Author Topic: A clarity mystery...  (Read 1878 times)

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #45 on: April 26, 2022, 03:21:15 pm »
I checked my sack of GW malt for more info, but the QR code didn’t scan properly - it had a threaded seam running through the middle of it.  I did write a note to their contact form asking about protein and/or clarity issues.  Perhaps they’ll reply with new info.
Interesting.  Please share if they do respond.  I think it will go something like this:

Dear Jeffy:

Yes, that lot of malt was a trainwreck.  Your beer is cloudy as a result of our malt.  Please tell Village Taphouse too.  We understand he's looking for answers!   :D
Ken from Chicago. 
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.

Online ynotbrusum

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #46 on: April 26, 2022, 03:32:26 pm »
I had the same issue with Viking Extra Pale on a blonde.  Never figured it out.
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Online Megary

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #47 on: April 26, 2022, 05:00:12 pm »
I'm curious, does this fact absolve the yeast from any possible blame?  I am NOT a re-pitcher of yeast so I honestly have no idea, but couldn't it be possible to see a change in clarity from one generation to the next, especially since the yeast wasn't harvested from the exact same beers?
It seems totally reasonable but I would wonder if it would be more likely to see batches go from clear to less clear to cloudy.  But having a very clear beer followed by a cloudy one and then seeing a clear one... I guess I wouldn't know where to start on that one.  Did I pitch unhealthy cells into the helles but then the yeast eventually rebounded but the damage had been done on the helles and by the time I pitched it into the Vienna Lager things were better?  This is deep water for me and that reasoning doesn't make sense to me but that doesn't mean anything.  I have been brewing since 1999 but I still consider myself more of a beer drinker than a brewer, knowhaimean?   ;D

I got you!  As far as beer drinking and brewing goes, I think we are very similar in many respects!

I only brought it up because when I have clarity issues, I first assume that it is a yeast/fermentation problem. If I truly believe I didn’t foul that up, then I’ll look at the grain bill, hopping schedule, etc.

Offline jeffy

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #48 on: April 26, 2022, 07:11:32 pm »
I checked my sack of GW malt for more info, but the QR code didn’t scan properly - it had a threaded seam running through the middle of it.  I did write a note to their contact form asking about protein and/or clarity issues.  Perhaps they’ll reply with new info.
Interesting.  Please share if they do respond.  I think it will go something like this:

Dear Jeffy:

Yes, that lot of malt was a trainwreck.  Your beer is cloudy as a result of our malt.  Please tell Village Taphouse too.  We understand he's looking for answers!   :D

Ha!  I mentioned the clarity issue to my brother, who started and owns Double Eagle Malt, and he said he thought there were problems with last year’s harvest.  His own barley is contracted with local PA farms, which was fine.
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 Village Taphouse

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #49 on: April 26, 2022, 07:24:58 pm »
I'm curious, does this fact absolve the yeast from any possible blame?  I am NOT a re-pitcher of yeast so I honestly have no idea, but couldn't it be possible to see a change in clarity from one generation to the next, especially since the yeast wasn't harvested from the exact same beers?
It seems totally reasonable but I would wonder if it would be more likely to see batches go from clear to less clear to cloudy.  But having a very clear beer followed by a cloudy one and then seeing a clear one... I guess I wouldn't know where to start on that one.  Did I pitch unhealthy cells into the helles but then the yeast eventually rebounded but the damage had been done on the helles and by the time I pitched it into the Vienna Lager things were better?  This is deep water for me and that reasoning doesn't make sense to me but that doesn't mean anything.  I have been brewing since 1999 but I still consider myself more of a beer drinker than a brewer, knowhaimean?   ;D

I got you!  As far as beer drinking and brewing goes, I think we are very similar in many respects!

I only brought it up because when I have clarity issues, I first assume that it is a yeast/fermentation problem. If I truly believe I didn’t foul that up, then I’ll look at the grain bill, hopping schedule, etc.
Well, we know that homebrewing is filled with a mountain of information and some of it is not always accurate but here goes:  My understanding is that if the issue were stubborn-to-floc yeast, a gel solution would take it out.  I have used a number of low-floccing yeasts including 2565 and 1007 and had super bright and clear beer at the end because gel did its job.  Not so if the stubborn haze is caused by something else.  This is one reason I am not pointing the finger squarely at the yeast but at this point I'll believe anything.

I know I mentioned this earlier but this is probably my only real beer-making headscratcher... hazy beer when it happens 5% of the time or whatever.  Diacetyl is something I have to pay attention to but this mysterious haze issue is by far the most problematic to me.  If I could find the issue I could take over the world.  Sincerely.  World domination... with clear beer.   ;D  Doing a search for CLOUD BEER or BEER THAT WON'T CLEAR, etc. brings up so many results and outlines so many different variables that I would have to quit my job.  We have Ward Labs to analyze our water.  We need HAZE LABS where we can send a sample of cloudy beer and then send us results on what they found and how to fix it.  I'm kidding but only mildly so!   ;D
Ken from Chicago. 
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.

Offline majorvices

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #50 on: April 27, 2022, 06:08:32 am »
It looks like pH is not the problem but the reason i mentioned it is because recently I brewed a beer from my standard filtered tap water with standard acid and salt additions and I had to use 4X the amount of phosphoric acid to get the pH to fall in line (including an addition to the BK). That beer never did clear up. City water changes, sometimes drastically. It was like the alkalinity drastically changed over night and then went back to normal the very next day. This had happened to me about 3 times in 12 years (we are talking out of hundreds of batches since this is commercial brewing so it is probably not very common but it does happen).

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #51 on: April 27, 2022, 07:22:53 am »
It looks like pH is not the problem but the reason i mentioned it is because recently I brewed a beer from my standard filtered tap water with standard acid and salt additions and I had to use 4X the amount of phosphoric acid to get the pH to fall in line (including an addition to the BK). That beer never did clear up. City water changes, sometimes drastically. It was like the alkalinity drastically changed over night and then went back to normal the very next day. This had happened to me about 3 times in 12 years (we are talking out of hundreds of batches since this is commercial brewing so it is probably not very common but it does happen).
I thought about that too.  I am using "Chicago Water" which is from Lake Michigan.  I've had it tested by Ward Labs 4-5 times over the years, maybe more.  The numbers have been unbelievably consistent... Ca 34, Mg 12, Na 13, Cl 21, SO4 27 (that's 9x3) and bicarb 138.  Occasionally one of those numbers will be slightly different.  I will say this though... the water's pH used to be 6.6.  Then once it was 7.9.  The 7.9 was on the latest analysis.  2.75ml of acid in 5 gallons of strike water is what it took to go from 7.9 to 5.5.  Could there have been a blip?  Maybe.  I suppose the answer is to check the pH of the water each time both prior to adding acid and then again after.  But the fact that I had clear beers on either side of this helles makes that seem very unlikely but still... a possibility.  Thanks for the reply.
Ken from Chicago. 
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.

Offline jeffy

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #52 on: April 27, 2022, 08:55:31 am »
It looks like pH is not the problem but the reason i mentioned it is because recently I brewed a beer from my standard filtered tap water with standard acid and salt additions and I had to use 4X the amount of phosphoric acid to get the pH to fall in line (including an addition to the BK). That beer never did clear up. City water changes, sometimes drastically. It was like the alkalinity drastically changed over night and then went back to normal the very next day. This had happened to me about 3 times in 12 years (we are talking out of hundreds of batches since this is commercial brewing so it is probably not very common but it does happen).
I thought about that too.  I am using "Chicago Water" which is from Lake Michigan.  I've had it tested by Ward Labs 4-5 times over the years, maybe more.  The numbers have been unbelievably consistent... Ca 34, Mg 12, Na 13, Cl 21, SO4 27 (that's 9x3) and bicarb 138.  Occasionally one of those numbers will be slightly different.  I will say this though... the water's pH used to be 6.6.  Then once it was 7.9.  The 7.9 was on the latest analysis.  2.75ml of acid in 5 gallons of strike water is what it took to go from 7.9 to 5.5.  Could there have been a blip?  Maybe.  I suppose the answer is to check the pH of the water each time both prior to adding acid and then again after.  But the fact that I had clear beers on either side of this helles makes that seem very unlikely but still... a possibility.  Thanks for the reply.
I use 2/3 RO water from the machines in front of grocery stores and 1/3 well water on every batch for years, so I think I can rule out water and pH on these two batches that were cloudy
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 Village Taphouse

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #53 on: April 27, 2022, 09:46:21 am »
I just grabbed a small sample of tap water and took the pH measurement... sure enough it's 7.9 just as Ward Labs reported to me on my last analysis.  When I brew on Saturday I'll check the pH of that water, add the 2.75ml of acid and check again to make sure I'm at or near 5.5 and then I'll take a measurement on the mash itself.  After I started doing this I checked the pH of the water and the mash on 15-20 batches in a row and I was pleasantly satisfied that the mash pH was falling into the preferred range very regularly so I stopped doing it at some point.  Although when this helles was made I was clearly still doing it because my notes show 5.55 at room temp and 5.35 at mash temp.
Ken from Chicago. 
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #54 on: April 27, 2022, 09:50:45 am »
I use 2/3 RO water from the machines in front of grocery stores and 1/3 well water on every batch for years, so I think I can rule out water and pH on these two batches that were cloudy
I have mentioned this before but I tried using the bulk RO water at the grocery store as well.  Curious to know what exactly was in the water, I sent a sample to Ward Labs and found high(ish) levels of bicarb (~50ppm) and TDS.  I had always assumed that RO water was close enough to distilled to consider it distilled but that's not necessarily the case and when you're NOT the person maintaining the machine, you have no idea what's in that water which means you have no idea how to treat it.  If the filters (or whatever) are new... you get one water composition but if the filters are due to be changed tomorrow and you grab water today, you may have another water composition.  At least with my source water I know exactly what's in it every time which means I know what I want to do with it based on the style I'm brewing.  The same would be true for distilled... you know you're starting with zeroes.  I'm not necessarily saying to stop using that RO water but I'm saying that there CAN be variables.
Ken from Chicago. 
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.

Offline tommymorris

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #55 on: April 27, 2022, 10:04:47 am »
It looks like pH is not the problem but the reason i mentioned it is because recently I brewed a beer from my standard filtered tap water with standard acid and salt additions and I had to use 4X the amount of phosphoric acid to get the pH to fall in line (including an addition to the BK). That beer never did clear up. City water changes, sometimes drastically. It was like the alkalinity drastically changed over night and then went back to normal the very next day. This had happened to me about 3 times in 12 years (we are talking out of hundreds of batches since this is commercial brewing so it is probably not very common but it does happen).
My water recently changed. My starsan bucket used to get cloudy from
Calcium in the water. My last two starsan batches have stayed clear. I think I need to send a sample to Ward Labs.  But, I am wondering if the change is permanent or seasonal.

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #56 on: April 27, 2022, 10:59:53 am »
Water certainly mucks up the picture.  Local water, a larger source, well water, etc.  I had some conversations with people who rely on water for their businesses (one was a print shop and another was a welding and metal place).  These guys were telling me that a consistent water composition was critical to their business (for whatever the reason) and large swings in the water composition would cause problems with their equipment.  They had controls in place to make small adjustments but the consistency of the water was responsible for things running smoothly.  As homebrewers, I assume our water dictates how much focus we need to have on various water ions, etc.  Some of us can pay less attention to that while others have to spend more time on it.  On one hand, I don't want to guess about what's in the water.  I want to be relatively sure that the water I'm about to use for a certain style is close or right on with what I think it is.  OTOH, I don't want to turn into a water expert on every single batch that I make.  I don't have the tools for that.  If things like calcium, sulfate, chloride or bicarbonate had huge swings, I would be screwed.  Also, I assume that the source water we all have makes a big difference when an RO system is running... the softer the water, the more consistent the results and maybe the lifespan of the filters.  The more schputz you have in the water, the weirder things can get.   
Ken from Chicago. 
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.

Offline majorvices

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #57 on: April 27, 2022, 07:25:01 pm »
If you took a pH of the mash and it checked out that wouldn't be the problem.

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #58 on: April 28, 2022, 07:14:06 am »
If you took a pH of the mash and it checked out that wouldn't be the problem.
Agreed.  So after pH, what would be the next place to look?  Maybe a sluggish boil rate?  I'm usually very careful about that but I suppose it's possible.  Also, according to my notes the wort was clear going into the fermenter. 
Ken from Chicago. 
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #59 on: April 28, 2022, 07:52:59 am »
If you took a pH of the mash and it checked out that wouldn't be the problem.
Agreed.  So after pH, what would be the next place to look?  Maybe a sluggish boil rate?  I'm usually very careful about that but I suppose it's possible.  Also, according to my notes the wort was clear going into the fermenter.

I have never found clarity into the fermenter, whether more or less, to necessarily correlate to clarity of the finished beer.
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