Author Topic: is vorlauf necessary?  (Read 8804 times)

Offline davidgzach

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Re: is vorlauf necessary?
« Reply #30 on: January 06, 2012, 01:09:56 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
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Offline roguejim

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Re: is vorlauf necessary?
« Reply #31 on: January 06, 2012, 11:43:27 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.

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.   

Offline euge

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Re: is vorlauf necessary?
« Reply #32 on: January 06, 2012, 11:47:24 PM »
^^^^ This also has passed through my mind, though there's usually quite a bit of chaff and endosperm fragments in my quart.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline denny

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Re: is vorlauf necessary?
« Reply #33 on: January 07, 2012, 09:18:49 AM »
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".
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Offline The Professor

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Re: is vorlauf necessary?
« Reply #34 on: January 07, 2012, 09:41:02 AM »
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.
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Offline weithman5

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Re: is vorlauf necessary?
« Reply #35 on: January 07, 2012, 09:46:59 AM »
^^^^ 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
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Offline roguejim

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Re: is vorlauf necessary?
« Reply #36 on: January 07, 2012, 12:08:40 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. 

Offline denny

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Re: is vorlauf necessary?
« Reply #37 on: January 07, 2012, 12:32:39 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!  ;)
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Offline roguejim

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Re: is vorlauf necessary?
« Reply #38 on: January 07, 2012, 01:19:56 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? ;)

Offline denny

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Re: is vorlauf necessary?
« Reply #39 on: January 07, 2012, 02:01:46 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.
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Offline roguejim

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Re: is vorlauf necessary?
« Reply #40 on: January 07, 2012, 03:31:17 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. 

Offline denny

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Re: is vorlauf necessary?
« Reply #41 on: January 07, 2012, 03:41:19 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!
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: is vorlauf necessary?
« Reply #42 on: January 07, 2012, 03:55:15 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!!!!!!!!   ;)
Dave Zach

Offline roguejim

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Re: is vorlauf necessary?
« Reply #43 on: January 07, 2012, 04:16:56 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?

Offline nateo

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Re: is vorlauf necessary?
« Reply #44 on: January 29, 2012, 09:55:27 AM »
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.
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