Frustrated with Whirlfloc

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Jhedrick83

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Every time I try to use Whirlfloc, I end up frustrated with it. I just finished brewing an Altbier. Added in Whirlfloc with about 5 mintues to go. Whirlpooled once it was chilled and let it sit for 30 minutes before I start transferring to the fermenter. Top layer looks spectacular and clear. Siphon it off and once I get down to just below the 2 gallon mark, it's still a ton of floating trub/hops. I didn't have a nice layer of sediment, it still had a considerable amount suspended. It was a 4 gallon total batch. Without Whirlfloc, I typically leave .5-7.5 gallons left in the kettle when I transfer. So it feels like I'm losing a lot of good wort when I use Whirlfloc because i don't feel like everything settles out like it should before I transfer. This is essentially the same every time I use it. I mean, I get I'll lose volume with what settles out due to the whirlfloc but I just wish it would settle down better and leave me more extractable wort. Any suggestions?

I left the floating mess and just pitched less yeast to compensate in to the super clear wort.
 

Golddiggie

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If you're using an IC to cool your wort, you have both hot and cold break inside the kettle.

I have been noticing a good amount of hot break in my batches lately, or since going to the Spike+ kettles/setup. I just adjusted my recipes to take that into account. I typically brew with a target beer volume of 6-7 gallons coming out of fermenter. I have a few things I'll be trying to reduce the level of trub in the kettle over the next few batches. Either not using the Whirlfloc tablet, cutting it in half (even though it should be good for a five gallon batch, and I'm making more than that) along with a couple of other things.

I don't think I'll remove it's use in my pale ales, but I might for the stouts and porters.
 
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Jhedrick83

Jhedrick83

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I am using a SS IC for chilling. I like my 3 gallon batch size as that's just about the perfect amount for a batch for my wife and I. I've got a SSBT 5.5 gallon kettle that's been great for my batches. I guess I could get a bigger kettle and just adjust the recopies to accommodate but I'd rather not have to get a new kettle considering I just got this one in February.

I never use it in my stouts or beers so dark that clarity isn't really a thing.
 

Golddiggie

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Try using half a tablet next time.

Also, I wouldn't try using less yeast. Then again, I've been harvesting yeast for the past several months. Last brew day I pushed about a pint of yeast into the conical via the new yeast brink setup. I made a starter that doubled the amount of yeast I had already (from the previous harvest). I plan to continue doing that moving forward since it went ballistic in less than six hours from getting pushing into the batch.

I'd also keep in mind, that having some trub in the batch isn't a bad thing. Whatever gets into mine is either eaten up by the yeast, or is so little it's not detectible post fermentation. Letting the batch settle fully when it's done will also help to reduce any that you might pick up during your transfer out of fermenter.
 
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Jhedrick83

Jhedrick83

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I was already using half a tab since I'm doing smaller batches.

I pitched 3/4ths of a White Labs pack in a shade over 2 gallons of 1.046 OG wort. Probably an over pitch still, which is fine with me.
 

WhoDatDad78

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I just experienced the same thing with a blonde ale that I brewed, but I think it has something to do with my CFC. I'll just end up cold crashing it with some gelatin and call it good.
 

VikeMan

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I'd also keep in mind, that having some trub in the batch isn't a bad thing. Whatever gets into mine is either eaten up by the yeast, or is so little it's not detectible post fermentation.

Yeast will use some fatty acids and amino acids from trub, but not the large proteins, polyphenols, and particulates that make up the visible bulk of the trub. Those proteins/polyphenols and other particulates aren't a food (carbon) source. The reason you're not seeing any after fermentation is because it's been homogenized with the settled yeast and/or compacted along with the settled yeast.

Letting the batch settle fully when it's done will also help to reduce any that you might pick up during your transfer out of fermenter.

Indeed.
 
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Jhedrick83

Jhedrick83

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Yeast will use some fatty acids and amino acids from trub, but not the large proteins, polyphenols, and particulates that make up the visible bulk of the trub. Those proteins/polyphenols and other particulates aren't a food (carbon) source. The reason you're not seeing any after fermentation is because it's been homogenized with the settled yeast and/or compacted along with the settled yeast.

Then, am I making too much of deal over transferring trub to the fermenter? Just boil the Whirlfloc, transfer what you can (clear wort and trub) and chill the hell out as the rest settles during/post fermentation.

Maybe instead of being frustrated with Whirlfloc, it's more of a me issue.
 

Golddiggie

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Yeast will use some fatty acids and amino acids from trub, but not the large proteins, polyphenols, and particulates that make up the visible bulk of the trub. Those proteins/polyphenols and other particulates aren't a food (carbon) source. The reason you're not seeing any after fermentation is because it's been homogenized with the settled yeast and/or compacted along with the settled yeast.
I did say 'some' not a metric ass-ton of it. ;)

I'm not going to try to extract every ounce of wort out of my BK, filtering the last of the batch to gain a little more volume. As I mentioned, I simply added that amount into the recipe parameters so that I get my desired amount into conical and then out into keg and can at the end. I'm going to set the older batch in fermenter (brewed on 8/28) to chill for yeast harvest shortly. It's been at FG long enough to do this. I won't harvest all the yeast out, so some will still be inside. I'll let it warm up again since I'm going to add oak for aging once the harvest is done. It's going to sit with oak (spirals) for a couple of weeks before getting carbonated and such.

Then, am I making too much of deal over transferring trub to the fermenter? Just boil the Whirlfloc, transfer what you can (clear wort and trub) and chill the hell out as the rest settles during/post fermentation.

Maybe instead of being frustrated with Whirlfloc, it's more of a me issue.
You can also add to your batch size so that you get your target volume into fermenter even with extra trub in the BK.
 

Wayne1

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"It is a commonly held misconception that kettle finings
improve trub formation. Kettle finings are added in the
kettle only to allow the carrageenan to dissolve. Wort
proteins react with the carrageenan as the wort cools and
settle as a cold break during fermentation to be removed
along with the excess yeast." Ian L Ward - Clear Beer Through Finings Technology
 
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wsmith1625

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+1 Wayne1

You can also use mesh bags, a hop spider, or a strainer to remove the hop material from your wort. Hot and cold break are too fine for these methods, but the whirlfloc tablet helps it drop in the fermenter. I add it to the last 10 minutes of the boil at the same time I add my immersion chiller.
 

CascadesBrewer

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I was already using half a tab since I'm doing smaller batches.

Note the instructions from MoreBeer's page say "One Whirlfloc tablet is good for 10-15 gallons of wort. We suggest using half a tablet for 5 gallon batches for most beers.".

I saw some pictures from a study of Irish Moss dosing rate. At a small rate it does little to nothing, at the correct rate it caused a dense layer to settle out, and at a higher rate it caused a big thick, fluffy layer. Based on that, you might want to try 1/3 or 1/4 of a tablet and see if you get better results.

settle as a cold break during fermentation to be removed along with the excess yeast

Interesting. I have added Irish Moss or Whirlfloc tablets to a lot of batches without really knowing what it does. I definitely notice much more "egg drop soup" effect (both in the kettle and the fermenter) when using those products, which seems more pronounced with Whirlfloc.
 
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Jhedrick83

Jhedrick83

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Note the instructions from MoreBeer's page say "One Whirlfloc tablet is good for 10-15 gallons of wort. We suggest using half a tablet for 5 gallon batches for most beers.".

I saw some pictures from a study of Irish Moss dosing rate. At a small rate it does little to nothing, at the correct rate it caused a dense layer to settle out, and at a higher rate it caused a big thick, fluffy layer. Based on that, you might want to try 1/3 or 1/4 of a tablet and see if you get better results.



Interesting. I have added Irish Moss or Whirlfloc tablets to a lot of batches without really knowing what it does. I definitely notice much more "egg drop soup" effect (both in the kettle and the fermenter) when using those products, which seems more pronounced with Whirlfloc.

Very interesting. This is the extent of the instructions on my pack:

image.jpg
So I figured 1/2-2/3rds was fine. I may try a 1/4 next time.
 

Golddiggie

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Instead of trying to cut one into a smaller piece, how about crushing one and then weighing out the amount equal to a 1/4 tablet? Since it appears each is 2g in weight, it should be easy to get the amount correct. IME, weighing something is more accurate than attempting to do it by size. Just like how we don't measure grain by volume, but by weight.
 

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If your calcium level is too low that will cause an issue so try to keep it at least 50ppm. Wort pH has an effect on how well finings work so maybe you want to look into a kettle acid addition. Also time works wonders for settling. Additionally you could look at adding PvPP to your repertoire.
 
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Jhedrick83

Jhedrick83

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Instead of trying to cut one into a smaller piece, how about crushing one and then weighing out the amount equal to a 1/4 tablet? Since it appears each is 2g in weight, it should be easy to get the amount correct. IME, weighing something is more accurate than attempting to do it by size. Just like how we don't measure grain by volume, but by weight.

That is a really good idea.

If your calcium level is too low that will cause an issue so try to keep it at least 50ppm. Wort pH has an effect on how well finings work so maybe you want to look into a kettle acid addition. Also time works wonders for settling. Additionally you could look at adding PvPP to your repertoire.

My calcium level was around 55. Beersmith says the projected PH was 5.37. Now, I didn't actually test it. PH testing is a step I have not yet graduated to but maybe it's time.
 

jdauria

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Try a combo of Whirlfloc and BrewTanB (only place I know that sells it is William's Brewing). Brewtan B is a tannic acid that while for commercial breweries is a shelf extender, but it also binds to proteins in the beer and drops them out of suspension, which combined with whirlfloc doing the same, really drops the wort bright. For 5.25 gallon batches of no-sparge, I add a gram in the mash, and then 0.6 grams in the boil at 15 minutes. You then need to wait at least 5 minutes after that before you add whirlfloc or yeast nutrient. I recirculate during chilling, then pull my chiller when done and then wait 15-30 minutes for everything to settle out before racking off, or now with an Anvil Foundry, I can just turn my dip tube upward so it's above the trub. Then after fermentation and a cold crash, the beer is usually crystal clear going into the keg and no gelatin is needed to clear. Below is 6 gallons of Pilsner post chilling, you can see it's so clear you can see the trub below the beer.
pilswort.jpg
 

Taket_al_Tauro

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"It is a commonly held misconception that kettle finings
improve trub formation. Kettle finings are added in the
kettle only to allow the carrageenan to dissolve. Wort
proteins react with the carrageenan as the wort cools and
settle as a cold break during fermentation to be removed
along with the excess yeast." Ian L Ward - Clear Beer Through Finings Technology

This is very interesting, thanks for sharing.
Does this somehow imply that kettle finings will also help in clarity of the finished product (generally speaking)?
I'm asking because I've read several opinions here on HBT stating that kettle finings have little effect on the clarity of the finished beer.
I've started using them for my last 3 brews so my experience is still vey limited, but I have the impression that those beers dropped clearer quicker than the average of the batches preceding them.
The last one, a split batch saison/hefeweizen, dropped almost crystal clear after just two weeks in the bottle (also the hefeweizen part...). It was actually already pretty damn clear at packaging time.
Based on this experience I think I'm not going to use them anymore in styles that are supposed to be hazy.

OTOH I still believe that they also help in trub formation in the kettle. I'm definitely seeing clearer wort going into the fermenter since using them.
 

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@Jhedrick83 Try putting the last of the BK (trub & wort) in a sanitized growler or similar and place it in the refrigerator for a few days. It will settle out. Then you can pour the clear wort into your fermenter.
 

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@Jhedrick83 Try putting the last of the BK (trub & wort) in a sanitized growler or similar and place it in the refrigerator for a few days. It will settle out. Then you can pour the clear wort into your fermenter.
Doing that is not only increasing your chances of infection but also oxidative damage to the portion sitting. To make the best beer sometimes you have to sacrifice a little to the gods.
 

VikeMan

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@Jhedrick83 Try putting the last of the BK (trub & wort) in a sanitized growler or similar and place it in the refrigerator for a few days. It will settle out. Then you can pour the clear wort into your fermenter.

Do you actually do this? I wouldn't, for at least two reasons.

1) The wort, having no about-to-grow yeast to take up the dissolved O2 and the O2 in the growler headspace, will be fairly oxidized before adding to the fermenter. (Think about what happens to growlers of beer.)

2) Introducing the wort to the main batch after "a few days" will allow more atmospheric O2 into the fermenting beer at a time the yeast don't need it.
 
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Jhedrick83

Jhedrick83

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I’m not opposed to pouring some out “for my homies”, I just don’t want to waste too much of I don’t need to. I don’t need every last drop. Dumping some is just a little more brewing I’ll need to do!
 
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