Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: Village Taphouse on April 25, 2022, 08:46:03 am

Title: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 25, 2022, 08:46:03 am
Guys, I have an unusual and rare situation that has to do with me moving and my beer sitting cold for quite a long time.  I made a pilsner in September of last year with a mix of Best Malz and Avangard pilsner malt for the base malt.  Edelweiss hops and Omega 113.  That beer was very clear and I posted a pic in the picture thread.  In early October I made a helles but I must have been out of pilsner malt because my notes tell me it was GW 2-row + Munich 1.  Also Edelweiss hops and the same blob of Omega 113.  Both of these batches had the strike water pH set to 5.5 prior to mashing (something I have been doing for a year or so).  The helles was put on tap on Saturday and was cloudy.  I had just moved the keg so I didn't lose sleep over it.  But I had more on Sunday... cloudy.  The only real difference in the batches was the base malt.  I'm willing to accept that the GW 2-row caused it but why?  Both were mashed using a single-infusion at 150.  Water was the same.  Yeast was the same.  Process was the same.  The GW 2-row was used in other batches that ended up clear.  This keg sat cold and carbed for SIX MONTHS prior to being served.  The "rare" part is that I would have a lager sitting around for that long prior to serving it.  Mysteries like this peeve me because I don't know what to look for to avoid it happening in the future.  Any ideas?  I would think that GW 2-row would be a lower maintenance malt than a German pilsner malt.  Cheers & thanks. 
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: denny on April 25, 2022, 08:56:55 am
There's really no reason pale malt should be "lower maintenance " than Germanm pils malt.  The cloudiness could be due to a higher protein level in the malt, or something like the reused yeast becoming less flocculant. Or something else entirely.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 25, 2022, 09:12:37 am
I meant to say that the flavor of the helles is very good too.  Good flavor, good head formation and stability, etc.  This is not an infection.  On the malt thing, I seem to remember some talk about how protein rests might be more conducive to German malts where American malts are typically better with a single infusion.  That said, I pretty much mash everything the same way and the vast majority of the time I have satisfactory clarity.  Another data point:  The pilsner was made (clear), then the helles was made (cloudy) and then there was a Vienna Lager (clear)... all with the same blob of Omega 113 so pointing at the yeast seems strange.   
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: jeffy on April 25, 2022, 09:15:50 am
I made two beers from a sack of Great Western malt that stayed cloudy for a long time.  The only thing they had in common was the malt and the lack of clarity.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 25, 2022, 09:20:45 am
I made two beers from a sack of Great Western malt that stayed cloudy for a long time.  The only thing they had in common was the malt and the lack of clarity.
Interesting.  I should probably go back and look at other beers I made with that malt.  This was probably something I found at Label Peelers or Ritebrew and it was probably priced very attractively.  I had not used GW 2-row in years prior to using it last fall.  If I check the other beers made with it and remember that those beers were NOT brailliantly clear, there could be a connection.  Thanks for the reply.

EDIT:  Around that time I also used the GW 2-row in a pale ale that I remember being less-than-clear, another pale ale that DID end up quite clear and then a "Pub Ale" that was also less-than-clear.  All of these beers would have been between SRM 7 to maybe 10.  All of those beers were fermented with 1056.  Clearly the helles would be more pale.  Could it be a combination of the GW malt and the lower SRM of the beer and there was a pH issue?  My notes on the helles tell me that the mash pH at room temp was 5.51 which would translate to 5.31 (ish) at mash temp.  Slightly high but nothing to worry about, right?
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: denny on April 25, 2022, 09:31:24 am
I meant to say that the flavor of the helles is very good too.  Good flavor, good head formation and stability, etc.  This is not an infection.  On the malt thing, I seem to remember some talk about how protein rests might be more conducive to German malts where American malts are typically better with a single infusion.  That said, I pretty much mash everything the same way and the vast majority of the time I have satisfactory clarity.  Another data point:  The pilsner was made (clear), then the helles was made (cloudy) and then there was a Vienna Lager (clear)... all with the same blob of Omega 113 so pointing at the yeast seems strange.   

Ken, you really can't generalize like that.  That's based on old info and just isn't the case any more.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: jeffy on April 25, 2022, 10:07:12 am
I made two beers from a sack of Great Western malt that stayed cloudy for a long time.  The only thing they had in common was the malt and the lack of clarity.
Interesting.  I should probably go back and look at other beers I made with that malt.  This was probably something I found at Label Peelers or Ritebrew and it was probably priced very attractively.  I had not used GW 2-row in years prior to using it last fall.  If I check the other beers made with it and remember that those beers were NOT brailliantly clear, there could be a connection.  Thanks for the reply.

EDIT:  Around that time I also used the GW 2-row in a pale ale that I remember being less-than-clear, another pale ale that DID end up quite clear and then a "Pub Ale" that was also less-than-clear.  All of these beers would have been between SRM 7 to maybe 10.  All of those beers were fermented with 1056.  Clearly the helles would be more pale.  Could it be a combination of the GW malt and the lower SRM of the beer and there was a pH issue?  My notes on the helles tell me that the mash pH at room temp was 5.51 which would translate to 5.31 (ish) at mash temp.  Slightly high but nothing to worry about, right?
I made ten gallons each of a Classic American Pilsner (with 25% rice) and a Brown Ale (Maduro recipe)
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 25, 2022, 10:39:59 am
I made ten gallons each of a Classic American Pilsner (with 25% rice) and a Brown Ale (Maduro recipe)
Both had clarity issues?

The only outlier was this one pale ale that was pretty clear. 

(https://i.postimg.cc/zDxxcwhn/APA-2022.jpg)

If I'm blaming the malt, it's hard to understand how this one came out so clear.  That's GW 2-row and 1056.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: denny on April 25, 2022, 10:43:59 am
I made ten gallons each of a Classic American Pilsner (with 25% rice) and a Brown Ale (Maduro recipe)
Both had clarity issues?

The only outlier was this one pale ale that was pretty clear. 

(https://i.postimg.cc/zDxxcwhn/APA-2022.jpg)

If I'm blaming the malt, it's hard to understand how this one came out so clear.  That's GW 2-row and 1056.

Same bag of malt?
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: jeffy on April 25, 2022, 10:56:50 am
My CAP and Brown Ale were from the same bag of malt and both had issues with clarity.  I even tried gelatin without much success.  By the time I have gotten to the bottom of the second keg of each they are finally pretty clear.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 25, 2022, 11:58:14 am
Same bag of malt?
Yep.  Just like Jeffy.

I realize that there are parts of brewing that some of us "less scientific" brewers consider "mysterious" and "miraculous" but clarity is honestly the only one that really hits be where it hurts.  On almost every other topic (yeast, water, malt, hops, process, fermentation, etc) I feel pretty confident that I either understand it or else I have a suitable workaround to get the results I want.  Clarity is like the last frontier for me:  I almost always have good clarity but occasionally I have a stubborn one.  I *did* hit this one with a gel solution but even as I was doing that, I knew that something this stubborn (SIX MONTHS IN THE FRIDGE!) was not going to clear.  Someone here must know of a reason or combination of conditions that would line up to cause this.  In my experience (and as Jeffy mentioned), it will get a bit clearer as the keg is consumed.  Also, IME:  You tap a glass one day and glass 1 is cloudy and the beer gets slightly clearer as you go.  Then the next day, glass 1 is really cloudy again and it clears as you tap more.  Is that a clue?  I had some of this helles in a glass late last night and I picked it up and looked at it to see if it was clear as it got closer to room temp.  Yes but not REALLY clear.  I know there is "cloudiness" and there is chill haze.  Also, no other changes made to the process during this time.  I did get a new mill this spring and I'm waiting to see if there is anything unusual about that but last fall my processes were consistent.   
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: denny on April 25, 2022, 12:19:09 pm
Ken, you're not making this easy! 😉
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 25, 2022, 01:14:14 pm
Ken, you're not making this easy! 😉
I know.  If it was easy I would have had it solved years ago!  I have to assume that it's a combination of things that can happen even though the brewer thinks they're doing everything the same.  A pH issue.  A boil rate issue.  A malt issue or a combination of malts issue.  An SRM issue.  I have absolutely used the same malts and yeast in consecutive batches and had one be clear and one be cloudy.  I pretty much ALWAYS get crystal clear wort going into the fermenter. 
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on April 25, 2022, 03:43:29 pm
It is well known that I am a freak when it comes to clear beer. Nothing hazy here!

A picture perfect Munich Helles is on tap now. It cleared all by itself.

But...most of the time I use gelatin. Within 4 days, the beer will be clear enough to read the ingredients on a soup can label.

Using gelatin, we have always had the beer clear out within a matter of a few days.

I thought I was the only one who was anal about this!
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: jeffy on April 25, 2022, 04:16:54 pm
It is well known that I am a freak when it comes to clear beer. Nothing hazy here!

A picture perfect Munich Helles is on tap now. It cleared all by itself.

But...most of the time I use gelatin. Within 4 days, the beer will be clear enough to read the ingredients on a soup can label.

Using gelatin, we have always had the beer clear out within a matter of a few days.

I thought I was the only one who was anal about this!
I like clear beer as well, but I think this clarity issue had more to do with protein levels in the malt.  I hit the CAP with gelatin and it didn’t clear as much as it usually does.  Both beers made with the same sack of malt had the same lack of clarity.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: HighVoltageMan! on April 25, 2022, 04:40:17 pm
Beer clarity does not come down to a single issue. The first thing you need to do is determine what type of turbidity you’re dealing with. You can start there. Guessing at your problem will only prolong your problem. It’s not something that can be solved on a forum. It involves your entire brewing process.

Study turbidity, it’s a complex issue and there’s no silver bullet to fixing it.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: denny on April 25, 2022, 04:44:19 pm
It is well known that I am a freak when it comes to clear beer. Nothing hazy here!

A picture perfect Munich Helles is on tap now. It cleared all by itself.

But...most of the time I use gelatin. Within 4 days, the beer will be clear enough to read the ingredients on a soup can label.

Using gelatin, we have always had the beer clear out within a matter of a few days.

I thought I was the only one who was anal about this!
I like clear beer as well, but I think this clarity issue had more to do with protein levels in the malt.  I hit the CAP with gelatin and it didn’t clear as much as it usually does.  Both beers made with the same sack of malt had the same lack of clarity.

I completely agree about the protein.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: majorvices on April 25, 2022, 06:23:23 pm
Could it be possible your ph was off and you didn't get full conversion?
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: HighVoltageMan! on April 26, 2022, 05:28:15 am
Chill haze needs proteins and tannins/polyphenols. The protein can't do it itself unless there was a lot of it. Malt that bad would be $h!+. I can't imagine it was good one brew and bad the next. Is the malt really so bad that it had a massive amount of undegraded proteins left in it? What's the malt spec sheet show? Was there high FAN in the report? What did you do to reduce tannins? Did you use PVPP? What was your boil pH? Did you use use a clarifier in your boil? What was your mash pH? Did you use a clarifier post fermentation?

The brewing process is complicated and to blame the malt is to assume your process is refined to the point of not skipping any steps to improve clarity or adding mistakes or missteps that would lead to increased turbidity. Dr. Charlie Bamforth is often self described as obsessive about clarity. He has studied it most of his career, it's not simple. You are asking a complex question with a complex answer.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on April 26, 2022, 05:42:21 am
Chill haze needs proteins and tannins/polyphenols. The protein can't do it itself unless there was a lot of it. Malt that bad would be $h!+. I can't imagine it was good one brew and bad the next. Is the malt really so bad that it had a massive amount of undegraded proteins left in it? What's the malt spec sheet show? Was there high FAN in the report? What did you do to reduce tannins? Did you use PVPP? What was your boil pH? Did you use use a clarifier in your boil? What was your mash pH? Did you use a clarifier post fermentation?

The brewing process is complicated and to blame the malt is to assume your process is refined to the point of not skipping any steps to improve clarity or adding mistakes or missteps that would lead to increased turbidity. Dr. Charlie Bamforth is often self described as obsessive about clarity. He has studied it most of his career, it's not simple. You are asking a complex question with a complex answer.

The one time I forgot to use a clarifying agent during the last 15 minutes of boiling, it took a major effort to get the beer to eventually clear.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: jeffy on April 26, 2022, 06:14:19 am
Chill haze needs proteins and tannins/polyphenols. The protein can't do it itself unless there was a lot of it. Malt that bad would be $h!+. I can't imagine it was good one brew and bad the next. Is the malt really so bad that it had a massive amount of undegraded proteins left in it? What's the malt spec sheet show? Was there high FAN in the report? What did you do to reduce tannins? Did you use PVPP? What was your boil pH? Did you use use a clarifier in your boil? What was your mash pH? Did you use a clarifier post fermentation?

The brewing process is complicated and to blame the malt is to assume your process is refined to the point of not skipping any steps to improve clarity or adding mistakes or missteps that would lead to increased turbidity. Dr. Charlie Bamforth is often self described as obsessive about clarity. He has studied it most of his career, it's not simple. You are asking a complex question with a complex answer.

The one time I forgot to use a clarifying agent during the last 15 minutes of boiling, it took a major effort to get the beer to eventually clear.
I've brewed over 430 batches of beer since 1990.  This is the first time I have used Great Western malt.  Both batches brewed with it remained hazy for a long time and never really completely cleared the way most of my beers do.  Subsequent batches using the same equipment and processes and Weyermann malt cleared up normally. 
I will check the G.W. bag this evening to see if there are lot numbers or any other indicators.  My homebrew supply shop/brew-pub where I made the purchase uses this malt for a lot of their beers.  I think I'll ask them if they have any issues.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 26, 2022, 07:45:59 am
Chill haze needs proteins and tannins/polyphenols. The protein can't do it itself unless there was a lot of it. Malt that bad would be $h!+. I can't imagine it was good one brew and bad the next. Is the malt really so bad that it had a massive amount of undegraded proteins left in it? What's the malt spec sheet show? Was there high FAN in the report? What did you do to reduce tannins? Did you use PVPP? What was your boil pH? Did you use use a clarifier in your boil? What was your mash pH? Did you use a clarifier post fermentation?

The brewing process is complicated and to blame the malt is to assume your process is refined to the point of not skipping any steps to improve clarity or adding mistakes or missteps that would lead to increased turbidity. Dr. Charlie Bamforth is often self described as obsessive about clarity. He has studied it most of his career, it's not simple. You are asking a complex question with a complex answer.
I answered a number of these questions earlier.  Mash pH was 5.35 at mash temp.  I have been in the habit of adding about 1ml of lactic acid with 10 minutes left in the boil because whirfloc works better at a lower pH (and I have read that yeast prefer the wort at a lower pH) and I used the acid and whirfloc on this batch.  No PVPP but I have never used it.  I used a gel solution after the beer was cold and in the keg and prior to carbing.  I am not necessarily pointing to the malt.  I am simply listening to others who had similar issues and looking at the most logical component of the process.  I would guess that 90% of my batches are satisfactorily clear.  Like Jeffy, I have been brewing a long time.  Probably over 1000 batches since 1999.  I do realize the question is complex which is why I asked it here on AHA where many high-level brewers hang out.  I'll check out turbidity and see what I can learn.  Thank you for the suggestion. 
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on April 26, 2022, 08:03:01 am
Chill haze needs proteins and tannins/polyphenols. The protein can't do it itself unless there was a lot of it. Malt that bad would be $h!+. I can't imagine it was good one brew and bad the next. Is the malt really so bad that it had a massive amount of undegraded proteins left in it? What's the malt spec sheet show? Was there high FAN in the report? What did you do to reduce tannins? Did you use PVPP? What was your boil pH? Did you use use a clarifier in your boil? What was your mash pH? Did you use a clarifier post fermentation?

The brewing process is complicated and to blame the malt is to assume your process is refined to the point of not skipping any steps to improve clarity or adding mistakes or missteps that would lead to increased turbidity. Dr. Charlie Bamforth is often self described as obsessive about clarity. He has studied it most of his career, it's not simple. You are asking a complex question with a complex answer.
I answered a number of these questions earlier.  Mash pH was 5.35 at mash temp.  I have been in the habit of adding about 1ml of lactic acid with 10 minutes left in the boil because whirfloc works better at a lower pH (and I have read that yeast prefer the wort at a lower pH) and I used the acid and whirfloc on this batch.  No PVPP but I have never used it.  I used a gel solution after the beer was cold and in the keg and prior to carbing.  I am not necessarily pointing to the malt.  I am simply listening to others who had similar issues and looking at the most logical component of the process.  I would guess that 90% of my batches are satisfactorily clear.  Like Jeffy, I have been brewing a long time.  Probably over 1000 batches since 1999.  I do realize the question is complex which is why I asked it here on AHA where many high-level brewers hang out.  I'll check out turbidity and see what I can learn.  Thank you for the suggestion.

Going forward, in an effort to improve stability, clarity, and shelf life, all of our beers will be filtered. A 3 micron sterile filter, followed by a one micron sterile filter.
We had great success with this in the past.
Yes, a little more work. But we don’t mind at all as the results are worth the extra effort.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 26, 2022, 08:32:31 am
There is a good amount of 'turbidity' information out there but most of it talks about contributors to haze without mentioning specific ways to avoid it.  Two things stand out from what I just found:  Boil rate and also the temp of sparge water being added.  I mention these two things because they have a likelihood of not being perfectly consistent.  I typically bring sparge water to about 140° and it's never over 160°.  I seem to remember not to bring it over 175°.  I boil in the garage on a propane burner and I get a visual and adjust it but I assume there is room for error.  The LO guys mentioned a softer boil and I was doing that for awhile but a good 2 years ago I got away from that and did my normal boil rate which I feel gives a better opportunity for clearer beer.  There was also mention of proper recirculation of the wort which I feel like I have a good handle on and I do the same thing on every batch.  For what it's worth... I always get very clear wort going into the fermenter.  Not sure if that's a reasonable indicator or not but had this wort been cloudy going into the fermenter I might have expected a cloudy beer in the glass but that's not the case. 
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on April 26, 2022, 08:43:07 am
There is a good amount of 'turbidity' information out there but most of it talks about contributors to haze without mentioning specific ways to avoid it.  Two things stand out from what I just found:  Boil rate and also the temp of sparge water being added.  I mention these two things because they have a likelihood of not being perfectly consistent.  I typically bring sparge water to about 140° and it's never over 160°.  I seem to remember not to bring it over 175°.  I boil in the garage on a propane burner and I get a visual and adjust it but I assume there is room for error.  The LO guys mentioned a softer boil and I was doing that for awhile but a good 2 years ago I got away from that and did my normal boil rate which I feel gives a better opportunity for clearer beer.  There was also mention of proper recirculation of the wort which I feel like I have a good handle on and I do the same thing on every batch.  For what it's worth... I always get very clear wort going into the fermenter.  Not sure if that's a reasonable indicator or not but had this wort been cloudy going into the fermenter I might have expected a cloudy beer in the glass but that's not the case.

Our sparge water is always at 170-175.
 
The boils are done vigorously. We always get a solid hot break and a huge cold break. Adding a Whirlfloc tablet really improved our cold break! The wort is brilliantly clear when going from the mash tun into the boil kettle, and from the boil kettle into the ferment vehicle.

In addition, a final filter is inline with the wort as is runs out of the boil kettle, just to catch any particles that might have slipped through the hop filter bed. Our beers are very clear, and with gelatin become brilliant.

My last Munich Helles was not fined with anything, and was nearly crystal clear from day one.

Have you considered filtration? That is our next step, for a number of reasons.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: joeinma on April 26, 2022, 09:03:43 am
For the OP, any consideration to using BrewTan B?   I discovered it during my dabbling into low oxygen brewing and even though I don't do LoDO anymore, BrewTan B is a must for my brews.  Combined with whirlfloc, it drops my beers super bright after chilling, which leads to clear beer into the fermenter. Then after fermentation a day or two cold crashing, the beer drops clear again and is usually crystal clear in keg after 1-2 pints.

First time I used BTB was with a Pilsner and after chilling, I took the cover off the kettle and did a double take, the wort was so clear it looked like it was gone and I could just see all the trub at the bottom.   I do no-sparge brewing and have settled on 1 gram in the mash and 0.6 grams at 15 mins in boil. You do have to wait 5 minutes before adding whirlfloc or other fining agents.   But in the 4-5 years using it, I have only had 2 beers that have not cleared, a stubborn Kolsch when I did not realize the yeast was a slow flocculator and a Trappist Single on tap now in which I used Wyeast 1214 which is also slow to floc.   I think in the future, I will increase my BTB addition if I am using a low flocculating yeast.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 26, 2022, 09:18:15 am
For the OP, any consideration to using BrewTan B?   I discovered it during my dabbling into low oxygen brewing and even though I don't do LoDO anymore, BrewTan B is a must for my brews.  Combined with whirlfloc, it drops my beers super bright after chilling, which leads to clear beer into the fermenter. Then after fermentation a day or two cold crashing, the beer drops clear again and is usually crystal clear in keg after 1-2 pints.

First time I used BTB was with a Pilsner and after chilling, I took the cover off the kettle and did a double take, the wort was so clear it looked like it was gone and I could just see all the trub at the bottom.   I do no-sparge brewing and have settled on 1 gram in the mash and 0.6 grams at 15 mins in boil. You do have to wait 5 minutes before adding whirlfloc or other fining agents.   But in the 4-5 years using it, I have only had 2 beers that have not cleared, a stubborn Kolsch when I did not realize the yeast was a slow flocculator and a Trappist Single on tap now in which I used Wyeast 1214 which is also slow to floc.   I think in the future, I will increase my BTB addition if I am using a low flocculating yeast.
Thanks for that.  I probably used BTB for 4-5 years as well.  I never found it to be a clarification aid.  I did notice that beers brewed with BTB were "smoother" if that makes any sense.  There is no copper, iron, etc. in contact with my wort (stainless, plastic, silicone tubing, etc) and from what I understand, BTB's main function is to address the wort's contact with these metals and avoid the oxidation that would result.  Correct me if I'm wrong on that.  So in an attempt to take an overview and simplify my processes, I stopped using it.  My occasional hazy beers were around when I used BTB too.  I also heard from brewers who complained that BTB made their beers HAZIER, not CLEARER so my conclusion on that is that a combination of factors can make BTB behave differently.  If I had experienced crazy-clear wort and beer while using BTB, I would go back to using it.  I still have some and it's easy to incorporate into the brewday. 
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Cliffs on April 26, 2022, 09:23:43 am
BTB definitely helps my beer clear faster. I love the stuff
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: hopfenundmalz on April 26, 2022, 09:34:58 am
A couple things from my experiences.

Gelatin removes particles of one charge, I forget which. It works on yeast. Particles of the other charge reminds. Polyclar/ PPVP work on the charge. A stubborn batch I used a combination of gelatin and Polyclar on the second keg vs just geletin, and the second keg turned out brilliant.

Had a string of very hazy beers. Wondered what was going on. On another forum, a guy had brilliant clarity in the kettle and in the glass. He claimed you should not run your pump when chilling if using Brewtan B  and whirlflock, as that will chop up the cold break. I've tried that, and the resulting break left after transferring off is huge. I haven't had any of that beer, I'm away, and those are Lagering.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 26, 2022, 10:08:14 am
I did buy some polyclar at one point and I'm sure I have an almost-full container of it.  I don't even remember when/how you add it.  Mix it with water and add it to the boil?  I could try it but the part that gets me is that the majority of my beers are very clear so I would rather focus on the cause instead of the symptom so that I know why it's happening.  I'm sure I'm oversimplifying but I have no real way of knowing how this would occur in such a small percentage of the batches. 
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: MDL on April 26, 2022, 11:00:30 am
Chill haze needs proteins and tannins/polyphenols. The protein can't do it itself unless there was a lot of it. Malt that bad would be $h!+. I can't imagine it was good one brew and bad the next. Is the malt really so bad that it had a massive amount of undegraded proteins left in it? What's the malt spec sheet show? Was there high FAN in the report? What did you do to reduce tannins? Did you use PVPP? What was your boil pH? Did you use use a clarifier in your boil? What was your mash pH? Did you use a clarifier post fermentation?

The brewing process is complicated and to blame the malt is to assume your process is refined to the point of not skipping any steps to improve clarity or adding mistakes or missteps that would lead to increased turbidity. Dr. Charlie Bamforth is often self described as obsessive about clarity. He has studied it most of his career, it's not simple. You are asking a complex question with a complex answer.
I answered a number of these questions earlier.  Mash pH was 5.35 at mash temp.  I have been in the habit of adding about 1ml of lactic acid with 10 minutes left in the boil because whirfloc works better at a lower pH (and I have read that yeast prefer the wort at a lower pH) and I used the acid and whirfloc on this batch.  No PVPP but I have never used it.  I used a gel solution after the beer was cold and in the keg and prior to carbing.  I am not necessarily pointing to the malt.  I am simply listening to others who had similar issues and looking at the most logical component of the process.  I would guess that 90% of my batches are satisfactorily clear.  Like Jeffy, I have been brewing a long time.  Probably over 1000 batches since 1999.  I do realize the question is complex which is why I asked it here on AHA where many high-level brewers hang out.  I'll check out turbidity and see what I can learn.  Thank you for the suggestion.

Going forward, in an effort to improve stability, clarity, and shelf life, all of our beers will be filtered. A 3 micron sterile filter, followed by a one micron sterile filter.
We had great success with this in the past.
Yes, a little more work. But we don’t mind at all as the results are worth the extra effort.

Filtering could potentially oxidize the beer.

I have great success with BTB, whirlfoc, and polyclar VT in the kettle.

Clarity ferm in the fermenter.

And clear beer draught systems in the keg with gelatin.

Clear beer in 12 hours. 
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 26, 2022, 11:34:43 am
Filtering could potentially oxidize the beer.

I have great success with BTB, whirlfoc, and polyclar VT in the kettle.

Clarity ferm in the fermenter.

And clear beer draught systems in the keg with gelatin.

Clear beer in 12 hours.
Oh, thanks for the reminder.  I bought a bottle of Cellar Science Clearzyme and have been using that as well.  But it seems like another situation where if a certain group of conditions align just so... this product does not clear the beer.  The same is true (IME) with gel.  If there is a stubborn haze that is not going away then it's not going away.  I have had many batches come out clear when Clearzyme was used but my guess is that they would have come out clear anyway.  Whatever it is that I'm experiencing is definitely a process-based issue... water, mash, boil, pH, etc. but that's frustrating because I try to be oh-so-consistent on every batch I make. 
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: pete b on April 26, 2022, 11:51:13 am
I am far from a brewing chemistry guru so this may sound dumb.
I noticed you said everything was the same including water, which I take to mean water + brewing salts. Should that be the same for the 2 row and the pilsner malt? Could the PH turn out different or something?
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 26, 2022, 11:57:53 am
I am far from a brewing chemistry guru so this may sound dumb.
I noticed you said everything was the same including water, which I take to mean water + brewing salts. Should that be the same for the 2 row and the pilsner malt? Could the PH turn out different or something?
I have been getting my source water to a pre-boil pH of 5.5.  Blending the water with the malts should bring it into the preferred mash pH range and that's been true many, many times.  In the case of the helles made with GW 2-row, I would have added about 3g of CaCl because my source water is higher in sulfate than it is in chloride and for a helles I would want that smooth, round, full character.  It's what I would do if I were using German Pils malt as a base so it's what I did with the GW 2-row too.  I feel like that's reasonable but if someone saw something wrong with that, I am certainly willing to listen. 
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: pete b on April 26, 2022, 12:08:32 pm
I was just wondering if since they were kilned to different levels if the buffering effect would be different. Obviously not like roasted malts but roasted malts are used in smaller doses. If you are targeting water ph vs mash ph maybe it makes a difference when you put in a differntly kilned malt.
I don't know if this is a "thing" but it seems to fit the pattern.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 26, 2022, 12:41:25 pm
I was just wondering if since they were kilned to different levels if the buffering effect would be different. Obviously not like roasted malts but roasted malts are used in smaller doses. If you are targeting water ph vs mash ph maybe it makes a difference when you put in a differntly kilned malt.
I don't know if this is a "thing" but it seems to fit the pattern.
The mash pH at mash temp was 5.35 which falls into the preferred 5.2 to 5.4 range.  I don't think it's to a point that would have caused a permanent haze issue, AFAIK.  Many, many pale beers have been made here with a similar grist (which is to say pilsner malt, vienna and/or munich, maybe flaked corn, etc) and also the same approach to the water being at a pH of 5.5 prior to mashing.  Many of the gold beers I have posted in the pictures thread were made with this same approach but none of those (except this helles) were made with GW 2-row. 
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: pete b on April 26, 2022, 12:47:05 pm
Yea, I didn't think that was it, it just popped into my head.
At this point we have to consider sabatoge.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 26, 2022, 12:56:41 pm
Yea, I didn't think that was it, it just popped into my head.
At this point we have to consider sabatoge.
Right.  Or sorcery.  Maybe static electricity or sun spots.  :D 

I know this is a fishing expedition but the AHA forum is filled with great brewers and great minds and I hoped that maybe someone would see this and say that the same thing had happened to them and they resolved it [this way] and it would be a place to start.  It's very rare and very random and for the life of me I can't think of a cause.  But I admit that I'm not exactly equipped to go back and look at various measurements or data because I am not that type of brewer.  I generally don't read malt lot data sheets, etc. so that's not going to help. I know my mash pH and mash temp.  I know I mashed for 60 minutes as I always do. 
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: denny on April 26, 2022, 01:00:31 pm
Yea, I didn't think that was it, it just popped into my head.
At this point we have to consider sabatoge.
Right.  Or sorcery.  Maybe static electricity or sun spots.  :D 

I know this is a fishing expedition but the AHA forum is filled with great brewers and great minds and I hoped that maybe someone would see this and say that the same thing had happened to them and they resolved it [this way] and it would be a place to start.  It's very rare and very random and for the life of me I can't think of a cause.  But I admit that I'm not exactly equipped to go back and look at various measurements or data because I am not that type of brewer.  I generally don't read malt lot data sheets, etc. so that's not going to help. I know my mash pH and mash temp.  I know I mashed for 60 minutes as I always do.

Then maybe the best thing to do is take what you've learned from this discussion and move on.  See how the next one turns out.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: pete b on April 26, 2022, 01:02:15 pm
Yea, I didn't think that was it, it just popped into my head.
At this point we have to consider sabatoge.
Right.  Or sorcery.  Maybe static electricity or sun spots.  :D 

I know this is a fishing expedition but the AHA forum is filled with great brewers and great minds and I hoped that maybe someone would see this and say that the same thing had happened to them and they resolved it [this way] and it would be a place to start.  It's very rare and very random and for the life of me I can't think of a cause.  But I admit that I'm not exactly equipped to go back and look at various measurements or data because I am not that type of brewer.  I generally don't read malt lot data sheets, etc. so that's not going to help. I know my mash pH and mash temp.  I know I mashed for 60 minutes as I always do.
You didn't brew this during a waxing gibbous moon did you?
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on April 26, 2022, 01:18:35 pm
Filtering could potentially oxidize the beer.

I have great success with BTB, whirlfoc, and polyclar VT in the kettle.

Clarity ferm in the fermenter.

And clear beer draught systems in the keg with gelatin.

Clear beer in 12 hours.
Oh, thanks for the reminder.  I bought a bottle of Cellar Science Clearzyme and have been using that as well.  But it seems like another situation where if a certain group of conditions align just so... this product does not clear the beer.  The same is true (IME) with gel.  If there is a stubborn haze that is not going away then it's not going away.  I have had many batches come out clear when Clearzyme was used but my guess is that they would have come out clear anyway.  Whatever it is that I'm experiencing is definitely a process-based issue... water, mash, boil, pH, etc. but that's frustrating because I try to be oh-so-consistent on every batch I make.

Every step of the brewing process has the potential for oxidation. Just running the beer into the serving keg can introduce O2.

I will be filtering 20 gallons of Pils in a few days. It is expected that there will be no issues. If there is any problem resulting from filtration, you will be the second one to know.

The very slight chance of oxidation (if it really exists) will be more than offset by the benefits.

edit: Our beers were always filtered in a previous brewery. There was never any issue with O2 off flavors. The filter set up was 5 micron, then 3 micron. It worked well, very well.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 26, 2022, 01:57:13 pm
Then maybe the best thing to do is take what you've learned from this discussion and move on.  See how the next one turns out.
Tomorrow I am making a starter (SNS, btw) with White Labs 940 Mexican Lager yeast.  The first batch will be a sort of Mexican Light Lager.  Pilsner malt, Vienna, Flaked Corn, Hallertau hops (2021 harvest).  4.8%, SRM of about 4-5, 22 IBUs or so.  It will be a pale gold lager and I guess I will be on high alert although I don't know what to look for.  The base malt will be Montana Craft Malt Pils.  Will probably be brewed Friday evening or Saturday day.  Thanks Beerheads.   
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Megary on April 26, 2022, 02:24:33 pm
I meant to say that the flavor of the helles is very good too.  Good flavor, good head formation and stability, etc.  This is not an infection.  On the malt thing, I seem to remember some talk about how protein rests might be more conducive to German malts where American malts are typically better with a single infusion.  That said, I pretty much mash everything the same way and the vast majority of the time I have satisfactory clarity.  Another data point:  The pilsner was made (clear), then the helles was made (cloudy) and then there was a Vienna Lager (clear)... all with the same blob of Omega 113 so pointing at the yeast seems strange.   

I'm curious, does this fact absolve the yeast from any possible blame?  I am NOT a re-pitcher of yeast so I honestly have no idea, but couldn't it be possible to see a change in clarity from one generation to the next, especially since the yeast wasn't harvested from the exact same beers?
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: jeffy on April 26, 2022, 03:10:25 pm
I checked my sack of GW malt for more info, but the QR code didn’t scan properly - it had a threaded seam running through the middle of it.  I did write a note to their contact form asking about protein and/or clarity issues.  Perhaps they’ll reply with new info.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 26, 2022, 03:19:28 pm
I'm curious, does this fact absolve the yeast from any possible blame?  I am NOT a re-pitcher of yeast so I honestly have no idea, but couldn't it be possible to see a change in clarity from one generation to the next, especially since the yeast wasn't harvested from the exact same beers?
It seems totally reasonable but I would wonder if it would be more likely to see batches go from clear to less clear to cloudy.  But having a very clear beer followed by a cloudy one and then seeing a clear one... I guess I wouldn't know where to start on that one.  Did I pitch unhealthy cells into the helles but then the yeast eventually rebounded but the damage had been done on the helles and by the time I pitched it into the Vienna Lager things were better?  This is deep water for me and that reasoning doesn't make sense to me but that doesn't mean anything.  I have been brewing since 1999 but I still consider myself more of a beer drinker than a brewer, knowhaimean?   ;D
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 26, 2022, 03:21:15 pm
I checked my sack of GW malt for more info, but the QR code didn’t scan properly - it had a threaded seam running through the middle of it.  I did write a note to their contact form asking about protein and/or clarity issues.  Perhaps they’ll reply with new info.
Interesting.  Please share if they do respond.  I think it will go something like this:

Dear Jeffy:

Yes, that lot of malt was a trainwreck.  Your beer is cloudy as a result of our malt.  Please tell Village Taphouse too.  We understand he's looking for answers!   :D
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: ynotbrusum on April 26, 2022, 03:32:26 pm
I had the same issue with Viking Extra Pale on a blonde.  Never figured it out.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Megary on April 26, 2022, 05:00:12 pm
I'm curious, does this fact absolve the yeast from any possible blame?  I am NOT a re-pitcher of yeast so I honestly have no idea, but couldn't it be possible to see a change in clarity from one generation to the next, especially since the yeast wasn't harvested from the exact same beers?
It seems totally reasonable but I would wonder if it would be more likely to see batches go from clear to less clear to cloudy.  But having a very clear beer followed by a cloudy one and then seeing a clear one... I guess I wouldn't know where to start on that one.  Did I pitch unhealthy cells into the helles but then the yeast eventually rebounded but the damage had been done on the helles and by the time I pitched it into the Vienna Lager things were better?  This is deep water for me and that reasoning doesn't make sense to me but that doesn't mean anything.  I have been brewing since 1999 but I still consider myself more of a beer drinker than a brewer, knowhaimean?   ;D

I got you!  As far as beer drinking and brewing goes, I think we are very similar in many respects!

I only brought it up because when I have clarity issues, I first assume that it is a yeast/fermentation problem. If I truly believe I didn’t foul that up, then I’ll look at the grain bill, hopping schedule, etc.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: jeffy on April 26, 2022, 07:11:32 pm
I checked my sack of GW malt for more info, but the QR code didn’t scan properly - it had a threaded seam running through the middle of it.  I did write a note to their contact form asking about protein and/or clarity issues.  Perhaps they’ll reply with new info.
Interesting.  Please share if they do respond.  I think it will go something like this:

Dear Jeffy:

Yes, that lot of malt was a trainwreck.  Your beer is cloudy as a result of our malt.  Please tell Village Taphouse too.  We understand he's looking for answers!   :D

Ha!  I mentioned the clarity issue to my brother, who started and owns Double Eagle Malt, and he said he thought there were problems with last year’s harvest.  His own barley is contracted with local PA farms, which was fine.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 26, 2022, 07:24:58 pm
I'm curious, does this fact absolve the yeast from any possible blame?  I am NOT a re-pitcher of yeast so I honestly have no idea, but couldn't it be possible to see a change in clarity from one generation to the next, especially since the yeast wasn't harvested from the exact same beers?
It seems totally reasonable but I would wonder if it would be more likely to see batches go from clear to less clear to cloudy.  But having a very clear beer followed by a cloudy one and then seeing a clear one... I guess I wouldn't know where to start on that one.  Did I pitch unhealthy cells into the helles but then the yeast eventually rebounded but the damage had been done on the helles and by the time I pitched it into the Vienna Lager things were better?  This is deep water for me and that reasoning doesn't make sense to me but that doesn't mean anything.  I have been brewing since 1999 but I still consider myself more of a beer drinker than a brewer, knowhaimean?   ;D

I got you!  As far as beer drinking and brewing goes, I think we are very similar in many respects!

I only brought it up because when I have clarity issues, I first assume that it is a yeast/fermentation problem. If I truly believe I didn’t foul that up, then I’ll look at the grain bill, hopping schedule, etc.
Well, we know that homebrewing is filled with a mountain of information and some of it is not always accurate but here goes:  My understanding is that if the issue were stubborn-to-floc yeast, a gel solution would take it out.  I have used a number of low-floccing yeasts including 2565 and 1007 and had super bright and clear beer at the end because gel did its job.  Not so if the stubborn haze is caused by something else.  This is one reason I am not pointing the finger squarely at the yeast but at this point I'll believe anything.

I know I mentioned this earlier but this is probably my only real beer-making headscratcher... hazy beer when it happens 5% of the time or whatever.  Diacetyl is something I have to pay attention to but this mysterious haze issue is by far the most problematic to me.  If I could find the issue I could take over the world.  Sincerely.  World domination... with clear beer.   ;D  Doing a search for CLOUD BEER or BEER THAT WON'T CLEAR, etc. brings up so many results and outlines so many different variables that I would have to quit my job.  We have Ward Labs to analyze our water.  We need HAZE LABS where we can send a sample of cloudy beer and then send us results on what they found and how to fix it.  I'm kidding but only mildly so!   ;D
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: majorvices on April 27, 2022, 06:08:32 am
It looks like pH is not the problem but the reason i mentioned it is because recently I brewed a beer from my standard filtered tap water with standard acid and salt additions and I had to use 4X the amount of phosphoric acid to get the pH to fall in line (including an addition to the BK). That beer never did clear up. City water changes, sometimes drastically. It was like the alkalinity drastically changed over night and then went back to normal the very next day. This had happened to me about 3 times in 12 years (we are talking out of hundreds of batches since this is commercial brewing so it is probably not very common but it does happen).
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 27, 2022, 07:22:53 am
It looks like pH is not the problem but the reason i mentioned it is because recently I brewed a beer from my standard filtered tap water with standard acid and salt additions and I had to use 4X the amount of phosphoric acid to get the pH to fall in line (including an addition to the BK). That beer never did clear up. City water changes, sometimes drastically. It was like the alkalinity drastically changed over night and then went back to normal the very next day. This had happened to me about 3 times in 12 years (we are talking out of hundreds of batches since this is commercial brewing so it is probably not very common but it does happen).
I thought about that too.  I am using "Chicago Water" which is from Lake Michigan.  I've had it tested by Ward Labs 4-5 times over the years, maybe more.  The numbers have been unbelievably consistent... Ca 34, Mg 12, Na 13, Cl 21, SO4 27 (that's 9x3) and bicarb 138.  Occasionally one of those numbers will be slightly different.  I will say this though... the water's pH used to be 6.6.  Then once it was 7.9.  The 7.9 was on the latest analysis.  2.75ml of acid in 5 gallons of strike water is what it took to go from 7.9 to 5.5.  Could there have been a blip?  Maybe.  I suppose the answer is to check the pH of the water each time both prior to adding acid and then again after.  But the fact that I had clear beers on either side of this helles makes that seem very unlikely but still... a possibility.  Thanks for the reply.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: jeffy on April 27, 2022, 08:55:31 am
It looks like pH is not the problem but the reason i mentioned it is because recently I brewed a beer from my standard filtered tap water with standard acid and salt additions and I had to use 4X the amount of phosphoric acid to get the pH to fall in line (including an addition to the BK). That beer never did clear up. City water changes, sometimes drastically. It was like the alkalinity drastically changed over night and then went back to normal the very next day. This had happened to me about 3 times in 12 years (we are talking out of hundreds of batches since this is commercial brewing so it is probably not very common but it does happen).
I thought about that too.  I am using "Chicago Water" which is from Lake Michigan.  I've had it tested by Ward Labs 4-5 times over the years, maybe more.  The numbers have been unbelievably consistent... Ca 34, Mg 12, Na 13, Cl 21, SO4 27 (that's 9x3) and bicarb 138.  Occasionally one of those numbers will be slightly different.  I will say this though... the water's pH used to be 6.6.  Then once it was 7.9.  The 7.9 was on the latest analysis.  2.75ml of acid in 5 gallons of strike water is what it took to go from 7.9 to 5.5.  Could there have been a blip?  Maybe.  I suppose the answer is to check the pH of the water each time both prior to adding acid and then again after.  But the fact that I had clear beers on either side of this helles makes that seem very unlikely but still... a possibility.  Thanks for the reply.
I use 2/3 RO water from the machines in front of grocery stores and 1/3 well water on every batch for years, so I think I can rule out water and pH on these two batches that were cloudy
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 27, 2022, 09:46:21 am
I just grabbed a small sample of tap water and took the pH measurement... sure enough it's 7.9 just as Ward Labs reported to me on my last analysis.  When I brew on Saturday I'll check the pH of that water, add the 2.75ml of acid and check again to make sure I'm at or near 5.5 and then I'll take a measurement on the mash itself.  After I started doing this I checked the pH of the water and the mash on 15-20 batches in a row and I was pleasantly satisfied that the mash pH was falling into the preferred range very regularly so I stopped doing it at some point.  Although when this helles was made I was clearly still doing it because my notes show 5.55 at room temp and 5.35 at mash temp.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 27, 2022, 09:50:45 am
I use 2/3 RO water from the machines in front of grocery stores and 1/3 well water on every batch for years, so I think I can rule out water and pH on these two batches that were cloudy
I have mentioned this before but I tried using the bulk RO water at the grocery store as well.  Curious to know what exactly was in the water, I sent a sample to Ward Labs and found high(ish) levels of bicarb (~50ppm) and TDS.  I had always assumed that RO water was close enough to distilled to consider it distilled but that's not necessarily the case and when you're NOT the person maintaining the machine, you have no idea what's in that water which means you have no idea how to treat it.  If the filters (or whatever) are new... you get one water composition but if the filters are due to be changed tomorrow and you grab water today, you may have another water composition.  At least with my source water I know exactly what's in it every time which means I know what I want to do with it based on the style I'm brewing.  The same would be true for distilled... you know you're starting with zeroes.  I'm not necessarily saying to stop using that RO water but I'm saying that there CAN be variables.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: tommymorris on April 27, 2022, 10:04:47 am
It looks like pH is not the problem but the reason i mentioned it is because recently I brewed a beer from my standard filtered tap water with standard acid and salt additions and I had to use 4X the amount of phosphoric acid to get the pH to fall in line (including an addition to the BK). That beer never did clear up. City water changes, sometimes drastically. It was like the alkalinity drastically changed over night and then went back to normal the very next day. This had happened to me about 3 times in 12 years (we are talking out of hundreds of batches since this is commercial brewing so it is probably not very common but it does happen).
My water recently changed. My starsan bucket used to get cloudy from
Calcium in the water. My last two starsan batches have stayed clear. I think I need to send a sample to Ward Labs.  But, I am wondering if the change is permanent or seasonal.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 27, 2022, 10:59:53 am
Water certainly mucks up the picture.  Local water, a larger source, well water, etc.  I had some conversations with people who rely on water for their businesses (one was a print shop and another was a welding and metal place).  These guys were telling me that a consistent water composition was critical to their business (for whatever the reason) and large swings in the water composition would cause problems with their equipment.  They had controls in place to make small adjustments but the consistency of the water was responsible for things running smoothly.  As homebrewers, I assume our water dictates how much focus we need to have on various water ions, etc.  Some of us can pay less attention to that while others have to spend more time on it.  On one hand, I don't want to guess about what's in the water.  I want to be relatively sure that the water I'm about to use for a certain style is close or right on with what I think it is.  OTOH, I don't want to turn into a water expert on every single batch that I make.  I don't have the tools for that.  If things like calcium, sulfate, chloride or bicarbonate had huge swings, I would be screwed.  Also, I assume that the source water we all have makes a big difference when an RO system is running... the softer the water, the more consistent the results and maybe the lifespan of the filters.  The more schputz you have in the water, the weirder things can get.   
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: majorvices on April 27, 2022, 07:25:01 pm
If you took a pH of the mash and it checked out that wouldn't be the problem.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 28, 2022, 07:14:06 am
If you took a pH of the mash and it checked out that wouldn't be the problem.
Agreed.  So after pH, what would be the next place to look?  Maybe a sluggish boil rate?  I'm usually very careful about that but I suppose it's possible.  Also, according to my notes the wort was clear going into the fermenter. 
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: denny on April 28, 2022, 07:52:59 am
If you took a pH of the mash and it checked out that wouldn't be the problem.
Agreed.  So after pH, what would be the next place to look?  Maybe a sluggish boil rate?  I'm usually very careful about that but I suppose it's possible.  Also, according to my notes the wort was clear going into the fermenter.

I have never found clarity into the fermenter, whether more or less, to necessarily correlate to clarity of the finished beer.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 28, 2022, 08:02:26 am
This is after being hit with a gel solution TWICE!  :(

(https://i.postimg.cc/bwsJ7zCS/PXL-20220427-232945119-MP.jpg)

Whatever it is, it seems to be easy to do and there is nothing about the process that stands out as an "OMG, I just messed up and now the beer is going to have a stubborn haze" kind of thing.  The idea that the malt had an issue like "high protein levels" or something seems to check some boxes because it's not like it's something you can SEE and all of the other pieces of the process seem to check out.  The batches on either side of this one were clear and made with the same yeast but different malts, pH checked out okay, water is consistent, everything seemed okay visually on brewday... what else could it be?
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: majorvices on April 28, 2022, 10:50:18 am
I'd hit that! Looks delicious.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 28, 2022, 10:54:04 am
I'd hit that! Looks delicious.
It actually does taste delicious so I suppose I am making a stink about nothing but I'd still like to know what happened here. 
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: tommymorris on April 28, 2022, 01:27:06 pm
What I would do is set aside Saturday, maybe invite a trusted friend over, and hit the keg while pondering the problem until you figure it out or the keg is empty. Either way, by Saturday night your cloudy beer issue will be in the rear view mirror.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: HighVoltageMan! on April 28, 2022, 01:30:43 pm
At the risk of repeating myself, I'll ask again. What kind of turbidity is it? Is it chill haze? Does it become clearer when brought up to room temperature?
Or is is it permanent haze? Does it remain the same clarity when warm as when cold?

These are the two major groups of turbidity, permanent and temporary. Unless you determine which group your beer lands in, you are not trouble shooting a problem, you are instead taking a shotgun approach and guessing at the problem. Divide and concur, know what your dealing with and take it from there. 

Chill haze is a fairly common problem (if you want to call it a problem) and is temporary. It requires both protein and polyphenols to achieve the "haziness". As the beer chills the proteins form a weak hydrogen bond with the polyphenols, they become large enough to defuse light and become visible. This bond is broken when the beer is warmed and the molecules break apart. Do this cycle enough and it goes into the realm of permanent haze. To get rid of this you need to reduce the amount of soluble proteins and the polyphenols in the beer. Polyphenols are not desirable in beer at all anyway. Proteins are not always bad, but can be a PITA. PVPP (Polyclar) targets polyphenols and leaves the proteins alone. It can be used in the boil or in post fermentation, it does not work well in the presence of yeast. Gelatin is indiscriminate, it targets yeast, proteins and polyphenols. That could also be said for salicylic acid (Biofine Clear). Yeast haze is also temporary. There are remedies for all types, but you need to know what's wrong before you can determine a fix for it.

Permanent haze is usually caused by unconverted starch, bacteria infection, etc. Any of these conditions are bad for beer. Here is a pretty good article about turbidity: https://www.morebeer.com/articles/clarifying_homebrew

If you are serious about getting to the bottom of your haze issue you need to take a systematic approach to find out what exactly is going on with your beer. Guessing and "shotgunning" is only going to lead to wasted time and frustration. I doubt it will be there will one single thing that will fix it.

Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 28, 2022, 02:57:10 pm
At the risk of repeating myself, I'll ask again. What kind of turbidity is it? Is it chill haze? Does it become clearer when brought up to room temperature?
Or is is it permanent haze? Does it remain the same clarity when warm as when cold?

These are the two major groups of turbidity, permanent and temporary. Unless you determine which group your beer lands in, you are not trouble shooting a problem, you are instead taking a shotgun approach and guessing at the problem. Divide and concur, know what your dealing with and take it from there. 

Chill haze is a fairly common problem (if you want to call it a problem) and is temporary. It requires both protein and polyphenols to achieve the "haziness". As the beer chills the proteins form a weak hydrogen bond with the polyphenols, they become large enough to defuse light and become visible. This bond is broken when the beer is warmed and the molecules break apart. Do this cycle enough and it goes into the realm of permanent haze. To get rid of this you need to reduce the amount of soluble proteins and the polyphenols in the beer. Polyphenols are not desirable in beer at all anyway. Proteins are not always bad, but can be a PITA. PVPP (Polyclar) targets polyphenols and leaves the proteins alone. It can be used in the boil or in post fermentation, it does not work well in the presence of yeast. Gelatin is indiscriminate, it targets yeast, proteins and polyphenols. That could also be said for salicylic acid (Biofine Clear). Yeast haze is also temporary. There are remedies for all types, but you need to know what's wrong before you can determine a fix for it.

Permanent haze is usually caused by unconverted starch, bacteria infection, etc. Any of these conditions are bad for beer. Here is a pretty good article about turbidity: https://www.morebeer.com/articles/clarifying_homebrew

If you are serious about getting to the bottom of your haze issue you need to take a systematic approach to find out what exactly is going on with your beer. Guessing and "shotgunning" is only going to lead to wasted time and frustration. I doubt it will be there will one single thing that will fix it.
I addressed this earlier in the thread.  The haze appears to be there when the beer is at or closer to room temp so it does not seem to be chill haze.  I do have some Polyclar and I might dust it off for a batch coming up tomorrow. 
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 28, 2022, 03:11:34 pm
I do have a bottle of BSG Polyclar 10.  There are no instructions on the bottle.  I did find some information on the BSG website but they appear to be referring to commercial breweries in their documentation because they're talking about pounds of this stuff per X number of hectoliters of beer.  So does anyone here use it and have a good reference point?  One site I saw said to use from .5 to 1.5g per gallon for all-malt beers and .2 to .8g per gallon for "all other beers".  It does not say to mix it with water or where to add it (boil kettle, whirlpool, etc).  I thought that in the past I mixed it with water and dropped it into the boil with about 15 minutes left.  If anyone has a line on that, please post.  I'll probably use some in the batch tomorrow.  Cheers.

EDIT:  A picture of the BSG bottle of Polyclar 10 that I just found online says "requires filtration" at the bottom of the label.  What does THAT mean?
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: denny on April 28, 2022, 03:49:34 pm
I do have a bottle of BSG Polyclar 10.  There are no instructions on the bottle.  I did find some information on the BSG website but they appear to be referring to commercial breweries in their documentation because they're talking about pounds of this stuff per X number of hectoliters of beer.  So does anyone here use it and have a good reference point?  One site I saw said to use from .5 to 1.5g per gallon for all-malt beers and .2 to .8g per gallon for "all other beers".  It does not say to mix it with water or where to add it (boil kettle, whirlpool, etc).  I thought that in the past I mixed it with water and dropped it into the boil with about 15 minutes left.  If anyone has a line on that, please post.  I'll probably use some in the batch tomorrow.  Cheers.

EDIT:  A picture of the BSG bottle of Polyclar 10 that I just found online says "requires filtration" at the bottom of the label.  What does THAT mean?

It means that it remains in the beer and you have to filter to remove it.
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 28, 2022, 03:59:04 pm
It means that it remains in the beer and you have to filter to remove it.
And it would be dangerous to ingest it?  Uh, no. 
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: jeffy on April 28, 2022, 04:01:22 pm
Meanwhile, Great Western takes complete responsibility for my haze and intends to reimburse Ken for his hazy beers as well.  Here’s what she said,
“Thanks for reaching out!  Glad to hear you’re using our malts in your homebrewing process.
 
While we have seen some elevated protein in this years crop, there are many factors that can influence haze.  Best bet is to work with your local homebrew shop to help troubleshoot your particular situation.”
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 28, 2022, 04:42:41 pm
Meanwhile, Great Western takes complete responsibility for my haze and intends to reimburse Ken for his hazy beers as well.  Here’s what she said,
“Thanks for reaching out!  Glad to hear you’re using our malts in your homebrewing process.
 
While we have seen some elevated protein in this years crop, there are many factors that can influence haze.  Best bet is to work with your local homebrew shop to help troubleshoot your particular situation.”
Hmm.  Do we take that to mean that it's possible that the malt could be at least part of the issue?  "Elevated proteins" makes me rub my chin.  :D
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: majorvices on April 28, 2022, 05:11:32 pm
Meanwhile, Great Western takes complete responsibility for my haze and intends to reimburse Ken for his hazy beers as well.  Here’s what she said,
“Thanks for reaching out!  Glad to hear you’re using our malts in your homebrewing process.
 
While we have seen some elevated protein in this years crop, there are many factors that can influence haze.  Best bet is to work with your local homebrew shop to help troubleshoot your particular situation.”
Hmm.  Do we take that to mean that it's possible that the malt could be at least part of the issue?  "Elevated proteins" makes me rub my chin.  :D

My malt guy told me to pay special attention to my malt COA for this past years crop. So it could be part of the issue for sure. I can post what I have if you like. It's Great western.

That said, he was more concerned about efficiency.

I've had some beers that had a slight haze even after they were centrifuged. Sometimes it just happens. I definitely blame it on the malt or my mashing process when that happens
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 28, 2022, 05:25:04 pm
Meanwhile, Great Western takes complete responsibility for my haze and intends to reimburse Ken for his hazy beers as well.  Here’s what she said,
“Thanks for reaching out!  Glad to hear you’re using our malts in your homebrewing process.
 
While we have seen some elevated protein in this years crop, there are many factors that can influence haze.  Best bet is to work with your local homebrew shop to help troubleshoot your particular situation.”
Hmm.  Do we take that to mean that it's possible that the malt could be at least part of the issue?  "Elevated proteins" makes me rub my chin.  :D

My malt guy admired me to pay special attention to my malt COA for this past years crop. So it could be part of the issue for sure. I can post what I have if you like. It's Great western.

That said, he was more concerned about efficiency.

I've had some beers that had a slight haze even after they were centrifuged. Sometimes it just happens. I definitely blame it on the malt or my mashing process when that happens
What is a protein percentage in a malt that would raise eyebrows?  I seem to remember someone years ago talking about this and they were talking about 10-11% or something?  Do I have that right or is that number gibberish?  The fact that it could be high proteins levels in the malt makes some sense... it pops up when you feel like you did everything properly and there seems like no reason for it.  As mentioned, other beers made with this malt were cloudy-ish.  I have never, ever looked closely at malt lot data.  I wouldn't even know what to look for.  If a number was an issue, I would have no idea. 
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 28, 2022, 05:38:48 pm
I know I sound like a broken record but I feel like this has to be a clue.  When you tap the first glass in the session, the pour is super cloudy and sludgy.  I just poured one from this keg and it's unbelievably opaque.  Usually on a normal keg you have some cloudy beers at the start but then the rest of the keg pours clear.  But on this pour there were 3-4 seconds (about 1/3rd of the way through the pour) where it looked crazy sludgy and the beers will slightly clear as the night goes on but then tomorrow the first pour will be sludgy.  What TF is that all about?  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: HighVoltageMan! on April 28, 2022, 05:59:07 pm
It means that it remains in the beer and you have to filter to remove it.
And it would be dangerous to ingest it?  Uh, no.
PVPP drops out of solution, no need to filter. It’s also used as a filler in pharmaceutical applications. If you’re  a commercial brewery, then by regulation you need to filter it, no need for homebrewers to filter.  It’s harmless.

Second, you have permanent haze, PVPP (Polyclar) will not improve permanent haze.  It only works for chill haze.
Title: A clarity mystery...
Post by: BrewBama on April 29, 2022, 06:46:47 am
There was a crop report that talked about issues with this years crop. I asked Poptop and Denny to get someone from County Malt Group on to talk about it but I haven’t seen anything yet.

“Key grain growing regions in North America experienced record-breaking, sustained heat in early summer 2021, resulting in damaged grain crops, causing elevated proteins, lower than expected yields, and fewer plump kernels. Considering these changes, it’s important for brewers to understand the tools and strategies available to them to produce the best beer possible with 2021 crop malt.



This year, we anticipate seeing increases of 1.0 – 3.0 % in the total protein in your malt.



The easiest way to address this is to use more malt, however if your equipment limits the use of additional malt, other alternatives exist such as malt extracts or sugars.



increased variability of kernel sizing can be expected this year. It’s important that brewers evaluate their crush on a regular basis…”

https://countrymaltgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Crop-Whitepaper_US.pdf
Title: Re: A clarity mystery...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 29, 2022, 07:27:40 am
There was a crop report that talked about issues with this years crop. I asked Poptop and Denny to get someone from County Malt Group on to talk about it but I haven’t seen anything yet.

“Key grain growing regions in North America experienced record-breaking, sustained heat in early summer 2021, resulting in damaged grain crops, causing elevated proteins, lower than expected yields, and fewer plump kernels. Considering these changes, it’s important for brewers to understand the tools and strategies available to them to produce the best beer possible with 2021 crop malt.



This year, we anticipate seeing increases of 1.0 – 3.0 % in the total protein in your malt.



The easiest way to address this is to use more malt, however if your equipment limits the use of additional malt, other alternatives exist such as malt extracts or sugars.



increased variability of kernel sizing can be expected this year. It’s important that brewers evaluate their crush on a regular basis…”

https://countrymaltgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Crop-Whitepaper_US.pdf
Interesting.  Even if I'm not sure how to attack his, at least if someone comes over to my place and asks why their glass of beer is cloudy I can point to "some kind of mixup down at the factory".   ;D  Thanks BB.