 
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TkmLinus

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I was using a large strainer I got at my lhbs. It has 2 layers of mesh, I laid a paint strainer bag in it. It worked good I guess, it would clog so you know it was stopping a lot of trub. However I have now a tarted down the whole low oxygen path and think doing this would add a lot of o2. I still don’t understand why you aren’t supposed to add o2 by agitation or straining/splashing but you are supposed to use an o2 tank/stone to add o2 after pitching. For me it is like a 5 minutes from transfer to pitch. Does adding the o2 5 minutes early really kill your beer?!
From what I understand oxygen before pitching is just fine since the yeast will use up the oxygen when they multiply. Any oxygen after the yeast have done their thing is no good. I strain to add oxygen then do an air stone to add more to the wort before pitching.
 

duffy5018

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Same here. But then the low oxygen group avoids oxygen getting in throughout the mash and other steps prior to fermentation. So...
The idea is ANY oxygen that touches the product once you start grinding your grains is bad, full stop. The dilemma is yeast need the O2 to regenerate enough to ferment appropriately. So, what I've been reading and hearing through podcasts and such (since I don't do LoDo cuz it's a ton of extra work and my beer wins awards without that, plus I don't really do the German / Bohemian Pilsner thing which is where that seems to truly shine), is that adding O2 an hour or two after pitching yeast, once they've theoretically scrubbed the trace amounts of it from beer, will be consumed really quickly and you've severely limited your O2 exposure. Vs adding O2, then adding yeast and waiting for them to get trucking. That extra 2 hours is potentially a source of oxidation.
 

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I just pour all the wort/trub/hops into the strainer in the bottling bucket.
If you are able to pour/dump your wort, you don't need any strainers. Just let the wort settle and carefully pour off the clear wort.
If you are brewing large batches, its not practical to pour/dump the wort.
If you want to be really frugal, use a 1 gallon sanitized glass jug and dump the remaining kettle trub in that. This will then settle down to half trub/half wort. So if you have 1/2 gallon of kettle trub, you'll get about a quart of extra wort, which may or may not be worth doing any extra work for.
I can make a quart of wort for about 50 cents or less, so the only reason to save it would be to "wake up" a jar of yeast from my yeast bank that's been sitting in the fridge for a while.
I've also just dumped the whole thing in the fermenter and not worried about it, but my normal process is to figure in 1/2 to 3/4 gallon of waste in a batch and adjusted water volumes for that. If I'm using homegrown whole leaf hops, I plan for more kettle waste, and sometimes strain the final gallon into a jug.
 

Spivey24

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I used to do various methods of straining the wort - bags or strainers. But then one time when I wasn’t paying a lot of attention and was messing with a strainer bag, some wort dumped across my hand into the fermenter. This turned into a major infection, and I ended up losing four entire batches before I got it out. The infection got into everything including the beer lines. I ended up sterilizing or replacing it all which was a pain. The more you mess with things, the greater the risk.

Now I just scale up the recipe a little in volume, and dump some of the trub and hops into the fermenter and leave the rest to dump. I get over it. :) Losing 4 batches was NOT worth the extra quart or 2 with straining, and it’s a whole lot simpler now and less things to clean. And like @madscientist451 said, if you are that pressed, dump the trub into a gallon or 2 sterilized glass container and let it settle out for a day in the fridge.

The other thing I noticed is this strained wort tastes awful compared to the other clear wort. Taste it sometime. Not sure if it translates to any taste difference in the final beer, but worth noting.
 

Spivey24

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You don't wear disposable gloves?
Yea I was but not long ones and the bag overflowed up my wrist and in the glove. In hind site, I should have reheated the wort to sterilize, but I didn’t. My point just being, it’s easy to get distracted and screw up. And if you are straining cooled wort, you are messing with fire. :)
 

cmac62

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:off:
FYI, this might make a perfect false bottom for my Anvil 10.5 to use with a bag and no malt pipe. :mug:

Back on topic :)

I recently bought a whirl pool arm for my Anvil and after that I don't worry too much about whatever makes it into the fermenter. I may try to run it during cooling, remove the IC and run it for a while longer, then turn if off and let everything settle for 30 mins or so before transferring. I never really worried too much about break getting in as it drops out so fast.
 
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