Author Topic: Moving fermenter for bottling from cold crashing, stirring up trub/sediment  (Read 598 times)

Offline Uvolnit

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My question/issue is that the other day my beer was ready to bottle after fermenting for about 1 month.  I moved the fermenter into the garage to "cold crash" as the garage is at near freezing temps here in Longmont, CO.  I let it sit in the garage for part of the day and it got down to the high 50's according to the thermometer strip on the carboy.  The issue is that when I move the carboy to the kitchen to prepare for bottling, the trub and sediment got mixed around enough, even though I try to move it as gently as possible, so the bottom gallon or more was noticeably "gold" and hazy compared to the crystal clear brown beer above that in the carboy.
Before moving the carboy from the fermenting spot the entire batch was clear brown.  Should I have let it sit for a while at the bottling resting spot to allow the sediment to fall?  I could see the sediment/trub particles moving slowly but at that rate it would have taken a long time for it to all settle again.  Should I have let the carboy sit longer in the garage to cold crash to a much cooler temp?  Is there a goal temp & time for cold crashing?  Assuming I did so and let it get down to say 38 degrees F, I'm guessing less/no trub would have mixed like it did when moving it.
Anyway, I racked into bottling bucket and did rack the hazy beer also as I didn't want to waste all of that gallon +.  I wish it didn't happen so it would have come out nice and clear like the majority of the beer.  I'm sure it'll condition and settle in the bottle again, especially when being refrigerated.  I just want to know if there's a better or different way to cold crash and handle what I did.

Offline dmtaylor

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Confessional...

I have been saying for years that secondary is optional, and for many folks, I still believe that is true.  However, as a bottler (I don't keg), as I have become older and wiser and also more concerned about beer clarity (I love a crystal clear beer!), I have more recently begun to realize the value of racking to secondary.  I don't want sediment in the bottoms of all my bottles.  Often times in the past I had experienced what you have where just moving the fermenter around on bottling day causes enough trub to get mixed in to where I was getting up to about 1/4 to 3/8 inch of junk in every bottle, and I really dislike that.  So, now on more recent batches in 2017 & 2018, I have decided that as long as I am not in a real hurry (rarely), I should indeed secondary for at least a couple of days to try to reduce this effect.  If I was kegging, I wouldn't care, I could just waste the first pint or two or gulp it down sludge and all.  But, since I always bottle, I now choose to rack to secondary more often going forward.  I am doing this for my latest Scottish ale which is very clear when not disturbed, but just a couple of days ago when I racked to secondary, just the act of doing that clouded it up a lot, so I'm glad I racked it.  It is much clearer today and I will bottle it up tonight.

Not sure if this helps, but these are my recent feelings on the topic.  Maybe rack it, wait a couple days, then bottle (or even keg), and enjoy more without all that dang extra sediment.
Dave

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Offline hopsindahood

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My experience has been that getting the beer to around 50F is enough to get a lot of the yeast to drop, but it doesn't really compress the trub like getting the temp below 40F. You could gelatin fine it as part of your cold crash process (this makes the beer non-vegetarian though.) I think you will get better results if you cold crash for a few days, rather than a few hours.  I get crystal clear beer without racking to secondary. I also find that letting the fermenter rest for a few hours after moving gives most trub that got stirred up time to settle.

Offline Bob357

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I don't do secondary unless there's a good reason. I used to transfer beers brewed with US-05 to help them clear, but now I just leave in primary and extra week or so and then keg. After the keg has chilled overnight in the keezer I add gelatin. By the time the beer has carbonated it's crystal clear after the first couple of pints.

That said, When I move a fermenter out of the fermentation fridge and onto the counter in preparation for kegging some sediment does get stirred up. I cover the fermenter with a hoodie and allow it to sit and settle out. Since all most of the solids have already floculated, it's a lot faster process than the initial dropping out. In a few hours it's back where it was before being disturbed.
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Offline StymeMN

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I typically always move to secondary.  I recently started cold crashing when I did my first dry hop addition.  I had no idea how to get the hops to settle so I could keg it.  My cousin who brewed told me this would work and it worked great.  I've got a fridge I keep at 33 degrees that worked well for this.
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Offline Richard

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I used to do exactly what you did because I had no way to cold crash any lower. Now I cold crash to 34F for a couple of days and that makes for a very dense and compact yeast cake. I usually move the carboy into bottling position in the morning, then cover it to keep light out and bottle in the afternoon. I see very little sediment that gets kicked up in the moving, and it has plenty of time to settle down again before bottling.

Offline Uvolnit

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Thank you all for the replies.  As I figured, the consensus is to cold crash for longer and a lower temp as stirring up the trub is a real issue.
This is the first batch out of 12 that I haven't racked to secondary.  I let it stay in secondary because it was a high gravity and I figured the yeast, even in the cake, would help it fully ferment.  I could be wrong with thinking this so if I am let me know. 
Also, does cold crashing to near freezing drop, kill, or make the yeast too dormant to correctly bottle carbonate?  That was another potential concern but from doing quick research there is some how still enough yeast to carbonate, which seems unreal.

Offline Robert

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There's been a lot of "conventional wisdom" about crashing and yeast performance that's probably not true. 

First, it's true that beer that looks very clear after crashing -- or even fining -- still has PLENTY of yeast to carbonate the beer. 

As for yeast performance, that may be strain dependent, may be time dependent, but I doubt it will pose a problem for you.  All I know is, "everybody knows" you have to cool lagers slowly or the yeast will go dormant.  And yet I (and most other brewers) crash my lagers to 29°-30°F, and my yeast will still ferment out the last point or so of gravity over a couple of weeks lagering, so there. 

Crash it, prime and bottle it, keep it at ROOM TEMPERATURE  for a couple weeks, then store it cold if you want.  You'll be good.
Rob
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Offline klickitat jim

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I don't bottle condition anymore. Can't help you there, I've purged all memory of that.

But cold crashing is a thing. Have never experienced a negative effect except this one time (not at band camp) when it was -19°F out, and my heat source died and the beer froze. It was a Bavarian lager, so I called it an ice bock. And even then it was not filter brilliant, so I bet there was enough yeast that I could have bottle condished

Offline M-O-O-N That spells beer!

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Should I have let it sit for a while at the bottling resting spot to allow the sediment to fall?

When bottling, after moving the carboy, I let it sit for at least half an hour, so that the particles would settle down some. That works fine for me.

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Offline Uvolnit

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Should I have let it sit for a while at the bottling resting spot to allow the sediment to fall?

When bottling, after moving the carboy, I let it sit for at least half an hour, so that the particles would settle down some. That works fine for me.

I did put it on the counter to settle for over an hour.  I would have done longer if I had time and if it was cooled to a much lower temperature.  In that time it didn't settle much at all.  I also didn't want the inside temperature to warm the beer back up if I waited too long but I suppose if all the trub settled then there's no reason it would rise back up into the clear beer.

Another cold crash method I used for the last few batches was putting the carboy in the kitchen sink and filling the remaining space with ice, then covering all with a blanket and let cool for a number of hours.  The downfall of this method is that it takes a lot of ice to cool it and even with unlimited ice and snow it doesn't cool it down too much, which is why I figured it'd be better to put in the freezing garage this time instead.