Filtered beer woes

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sr20steve

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So I have been struggling to get my beers commercial quality clear. I've been cold crashing and using whirflock, and even have been filtering as of recent with a 5 micron cartridge style filter. Everytime my beer remains slightly cloudy, even when it warms up. I recently just switched to a 1 micron filter on a DIPA I brewed, hoping it would solve my problems. But same thing, still hazy. It's not hefeweizen cloudy but still hazy.

Anyone else have success making comercial clear beer? I just got some bio fine I'm contemplating tossing some in my kegs to see how they clear up (even though they have been filtered already).

And before anyone says who cares what your beer looks like, it's a night and day difference in a flitered beer like a DIPA in smoothness with no bitter harsh hop particles floating around. I think it tastes much much better. You do lose some hop aroma but not a ton. And most of the folks who will try my brews want to see a crystal clear beer, I know it's stupid but most of my buddies aren't brewers. The clear beer makes people less hesitant to try it.
 

day_trippr

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Just out of curiosity, how much time passes from grain to glass at your place?

Cheers!
 

twalte

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I have been researching gelatin finings on HBT (after cold crashing)...seems like the next step if clarity is important to you. I want clear beer too, but not too hung up on it as I think the yeast is a beneficial nutrient.
 

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Hmmm. I have crystal clear beer by about 14 days after brewday, and I don't filter or use finings (except for whirlfloc in the kettle).

I assume your wort is clear going into the fermenter? You get a good hot break and a good cold break? You always get complete conversion (no starch haze?). Clear wort will make clear beer.

You could have some chill haze, and one way to get rid of that is either to keep the beer cold for about two weeks after fermentation ends, or to filter the beer with a small filter size when the beer is cold.

Very very hoppy beers will sometimes have a slight hops haze, but even my IPAs don't have any haze.

Which yeast strains are you using? Maybe you're not using a flocculant yeast, and so still have a yeast haze that is bothering you?
 
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sr20steve

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Just out of curiosity, how much time passes from grain to glass at your place?

Cheers!
Normally 4 weeks sometimes a week more or so depending on when I keg spot opens up. 3 weeks ferment, 1 week carbing/crashing. I do notice the closer I get to tapping a keg it gets clearer and clearer (as you would expect as you pull more particles that drop out).

Now I brewed the centennial blonde and that brew was the closest to commercial clear I have ever gotten. Most of my problems come from hoppy beers (which are some of my favorites of course).
 
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sr20steve

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Hmmm. I have crystal clear beer by about 14 days after brewday, and I don't filter or use finings (except for whirlfloc in the kettle).

I assume your wort is clear going into the fermenter? You get a good hot break and a good cold break? You always get complete conversion (no starch haze?). Clear wort will make clear beer.

You could have some chill haze, and one way to get rid of that is either to keep the beer cold for about two weeks after fermentation ends, or to filter the beer with a small filter size when the beer is cold.

Very very hoppy beers will sometimes have a slight hops haze, but even my IPAs don't have any haze.

Which yeast strains are you using? Maybe you're not using a flocculant yeast, and so still have a yeast haze that is bothering you?
I'm hoping its not something with my process, I always get great effeciency and my beers typically finish on target for the style (with a few exceptions of course). I typically use us05 or 1056 for most of my ales, unless the recipe calls for something different of course.

But this kern river citra Dipa I just filtered we did have a problem controlling the mash temp because it was such a thick mash and spiked a few times, and I ended up finishing at 1.014 which is a tad high for what they typically get with this recipe (shooting for 1.010).
 
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sr20steve

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I'm assuming I'm getting a good hot and cold break, sometimes I do get allot of break matter into the fermenter but it normally settles out to pretty clear beer when I siphon it into my kegs. And I always try to siphon as high as I can to avoid sucking up trub.

I'll post some pics of my recent filtered brews tonight when I get home from work.
 

JuanMoore

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My beers are crystal clear, and I don't do anything special other than being slow and lazy a lot of the time. I use Irish moss at the end of the boil when I remember it, which is only ~1/2 the time. For hoppy beers I typically primary for 2.5-8 weeks (sometimes I'm really lazy), transfer to a keg and add dry hops, let it dry hop for 7-10 days, and then throw the keg in the keezer (leaving the hops in there). I use the set and forget carbonation method, or sometimes burst carb by bumping up the initial pressure, but I never shake the keg. The only beers I've had any haze in were those that I rushed, and even then it was minor and went away after a week in the keg.

The only beers I use finings on are my mesquite pod beers. For those I cold crash and add bentonite after primary. I do this to remove potential aflatoxins, not for clarity.

FWIW I also only use leaf hops for dry hopping. Not sure if it makes a difference in clarity, but I know I prefer the flavor.
 

JuanMoore

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I'm assuming I'm getting a good hot and cold break, sometimes I do get allot of break matter into the fermenter but it normally settles out to pretty clear beer when I siphon it into my kegs.
If you're getting a good hot break and cold break, the beer should look very clear with clumps of break material in it as you're transferring out of the kettle. Something like this-

 
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sr20steve

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That's definitely what I see when I chill^^^

I'd like to see some of your beers, maybe I'm not being realistic with my clarity expectations.
 
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sr20steve

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I'm not too far off from your bottom two but you would expect a brilliant clarity from filtering down to 1 micron right? Maybe I'm just expecting too much.
 

day_trippr

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Normally 4 weeks sometimes a week more or so depending on when I keg spot opens up. 3 weeks ferment, 1 week carbing/crashing. I do notice the closer I get to tapping a keg it gets clearer and clearer (as you would expect as you pull more particles that drop out).

Now I brewed the centennial blonde and that brew was the closest to commercial clear I have ever gotten. Most of my problems come from hoppy beers (which are some of my favorites of course).
I suggest you skip the filtration step entirely, and simply extend the carbing/cold conditioning time to at least two full weeks (I don't see you getting satisfactory carbonation in one week anyway) and even better to three weeks. Then see if the third pint pulled meets your goals...

Cheers!
 
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sr20steve

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Ok so pulled at sample of the citra DIPA and it's much clearer today, maybe I jumped the gun a bit.
 

Newbeerguy

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Cold crashing goes a LONG way in clarity.


This is a pic of a Hefeweizen....yes a Hefe (70% wheat too)

This sat cold for approx. 3 months. No clarifiers at all.
 

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These photos make me realize that I have sooooo much more to learn. I am cold crashing my first primary today...a good start.

Wondering if my Safeale 5 yeast is not the best choice too. Perhaps a more flocculent yeast would help my clarity.
 

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These photos make me realize that I have sooooo much more to learn. I am cold crashing my first primary today...a good start.

Wondering if my Safeale 5 yeast is not the best choice too. Perhaps a more flocculent yeast would help my clarity.
Maybe. I found that S05 takes a long time to clear for me. WlP001, though, drops clear like a rock. So do most English strains. It really depends on the yeast strain, the recipe, etc. I mean, if you have clear wort going into the fermenter, the only issue you might have later on is chill haze or hops haze (or possibly a yeast haze). If the wort isn't clear, then it's hard to say- it could be starch haze from incomplete conversion, or a protein haze from a poor hot break.

I don't use finings, besides whirlfloc in the kettle, but I do insist on clear beer for myself. It always gets clear for me now, but it was a learning curve for a while!
 

BetterSense

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I mean, if you have clear wort going into the fermenter, the only issue you might have later on is chill haze or hops haze (or possibly a yeast haze). If the wort isn't clear, then it's hard to say- it could be starch haze from incomplete conversion, or a protein haze from a poor hot break.
What kind of chill method do you use, that results in clear wort? I can't figure out how you can prevent the cold break from getting all mixed back up. I had a whole thread about how I used to try to separate the cold break from the clear chilled wort and eventually gave up.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/im-leaving-lot-beer-brew-kettle-help-272081/

Some of my beers are crystal clear; some aren't, and I haven't figured out one particular thing that seems to make the difference. I have clear beers where I forgot the whirlfloc, did not cold crash, and dry-hopped. But then I have cloudy beers where I used whirlfloc and cold-crashed a week. It doesn't bother me much either way.
 

twalte

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I have never had clear wort going into my fermenter. I use an immersion chiller and drop the temp quickly. I do use a paint mixer to aerate...I will skip next time to see if it helps by not mixing the wort so aggressively. I also tend to transfer to the primary within 5-10 minutes...maybe I should wait longer. I am definitely getting a good hot/cold break, but it never drops to the bottom of my kettle before I transfer.

I wish I was located closer to one of you...would love to watch a brew day and see what you are doing.

Beautiful photos...I will get there someday.
 
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Kegging helps a LOT. Also, leaving the beer in cold storage for a long time makes very clear beer. I think most brewers who are kegging will tell you all of their beers are as clear as what you see in these pics. I suppose if you put bottles in the fridge for a while they will get clear too, but I never did that when I was bottling.
 

day_trippr

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Kegging helps a LOT. Also, leaving the beer in cold storage for a long time makes very clear beer. I think most brewers who are kegging will tell you all of their beers are as clear as what you see in these pics. [...]
Agreed. Cold conditioning time is a brewer's bestest friend :D





Cheers!
 

JuanMoore

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Here's a crappy phone pic of my most recent IPA (MO/Amarillo smash). I think this one sat in primary for 5 weeks, then racked to a serving keg to dry hop for 9 days at ferm temps, then put in keezer to carb. The dry hops are still in the keg, and its been carbing for 2.5 weeks now. No cold crash and no finings. Yeast was safale S-04.

ForumRunner_20121231_215252.jpg
 
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sr20steve

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How do you dry hop in your keg? Thats my one enemy with IPA's is that time really isn't on my side. Do you use whole or pellet hops, in a hop bag I'm assuming?
 

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How do you dry hop in your keg? Thats my one enemy with IPA's is that time really isn't on my side. Do you use whole or pellet hops, in a hop bag I'm assuming?
You can use either whole or pellets! For whole, you can use a bag or one (or more!) of those "tea balls"- the large ones that you'd use to make tea with loose tea leaves. You can only put about 1/2 ounce in the tea ball, so you may need more than one. Make sure it's stainless!

For pellet hops, you need a tightly woven hops bag. Like this: http://www.austinhomebrew.com/product_info.php?products_id=1054 You can use that for leaf hops, too, of course!

I dryhop in the keg often. Since it's cold, I don't get "grassy" flavors but I do get nice hops aroma and flavor.
 

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I have never had clear wort going into my fermenter. I use an immersion chiller and drop the temp quickly. I do use a paint mixer to aerate...I will skip next time to see if it helps by not mixing the wort so aggressively. I also tend to transfer to the primary within 5-10 minutes...maybe I should wait longer. I am definitely getting a good hot/cold break, but it never drops to the bottom of my kettle before I transfer.

I wish I was located closer to one of you...would love to watch a brew day and see what you are doing.

Beautiful photos...I will get there someday.
Don't skip the aeration! I transfer to primary right away, with some trub and all. Even so, by the time I take my hydrometer sample the wort is clear. Some cold break in the fermenter is actually good for the yeast, so don't sweat break material going into the fermenter- it won't cause the beer to be cloudy!

Are you using whirlfloc in the kettle?
 

beaksnbeer

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I use a silk hop bag my wife made that I hang off an o-ring that slides over the gas post. when the hop level gets to where I want it all I have to do is drink a 1/2 gallon to drop the liquid level so hops are no longer in the beer.... The trials to getting there! ;)
 

twalte

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Don't skip the aeration! I transfer to primary right away, with some trub and all. Even so, by the time I take my hydrometer sample the wort is clear. Some cold break in the fermenter is actually good for the yeast, so don't sweat break material going into the fermenter- it won't cause the beer to be cloudy!

Are you using whirlfloc in the kettle?
I am using irish moss at 15 minutes. Just bought some whirfloc too, so will try that on the next batch.

I am going to try the white labs WLP001 to see if it floccs better. Spec sheet says medium flocculation, but must be better than safeale 05. Also considering the Wyeast 1764 (Pac Man) which has some good reviews.

Thanks for all of the pointers!!
 

JuanMoore

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How do you dry hop in your keg? Thats my one enemy with IPA's is that time really isn't on my side. Do you use whole or pellet hops, in a hop bag I'm assuming?
5 gal nylon paint strainer bag. Stuff the hops in, tie the top shut, drop it in the keg. I use whole leaf, but that's just because I prefer the flavor. Works just fine with pellets too. I've found that I get the best flavor by dry hopping in the sealed keg at ferm temps for 8-10 days, and leaving the hops in the keg until it's empty. The cold serving temps seem to prevent the grassy flavors that can happen dry hopping for too long at warmer temps.
 

DrunkleJon

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I have found that time and patience makes for clear beers for em whether or not I keg. With an IPA yes you want it to clear quicker, but a dry hop definitely gets the aroma back. MMMM.... I could go for an IPA right now.
 

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How do you dry hop in your keg? Thats my one enemy with IPA's is that time really isn't on my side. Do you use whole or pellet hops, in a hop bag I'm assuming?

That's what I do. I throw a (sanitized) stainless steel widget in there to keep the bag on the bottom of the keg. Usually an extra coupler or bracket of some sort.



I actually had some grassy flavors in the last pint I pulled from my kegerator. However, that was after moving the keg around a lot. I also found about a 1/16" of hops sediment in the bottom of the glass when I finished it, so I was basically drinking hops particulates. If the keg doesn't move, however, the beer comes out crystal clear and delicious.
 

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If you're getting a good hot break and cold break, the beer should look very clear with clumps of break material in it as you're transferring out of the kettle. Something like this-

wow, my beer never looks like that! i really need to work on something!
 

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I'm still bottling all my beers and all my beers had a little haze to them. Even beers that I filtered and had a buddy force carbonate and bottle from the keg, we're hazy and had some "dust" settle in the bottles.

I read on HBT that 2-3 weeks cold conditioning will get ride of chill haze so I tried it with my last batch and it pours crystal clear now!
 

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