Will cold crashing help?

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SRJHops

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I ask because I have a bit of a challenge and I think cold crashing might help...

The Belgian Golden Strong I brewed did not turn out right, so I dumped it. I changed the process I think was the culprit (too hot sparge) and brewed it again yesterday.

The challenge is I plan to submit it for a competition and the deadline is 8 days after brew day. I am confident I can get it to FG in 6 days. Based on past brews it will get down to 1.003 or so. My plan is to then cold crash it overnight, bottle the next day, and hope for the best.

Fingers crossed the beer will carb up in the 10 days between submission and tasting... If all goes well, it will be really fresh! I figure it's least is better than submitting the dumper beer. (I already paid to submit it.)

My usual process is to ferment for two weeks, then condition for 1- 2 weeks. So grain to bottle in 7 days has me feeling pretty nervous...
 

IslandLizard

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As long as you can be sure it will be fully attenuated, so it won't turn into a bottle bomb, it may work. Submitting in a 750 or regular 12 oz-ers?
But I wouldn't keep my hopes up too much for winning, that's one green beer!
 
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SRJHops

SRJHops

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As long as you can be sure it will be fully attenuated, so it won't turn into a bottle bomb, it may work. Submitting in a 750 or regular 12 oz-ers?
But I wouldn't keep my hopes up too much for winning, that's one green beer!
12 ounces. Another plus is that they probably would not be bottle bombs after just 10 days...

It does seem like a long shot, but at least I might have a chance. The first version had major astringency issues...
 

IslandLizard

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Hopefully you're right about the carbonation timing. Are they shipped (in super hot Summer weather) or dropped off?

Cold crashing goes faster in a smaller vessel than in a 5-6 gallon carboy or bucket, unless you siphon from the very top. Now 12 hours is darn short, and it highly depends on your yeast.

I'll give you some reference. I've successfully brewed 3 day (NE)IPAs (grain to glass). They were cold crashed for 12 hours (with dry hops), then kegged and burst carbonated, for serving right after. There was only a small amount of yeast left in suspension, using 1318. Your Belgian yeast may not be as flocculant.
 
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SRJHops

SRJHops

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Hopefully you're right about the carbonation timing. Are they shipped (in super hot Summer weather) or dropped off?

Cold crashing goes faster in a smaller vessel than in a 5-6 gallon carboy or bucket, unless you siphon from the very top. Now 12 hours is darn short, and it highly depends on your yeast.

I'll give you some reference. I've successfully brewed 3 day (NE)IPAs (grain to glass). They were cold crashed for 12 hours (with dry hops), then kegged and burst carbonated, for serving right after. There was only a small amount of yeast left in suspension, using 1318. Your Belgian yeast may not be as flocculant.
Dropping off. I think they are doing remote judging, so hopefully they won't chill them until after they pick them up.
 
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SRJHops

SRJHops

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Maybe hang a tag on it: Still carbonating, please keep warm, only chill 2 days before judging.
;)

Can you force carbonate it with CO2, such in a (small) keg, or one of those pressurizable "growlers?"

Interesting idea about the tag! I strictly bottle, so we'll have to hope for the best with the carbonation. Most of my beers are ready after one week.

I do think it might be too green to do well, though the freshness could lead to some nice bready grain flavors. The good news is that I will at least have a better beer to drink and share with my friends.
 

IslandLizard

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I do think it might be too green to do well, though the freshness could lead to some nice bready grain flavors. The good news is that I will at least have a better beer to drink and share with my friends.
The best thing is, you've got nothing to lose, and everything to win. ;)
Go for it! And good luck.
 
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SRJHops

SRJHops

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On a related note... Has anyone tried the balloon trick on the fermenter to help avoid oxygen suck-back when cold crashing? When should the balloon be attached? Toward the end of fermentation, of course, but is there a rule of thumb? With 5 expected gravity points left, for instance?
 

CascadesBrewer

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Dropping off. I think they are doing remote judging, so hopefully they won't chill them until after they pick them up.

Hopefully this competition is not letting beers sit around warm. I would expect them to cold store the beers as fast as possible.

I would expect your Belgian Golden Strong to be better in 6 months than at 3 weeks.
 

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Has anyone tried the balloon trick on the fermenter to help avoid oxygen suck-back when cold crashing?
A mylar balloon, yes because of being highly oxygen impermeable. Latex not so.
You can fill it any time, plug it up or close the valve, then reattach or open the valve when starting the cold crash.
 

CascadesBrewer

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On a related note... Has anyone tried the balloon trick on the fermenter to help avoid oxygen suck-back when cold crashing? When should the balloon be attached? Toward the end of fermentation, of course, but is there a rule of thumb? With 5 expected gravity points left, for instance?

I do this often when I am cold crashing a beer. My normal setup is to have the mylar balloon attached to a Tee in my blowoff tube. There is enough back pressure with the end of the blow off tube into a bottle of water that it inflate the balloon nicely during fermentation.

I have also just filled up a balloon from my tank after fermentation was complete and attached that. One time I attached the balloon when I thought fermentation was about done, but there was enough CO2 produced that it popped the balloon.
 
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SRJHops

SRJHops

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A mylar balloon, yes because of being highly oxygen impermeable. Latex not so.
You can fill it any time, plug it up or close the valve, then reattach or open the valve when starting the cold crash.

Cool - thanks! I didn't realize they could be closed and re-opened.
 
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SRJHops

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I do this often when I am cold crashing a beer. My normal setup is to have the mylar balloon attached to a Tee in my blowoff tube. There is enough back pressure with the end of the blow off tube into a bottle of water that it inflate the balloon nicely during fermentation.

I have also just filled up a balloon from my tank after fermentation was complete and attached that. One time I attached the balloon when I thought fermentation was about done, but there was enough CO2 produced that it popped the balloon.

So it sounds like trying to time when to put on the balloon could be a challenge. From the other post, though, I think I can just fill it up and close it. Then use it when it's time to crash. I have had those balloons (filled with helium) last for weeks, so I bet it will hold the C02 for a few days. I'm on Day 2 right now, so I think I will wait until Day 3 or 4 to fill it up.
 

wsmith1625

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If you don't want the DIY option, you can buy a Cold Crash Guardian instead.

 
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SRJHops

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Hopefully this competition is not letting beers sit around warm. I would expect them to cold store the beers as fast as possible.

I would expect your Belgian Golden Strong to be better in 6 months than at 3 weeks.

yeah, it will probably be tastier with some more time. The one flavor I might get is some more pronounced grain, which could be a good thing.

I don't actually know if they will store the beer cold, but my guess is not. People are not dropping off or shipping their beers cold, and I don't think they have the freezer space. It's remote judging, and judges are picking up the beers and taking them home. So my guess is they will chill them the night before they judge them. If they judge right away it would be 10 days after bottling. But they have two weeks to finish their judging.
 

hotbeer

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The judging seems like an interesting method to get free beer to drink and probably even get paid something to do so!

Wish I'd thought of that years ago!


Apologies for just making a useless off-topic comment.
:bigmug:
 

mashpaddled

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yeah, it will probably be tastier with some more time. The one flavor I might get is some more pronounced grain, which could be a good thing.

I don't actually know if they will store the beer cold, but my guess is not. People are not dropping off or shipping their beers cold, and I don't think they have the freezer space. It's remote judging, and judges are picking up the beers and taking them home. So my guess is they will chill them the night before they judge them. If they judge right away it would be 10 days after bottling. But they have two weeks to finish their judging.

I can't speak for this particular competition but of the competitions where I've judged they've always kept beers cold after receiving them at the collection point. If they don't have fridge space on site they often ask a local brewery to borrow a little space. I'm sure that is not always done or done as quickly at all competitions.

Regardless of the storage conditions I think you have a tough hill to climb here. I get that you paid for the entry and wanted to enter something anyway. Maybe you can find somebody locally who could help you force carb the bottles instead of relying on bottle carbonation? Ideally with a filtration system...
 

IslandLizard

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Ideally with a filtration system...
Oxidation is the big risk with those.
If it's still somewhat cloudy, they may ding you that 1 point. If oxidized you'd lose any chance in the contest, guaranteed.

Although (lack of or incorrect) carbonation is only 1 point on the scoresheet too, it does change the overall perception of the beer, and largely so. You'd be losing points all across the score sheet.

Access to a keg (a smaller one would be easier) and CO2 will make everything, cold crashing, carbonation, transfer to bottles, etc. much easier, and very possibly produce a superior product in the end.
Homebrew clubs can be a excellent resource for such things. We had an event (fundraiser), one of our brewers doesn't have kegging or cooling capabilities, so they borrowed some equipment, got a crash course in kegging, moved the beer twice, and poured their beer from "their" keg!
 

JohnDBrewer

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This is what I use for cold crashing. Usually I just inflate it with co2 and stick it on rather than trying to time it towards the end of fermentation to self inflate. It's a vacuum freezer bag and a bottling bucket spigot.

Since your entry is a Belgian running that bottle temp up to the high 70s low 80s won't hurt it. Might speed up the bottle fermentation.

Good luck on the competition. Cannot hurt to ask them to keep it warm but any comp I have help with the bottles are "randomized" so no one can identify their own or anyone else's bottle. Putting one or a couple bottles on the side kind of defeats the randomization process if that makes sense.
 

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SRJHops

SRJHops

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This is what I use for cold crashing. Usually I just inflate it with co2 and stick it on rather than trying to time it towards the end of fermentation to self inflate. It's a vacuum freezer bag and a bottling bucket spigot.

Since your entry is a Belgian running that bottle temp up to the high 70s low 80s won't hurt it. Might speed up the bottle fermentation.

Good luck on the competition. Cannot hurt to ask them to keep it warm but any comp I have help with the bottles are "randomized" so no one can identify their own or anyone else's bottle. Putting one or a couple bottles on the side kind of defeats the randomization process if that makes sense.

Thanks - that looks a bit like the system I am planning to set up. I do have a can of Co2, but I am going to try to capture some at the end of fermentation.

Plan is to use a fermenter cap with two holes, with the air-lock in one and the balloon in the other. Hopefully the balloon will inflate or I can block the airlock for a bit while it does. Then I can block the airlock when it's time to cold crash and hopefully pull from the balloon.

I'm pretty glad this is a Belgian with very little hops as opposed to a NEIPA!

I will probably only have the bottles for one night before I have to turn them in. But hopefully I'll get lucky and they won't chill them right away.
 
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SRJHops

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Oxidation is the big risk with those.
If it's still somewhat cloudy, they may ding you that 1 point. If oxidized you'd lose any chance in the contest, guaranteed.

Although (lack of or incorrect) carbonation is only 1 point on the scoresheet too, it does change the overall perception of the beer, and largely so. You'd be losing points all across the score sheet.

Access to a keg (a smaller one would be easier) and CO2 will make everything, cold crashing, carbonation, transfer to bottles, etc. much easier, and very possibly produce a superior product in the end.
Homebrew clubs can be a excellent resource for such things. We had an event (fundraiser), one of our brewers doesn't have kegging or cooling capabilities, so they borrowed some equipment, got a crash course in kegging, moved the beer twice, and poured their beer from "their" keg!

Solid advice, all around. The good news is that it doesn't have a ton of hops. If it was a NEIPA I wouldn't even risk it.

I do belong to a club, but I don't know any of the brewers well enough yet to see if I could borrow their system. I will say that I personally have very little interest in kegging... I like bottling and feel it's an advantage.
 

IslandLizard

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I do belong to a club, but I don't know any of the brewers well enough yet to see if I could borrow their system.
Maybe you can take the beer with you and do the transfer and whatever it needs, there. Chances are that good person may actually do it for you. It takes a few times to get savvy with kegging, such as 100% liquid pre-purging the receiving keg, performing (near) closed transfers, burst carbonation, etc.

When one of our club members posts a need for help or advice, there are always a few stepping up to the plate. Even across clubs, we have a few in our wider area.
 
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SRJHops

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Reporting back!

I bottled my Belgian Golden Strong and dropped it off at my LHBS the next day, uncarbonated. But it's safe to say it carbed up in the 10 days before the judges drank it. It won first place (a blue ribbon) with a score of 46/50!
 
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SRJHops

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Brooothru

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12 ounces. Another plus is that they probably would not be bottle bombs after just 10 days...

It does seem like a long shot, but at least I might have a chance. The first version had major astringency issues

Agree on the potential for beer grenades. I brewed a Belgian Strong Ale almost five months ago, and I'm still not sure that it's fully finished.

The gravity finally stopped falling after about 14 weeks at around 1.018, and that was only 8.2% ABV. It's been conditioning in the keg, and pressure hasn't increased, so it appears to be done, but it still tastes like there's a lot of unfermented sugars.

The keg has been in refrigeration at 38°F for 3 weeks but I'm a bit afraid to bottle it for a comp, fearing a restart of fermentation. I did hit it with some Biofine, which should help to settle out any dormant yeast.
 
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