ferment and serve in keg. your process for improved clarity?

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odie

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I've been fermenting and serving in the keg for a year, maybe a bit longer.

Recently, I noticed that I guess some of my beers don't drop clear as fast as I think they would or should. I am using a floating dip tube so it's not the bottom yeast cake. It's the floating sediment.

I tapped a dopplebock that was about a month old. But it was sitting at warmer temps for a while. A glass of it was sitting overnight. when I poured it out there was a very notable amount of sediment in the bottom of the glass. It should be dark, yet clear and bright, no?

those who ferment and serve in the same keg...how long do you let the keg sit cold before serving? Do you cold store it before placing in the kegerator?

Sometimes I will have the kegs sitting a while, sometimes they go on tap soon after they finish fermenting. I'm not really tracking that, I guess I should.
 
lot of factors there. yeast, hop load, possible proteins from wheat/oats/etc.

finings are probably a good solution, as long as you know that you're losing some volume in your ferm+serve keg as they create a muck layer at the bottom. since you're floating your diptube, it shouldnt affect your pours until the very end.

getting the clearest wort into fermenter as possible helps. then you're just dealing with yeast and hops. no trub or crap from kettle.

and lastly, you gotta go as cold as you can possibly get it for a couple days. the time is yeast dependent, english drops like rock, some lagers hang forever. and if you're "crashing" in your kegerator, thats going to be a problem. serving temps arent nearly cold enough for lager yeast. ales are probably fine. but plenty of lagers are happy to hang out and work- albeit slowly- at serving temps.

the very best is clear wort from kettle, with finings at freezing temp for couple days (28-33F). beyond that, you gotta start filtering, which is a whole other load of problems....

edit: and i cant say for sure its a real "thing" but i also feel like some lager yeasts will sort of swim back into the mix if the beer gets warmed up again after crashing. not entirely sure, might have just been stirred up somehow, but i've noticed that as well a few times. whatever the actual cause may be.
 
I filter all my kettle wort.

I can't use finings since I reuse the yeast.

My kegerator runs right around freezing, sometimes a little below. I've had lighter ABV beers start to ice up and the floating dip tube gets on top of the ice and then nothing comes out. Probably from the sudden loss of PSI when I pull the tap.

I'm guessing I just need to better monitor my post fermentation lagering?
 
those all sound like you're on the right track. i'd say extend the time at freezing/crash temp, especially on lagers is probably the first thign to try.

i dont know if i believe its necessary, but some folks insist you want to slowly crash lagers, and somehow that helps them all crash out and stay out, sitting on the bottom. maybe worth a try? and i dont know which strain you typically use, but i've seen some lagers that make a nice, hard, compact cake and others that look like powdered sugar in a snow globe- the slightest jostling kicks up a little cloud of fine powder. something to think about.

have you considered overbuilding starters instead of trying to reuse yeast? finings do help alot. but if you're set on reusing the whole yeast cake, obviously then it just is what it is.
 
34/70 is my prefered lager yeast.

I harvest and save the yeast on the last pint or so. What's left inside gets pitched on.
 
34/70 is my prefered lager yeast.

I harvest and save the yeast on the last pint or so. What's left inside gets pitched on.
i'm not 100% sure what you mean by save the last pint.

but if you're dumping right into same vessel, or even taking that yeast cake (and a pint of beer?) and pouring it into a new clean vessel, you're still passing along whatever gets dropped out from beer to beer to beer. using cloth or a bag or even a screen is still going to let some stuff through when you filter off the kettle. maybe not alot, but what's there will just roll along each time you reuse it. it should still settle out. but maybe that might be building up and causing issues? just a thought. because you sound like you should be getting clean wort/beer and good crashes.

i do feel like 34/70 is one where it seems like it drops pretty well, but no matter what (finings, long cold crashes) theres always some yeast dusting the bottom of the keg when it kicks.
 
i'm not 100% sure what you mean by save the last pint.
floating dip tube. The last of the beer spits out much of the yeast cake when the tube drops to the bottom. As soon as you get a yeasty or silty pour, grab clean mason jars and empty the keg. It will be all milky looking. toss in the fridge and let it settle out. you will have a couple jars of nice yeast cake for another beer.
 
ok, i think i got it. but if im understanding correctly this may be key. you'd be selecting for the least flocculant yeast by doing this. (assuming i understand correctly) the most flocculant will be on the very bottom, typically buried at bottom of yeast cake, the least flocculant on top just kinda swirling around. so the silty and milky yeast from the top will be the less flocculant.
if you got to the end of the keg and shook the hell out of it, swirled it all up like crazy then in theory (assuming you fully dissolved the yeast cake/most-flocculant) you'd get the original mix from the pouch. a few high flocc, mostly average, and a few low flocc.

i think since 34/70 already has some of this tendency to have some low-flocc powdery yeasties, you might be selecting for the low flocc'ers and bringing them along every time?

another thing i just recalled- Calcium. dont remember how but in general it helps yeast to flocc.
 
ok, i think i got it. but if im understanding correctly this may be key. you'd be selecting for the least flocculant yeast by doing this. (assuming i understand correctly) the most flocculant will be on the very bottom, typically buried at bottom of yeast cake, the least flocculant on top just kinda swirling around. so the silty and milky yeast from the top will be the less flocculant.
if you got to the end of the keg and shook the hell out of it, swirled it all up like crazy then in theory (assuming you fully dissolved the yeast cake/most-flocculant) you'd get the original mix from the pouch. a few high flocc, mostly average, and a few low flocc.

i think since 34/70 already has some of this tendency to have some low-flocc powdery yeasties, you might be selecting for the low flocc'ers and bringing them along every time?

another thing i just recalled- Calcium. dont remember how but in general it helps yeast to flocc.
This is what I was going to say as well, could be that that yeast is the lower flocculating yeast from the lot.
 
once the tap starts to pour yeasty/silty/milky whatever. The floating dip tube is near the bottom and starting to pick up the cake. I take it out of service and store it cold.

right before I pitch fresh wort back into the keg, I shake it real good and then tap out the leftovers into jars and save. What does not come out is pitched directly onto with fresh wort and the keg re-sealed to ferment again.
 
huh. well if you're shaking it well and making sure the cake is broken up and its all mixed together then i guess in theory you should have the normal mix of high/med/low flocc.

so i guess that leaves making sure you're getting enough calcium for the yeast, and possibly some sort of trub/gunk/etc thats getting carried over into the next brew. when you save yeast in a jar, is there a funky nasty layer on the bottom? thinking maybe you could see it possibly as it settles out in a jar.

beyond that, sounds like you're doing things right.
 
I think its just the time component. I need to get ahead of the production curve so I can have finished kegs sitting around longer.

Lately, I've been pushing beers out pretty fast to take to several camping "parties".

I used to have a cold storage freezer for the keg "bullpen". Lately, they have been going on tap shortly after fermentation is complete.
 
I think you just need more time at cool temps. This was my Helles fermented and served in the same keg with a Flotit 2.0. I think this was at 30 days @ 38F in my keezer.
PXL_20230211_223747142.jpg
 
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