Lager: hazy when cold, clear when warm

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

JediJoel

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 11, 2009
Messages
228
Reaction score
15
Location
Whittier, Ca
I am having a weird experience with my first lager that could just be a noob thing. I've been brewing ales for 8 years and this is my first lager.

Oktoberfest/Marzen brewed with Wyeast 2124
Whirlfloc in the boil
Fermented at 60* for 1.5 weeks (lowest I can do)
Brought up to 68* for 1 week
Back down to 60* for a few weeks
Bottled with corn sugar
OG: 1.060
FG: 1.010

After storing the bottles around 60* for 4 weeks I put about half of the batch in the fridge. After another 4 weeks in the fridge I cracked a few and they are super cloudy with a yeasty almost banana taste.

I looked at the bottles which were not lagered and they are clear. Chilled one for an hour and it tasted great with no haze. Put a few more in the fridge and sure enough, after a day it was super cloudy and yeasty tasting.

What's happening and what should I do?
 
OP
J

JediJoel

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 11, 2009
Messages
228
Reaction score
15
Location
Whittier, Ca
I could be wrong but don't think this is chill haze. I mashed with a protein rest, used whirlfloc in the boil, and chilled at my normal rate. I've never had an issue with chill haze before.

Also, most sources have said chill haze will clear after a week and that chill haze has no flavor. These bottle have been in the fridge for a month and there are off tastes associated with this cloudiness.
 

Metalhead_brewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
136
Reaction score
28
I am having a weird experience with my first lager that could just be a noob thing. I've been brewing ales for 8 years and this is my first lager.

Oktoberfest/Marzen brewed with Wyeast 2124
Whirlfloc in the boil
Fermented at 60* for 1.5 weeks (lowest I can do)
Brought up to 68* for 1 week
Back down to 60* for a few weeks
Bottled with corn sugar
OG: 1.060
FG: 1.010

After storing the bottles around 60* for 4 weeks I put about half of the batch in the fridge. After another 4 weeks in the fridge I cracked a few and they are super cloudy with a yeasty almost banana taste.

I looked at the bottles which were not lagered and they are clear. Chilled one for an hour and it tasted great with no haze. Put a few more in the fridge and sure enough, after a day it was super cloudy and yeasty tasting.

What's happening and what should I do?
Hi Jedi
i don't have much experience in lager but i'm about to make my first one and i have investigated a lot about it, it seems to me that it needed less temperature and more time, as some lager techniques i have read calls for 1 month in primary and minimum 2-3 months in secondary as close as 32* as possible to all the chill haze to settle completely, 60* don't seem enough to haze to settle. That is what i think based in what i have investigated so we need the opinion of a much more experimented lager brewer comrade to help us out.:mug:
 

tennesseean_87

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2011
Messages
1,758
Reaction score
222
Location
Albuquerque
I'd look at your ferm/chill schedule. Ferm closer to 50, and lager closer to 30. You can also use gelatin to get crystal clear beer.
 
OP
J

JediJoel

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 11, 2009
Messages
228
Reaction score
15
Location
Whittier, Ca
I'd look at your ferm/chill schedule. Ferm closer to 50, and lager closer to 30. You can also use gelatin to get crystal clear beer.
I know my ferm schedule is warm, but that's the lowest I can go.

Even without the "proper" ferm/chill schedule wouldn't the beer be cloudy all the time, even at room temp? The fact that it's clear at room temp baffles me.
 

tennesseean_87

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2011
Messages
1,758
Reaction score
222
Location
Albuquerque
If it gets hazy when you chill it, it's chill haze. The lagering step really cold would help. Gelatin is a quick fix. Get a fridge or something when you can.
 

yugga

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2013
Messages
58
Reaction score
11
Definitely sounds like chill haze. Happened every beer before I started using gelatine. It never cleared in a week. The off taste is most likely something else.
 

RM-MN

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2010
Messages
14,515
Reaction score
5,272
Location
Solway
I am having a weird experience with my first lager that could just be a noob thing. I've been brewing ales for 8 years and this is my first lager.

Oktoberfest/Marzen brewed with Wyeast 2124
Whirlfloc in the boil
Fermented at 60* for 1.5 weeks (lowest I can do)
Brought up to 68* for 1 week
Back down to 60* for a few weeks
Bottled with corn sugar
OG: 1.060
FG: 1.010

After storing the bottles around 60* for 4 weeks I put about half of the batch in the fridge. After another 4 weeks in the fridge I cracked a few and they are super cloudy with a yeasty almost banana taste.

I looked at the bottles which were not lagered and they are clear. Chilled one for an hour and it tasted great with no haze. Put a few more in the fridge and sure enough, after a day it was super cloudy and yeasty tasting.

What's happening and what should I do?
It looks to me like you have 2 choices. You can quit trying to make lagers or you can make changes so you can ferment cooler. At 60 degrees you are very close to where I usually ferment my ales and sometimes I might be even a little cooler.

Now to the big question, why can't you ferment cooler? No room or no money to make it happen?

Next question is why do you so want to make lagers when you know you don't have the right equipment? Learn to make ales that emulate lagers or decide that you like you ales.
 

bucketnative

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2015
Messages
1,095
Reaction score
532
Location
Toledo
It looks to me like you have 2 choices. You can quit trying to make lagers or you can make changes so you can ferment cooler. At 60 degrees you are very close to where I usually ferment my ales and sometimes I might be even a little cooler..
You forgot option 3... drink hazy lagers.
 
OP
J

JediJoel

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 11, 2009
Messages
228
Reaction score
15
Location
Whittier, Ca
It looks to me like you have 2 choices. You can quit trying to make lagers or you can make changes so you can ferment cooler. At 60 degrees you are very close to where I usually ferment my ales and sometimes I might be even a little cooler.

Now to the big question, why can't you ferment cooler? No room or no money to make it happen?

Next question is why do you so want to make lagers when you know you don't have the right equipment? Learn to make ales that emulate lagers or decide that you like you ales.
There are multiple experiments in which people have brewed with 34/70 and WY2124 at higher temps and without affecting flavor so this isn't as binary of a situation as you are proposing. I understand the value of equipment, but my decisions were not made foolheartedly or without research.

I do like ales, why do you think I have been brewing them for 8 years?

/rant
I have been a part of this community for the same amount of time and have been very disappointed in "spirit of discussion" lately. There is a big difference between saying something open and cordial like "Gelatin is a quick fix" and telling someone that there are specific parameters and don't bother trying to experiment based off the research of others cause this is the way the world is and you better learn to live with it.
/rant
 
OP
J

JediJoel

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 11, 2009
Messages
228
Reaction score
15
Location
Whittier, Ca
You forgot option 3... drink hazy lagers.
A valid option and I would be totally fine with drinking hazy lagers if there wasn't an off flavor associated with it. AFAIK chill haze is supposed to be tasteless which makes me suspect there is something else going on. :D
 

JordanKnudson

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2014
Messages
1,011
Reaction score
201
Location
Chicago
I agree that 1) lagering as cold as possible for as long as you can (within reason, of course); 2) using gelatin after cold crashing; and/or 3) filtration; would all help with the issue. If it's already carbonated, then you are stuck with just waiting around for awhile until it's had time to drop clearer. But for future batches, these are good routes. I seem to get at least a little chill haze no matter what I do in terms of protein rests, kettle finings, etc, so if I'm going for truly clear beer on tap, one or more of the above techniques is almost always part of my process.

Also, it's worth throwing in my own small data point here: I've done the warm ferment thing with 34/70, and have never had any problems with it vis-a-vis the "higher temperatures make bad lagers" advice. That's probably true for many lager yeasts, but not 34/70. Or perhaps a better way to put it is, the notion of what is "warm" is not the same for 34/70 as it is for other lager yeasts. So you don't need to quite making lagers, just (as all bootstrapping brewers throughout history have done) work with what you've got.

EDIT: Oh, and for what it's worth, I do think you've got chill haze. The fact that there's a flavor that you are detecting may be correlated but not causal. Remember that the change in the clarity is happening due to differing serving temperatures. Well, the flavors that we perceive also change depending on the temperature. That's why an ice-cold IPA doesn't typically taste all that hop-forward, but when you let it warm up in the glass a bit, suddenly you are in floral/citrus/fruit/pine/whatever heaven. So I'd bet the change in flavor you are experiencing is related to the change in temperature, not the haze. The haze is also due to the temp change. Thus you perceive a relationship that is not, in fact, entirely accurate. But that's just my guess.
 

tootal

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2011
Messages
458
Reaction score
105
Location
Collinsville
60* is a little high but doable. I wouldn't raise it to 68 though. If you can get it to 32* for a couple of weeks it might clarify. Our lagers are lagered at 32-35 degrees for a couple of weeks in kegs. The first draw is usually a milk shake but it clears by the third pint. If I move the keg to take to an event then it gets cloudy again, it just a matter of settling out. You might consider using a Kolsch yeast which will give you a lighter beer flavor and it likes 60*!
 

Cain

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2014
Messages
66
Reaction score
7
Location
Dallas
I would suggest trying gelatin to clear your beer if you are not doing so already. It is easy to do, inexpensive and results are quick.

I would also suggest trying 34/70 next time.

Because of experiments done (by Brulosophy.com)I tried my first lager a few months ago. I used 34/70 yeast and fermented at 62 degrees. It had a slight sulphur smell for part (maybe 3 days) of the fermentation, but that cleared up quickly. I added gelatin, cold crashed and kegged at three weeks. Cold conditioned for about a week, then started drinking it. It was crisp, clear and clean tasting. No need for extended lager time either.

I would encourage you to read the brulosophy "exbeeriment" they did on this very subject, and try again. My results were excellent...
 

BitterSweetBrews

Tim Trabold
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
Messages
452
Reaction score
100
Location
Omaha
I am having the same chill haze problem. I lager fermented 10 gallons using the Brulosophy quick lager method. In the end, I chilled it to about 36 degrees (as low as I could get my chamber). I brewed it November 4th and bottled/kegged on December 1st. I put gelatin in it while it was cold crashing.

I now have the bottles sitting at room temp and they are crystal clear. I filled the keg first so it should have gotten the cleanest beer from the fermenters. I have been pulling a glass a day out of the keg, which is at 34 degrees. It is still hazy, but it does seem to be getting a little better each day. I think I have pulled enough beer out of the bottom of the keg to clear any settling.

Hopefully it will clear itself up in a week or two.
 

RichBenn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2009
Messages
918
Reaction score
78
Location
Tahoe
Colder, longer. W34/70 can sorta work at 60, but longer, colder is still the answer.

Also, did you adjust the water?
 

waldoar15

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2009
Messages
1,003
Reaction score
142
Location
Ohio
Here's something that might help.


If you have room, this is the time of year when the big box stores have freezers on sale. You can get a small one for well under $200, add an inkbird and you have a ferment/lagering chamber. Bulk lagering your beer at or a little below 32* for a few weeks will probably do wonders for the chill haze issue, not to mention the odd taste.
 

Morrey

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2016
Messages
3,529
Reaction score
1,378
Location
Coastal, SC
My brew buddies and I talk process with beginners from time to time, and we all agree there are two cardinal rules to follow.....Good sanitation and proper fermentation temperature control.

Some things you just got to have to make beer. To make good beer you need to add a few more things to that list. A minimum of a fridge or chest freezer with an ATC for temp control is on that list.

Don't forget exothermic heat produced during fermentation. I just looked at a flask of lager yeast I have spinning on my counter prepping for a brew this weekend. My house is 68F...I just read the temp of my starter to be 76F. That's 8F added on top of ambient...well enough to make a difference in great beer and meh beer. I'll crash and decant the spent wort off the starter, but when this happens with a full batch, there is no way around off flavors in a lager.

My brother in law got a nice chest freezer on Craigslist for $100 and an Inkbird 308 for $30. He is making good lagers now.
 
Top