Author Topic: Clear(er) Beer  (Read 3174 times)

Offline miguelpanderland

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Clear(er) Beer
« on: May 02, 2012, 06:52:15 PM »
Any suggestions? 

My beer tastes good, but it could surely stand some improvement in the clarity department.  Any help is appreciated.

Offline euge

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Re: Clear(er) Beer
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2012, 07:29:28 PM »
Any suggestions? 

My beer tastes good, but it could surely stand some improvement in the clarity department.  Any help is appreciated.

Use flocculent yeast and make sure there is calcium in your brewing water. Crash cool and use fining agents. Try to use ingredients that produce less  chill haze.

And time. Sometimes it just takes time.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline edvinjonsson

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Re: Clear(er) Beer
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2012, 08:10:29 PM »

And time. Sometimes it just takes time.

+1

When bottling, I usually just leave the bottles a couple more weeks in the fridge after they're done. And when kegging, I leave the fermenter in the fridge for a week or so before siphoning to the keg. I always use irish moss in the boil, and when kegging, sometimes I use gelatin when cold crashing the fermenter too.

Offline miguelpanderland

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Re: Clear(er) Beer
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2012, 05:53:53 AM »
Regarding gelatin - I usually don't use a secondary vessel.  If I'm going to use gelatin, do I?  Or, is there an appropriate point to add to primary (assuming I don't want to harvest slurry)?

Euge, when you say "crash cool," do you mean some type of cooling other than just chilling the wort?

Offline jmcamerlengo

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Re: Clear(er) Beer
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2012, 06:01:47 AM »
Regarding gelatin - I usually don't use a secondary vessel.  If I'm going to use gelatin, do I?  Or, is there an appropriate point to add to primary (assuming I don't want to harvest slurry)?

Euge, when you say "crash cool," do you mean some type of cooling other than just chilling the wort?

Ill kill 2 birds with one stone here.

Gelatin-heat an appropriate amount in your microwave with the recommended dilution of water, let it cool to room temp, dump in your primary 2 days or so prior to kegging/bottling.

Then crash cool your entire primary. Put in a fridge or whatever, get it as cool as you can. The gelatin and yeast and whatnot should all drop out within a day or 2.

Crash cooling just means cooling your fermenter or keg as quickly and cool as possible without freezing.
Jason
-Head Brewer, Brewtus Brewers in the Shenango Valley. Hopefully opening a brewpub/nano brewery in the next couple years.

Offline miguelpanderland

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Re: Clear(er) Beer
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2012, 07:24:32 AM »
Great!  Kind of what I was thinking.  Really appreciated the "clarification," guys.

Offline scottgott01

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Re: Clear(er) Beer
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2012, 09:11:20 AM »
I've been using Whirlfloc and it has been working pretty good for me. I have never cold crashed although I think I may start.
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Offline GolfBum

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Re: Clear(er) Beer
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2012, 11:23:23 AM »
I had the same issue. My beer was tasting how I wanted it but it was always cloudy. I bought some whirlfloc tabs and a copper wort chiller. Before the wort chiller I was just using an ice bath. The wort chiller was about 60 bucks but after using it my beer is much clearer and it takes a lot less time to cool the wort.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Clear(er) Beer
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2012, 11:37:56 AM »
PH is one of the biggest factors to having crystal clear beer. If your mash pH is off you will not have clear beer no matter how hard you try. Cold, time and finningis the key once you have the pH dialed in.
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Offline malzig

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Re: Clear(er) Beer
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2012, 07:09:24 AM »
Are you brewing extract or all-grain?

You may have trouble getting perfectly clear extract beer, if you use steeping grain, due to unconverted starch that is present in grains that are steeped and not mashed.

As said, pH is key if you are brewing all-grain.  Proper pH will improve protein-polyphenol precipitation and decrease polyphenol extraction.  It won't hurt to minimize polyphenol extraction by making sure that you aren't shredding your grain husks and even by decreasing the temperature of your sparge.

Offline nateo

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Re: Clear(er) Beer
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2012, 11:36:35 AM »
You may have trouble getting perfectly clear extract beer, if you use steeping grain, due to unconverted starch that is present in grains that are steeped and not mashed.

I added a tablespoon of wheat flour (during the boil) to my last wit, and the stupid thing has dropped crystal clear after a couple days in the fridge. How does one go about getting starch haze? How much starch does it take?
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Online morticaixavier

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Re: Clear(er) Beer
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2012, 12:15:11 PM »
You may have trouble getting perfectly clear extract beer, if you use steeping grain, due to unconverted starch that is present in grains that are steeped and not mashed.

I added a tablespoon of wheat flour (during the boil) to my last wit, and the stupid thing has dropped crystal clear after a couple days in the fridge. How does one go about getting starch haze? How much starch does it take?

have you read brewing with wheat? it seems a lot of time and money is invested in trying to get that haze to stay in place. can't remember any of the strategies right now but it's a place to start.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Clear(er) Beer
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2012, 12:42:06 PM »
You may have trouble getting perfectly clear extract beer, if you use steeping grain, due to unconverted starch that is present in grains that are steeped and not mashed.

I added a tablespoon of wheat flour (during the boil) to my last wit, and the stupid thing has dropped crystal clear after a couple days in the fridge. How does one go about getting starch haze? How much starch does it take?

Rock the keg before you pour a pint.  It'll be plenty hazy!

My wheats drop clear, too.  But they taste good...

If you can get your hands on it, Pierre Rajout's book on Belgian Ales uses wheat flour in just about every recipe, but I can't recall the amounts.  My assumption is that wheat extract was not readily available when he wrote the book and that by adding the flour he was getting both the wheat and the starchy haze.  I've never done this, though.  If I remember, I can check tonight on the amounts.
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Offline nateo

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Re: Clear(er) Beer
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2012, 01:28:10 PM »
have you read brewing with wheat? it seems a lot of time and money is invested in trying to get that haze to stay in place. can't remember any of the strategies right now but it's a place to start.

Oh yeah! I got a copy when it first came out, but I had forgotten about that part. I'll take a look when I get home tonight.

Rock the keg before you pour a pint.  It'll be plenty hazy!

If you can get your hands on it, Pierre Rajout's book on Belgian Ales uses wheat flour in just about every recipe, but I can't recall the amounts.  My assumption is that wheat extract was not readily available when he wrote the book and that by adding the flour he was getting both the wheat and the starchy haze.  I've never done this, though.  If I remember, I can check tonight on the amounts.

I haven't heard of that book, but it sounds right up my alley. They're in bottles, so I could just stir up the yeast and dump it in. A few of them got little bits of coriander in them, though, which isn't a ton of fun to drink.

The taste is spot on, and I don't care too much how it looks. I just brought it up as an example for the OP of how sometimes it can be difficult to hit a desired haze level (or lack of haze) in homebrew, and how it may not necessarily be starch haze that's his problem.
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Offline malzig

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Re: Clear(er) Beer
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2012, 07:00:29 AM »
I added a tablespoon of wheat flour (during the boil) to my last wit, and the stupid thing has dropped crystal clear after a couple days in the fridge. How does one go about getting starch haze? How much starch does it take?
No idea!  I've never tried to add starch haze. 
It isn't very soluble, though, so it will drop out of suspension.  If the OP is bottling, however, it will probably be more apt to get stirred back up and into the final beer.  It's possible that the smaller starches  and larger, less-soluble dextrins resulting from a mash might stay in suspension longer than those produced by boiling undigested flour.

If you want intentional haze, another approach might be to use something like flaked oats in the boil (which seems appropriate to a Wit), or the mash, of course.  Beta-glucans are a widely ignored source of potential haze and they have a more diverse solubility than starches, which might keep them around longer. 

One thing the OP can do is pour a cold beer and let it warm up.  If the haze doesn't go away, then the first place to look is probably starch or yeast haze.  If it does, it is probably proteins and polyphenols.  The most direct prevention for the various types of hazes will be different, but cold storage for a week or two will work for most.