Gelatin and Polyclar in the secondary...or is it Gelatin in the bottling process?
Anyone help my old brain out here?
Anyway, a word to the wise, if you use Polyclar dtry not to transfer any to the bottling bucket and definitely not to your glass when pouring. It's plastic and you really don't want that ruining the color or taste of your brew.
is the chill haze the result of not cooling the boiling wort down fast enough? i only ask, cause i've only recently been putting my beers in the fridge, and am noticing the chill haze more. before in the winter and spring it was still cool enough in my cellar to leave the bottles i was gonna drink. i don't like ice cold beer since i began drinking my own stuff... they had no haze and where basically crystal clear. now that it's a swarmy 90 plus humidity here, i throw a few in the fridge, and they get the haze, but it clears out after the beer increases a few degrees in the glass...
should i build a wort chiller? i am going from the 200 plus boiling temp down to about 70 in a little over a half hour, by placing the kettle in a large rubbermade tote and filling it up with water from the hose, dumping it out and refilling when the water in the tote gets too hot.
I don't know. I've never had chill haze (repeated knocking heard on on my wooden head).
I use 4 gals of tap water filtered through a PUR filter then placed in a freezer for 3-5 hours before brewing. Once poured into the primary and the wort added it is down under 70 degrees in a matter of seconds, OK, minutes.
I have used Whirfloc tablets and they seem to work pretty good. I have only brewed 3 times but I have used Whirfloc twice and I (as well as my experienced homebrew friends) were pretty impressed with how clear the beer was, especially since I didn't do a secondary fermentation or filter it in any way. Now it wasn't "commericial" beer clear but it was pretty damn clear.
Here are several tips in no particular order or degree of difficulty:
1. Use a good clarifier in the boil. I and others on this board have had great success with Whirlfloc. Irish Moss is good also. Try rehydrating the Irish Moss for 10 minutes in a 1/4 - 1/2 cup of water before adding. Boil clarifiers go in about 15 - 20 minutes before the end of the boil.
2. Skim the froth that forms on the wort just prior to it coming to a boil. This is coagulated protein. Once the boil starts, stop skimming.
3. A hard, virgorous boil. This helps to form the hot break that occurs right at the beginning of the boil.
4. Use a good kettle screen. This not only keeps out hop debris, but can also keep out some of the other coagulated "stuff" as well.
5. Chill quickly. The best way to do this is with a counter flow chiller. Yes an immersion chiller works well also, but it just doesn't have the speed that a counter flow does. In a CF chiller, the beer is chilled down to pitching temps in a matter of seconds. Even though the cold break ends up in the fermenter, it settles out and does not redissolve into the wort.
6. Crash cool prior to racking. If you are bottling, this is probably not recommended because you still want some suspended yeast for carbonation. But for kegging, chilling your carboy down to below 50 for a few days can help settle out some haze causing stuff.
7. Filter your beer. I do not recommend this because I'm lazy and it takes time, equipment, and money. But it can successfully be accomplished on homebrew scale with amazing results. I have a friend who swears by it. His beer is absolutely brilliant, commerical quality brilliant. But, he is also insane. If clarity is your particular pet peeve, research this.
8. Time. Time will clear most beer. In bottles, after three weeks at room temp for carbonation, set the bottles upright and undisturbed for several weeks in the fridge. For kegs, don't move the keg once you get it in the fridge. Let it sit for several weeks before drinking it. Then, after about the first 1/3 of the keg, the beer should clear up dramatically.
9. Use post boil clarifiers. Things like polyclar (very small plastic beads) and Isinglass (fish entrails, no kidding) can help, but I have never used them. Research them prior to using, I've heard mixed reviews from other brewers.
10. Brew dark beer.
11. Brew wheat beer, it's supposed to be cloudy.
12. Practice good sanitation. Sometimes a beer that won't clear can be an indication of a mild (or not so mild) infection. Keep things clean and you can improve your clarity odds.
Wow - I took some of the advice above, and darned if my beer is not the clearest ever!!!! I skimmed all the froth off the wort as it began to boil. I got the wort down to temperature quickly by using chilled water so I could pitch right away, and I cooled the carboy before kegging. I didn't filter and I did not add any clarifying agents (irish moss), but with those three simple methods I have the clearest brew I ever made.
Again, not that it's all that big a deal to me, but it is nice to present a good clear brew to my guests!!!