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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: melferburque on January 03, 2012, 05:10:31 PM

Title: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: melferburque on January 03, 2012, 05:10:31 PM
I had added this as a subtext to an efficiency question on other thread, but figure it's worth its own post.

is it necessary to vorlauf?  I've found it's easier for me to just strain my wort through a fine mesh screen into the kettle.  this way I don't get any stray grains, and the mash compacts itself eventually anyway.  I don't have a steady enough hand to pour the vorlauf back into the mash tun without disturbing the grain bed.  am I missing a key step by not pouring it back through?  is it affecting my efficiency, or am I risking some sort of hot side aeration by straining the wort?  I have been straining the entire mash and batch sparge, but I suppose I could always stop straining after the first minute or so and not have many solids make it into the kettle.

thoughts?  it seems like HSA aeration is a contentious topic, and the only reason I've seen given for the vorlauf is to prevent the grains from getting into the boil.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: tschmidlin on January 03, 2012, 05:15:03 PM
It's not required.

I usually recirculate manually until it is clearer - as far as disturbing the grain bed goes, you only have to worry about the bottom of the grain bed.  As long as your pouring is only disturbing the top half of the bed you have nothing to worry about.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: denny on January 03, 2012, 05:18:11 PM
I don't see anything really wrong with your method.  OTOH, it only takes me a qt. or less of vorlauf to get clear runnings, which makes it very simple to do.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: corkybstewart on January 03, 2012, 05:22:41 PM
Of course it's critical or the efficient Germans wouldn't have invented both the process and that neat sounding word.  I think it is important, and I know from experience that I can get my wort crystal clear after a couple of vorlaufs.  Getting the big chunkers is great, but you also need to to get the fines out.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: richardt on January 03, 2012, 06:47:16 PM
It depends on your set-up.  I currently use an 82 Qt rectangular cooler and a 12-inch Bazooka Braid, which is probably not as finely-meshed as a "Denny Braid", so I notice that it takes me about 2 to 6 Qts of Vorlaufing to get it as clear as I'd like before it goes into the kettle.  It usually starts out looking like an opaque milky-brown colored smoothie and then transitions to a translucent, watery, slightly more darkly-colored fluid (wort).  When I pour the vorlauf back into the cooler I check to see whether there are any fine sand-like particles in the grant (a cheap 2 Quart white plastic container I use for vorlaufing).  If there are, I keep vorlaufing.  If there aren't, then we're good to start running off the wort into the boil kettle.

I don't like the idea of extracting tannic bitterness from grain husks.  Since I go to great pains to ensure that the mash pH and temperature are optimal (e.g., pH of 5.4 and T<170F), I don't wish to undo those efforts by allowing a bunch of grain husk material into the boil kettle during sparging/lautering.  That's just me.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on January 03, 2012, 07:30:06 PM
Corky, with my crappy German, this makes sense.

Vor = before

Laufen = to run  Lauf =run

Vorlauf = before or pre runnings.

Works for me.  Very despcriptive of what is going on.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: melferburque on January 03, 2012, 09:08:23 PM
I have a ten gallon round igloo cooler with a tight fitting false bottom. I drain through a ball valve and through a fine mesh strainer (I stole my wife's flour sifter, essentially, and use it again on the transfer to fermenter to aerate and sift out some of the bigger chunks of hops).  the first bit to come out has some husks in it, but it clears up after about ten seconds and then there's just the odd piece that makes it through the rest of drainage.  I've been making pretty big beers, rarely under fifteen pounds of malt.  seems like it compacts down pretty quickly with or without the vorlauf.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: corkybstewart on January 03, 2012, 09:15:04 PM
Just keep doing what works best for you.  I vorlauf until the wort is clear, usually 3 gallons on my 10 gallon batches.  Sometimes even after the wort is clear i still get chunks so I tie a hops sack to the end of the runoff hose to catch the debris.  But whether it makes a real difference that the wort is crystal clear or if there is a tablespoon of grain getting into the boil I can't tell you.
Sometimes I think we worry too much over really insignificant details about the process and kind of forget how forgiving brewing really is.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: thebigbaker on January 03, 2012, 09:27:51 PM
I use a 48-qt rectangular cooler to mash and vorlauf and it only takes about a quart to run clear.  I've only done two all grain batches and with a lot of research, advise from this forum and Denny's site, I've been able to make some great beer.  One thing I do, which I picked up from a youtube video, is before I vorlauf I place some foil ontop of the mash and poke some holes in the foil.  When I return the runnings back to the cooler, I slowly pour over the foil as to not disturb the grain bed too much.  I repeat the process for the sparge also.  Does this really make my beer better?  Not sure, but it's what I started off doing and the beer has turned out great, so that's my story and I'm sticking to it!
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: denny on January 03, 2012, 09:30:21 PM
I use a 48-qt rectangular cooler to mash and vorlauf and it only takes about a quart to run clear.  I've only done two all grain batches and with a lot of research, advise from this forum and Denny's site, I've been able to make some great beer.  One thing I do, which I picked up from a youtube video, is before I vorlauf I place some foil ontop of the mash and poke some holes in the foil.  When I return the runnings back to the cooler, I slowly pour over the foil as to not disturb the grain bed too much.  I repeat the process for the sparge also.  Does this really make my beer better?  Not sure, but it's what I started off doing and the beer has turned out great, so that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

If you're batch sparging, you're wasting time, effort, and foil.  You can just gently pour it back in and you'll be fine.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: thebigbaker on January 03, 2012, 09:38:36 PM
I use a 48-qt rectangular cooler to mash and vorlauf and it only takes about a quart to run clear.  I've only done two all grain batches and with a lot of research, advise from this forum and Denny's site, I've been able to make some great beer.  One thing I do, which I picked up from a youtube video, is before I vorlauf I place some foil ontop of the mash and poke some holes in the foil.  When I return the runnings back to the cooler, I slowly pour over the foil as to not disturb the grain bed too much.  I repeat the process for the sparge also.  Does this really make my beer better?  Not sure, but it's what I started off doing and the beer has turned out great, so that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

If you're batch sparging, you're wasting time, effort, and foil.  You can just gently pour it back in and you'll be fine.

I am batch sparging.  I will definitely take your advice and go w/ out the foil next time.  Thanks Denny, always appreciate any advice.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: narcout on January 03, 2012, 09:40:58 PM
Sometimes even after the wort is clear i still get chunks so I tie a hops sack to the end of the runoff hose to catch the debris.

I also use a hop bag on the end of my runoff hose; it works great.  For the record I also vorlauf, but the hop bag makes sure that nothing gets through.

There's a Northern Brewer blogpost that actually advocates against vorlaufing.  I don't really agree, but here it is: http://www.northernbrewer.com/connect/2010/03/2-things-literature-says-i-should-do-that-i-dont/
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: melferburque on January 03, 2012, 09:52:29 PM
Sometimes even after the wort is clear i still get chunks so I tie a hops sack to the end of the runoff hose to catch the debris.

I also use a hop bag on the end of my runoff hose; it works great.  For the record I also vorlauf, but the hop bag makes sure that nothing gets through.

There's a Northern Brewer blogpost that actually advocates against vorlaufing.  I don't really agree, but here it is: http://www.northernbrewer.com/connect/2010/03/2-things-literature-says-i-should-do-that-i-dont/


wow, I'd never heard the bit in that link about not rehydrating yeast in water, either.  I'd always just follow the instructions on the package and added it to a bit of warm water 15 minutes before the end of the boil.  I know at the U-brew I started out at, they just add dry yeast straight to the wort...

interestingly enough, that NB article also mentions vorlauf causing HSA.  well damn, if they're worried about a bit of corlauf causing that, they must REALLY hate my straining method.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: oscarvan on January 03, 2012, 10:18:51 PM
Of course it's critical or the efficient Germans wouldn't have invented both the process and that neat sounding word.

I beg to differ. The Germans invented a LOT of dumb words.....

"Eisenbahn-knotenpunt-hin-und-her-shieber" which loosely translates into: "railway- crossroads-backwards-and-forwards-mover".
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: corkybstewart on January 03, 2012, 10:23:08 PM
Sometimes even after the wort is clear i still get chunks so I tie a hops sack to the end of the runoff hose to catch the debris.

I also use a hop bag on the end of my runoff hose; it works great.  For the record I also vorlauf, but the hop bag makes sure that nothing gets through.

There's a Northern Brewer blogpost that actually advocates against vorlaufing.  I don't really agree, but here it is: http://www.northernbrewer.com/connect/2010/03/2-things-literature-says-i-should-do-that-i-dont/


wow, I'd never heard the bit in that link about not rehydrating yeast in water, either.  I'd always just follow the instructions on the package and added it to a bit of warm water 15 minutes before the end of the boil.  I know at the U-brew I started out at, they just add dry yeast straight to the wort...

interestingly enough, that NB article also mentions vorlauf causing HSA.  well damn, if they're worried about a bit of corlauf causing that, they must REALLY hate my straining method.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: narcout on January 03, 2012, 10:30:10 PM
wow, I'd never heard the bit in that link about not rehydrating yeast in water, either.  I'd always just follow the instructions on the package and added it to a bit of warm water 15 minutes before the end of the boil.  I know at the U-brew I started out at, they just add dry yeast straight to the wort...

interestingly enough, that NB article also mentions vorlauf causing HSA.  well damn, if they're worried about a bit of corlauf causing that, they must REALLY hate my straining method.

I also disagree with the premise that you shouldn't rehydrate yeast in water, especially after Sean's experiment: http://seanterrill.com/2011/04/01/dry-yeast-viability/

I don't believe vorlaufing causes HSA (unless you're doing something really funky).
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: weithman5 on January 03, 2012, 10:31:37 PM
i don't get enough material past my toilet hose to worry about and when i biab i don't seem to have so much through the netting either.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: blatz on January 03, 2012, 10:31:57 PM
Of course it's critical or the efficient Germans wouldn't have invented both the process and that neat sounding word.

I beg to differ. The Germans invented a LOT of dumb words.....

"Eisenbahn-knotenpunt-hin-und-her-shieber" which loosely translates into: "railway- crossroads-backwards-and-forwards-mover".

yes, especially when everyone knows it could have just been "der train".
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: tubercle on January 03, 2012, 11:03:05 PM
I usually Vorlauf about a qt when I remember to, which is about half the time. I'm usually checking for flow more than anything else. After a qt everthing seems clear.

 BTW, I use a hybrid strainer. A 1" piece of braid connected to a 4" piece of 1/2 slotted copper pipe with another piece of braid crimped on the end. The occasional chunk but very little sediment. Can't be any worse than the suicidal wasp or the walnut leaves that blow in.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: tschmidlin on January 04, 2012, 05:44:11 AM
There's a Northern Brewer blogpost that actually advocates against vorlaufing.  I don't really agree, but here it is: http://www.northernbrewer.com/connect/2010/03/2-things-literature-says-i-should-do-that-i-dont/
I wouldn't just dump the yeast in the wort if it was over ~1.050.  For that I use go-ferm and water to rehydrate dry yeast.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: euge on January 04, 2012, 06:41:31 AM
I'm a hydrator of dry yeast too. It's important to note that the yeast should be hydrated in plain tap water not RO, distilled or otherwise. I get krausen in 8 hours so I'm wondering if the "stripping" of FAN has that much impact vs cell wall destruction.

Does hot side aeration actually matter pre-boil?

And to answer the vorlauf question. Usually a quart or less to set the grain-bed and vorlauf. I float a plastic lid and gently pour the vorlauf onto it and the bed isn't disturbed. From now on I'll skip this.

Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: weithman5 on January 04, 2012, 01:59:20 PM
i have also made starters from partial packets of dry yeast.  i know this is frowned upon, but in my world it is not much different than   repitching a yeast slurry from a previous batch.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: Kit B on January 04, 2012, 02:17:42 PM
The vorlauf will help you eliminate chunks of grain & husk that could otherwise add tannins, get scorched, or promote additional matter that you don't want/need.
I use a 10-gallon Rubbermaid cooler with stainless braid.
I typically run 2 to 3 quarts, because I run into a gallon pitcher & there's room to do so.
I place a receiving kettle under the tun, place my gallon pitcher into the kettle & put the hose into the pitcher.
When the runnings look quite clear, I drop the hose into the kettle & very slowly pour the initial runnings into the rear of the tun.
No fuss.

Addition:
HSA isn't going to occur from the mild treatment involved in most vorlaufing.
But, you could possibly be pushing your luck with that straining method.

That said...I believe HSA exists, but have never noticed it in my brews, or anyone else's.
...Kinda like the way I believe in sasquatch.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: tygo on January 04, 2012, 03:05:35 PM
Does hot side aeration actually matter pre-boil?

Theoretically it does create oxidized compounds that are not volatilized during the boil.  In practice normal handling of the wort doesn't seem to have much of an effect.  At least not at the homebrew level.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: kgs on January 04, 2012, 03:29:05 PM
I mash in a 5-gallon Rubbermaid cooler (trimmed with blue painter's tape to increase efficiency) using a foot-long (I think) "Denny braid." I always end up vorlaufing because I don't know if I need to vorlauf until I've poured off a couple of cups of wort, at which point, I *is* vorlaufing. It's usually between 3 and 4 cups because I use a 4-cup Pyrex. In my opinion, based on what I see, the vorlauf is usually unnecessary, but it's not like it takes much effort, and then I get to throw around words like "vorlauf."

I have become a dry yeast sprinkler, simply to avoid one more contamination opportunity. My beers rarely exceed 1.070. My ales always kick off with great enthusiasm. My stouts never do, and also finish too high. Hmmm. But now we have a hybrid thread...
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: morticaixavier on January 04, 2012, 03:32:22 PM
Does hot side aeration actually matter pre-boil?

Theoretically it does create oxidized compounds that are not volatilized during the boil.  In practice normal handling of the wort doesn't seem to have much of an effect.  At least not at the homebrew level.

I brew alot of partigyle brews and I have only one kettle that is big enough to hold a preboil volume of wort, even for the small beer. So I run my first runnings off into the boil kettle, get that on the burner and then run off the second runnings into a bucket. When the first boil is over I pour the second runnings into the kettle. I take 0 precautions against HSA and have never noticed any problems. I have not entered any contests so perhaps I am just missing it but...
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: tygo on January 04, 2012, 05:17:00 PM
I take 0 precautions against HSA and have never noticed any problems. I have not entered any contests so perhaps I am just missing it but...

I agree with you.  I've read / heard interviews where people who know what they are talking about (Bamforth, Fix, etc) say it exists, but I've never had a problem with it and I'm not especially careful about it.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: euge on January 04, 2012, 06:19:15 PM
Does hot side aeration actually matter pre-boil?

Theoretically it does create oxidized compounds that are not volatilized during the boil.  In practice normal handling of the wort doesn't seem to have much of an effect.  At least not at the homebrew level.

I brew alot of partigyle brews and I have only one kettle that is big enough to hold a preboil volume of wort, even for the small beer. So I run my first runnings off into the boil kettle, get that on the burner and then run off the second runnings into a bucket. When the first boil is over I pour the second runnings into the kettle. I take 0 precautions against HSA and have never noticed any problems. I have not entered any contests so perhaps I am just missing it but...

I as well, though have nothing to back it up with. However, if it can happen I will make it so- however unwittingly it is done.

One of those notions that have been bothering me as I vorlauf and lauter.


Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: djt17 on January 04, 2012, 06:36:27 PM
On the last episode of "Drinking Made Easy", they were at the Allagash brewery in Maine. As soon as the boil was over they were pumping hot wort from the boil kettle to a large open fermenter. It dropped about 6 ft to the fermenter; splashing & foaming all over the place. I thought if HSA was real, this should be it.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: morticaixavier on January 04, 2012, 07:03:01 PM
On the last episode of "Drinking Made Easy", they were at the Allagash brewery in Maine. As soon as the boil was over they were pumping hot wort from the boil kettle to a large open fermenter. It dropped about 6 ft to the fermenter; splashing & foaming all over the place. I thought if HSA was real, this should be it.

unless they purge the fermenter. I imagine there is a time aspect to it as well.

as I understand oxidation first you introduce o2 then, over some period of time, that o2 interacts with other compounds in the wort/beer causing unpleasant or unwanted flavours/aromas. the higher the temp (within a limit) the faster these reactions occur. The higher the level of disolved o2 the faster and more extreme these reactions occur. and the longer the disolved o2 stays in the wort/beer and the wort/beer stays at an elevated temperature the more these reactions occur.

so when I pour my hot wort from a bucket to the kettle I am introducing o2 and oxidation reactions commence. I then add heat which drives off disolved o2 until it reaches a boil when pretty much all the o2 is removed from the solution thus halting the reaction quickly.

with allagash they pump the hot wort into the fermenter where o2 is introduced and reactions commence. they immediatly begin cooling the wort via what ever chilling method they use thus slowing the reactions and then add yeast which remove much of the remaining o2 in fairly short order.

Perhaps if you agitated your hot wort and then let it sit overnight you would notice some effects. I am unlikely to try this experimen.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: davidgzach on January 06, 2012, 08:09:56 PM
I do think vorlauf is important and with my toilet connector, usually drain about 1 qt before clear.
I agree with Tom that pouring back the vorlauf is not a major issue as long as you are not disturbing the bottom half of the mash.
I have experienced HSA before buying a IC.  If you splash the wort around violently while it is over 95F, it can happen.
The only effect I have experienced from HSA is haze.
I don't think HSA matters as much pre-boil but I try to not splash the beer around anyway.

Happy New Year all!

Dave
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: roguejim on January 07, 2012, 06:43:27 AM
I don't see anything really wrong with your method.  OTOH, it only takes me a qt. or less of vorlauf to get clear runnings, which makes it very simple to do.

Glad this came up.  The question that immediately comes to my mind is whether the paltry amount of supposed grain husks that you collected in that "qt. or less" would have any perceptible impact on the finished beer.  Just talking out my a**, I say "no".  I think this is one of those time honored homebrew bugaboos that probably hasn't ever really been questioned, let alone, tested.  I mean, what quantity of grain husks in a boil kettle would it really take for tannins to be detectible in the finished beer?  I suspect a lot more than you could ever collect in that quart container by way of a hose braid.  Do I vorlauf?...yeah...for now anyway.

As for the cloudy wort issue, when I was having stuck sparge issues, out of frustration, I stirred the mash 3-4 times during the runoff.  Nice, cloudy wort poured into my kettle, but no husks that I could see.  Anyway, the pilsener came out clear as a bell.   
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: euge on January 07, 2012, 06:47:24 AM
^^^^ This also has passed through my mind, though there's usually quite a bit of chaff and endosperm fragments in my quart.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: denny on January 07, 2012, 04:18:49 PM
I pretty much agree with both of you.  There certainly doesn't look like much "stuff" in the portion I vorlauf, and I suspect that it would have minimal, if any, impact if I didn't.  OTOH, it's so fast and easy that I'll probably continue to do it "just in case".
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: The Professor on January 07, 2012, 04:41:02 PM
I pretty much agree with both of you.  There certainly doesn't look like much "stuff" in the portion I vorlauf, and I suspect that it would have minimal, if any, impact if I didn't.  OTOH, it's so fast and easy that I'll probably continue to do it "just in case".

That's how I feel about it too.  For the small effort and very little time it takes, and certainly posing no risk to the beer,  its nice to have clear wort  and practically zero husk material going into the kettle. 
I'm always open to try something new and not afraid of change, but this is one of those little things to which I'll probably always stubbornly cling.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: weithman5 on January 07, 2012, 04:46:59 PM
^^^^ This also has passed through my mind, though there's usually quite a bit of chaff and endosperm fragments in my quart.

I am confused. chaff and endosperm fragments in a quart of your brain? ;D
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: roguejim on January 07, 2012, 07:08:40 PM
I pretty much agree with both of you.  There certainly doesn't look like much "stuff" in the portion I vorlauf, and I suspect that it would have minimal, if any, impact if I didn't.  OTOH, it's so fast and easy that I'll probably continue to do it "just in case".

That's how I feel about it too.  For the small effort and very little time it takes, and certainly posing no risk to the beer,  its nice to have clear wort  and practically zero husk material going into the kettle. 
I'm always open to try something new and not afraid of change, but this is one of those little things to which I'll probably always stubbornly cling.

Yeah, I'm with you on this, but you could say the same thing about shaking a lucky rabbit's foot over the kettle, i.e., it only requires a "small effort and very little time..., and certainly pos[es] no risk to the beer".  Just saying that I've never really seen any data quantifying the husk/tannin extraction problem on a homebrew level.  So, I don't really have a reason for the vorlauf, even though I employ it myself.  So, at this point, for me, the vorlauf is akin to the lucky rabbit's foot that has never been seriously tested (unless one wishes to consider my stirring the mash during the runoff as a test). 

I wonder if this is not a little similar to the "trub in the fertmenter/autolysis" problem which seems to be slowly becoming no problem as more people are becoming less concerned with trub in primary, even to the exclusion of employing secondary fermentation.  This is just something I've noticed more and more on forums. 
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: denny on January 07, 2012, 07:32:39 PM
I think it's more of a case that the "conventional homebrew wisdom" of years past was based on what homebrewers observed commercial brewers doing.  Rather than questioning whether those lessons were valid, older homebrew books simply related the conventional wisdom.  I know that's what it seemed like with the books I started reading 14 years ago.  As more people start homebrewing and communicating via forums like this, that wisdom gets questioned, the questions get tested, and the info passed along.  Some of that wisdom is valid for what we do and some isn't.  With this issue, you could do back to back batches, vorlauf one but not the other, and do a blind tasting of the results.  I'll be waiting for your conclusions!  ;)
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: roguejim on January 07, 2012, 08:19:56 PM
I think it's more of a case that the "conventional homebrew wisdom" of years past was based on what homebrewers observed commercial brewers doing.  Rather than questioning whether those lessons were valid, older homebrew books simply related the conventional wisdom.  I know that's what it seemed like with the books I started reading 14 years ago.  As more people start homebrewing and communicating via forums like this, that wisdom gets questioned, the questions get tested, and the info passed along.  Some of that wisdom is valid for what we do and some isn't.  With this issue, you could do back to back batches, vorlauf one but not the other, and do a blind tasting of the results.  I'll be waiting for your conclusions!  ;)

But if you yourself could detect no difference in the two batches, would you still vorlauf? ;)
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: denny on January 07, 2012, 09:01:46 PM
But if you yourself could detect no difference in the two batches, would you still vorlauf? ;)

I have a "belt and suspenders" kinda personality sometimes, so yeah, I probably still would.  Every once in a while I get more "stuff" coming out than I anticipated and there's no way for me to tell when that will happen.  Since it's quick and easy, I/d rather do it than wish that I would have done it.  OTOH, if I was one of the guys I read about who vorlauf several gal. I'd probably reconsider that.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: roguejim on January 07, 2012, 10:31:17 PM
But if you yourself could detect no difference in the two batches, would you still vorlauf? ;)

I have a "belt and suspenders" kinda personality sometimes, so yeah, I probably still would.  Every once in a while I get more "stuff" coming out than I anticipated and there's no way for me to tell when that will happen.  Since it's quick and easy, I/d rather do it than wish that I would have done it.  OTOH, if I was one of the guys I read about who vorlauf several gal. I'd probably reconsider that.

I'll tell you what I'll do.  Because I don't think this is such a big concern that it warrants a double batch, and neither do I have the enthusiasm for it, what would you say to me brewing a single APA minus the vorlauf?  If you like, I would even be willing to stir the mash during the runoff, get the wort good and cloudy.  I'll send you two bottles.  You and someone else can taste for tannins, or other nasty elements. 
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: denny on January 07, 2012, 10:41:19 PM
I'll tell you what I'll do.  Because I don't think this is such a big concern that it warrants a double batch, and neither do I have the enthusiasm for it, what would you say to me brewing a single APA minus the vorlauf?  If you like, I would even be willing to stir the mash during the runoff, get the wort good and cloudy.  I'll send you two bottles.  You and someone else can taste for tannins, or other nasty elements. 

You're on!  Lemme know when you're ready for tasting!
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: davidgzach on January 07, 2012, 10:55:15 PM
But if you yourself could detect no difference in the two batches, would you still vorlauf? ;)

I have a "belt and suspenders" kinda personality sometimes, so yeah, I probably still would.  Every once in a while I get more "stuff" coming out than I anticipated and there's no way for me to tell when that will happen.  Since it's quick and easy, I/d rather do it than wish that I would have done it.  OTOH, if I was one of the guys I read about who vorlauf several gal. I'd probably reconsider that.


I'll tell you what I'll do.  Because I don't think this is such a big concern that it warrants a double batch, and neither do I have the enthusiasm for it, what would you say to me brewing a single APA minus the vorlauf?  If you like, I would even be willing to stir the mash during the runoff, get the wort good and cloudy.  I'll send you two bottles.  You and someone else can taste for tannins, or other nasty elements.  

I'm in the vorlauf camp and wouldn't mind tasting for tannins!!!!!!!!   ;)
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: roguejim on January 07, 2012, 11:16:56 PM
I'll tell you what I'll do.  Because I don't think this is such a big concern that it warrants a double batch, and neither do I have the enthusiasm for it, what would you say to me brewing a single APA minus the vorlauf?  If you like, I would even be willing to stir the mash during the runoff, get the wort good and cloudy.  I'll send you two bottles.  You and someone else can taste for tannins, or other nasty elements. 

You're on!  Lemme know when you're ready for tasting!

Do you want me to stick with just the "no vorlauf"?  Or do you want me to also stir the mash during runoff?
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: nateo on January 29, 2012, 04:55:27 PM
I had a run of noticeably tannic batches I traced back to using the BIAB method with too coarse of a bag. I had recently switched to a paint strainer and it let a lot of draff get into the kettle. Switched back to a fine cheesecloth and the problem went away. I was getting probably a good inch of thick draff in the bottom of my fermentation bucket.

Listening to an interview with Bamforth, he talked about how different brewers in different parts of the world see this problem differently. Germans insist the wort must be crystal clear pre-boil, but others say having your wort a bit cloudy helps by creating more nucleation sites for hot and cold breaks during the boil and chilling. But I can tell from experience that a lot of draff in your kettle will definitely extract unwanted tannins.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: denny on January 29, 2012, 05:51:06 PM
Roguejim is conducting an experiment I'm helping with.  He not only didn't voraluf a batch of APA, he even dumped 1/3 cup of grains back into the kettle.  We'll do a blind (but not triangle) tasting.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: chester3 on October 01, 2013, 05:48:45 PM
What was the result of your blind tasting for this?  Thanks and cheers!
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: Jimmy K on October 01, 2013, 06:16:51 PM
What was the result of your blind tasting for this?  Thanks and cheers!
Yes please!
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: cornershot on October 01, 2013, 08:49:39 PM
What was the result of your blind tasting for this?  Thanks and cheers!
Yes please!
Pretty please!
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: denny on October 01, 2013, 09:30:18 PM
What was the result of your blind tasting for this?  Thanks and cheers!
Yes please!
Pretty please!

I don't recall ever getting the beers from Jim.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: jae on October 03, 2013, 02:43:17 AM
I do Brew in a Bag for about a quarter of my brews.  I've done big strong beers, light hoppy ones, quick sours, dark & smokies . . . all without a proper vorlauf.  I've never had a clarity issue, tannic issue or storage issue (up to about 2.5 years thus far). 

I've always assumed the vorlauf step was one of those kind of ridiculous things propagated through years of empiric experience.  I still do a quick quart-or-so, but don't worry if I don't (say, if I'm trying to unstick a sparge).
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: ynotbrusum on October 03, 2013, 08:48:11 PM
No empirical evidence to substantiate, but a clearer wort (all other things being equal) will produce a clearer beer faster than a cloudy wort - or so I believe. So, I Vorlauf and even skim break on lighter paler beers. YMMV
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: denny on October 03, 2013, 09:00:48 PM
No empirical evidence to substantiate, but a clearer wort (all other things being equal) will produce a clearer beer faster than a cloudy wort - or so I believe. So, I Vorlauf and even skim break on lighter paler beers. YMMV

I have tested that theory several times and found no correlation between the clarity of the wort and the clarity of the finished beer.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: erockrph on October 03, 2013, 10:31:39 PM
No empirical evidence to substantiate, but a clearer wort (all other things being equal) will produce a clearer beer faster than a cloudy wort - or so I believe. So, I Vorlauf and even skim break on lighter paler beers. YMMV

I BIAB most of my brews and end up with a crapload of trub in the fermenter, but it all drops like a rock after a day or so. I've never noticed a difference between my all-grain and extract brews when it comes to clarity. The only factor that I find to be a significant variable in how fast a beer clears is the yeast strain. But, as you said, YMMV. I don't really worry too much about beer clarity so I may not be looking at the fine details as closely as others.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: HoosierBrew on October 03, 2013, 11:45:45 PM
No empirical evidence to substantiate, but a clearer wort (all other things being equal) will produce a clearer beer faster than a cloudy wort - or so I believe. So, I Vorlauf and even skim break on lighter paler beers. YMMV

I have tested that theory several times and found no correlation between the clarity of the wort and the clarity of the finished beer.
+1.   Good attention to pH is much more important for clarity. Time and cold will drop hazy beer clear if pH is good.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: redbeerman on October 04, 2013, 12:13:48 PM
No empirical evidence to substantiate, but a clearer wort (all other things being equal) will produce a clearer beer faster than a cloudy wort - or so I believe. So, I Vorlauf and even skim break on lighter paler beers. YMMV

I have tested that theory several times and found no correlation between the clarity of the wort and the clarity of the finished beer.
+1.   Good attention to pH is much more important for clarity. Time and cold will drop hazy beer clear if pH is good.

I have found this to be true as well.
Title: Re: is vorlauf necessary?
Post by: ynotbrusum on October 05, 2013, 10:30:08 AM
Interesting to hear your views - my focus was the speed at which the beer clears - again "all other things being equal"... My reason for reducing the trub is that I routinely harvest yeast in lagers.  The less suspended materials  to start with, the less time it takes for that beer to clear.  I've noticed it by brewing the same beer several times with the same yeast - but as stated, YMMV.