Author Topic: Kegging vs. Bottling - Another question of clarity  (Read 2181 times)

Offline pweis909

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 32
    • View Profile
Kegging vs. Bottling - Another question of clarity
« on: February 18, 2012, 11:20:06 AM »
I only recently started kegging. Why have my bottled beers (75+ batches) tended to be much clearer than my kegged beers (2 batches)?

Does this suggest that my pick-up tubes should be shortened? In his recent Zymurgy article on lagers, Dan Gordon suggested they should be 2 inches higher than the bottom of the keg. Do most of you follow this advice; I know mine are closer to the bottom than that.

Alternatively, maybe I just got unlucky with my first two kegged beers, or maybe there is something else to think about? These were Kolsch and Alt yeasts, which I believe are notorious for low floc and clarity issues. Is that the answer to my question? Shorter settling distance in bottles than in kegs? Maybe, but these kegged beers have been in the kegs since early November.



 

Offline tygo

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2622
  • Sterling, VA
    • View Profile
Re: Kegging vs. Bottling - Another question of clarity
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2012, 12:31:59 PM »
My kegged beers start out relatively cloudy due to the sediment on the bottom of the keg, but clear up nicely after a few pints.  Usually they get clearer and clearer with every pint, up to a point.  I haven't noticed much of a difference between those later pints and bottled beer.

It is important not to move the keg around otherwise you will be stirring up the sediment.
Clint
Wort Hogs

Fermenting: Wit
On Tap: Lucifer's Hammer Golden Strong Ale, Dopplebock, Old Fuzzynut's Ale

Offline morticaixavier

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 7110
  • Davis, CA
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Kegging vs. Bottling - Another question of clarity
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2012, 01:55:02 PM »
I think the biggest thing is that when you bottle condition you wait till the yeast is done and settled, the beer is clear and then pour off the top of the beer, carefully and you get clear beer in the glass. With a keg you are drawing off the bottom where all the yeast is living.

as tygo says if you keep it cool and still for a while and then draw a couple pints that will be cloudy it will clear up

the reason I think is a combo of where you are drawing the beer from and the settling distance as you said. Don't shorted your dip tube though unless you are okay with leaving 1/2 gallon or so of beer at the bottom of your keg.

Online hopfenundmalz

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 5671
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Kegging vs. Bottling - Another question of clarity
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2012, 04:01:23 PM »
Stokes law say about 0.13 meters a day for an average sized yeast particle, smaller ones take longer.  A bottle will clear faster than a keg, less height for the yeast to drop out.  Phenols from hops will also drop given time. 

Old world lager breweries had horizontal tanks, and this is one reason for that.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline seajellie

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 103
    • View Profile
Re: Kegging vs. Bottling - Another question of clarity
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2012, 08:35:40 AM »
I sometimes use shortened dip tubes for this reason, but also because I usually prefer the taste of my beers after they have completely cleared. I still have the naive opinion that my bottled beers taste better...

But a shortened tube may not be a great solution either, depending on how fast you go through a keg. If it takes you awhile to go through a keg, consider that you are leaving all the settled stuff in the keg all that time, and perpetually drawing off a pint right above or through it. Others probablly disagree, but I think this impacts the flavor and clarity, even if you don't move the keg at all.

So now if I know it's going to take me awhile to drink a particular keg, I just leave a full-length tube in there, and drink the first gallon or so quickly to pull it out. It's not unusual for me to be drinking from a keg a year after packaging, and I'd rather get the stuff out of there quickly as it settles.

At this point, I mostly use the shortened dip tubes when I'm doing primary or seconday in a keg.

I've also toyed with the idea of having some sort of floater in a keg, so that I draw off from near the top of the beer. Maybe I should tear apart the toilet basin today and see what I come up with....   :o

Maybe a fishing bobber would be a better idea!

Offline euge

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7396
  • Estilo Casero
    • View Profile
Re: Kegging vs. Bottling - Another question of clarity
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2012, 08:46:03 AM »
Seajellie there's an actual product for that! Can't remember what it is called but we've discussed it before...
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline hokerer

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2639
  • Manassas, VA
    • View Profile
Re: Kegging vs. Bottling - Another question of clarity
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2012, 08:48:47 AM »
Seajellie there's an actual product for that! Can't remember what it is called but we've discussed it before...

Sounds like the fuel pickup in a chainsaw gas tank :)
Joe

Offline seajellie

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 103
    • View Profile
Re: Kegging vs. Bottling - Another question of clarity
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2012, 07:27:33 AM »
Hey, thanks for the inspiration to search. That floating device is called a cask widge, and you can easily find their .com website.

That particular device doesn't work on a corny, but an inventive homebrewer could tear apart their chain saw or toilet or raid their fishing box easy enough I think.....

Another idea for the OP (that I have yet to try out myself) is to take a really really short dip tube, like from a 3 gallon corny keg. Use that for the first half, and then swap out later for a full-length. Again, personally, I wouldn't do this on a keg that I know I will have around for awhile, because I'd rather get the dregs out asap. Various HBS sell spare dip tubes at varying prices.

Others have also suggested just bending your tube a bit at the end, but I have enough problems just getting the regular tube in and out so I don't go there.

Offline jeffy

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2739
  • Tampa, Fl
    • View Profile
Re: Kegging vs. Bottling - Another question of clarity
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2012, 08:45:54 AM »
Someone else suggested using a piece of plastic tubing stuck onto the end of the tube, long enough so that the hose curves around and leaves the open end a little above the bottom.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995

Offline euge

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7396
  • Estilo Casero
    • View Profile
Re: Kegging vs. Bottling - Another question of clarity
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2012, 08:33:15 AM »
Someone else suggested using a piece of plastic tubing stuck onto the end of the tube, long enough so that the hose curves around and leaves the open end a little above the bottom.

That's the most simply elegant idea yet. And oh so easy to implement.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman