Hot Break & Cold Break

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Doc Thirst

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I did a search and found a ton of threads containing this text (20+ pages), but I didn't find exactly what I was looking for. Perhaps a more experienced brewer can help me out. During my last brew I had a ton of suspended "protein" in my wort. I noticed this in my hose from my brew pot, into my counter-flow, and again after the counter-flow into the carboy. It has since dropped out and settled on the bottom, or disappeared all together. Can someone please clear up the a few questions about Hot and Cold Breaks, as I understand this is what caused the issue. I would love a basic definition, causes and effect, ways to avoid, methods of repair, and any other info that might help me get my head around these concepts. It might also help to mention the only times I see this is when I brew with honey, or that just might be a coincidence.
 

Scimmia

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I think you're misunderstanding the terms, it's something you WANT to happen, not something to avoid or try to repair. Simply put, hot break and cold break are when you force the proteins in the beer to coagulate and fall out of suspension. You can then leave it all behind when you transfer the wort to the fermenter.
 

Drunkensatyr

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Hot Break as per http://www.howtobrew.com : The foam caused by proteins in the wort that coagulate due to the rolling action of the boil. The wort will continue to foam until the protein clumps get heavy enough to sink back into the pot.

Cold Break: This is composed of another group of proteins that need to be thermally shocked into precipitating out of the wort. Slow cooling will not affect them. Cold break, or rather the lack of it, is the cause of Chill Haze. When a beer is chilled for drinking, these proteins partially precipitate forming a haze. As the beer warms up, the proteins re-dissolve. Only by rapid chilling from near-boiling to room temperature will the Cold Break proteins permanently precipitate and not cause Chill Haze. Chill haze is usually regarded as a cosmetic problem. You cannot taste it. However, chill haze indicates that there is an appreciable level of cold-break-type protein in the beer, which has been linked to long-term stability problems. Hazy beer tends to become stale sooner than non-hazy beer.



As for avoiding....you WANT both breaks, so don't avoid em.

Should be nothing to repair, just clean out your equipment well after use.

So basicaly you want to boil your wort, which will lead to a hot break. You also want to cool your wort to pitching temps as fast as possible..which causes cold break.

Dunno if any of this will help ya but there it is.
 

bradsul

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Using irish moss in the last 10 minutes of your boil will really clear up the pre-chiller wort. The wort coming out of your chiller will always have cold break in it, I've read and heard that it is actually good for your yeast too.
 
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Doc Thirst

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Humm, great stuff here, thanks for the responses. I guess I'm baffled as to what that %$#^ floating around in my wort was then. I assumed it was a product of the proteins not being broken down enough after I talked to a fellow brewer, I guess I misunderstood.
 

jds

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Just did my first batch in a while, extract-based, boiling the full volume.

I noticed after chilling (boiling to 72F in about 15 minutes) that there was no cold break material at the bottom of my kettle after I siphoned to my carboy. In fact, since I bagged my whole hops, there was essentially nothing left in the kettle (!).

Does this mean I'm more prone to chill haze problems with this beer, or should I expect the cold break to settle out in (1) fermenting, (2) Secondary conditioning, or (3) Crash cooling in the keg?

I suppose I could use gelatin or polyclar in the secondary. I just thought it was weird that I didn't have any leftover cold break after chilling. FWIW, I also didn't add any irish moss (thought I had some, thought wrong).

Either way, I'm drinking it.
 

bradsul

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Extract batches don't tend to have a lot of break material as the hot break happened during the manufacturing process. Did you whirlpool and allow the cold break to settle after cooling? If not it did make it into the fermenter but the cold break is actually good for the yeast so I wouldn't worry about it. When you use a CFC you get all of your cold break into the fermenter as well.

Chill haze really isn't worth worrying about as it doesn't affect the flavour of the beer. If you chill quickly (which you did) then you should have a pretty clear beer, especially if you are going to crash cool it in a keg.
 

suffer78

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This is great info. I'm still working on cooling the wort fast enough. I guess that means I just have to brew more beer!!
 

richkev

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Yup, I have the same problem. It's really hot here in LA (lower Alabama) and the ground water is about 80* F. I've started using a prechiller with an old immersion chiller I had. I have another immersion chiller that I place in my hot wort and I place my old one in an ice chest full of ice water. It makes a difference, but still takes me too long to get my temps down to pitching temperatures. I'm tossing around the idea of getting a counterflow chiller and using the prechiller in combination. Of course, that means I will also have to get a pump, but, that is something I will ultimately use with the Brutus style setup I'm slowly putting together...
 

King of Cascade

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You said it did go away after time?
Chill haze will not go away over time and could actually get worse. I think your problem is yeast in suspension.
 

Yooper

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You said it did go away after time?
Chill haze will not go away over time and could actually get worse. I think your problem is yeast in suspension.
Chill haze certainly does go away over time- if the keg/bottles are kept chilled, the haze precipitates out and goes away completely. It takes a bit of time, usually a couple of weeks or so.

Of course, this thread is 3 years old so I'm sure either the chill haze was gone, or the beer was gone, long before now.
 

King of Cascade

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Chill haze certainly does go away over time- if the keg/bottles are kept chilled, the haze precipitates out and goes away completely. It takes a bit of time, usually a couple of weeks or so.

Of course, this thread is 3 years old so I'm sure either the chill haze was gone, or the beer was gone, long before now.


Yeah….. I just looked it up, you’re right, but if a constant low temp is not keep the polyphenols and proteins could bond permanently and cause permanent chill haze.



That’s funny. I didn’t see how old this thread is. I imagine the beer is gone by now…lol
 

MacGruber

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So, it's good to have all of those proteins floating around in the primary? I did my first AG lager this weekend and I had a lot of proteins coming through my siphon, much more than usual. I used irish moss. Will all of this settle to the bottom of my primary before I rack?
 

King of Cascade

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So, it's good to have all of those proteins floating around in the primary? I did my first AG lager this weekend and I had a lot of proteins coming through my siphon, much more than usual. I used irish moss. Will all of this settle to the bottom of my primary before I rack?
You are using a cf chiller correct? Most likely its cold break that is in your beer. It will compact on the bottom and you rack off when you transfer or bottle.

* Irish moss will help form more of a break
 

MacGruber

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I used an immersion chiller, but I'm still expecting it to compact before I transfer.
 

Randar

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You are using a cf chiller correct? Most likely its cold break that is in your beer. It will compact on the bottom and you rack off when you transfer or bottle.

* Irish moss will help form more of a break

Cold break would end up in the fermenter but once cold break forms, those proteins are no longer soluble. The issue as I understand is if you do not get a good break these proteins do not denature and will stay in suspension, which is why you will see chill haze.

If you get good hot and cold break it won't matter if some of the material ends up in the fermenter or even in the bottle (obvious not ideal) as they will not re-suspend. They are just as they have been described... denatured insoluble proteins

Irish Moss << Whirlflocc << SuperMoss
 

Randar

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I used an immersion chiller, but I'm still expecting it to compact before I transfer.

As soon as turn the gas off I see hot break starting to clump and drop out of suspension. I give it a nice whirlpool and start transferring through my CFC immediately. I wouldn't ever describe the trub pile to be "compacted" but it certainly precipitates pretty quickly. While using CFC vs immersion will lead to some of the material getting into my fermenter, I dump the trub after 2 days in primary and carry on as usual, so it doesn't bother me one bit.
 

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Alright, like the first post in the entire thread...perhaps this is the same thing, or maybe it is something different, so here it goes:



So I decided to try and make my first all-grain, light lager today. I used 7.5 lbs. of Pilsen 2-Row Malt, 1 lb. Vienna Malt, and .5 lbs. Carapils. I followed this mash-schedule:

122 – 140 – 155 degrees F (thirty minutes at each)

When it came to the boil, I noticed something I’ve never noticed in the all-grain ales I’ve done. There were tons and tons of small little floating things. At first, I thought they were just the proteins that would disappear after the hot-break, but then they remained there till the very end.

I recirculated my wort numerous times, so I am almost certain that it is not grain that slipped through my mash-tun. I am thinking it has to do something with this new Pilsen malt I’ve never used before. When I got a bunch of the floating things in my hand, I could mash them together; very pliable, almost like drudge from the hops on the walls of a primary, so they couldn’t have been grain husks. Remember, they were there before any hop addition too, so I don’t think that it came from the hops either.

Could someone PLEASE tell me what this stuff is? And if you know, how do I get rid of it? Or will it do it automatically after I rack to the secondary and then to the keg?

Appreciate it,

Cheers!
 

3PegBrew

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I wish I could go back in time and tell my long ago ancestors to discover gypsum and irish moss' effects on beer production. Then once discovering it get some sort of rights to its distribution haha. :ban: oh I'm such a dreamer when I drink.
 

Egghead

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Alright, like the first post in the entire thread...perhaps this is the same thing, or maybe it is something different, so here it goes:



So I decided to try and make my first all-grain, light lager today. I used 7.5 lbs. of Pilsen 2-Row Malt, 1 lb. Vienna Malt, and .5 lbs. Carapils. I followed this mash-schedule:

122 – 140 – 155 degrees F (thirty minutes at each)

When it came to the boil, I noticed something I’ve never noticed in the all-grain ales I’ve done. There were tons and tons of small little floating things. At first, I thought they were just the proteins that would disappear after the hot-break, but then they remained there till the very end.

I recirculated my wort numerous times, so I am almost certain that it is not grain that slipped through my mash-tun. I am thinking it has to do something with this new Pilsen malt I’ve never used before. When I got a bunch of the floating things in my hand, I could mash them together; very pliable, almost like drudge from the hops on the walls of a primary, so they couldn’t have been grain husks. Remember, they were there before any hop addition too, so I don’t think that it came from the hops either.

Could someone PLEASE tell me what this stuff is? And if you know, how do I get rid of it? Or will it do it automatically after I rack to the secondary and then to the keg?

Appreciate it,

Cheers!
I dunno. I saw a whole bunch of it when I brewed on Sunday too. I was using Briess Pilsner malt as the base malt. I just called it hot break. It precipitated out with most of the hop trub just fine though. Didn't get in my fermenter.
 

lone_wolf

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Cold break would end up in the fermenter but once cold break forms, those proteins are no longer soluble. The issue as I understand is if you do not get a good break these proteins do not denature and will stay in suspension, which is why you will see chill haze.

If you get good hot and cold break it won't matter if some of the material ends up in the fermenter or even in the bottle (obvious not ideal) as they will not re-suspend. They are just as they have been described... denatured insoluble proteins

Irish Moss << Whirlflocc << SuperMoss
Randar, youve posted an opinion on something I have been researching without (clear) answer for many months now - basically whether the cold break process is reversible. I've been working under the assumption that cold break will return to suspension if not removed from the wort (and most likely once the wort starts to warm up with fermentation activity)
Consequently I've been trying all sorts of jiggery pokery to seperate out the break before fermentation (whirlpooling, settling tanks, combination of the two) and have been a) not entirely satisfied with the results and b) frustrated with the "processing overhead" so if you are sure that properly triggered break will never find its way back into suspension then I'll return to a process of aggressively breaking the wort, letting it settle over a week and then racking for a few more.
So my question is are you absolutely sure that cold break is not reversible?- thanks man!
 

BrewMoreBeers

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Yup, I have the same problem. It's really hot here in LA (lower Alabama) and the ground water is about 80* F. I've started using a prechiller with an old immersion chiller I had. I have another immersion chiller that I place in my hot wort and I place my old one in an ice chest full of ice water. It makes a difference, but still takes me too long to get my temps down to pitching temperatures. I'm tossing around the idea of getting a counterflow chiller and using the prechiller in combination. Of course, that means I will also have to get a pump, but, that is something I will ultimately use with the Brutus style setup I'm slowly putting together...
I have done some research on this topic and several folks have suggested that recirculating ice water with a pond pump (mine is 140 gph) is far more efficient than using a pre-chiller in an ice bath. Depending on your flow rates, the pre-chiller may not be getting as cold as you could get by directly pumping ice water through the CF.
 

Pivovar_Koucky

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Randar, youve posted an opinion on something I have been researching without (clear) answer for many months now - basically whether the cold break process is reversible. I've been working under the assumption that cold break will return to suspension if not removed from the wort (and most likely once the wort starts to warm up with fermentation activity)
Consequently I've been trying all sorts of jiggery pokery to seperate out the break before fermentation (whirlpooling, settling tanks, combination of the two) and have been a) not entirely satisfied with the results and b) frustrated with the "processing overhead" so if you are sure that properly triggered break will never find its way back into suspension then I'll return to a process of aggressively breaking the wort, letting it settle over a week and then racking for a few more.
So my question is are you absolutely sure that cold break is not reversible?- thanks man!
I think you could reverse cold break by heating the wort back up to near boiling and slow cooling, but why would you? Under normal homebrewing conditions I don't think that the proteins can easily refold themselves without a lot of extra energy.
 

lone_wolf

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I think you could reverse cold break by heating the wort back up to near boiling and slow cooling, but why would you? Under normal homebrewing conditions I don't think that the proteins can easily refold themselves without a lot of extra energy.
Sounds reasonable to me. The next question I suppose is if you trigger lots of hot/cold break and dump it all into the fermentor is it necessary to rack? I've read a bordering-on-acrimonious discussion about the necessity of racking elsewhere on the site - and I would say on the whole the "no-rack" camp seemed more persuasive (led by everyones favourite clergyman Revvy). No sure whether seperating the break was a precondition of the no-rack theory
:off: ??
 

Yooper

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Sounds reasonable to me. The next question I suppose is if you trigger lots of hot/cold break and dump it all into the fermentor is it necessary to rack? I've read a bordering-on-acrimonious discussion about the necessity of racking elsewhere on the site - and I would say on the whole the "no-rack" camp seemed more persuasive (led by everyones favourite clergyman Revvy). No sure whether seperating the break was a precondition of the no-rack theory
:off: ??
In my opinion, no. I've heard theories that hot break can give off flavors, but I've never had that happen to me.

After a couple of weeks in the fermenter, the break material compacts down with the yeast and other trub and it's amazing how compact it becomes! All of that fluffy break material "smooshes" down quite a lot.
 
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