Author Topic: Skimming foam  (Read 4840 times)

Offline gmac

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Skimming foam
« on: July 23, 2012, 02:19:04 PM »
As my wort was heating up today, I had a large amount of foam prior to the boil.  I did have a mashing problem today and my wort was cloudier than usual so it could be starch, could be protein (there was some wheat in the mash  - 14 lbs 2-row, 2 lbs wheat, 2 lbs corn for 10 gals).  Also, my mash temp was lower than I wanted 145 instead of 149.

I skimmed off a lot of this foam but is that the right thing to do?  It was brown, clumpy and unappealing.  Looked like I was making chicken stock if that makes any sense.
Should I have just left it or do you skim it off?
Thanks

Offline gymrat

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Re: Skimming foam
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2012, 02:35:58 PM »
That is called hot break. I control mine with a spray bottle of water.
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Offline gmac

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Re: Skimming foam
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2012, 02:49:27 PM »
I sort of thought "hot break" was when the foam collapses and the protein coagulates into the egg-drop soup stuff.  I'm talking pre-eggdropsoup.  I don't think you get hot break until the beer starts to boil.

Offline denny

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Re: Skimming foam
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2012, 02:53:39 PM »
I used to skim until I started using FWH regularly.  That makes it hard to skim!  In terms of beer quality, I didn't find a difference.
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Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Skimming foam
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2012, 03:06:58 PM »
I've gone back and forth re: skimming. I skim pretty much every batch these days, unless I'm doing a FWH like Denny mentioned. I haven't noticed any flavor or clarity difference in the finished product as a result of skimming.  I skim to avoid boil overs more than anything.
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Offline gmac

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Re: Skimming foam
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2012, 03:11:25 PM »
I used to skim until I started using FWH regularly.  That makes it hard to skim!  In terms of beer quality, I didn't find a difference.

So do FWH actually do anything?  (Sort of hijacking my own thread here).

Offline nateo

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Re: Skimming foam
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2012, 03:18:27 PM »
I'm a skimmer. We all have stupid stuff we do for no particular reason. Skimming is one of mine.
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline gymrat

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Re: Skimming foam
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2012, 03:21:30 PM »
I get mine just before the boil. At around 208F or so.
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Offline denny

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Re: Skimming foam
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2012, 03:29:45 PM »
I used to skim until I started using FWH regularly.  That makes it hard to skim!  In terms of beer quality, I didn't find a difference.

So do FWH actually do anything?  (Sort of hijacking my own thread here).

Since I FWH about 80% of my batches, I obviously think it does.
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Offline nateo

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Re: Skimming foam
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2012, 03:33:38 PM »
Since I FWH about 80% of my batches, I obviously think it does.

If I remember correctly from your results on the FWH experiment, the feedback was kind of all over the map, with no clear preference or effect on the finished beer. I don't have your slides from the NHC presentation on my work computer, so what convinced you that it made a difference?
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Skimming foam
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2012, 09:05:38 PM »
If you're skimming it, it isn't hot break (yet).  The "break" is when the proteins and tannins coagulate sufficiently to precipitate.  It's kind of a dramatic collapse in the foam on top of the boil.

I tend to skim.  On my system, it's easier to get anything that shouldn't be in the final beer out of the kettle before I run off.  This stuff is destined to become break, so I remove it before instead of after.  Either way, it's coming out.

If you skim beforehand, you're less likely to get boilovers since you are (1) watching the pot coming to a boil and (2) removing what is in effect a lid from the boil.  So that's a beneficial side-effect.

I agree with Denny that it's harder with FWH.  I don't do it then, but it seems like the hops help the break form quicker, probably because of the extra tannins present at that point.  In any event, you don't want to yank those hops out early so it's best to avoid skimming with FWH, unless you bag them hops but even then it's likely to be messy.

FWH adds a lot of hop flavor and smoother bitterness, in my experience.  I'm a fan.  I use it in most styles that have a large hop flavor.
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Re: Skimming foam
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2012, 11:27:25 PM »
I skimmed once. Once.

IMO not necessary.

What a PITA.
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Offline mcdanis

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Re: Skimming foam
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2012, 05:44:44 AM »
I'm a skimmer as well, but I'm not obsessive about it. 

My experience is similar to Gordon's.  I feel like it keeps the risk of boilovers down and I want that gunk out one way or another.
Snotter

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Skimming foam
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2012, 06:48:48 AM »
Think about your favorite commercial brewery and then think  how hard it would be to skim in a 20-60+ bbl closed boil kettle. ;) I don'tr think skimming is necessary at all. I've wondered if there are not foam stability proteins in there.
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Offline Rhoobarb

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Re: Skimming foam
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2012, 07:54:33 AM »
I used to skim when I first moved to all grain brewing.  Then, after the first six batches or so, I just stopped for no particular reason.  I couldn't tell any difference either way.  As was metioned earlier, I keep a spray bottle nearby, just in case a boil over breaks out.
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