Author Topic: Reasons for why a beer wouldn't clear...  (Read 2564 times)

Offline HopDen

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Re: Reasons for why a beer wouldn't clear...
« Reply #30 on: April 19, 2021, 09:57:58 PM »
Have you ever checked your boil ph? Kettle finings and the break reactions work better at a lower ph, an acid adjustment with 10 min left in the boil to get you to ~5.0-5.2 has been said to help and I have noticed a difference for me. Maybe that could be a variable since it all depends on recipe.

Also higher calcium levels seemed to have helped my beers as well. I used to always target at least 50ppm Calcium Injave been driving that up closer to 100 lately.


I also check my post boil pH but not always. I have found that boil pH rises from mash pH. Anywhere from a consistent mash low of 5.2 on a pils rising to 5.4-5.5 and on occasion 5.7 post boil but that might be from an extended boil. This is according to notes.

To my point though, on that pils and actually most of my very soft water profile beers I don't go over a Ca of 22-25ppm. and I have achieved clear beer
both employing time/gravity w/o biofine and the use of biofine. YMMV though and I was by no means suggesting you are wrong in your approach. If that is your results and they work, great!!

Offline PORTERHAUS

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Re: Reasons for why a beer wouldn't clear...
« Reply #31 on: April 19, 2021, 10:16:16 PM »
Have you ever checked your boil ph? Kettle finings and the break reactions work better at a lower ph, an acid adjustment with 10 min left in the boil to get you to ~5.0-5.2 has been said to help and I have noticed a difference for me. Maybe that could be a variable since it all depends on recipe.

Also higher calcium levels seemed to have helped my beers as well. I used to always target at least 50ppm Calcium Injave been driving that up closer to 100 lately.
Thanks for mentioning that.  When my transfer to the fermenter is done I have been grabbing a bit of the wort in a cup and checking the pH.  The last 4-5 beers have been between 5.3 and 5.4.  I am checking at that point just to see where I am in case I should start doing a boil addition.  I am slightly high so it seems like I should be doing this.  I have no way of knowing how much lactic acid (my pH-lowerer of choice) I would need to drop it down to 5.0 but it seems like I should start doing this.  If I had 5.75-6 gallons of wort in the kettle and check my pH and found it to be 5.3-5.4, what's the best way to know how much I need to drop it .3 or .4?  Also, I always use some CaSO4 or CaCl or a combination in my beers.  My source water has 34ppm and after my additions I am around 60ppm so I hope that's sufficient.

If you use Bru'n Water, Martin has suggested just add hower more acid it takes to drop what would be your mash ph in the spreadsheet to the boil ph you want to target. I typically playnit safe and add 1ml, but I most times I could use more.

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Reasons for why a beer wouldn't clear...
« Reply #32 on: April 19, 2021, 10:21:37 PM »
Have you ever checked your boil ph? Kettle finings and the break reactions work better at a lower ph, an acid adjustment with 10 min left in the boil to get you to ~5.0-5.2 has been said to help and I have noticed a difference for me. Maybe that could be a variable since it all depends on recipe.

Also higher calcium levels seemed to have helped my beers as well. I used to always target at least 50ppm Calcium Injave been driving that up closer to 100 lately.
Thanks for mentioning that.  When my transfer to the fermenter is done I have been grabbing a bit of the wort in a cup and checking the pH.  The last 4-5 beers have been between 5.3 and 5.4.  I am checking at that point just to see where I am in case I should start doing a boil addition.  I am slightly high so it seems like I should be doing this.  I have no way of knowing how much lactic acid (my pH-lowerer of choice) I would need to drop it down to 5.0 but it seems like I should start doing this.  If I had 5.75-6 gallons of wort in the kettle and check my pH and found it to be 5.3-5.4, what's the best way to know how much I need to drop it .3 or .4?  Also, I always use some CaSO4 or CaCl or a combination in my beers.  My source water has 34ppm and after my additions I am around 60ppm so I hope that's sufficient.

If you use Bru'n Water, Martin has suggested just add hower more acid it takes to drop what would be your mash ph in the spreadsheet to the boil ph you want to target. I typically playnit safe and add 1ml, but I most times I could use more.
... and it's reasonable to just add the acid right to the boil kettle?  I use one of those plastic syringes that you would use to give your kids liquid meds so just squirt it right into the kettle with 5-10 minutes left?  My next beer is a pale ale and after that an American Bock.  I might try it on both of those and then I would be ready (I think) to try it on something like a pilsner or helles where it might really be noticeable. 
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Offline narcout

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Re: Reasons for why a beer wouldn't clear...
« Reply #33 on: April 19, 2021, 10:48:31 PM »
The LOers have mentioned something about reducing boil rate (I can't remember the exact reason) and it's possible that I have had some boils that were more sluggish in the past 6-12 months.

That was mostly about reducing thermal exposure for improved flavor stability and better foam retention.  See reply #126 here for more detail:

https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=27965.msg364860#msg364860

... and it's reasonable to just add the acid right to the boil kettle?

I stopped following all this stuff during my hiatus, but the thinking back maybe a year or two ago was to target a slightly higher pH at the beginning of the boil as it helps with reducing DMS (and this ties into the shorter, less intensive boiling) and then reducing the pH near the end of the boil with biological acid for better fermentation and foam retention.  My recollection is that this is covered by Kunze (who recommends acidifying wort shortly before the end of the boil to 5.1-5.2), and there's a snippet about it in reply #126 that I linked to above.
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Online tommymorris

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Re: Reasons for why a beer wouldn't clear...
« Reply #34 on: April 19, 2021, 11:11:04 PM »
Lately I have noticed how many commercial beers are not crystal clear...maybe it is due in small part to the Haze Craze, but I think tolerances for a little haze have increased. 

I wish I knew what the magical clarity results were, so I could implement them, but frankly, I get some beers that just take a long while to clear and some just don't.  I use Brewtan B and Whirlfloc and I space out their additions by at least a few minutes toward the last 16 minutes in the boil, because it was mentioned as a best practice, but perhaps I have rushed them too close together on some occasions?  Who knows?

The clear ones do have more curb appeal, but I made a Landlord clone recently with Simpson's Golden Promise and it just has a touch of haze that doesn't seem to want to go away.  Malt issue, perhaps?  I had some issues with North Star Pils under pressure fermentation, so maybe it is due in part to that....a real tail chaser inquiry, for sure.
On the topic of "craft beer", I agree that there is haze and an acceptance of haze.  I see helles and pilsner, czech pils, kolsch, etc. all hazy.  But I have a condition known as CBS or "clear beer syndrome" and the beer will be clear, dammit!  :P  My BTB addition in the boil is at 15 minutes and my WF or Kick Carageenan addition is with 7 minutes left and I do that every time so I don't see that being the issue.  But there is an issue and I will find it eventually.  Cheers.
To be frank, it ticks me off when I buy a craft beer that is supposed to be clear and is hazy. Locally it happens a lot more than I would like. I know the local beers that I like. Half the time certain ones are hazy and half the time they are clear. I attribute this to rushing brews to market. In reality, I rush my own beers plenty often, but I am more willing to forgive my own errors in judgement ;)

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Reasons for why a beer wouldn't clear...
« Reply #35 on: April 19, 2021, 11:21:07 PM »
That was mostly about reducing thermal exposure for improved flavor stability and better foam retention.  See reply #126 here for more detail:

https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=27965.msg364860#msg364860

I stopped following all this stuff during my hiatus, but the thinking back maybe a year or two ago was to target a slightly higher pH at the beginning of the boil as it helps with reducing DMS (and this ties into the shorter, less intensive boiling) and then reducing the pH near the end of the boil with biological acid for better fermentation and foam retention.  My recollection is that this is covered by Kunze (who recommends acidifying wort shortly before the end of the boil to 5.1-5.2), and there's a snippet about it in reply #126 that I linked to above.
Thanks for that.  2016 was around the start of the LO movement and I know that a lot has changed and many adjustments have been made.  At some point I was registered on their site and participated in some of their threads and I know that it was mentioned that doing 30-minute boils "will get you into trouble".  When I asked for an explanation to that, I did not get one.  So somewhere in there the LOers may have changed their mind on that as they did on some other things.  I say all of that without judgment.  They put the framework together and went with it and then adjusted things along the way because they made more sense or some people were using different equipment or whatever.  Cheers & thanks again.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Reasons for why a beer wouldn't clear...
« Reply #36 on: April 19, 2021, 11:24:10 PM »
Lately I have noticed how many commercial beers are not crystal clear...maybe it is due in small part to the Haze Craze, but I think tolerances for a little haze have increased. 

I wish I knew what the magical clarity results were, so I could implement them, but frankly, I get some beers that just take a long while to clear and some just don't.  I use Brewtan B and Whirlfloc and I space out their additions by at least a few minutes toward the last 16 minutes in the boil, because it was mentioned as a best practice, but perhaps I have rushed them too close together on some occasions?  Who knows?

The clear ones do have more curb appeal, but I made a Landlord clone recently with Simpson's Golden Promise and it just has a touch of haze that doesn't seem to want to go away.  Malt issue, perhaps?  I had some issues with North Star Pils under pressure fermentation, so maybe it is due in part to that....a real tail chaser inquiry, for sure.
On the topic of "craft beer", I agree that there is haze and an acceptance of haze.  I see helles and pilsner, czech pils, kolsch, etc. all hazy.  But I have a condition known as CBS or "clear beer syndrome" and the beer will be clear, dammit!  :P  My BTB addition in the boil is at 15 minutes and my WF or Kick Carageenan addition is with 7 minutes left and I do that every time so I don't see that being the issue.  But there is an issue and I will find it eventually.  Cheers.
To be frank, it ticks me off when I buy a craft beer that is supposed to be clear and is hazy. Locally it happens a lot more than I would like. I know the local beers that I like. Half the time certain ones are hazy and half the time they are clear. I attribute this to rushing brews to market. In reality, I rush my own beers plenty often, but I am more willing to forgive my own errors in judgement ;)
I agree.  I know a commercial brewer and I will go to their place and have a cloudy, dry-hopped pilsner.  :(  It's not the way I would do it.  There is a brewery that my wife and I ride our bikes to... all of their beers are cloudy.  They have a Czech Pilsner that is always cloudy and I just wonder if they like it that way or if they don't know how to clear it or they just don't care or what.  I realize not everyone looks for clear beer but I think it adds something positive to the experience and it makes it look more like BEER, not HOMEBREW.  :D
Ken from Chicago. 
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Online tommymorris

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Re: Reasons for why a beer wouldn't clear...
« Reply #37 on: April 19, 2021, 11:26:34 PM »
I am curious what percentage of your batches have this problem? I have some batches that won’t clear but the vast majority are crystal clear either with time or the use of gelatin.

Offline PORTERHAUS

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Re: Reasons for why a beer wouldn't clear...
« Reply #38 on: April 19, 2021, 11:28:44 PM »
Have you ever checked your boil ph? Kettle finings and the break reactions work better at a lower ph, an acid adjustment with 10 min left in the boil to get you to ~5.0-5.2 has been said to help and I have noticed a difference for me. Maybe that could be a variable since it all depends on recipe.

Also higher calcium levels seemed to have helped my beers as well. I used to always target at least 50ppm Calcium Injave been driving that up closer to 100 lately.
Thanks for mentioning that.  When my transfer to the fermenter is done I have been grabbing a bit of the wort in a cup and checking the pH.  The last 4-5 beers have been between 5.3 and 5.4.  I am checking at that point just to see where I am in case I should start doing a boil addition.  I am slightly high so it seems like I should be doing this.  I have no way of knowing how much lactic acid (my pH-lowerer of choice) I would need to drop it down to 5.0 but it seems like I should start doing this.  If I had 5.75-6 gallons of wort in the kettle and check my pH and found it to be 5.3-5.4, what's the best way to know how much I need to drop it .3 or .4?  Also, I always use some CaSO4 or CaCl or a combination in my beers.  My source water has 34ppm and after my additions I am around 60ppm so I hope that's sufficient.

If you use Bru'n Water, Martin has suggested just add hower more acid it takes to drop what would be your mash ph in the spreadsheet to the boil ph you want to target. I typically playnit safe and add 1ml, but I most times I could use more.
... and it's reasonable to just add the acid right to the boil kettle?  I use one of those plastic syringes that you would use to give your kids liquid meds so just squirt it right into the kettle with 5-10 minutes left?  My next beer is a pale ale and after that an American Bock.  I might try it on both of those and then I would be ready (I think) to try it on something like a pilsner or helles where it might really be noticeable.

Yes, I use Lactic Acid with 10 mins left right to the boil. You want to do so ahead of any kettle finnings. I use whirlfloc at 5 mins.

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Reasons for why a beer wouldn't clear...
« Reply #39 on: April 19, 2021, 11:41:05 PM »
Have you ever checked your boil ph? Kettle finings and the break reactions work better at a lower ph, an acid adjustment with 10 min left in the boil to get you to ~5.0-5.2 has been said to help and I have noticed a difference for me. Maybe that could be a variable since it all depends on recipe.

Also higher calcium levels seemed to have helped my beers as well. I used to always target at least 50ppm Calcium Injave been driving that up closer to 100 lately.
Thanks for mentioning that.  When my transfer to the fermenter is done I have been grabbing a bit of the wort in a cup and checking the pH.  The last 4-5 beers have been between 5.3 and 5.4.  I am checking at that point just to see where I am in case I should start doing a boil addition.  I am slightly high so it seems like I should be doing this.  I have no way of knowing how much lactic acid (my pH-lowerer of choice) I would need to drop it down to 5.0 but it seems like I should start doing this.  If I had 5.75-6 gallons of wort in the kettle and check my pH and found it to be 5.3-5.4, what's the best way to know how much I need to drop it .3 or .4?  Also, I always use some CaSO4 or CaCl or a combination in my beers.  My source water has 34ppm and after my additions I am around 60ppm so I hope that's sufficient.

If you use Bru'n Water, Martin has suggested just add hower more acid it takes to drop what would be your mash ph in the spreadsheet to the boil ph you want to target. I typically playnit safe and add 1ml, but I most times I could use more.
... and it's reasonable to just add the acid right to the boil kettle?  I use one of those plastic syringes that you would use to give your kids liquid meds so just squirt it right into the kettle with 5-10 minutes left?  My next beer is a pale ale and after that an American Bock.  I might try it on both of those and then I would be ready (I think) to try it on something like a pilsner or helles where it might really be noticeable.

Yes, I use Lactic Acid with 10 mins left right to the boil. You want to do so ahead of any kettle finnings. I use whirlfloc at 5 mins.
Okay, so I would probably check with around 15 minutes left and chill the sample quickly, make the adjustment and add WF/KC with about 7 minutes left.  I'm going to check on the amount of acid and possibly start smaller and see how the pH is affected and work up on the next batch, etc.  Thanks for that.   
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Reasons for why a beer wouldn't clear...
« Reply #40 on: April 19, 2021, 11:45:31 PM »
I am curious what percentage of your batches have this problem? I have some batches that won’t clear but the vast majority are crystal clear either with time or the use of gelatin.
It's hard to know but it seems more likely recently than it has been and I'm pointing to that "reduced boil rate" as a possible cause because it's been in my head for about the length of time I have had less-than-clear beer.  I would say that a good 75% of my batches are of satisfactory clarity with maybe 20% being slightly hazy and 5% being quite cloudy.  But that's just a guess. 

This is the beauty of the forum atmosphere.  I have been brewing a long time so I have some ideas in my head about what to look for but of course I could miss any number of things.  Then the crew shows up and gives me some solid places to look.  I'm probably going to be making sure my boil rate is not WIMPY.  It doesn't have to have HUGE evap but it should have some vigor.  I will also be looking into this kettle pH adjustment which I have been noodling with lately and measuring after the transfer to the fermenter.  5.3 to 5.4 pretty consistently.  I think one was 5.27.  Thanks for the direction, gang. 
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Offline Richard

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Re: Reasons for why a beer wouldn't clear...
« Reply #41 on: April 20, 2021, 02:14:59 AM »
I have an electric kettle and I go for a full-power vigorous boil for 10 minutes, which seems to be enough to get a good hot break, then I reduce the power to 65-75% and let it simmer for the rest of the boil period. I get adequate circulation at that power while keeping the overall boiloff rate low.
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Offline PORTERHAUS

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Re: Reasons for why a beer wouldn't clear...
« Reply #42 on: April 20, 2021, 11:32:23 AM »
Have you ever checked your boil ph? Kettle finings and the break reactions work better at a lower ph, an acid adjustment with 10 min left in the boil to get you to ~5.0-5.2 has been said to help and I have noticed a difference for me. Maybe that could be a variable since it all depends on recipe.

Also higher calcium levels seemed to have helped my beers as well. I used to always target at least 50ppm Calcium Injave been driving that up closer to 100 lately.


I also check my post boil pH but not always. I have found that boil pH rises from mash pH. Anywhere from a consistent mash low of 5.2 on a pils rising to 5.4-5.5 and on occasion 5.7 post boil but that might be from an extended boil. This is according to notes.

To my point though, on that pils and actually most of my very soft water profile beers I don't go over a Ca of 22-25ppm. and I have achieved clear beer
both employing time/gravity w/o biofine and the use of biofine. YMMV though and I was by no means suggesting you are wrong in your approach. If that is your results and they work, great!!

I have noticed that similar rise in boil ph as well, but can't explain it when my typical mash ph is ~5.3. That is what had me looking into the kettle acidification near the end of the boil to get me to the recommended lower ph. I don't think it's as common as it was before, maybe I see little to no drop but not as much the rise but it certainly had me scratching my head in the past.

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Reasons for why a beer wouldn't clear...
« Reply #43 on: April 20, 2021, 01:37:42 PM »
I have noticed that similar rise in boil ph as well, but can't explain it when my typical mash ph is ~5.3. That is what had me looking into the kettle acidification near the end of the boil to get me to the recommended lower ph. I don't think it's as common as it was before, maybe I see little to no drop but not as much the rise but it certainly had me scratching my head in the past.
I'm looking forward to trying this kettle pH addition to see how it impacts the overall beer... clarity but maybe a small impact on flavor too?  Not sure.  I have a pale ale planned for this weekend and I'm a bachelor this weekend as well (wife is going to a baby shower out of town) so there will be no distractions, etc.  With 15 minutes left in the boil I'll pull a small sample, chill it and check the pH.  I expect it to be 5.3 to 5.4 and I will make a small acid addition and then check the pH again during the transfer to the fermenter.  I will also be looking closely at the hot break to see if I'm getting that good egg drop soup look which I sometimes do not get.  Guys, thanks for the replies and direction. 
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline beersk

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Re: Reasons for why a beer wouldn't clear...
« Reply #44 on: April 20, 2021, 02:22:46 PM »
Have you ever checked your boil ph? Kettle finings and the break reactions work better at a lower ph, an acid adjustment with 10 min left in the boil to get you to ~5.0-5.2 has been said to help and I have noticed a difference for me. Maybe that could be a variable since it all depends on recipe.

Also higher calcium levels seemed to have helped my beers as well. I used to always target at least 50ppm Calcium Injave been driving that up closer to 100 lately.
Thanks for mentioning that.  When my transfer to the fermenter is done I have been grabbing a bit of the wort in a cup and checking the pH.  The last 4-5 beers have been between 5.3 and 5.4.  I am checking at that point just to see where I am in case I should start doing a boil addition.  I am slightly high so it seems like I should be doing this.  I have no way of knowing how much lactic acid (my pH-lowerer of choice) I would need to drop it down to 5.0 but it seems like I should start doing this.  If I had 5.75-6 gallons of wort in the kettle and check my pH and found it to be 5.3-5.4, what's the best way to know how much I need to drop it .3 or .4?  Also, I always use some CaSO4 or CaCl or a combination in my beers.  My source water has 34ppm and after my additions I am around 60ppm so I hope that's sufficient.

If you use Bru'n Water, Martin has suggested just add hower more acid it takes to drop what would be your mash ph in the spreadsheet to the boil ph you want to target. I typically playnit safe and add 1ml, but I most times I could use more.
This is what I do for light styles, but I'm thinking I should be doing it for all styles now.

EDIT: I'd add that, Ken, when I started doing the boil acid addition, I noticed a big improvement in beer flavor for styles like helles and pilsner. It makes them less sweet, crisper, and just taste better. Before I started doing that, the beers always seemed kinda dull and had a sweetness I didn't care for.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2021, 02:34:20 PM by beersk »
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