Author Topic: A clarity mystery...  (Read 2126 times)

Offline HighVoltageMan!

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2022, 04:40:17 pm »
Beer clarity does not come down to a single issue. The first thing you need to do is determine what type of turbidity you’re dealing with. You can start there. Guessing at your problem will only prolong your problem. It’s not something that can be solved on a forum. It involves your entire brewing process.

Study turbidity, it’s a complex issue and there’s no silver bullet to fixing it.

Offline denny

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2022, 04:44:19 pm »
It is well known that I am a freak when it comes to clear beer. Nothing hazy here!

A picture perfect Munich Helles is on tap now. It cleared all by itself.

But...most of the time I use gelatin. Within 4 days, the beer will be clear enough to read the ingredients on a soup can label.

Using gelatin, we have always had the beer clear out within a matter of a few days.

I thought I was the only one who was anal about this!
I like clear beer as well, but I think this clarity issue had more to do with protein levels in the malt.  I hit the CAP with gelatin and it didn’t clear as much as it usually does.  Both beers made with the same sack of malt had the same lack of clarity.

I completely agree about the protein.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2022, 06:23:23 pm »
Could it be possible your ph was off and you didn't get full conversion?

Offline HighVoltageMan!

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2022, 05:28:15 am »
Chill haze needs proteins and tannins/polyphenols. The protein can't do it itself unless there was a lot of it. Malt that bad would be $h!+. I can't imagine it was good one brew and bad the next. Is the malt really so bad that it had a massive amount of undegraded proteins left in it? What's the malt spec sheet show? Was there high FAN in the report? What did you do to reduce tannins? Did you use PVPP? What was your boil pH? Did you use use a clarifier in your boil? What was your mash pH? Did you use a clarifier post fermentation?

The brewing process is complicated and to blame the malt is to assume your process is refined to the point of not skipping any steps to improve clarity or adding mistakes or missteps that would lead to increased turbidity. Dr. Charlie Bamforth is often self described as obsessive about clarity. He has studied it most of his career, it's not simple. You are asking a complex question with a complex answer.

Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2022, 05:42:21 am »
Chill haze needs proteins and tannins/polyphenols. The protein can't do it itself unless there was a lot of it. Malt that bad would be $h!+. I can't imagine it was good one brew and bad the next. Is the malt really so bad that it had a massive amount of undegraded proteins left in it? What's the malt spec sheet show? Was there high FAN in the report? What did you do to reduce tannins? Did you use PVPP? What was your boil pH? Did you use use a clarifier in your boil? What was your mash pH? Did you use a clarifier post fermentation?

The brewing process is complicated and to blame the malt is to assume your process is refined to the point of not skipping any steps to improve clarity or adding mistakes or missteps that would lead to increased turbidity. Dr. Charlie Bamforth is often self described as obsessive about clarity. He has studied it most of his career, it's not simple. You are asking a complex question with a complex answer.

The one time I forgot to use a clarifying agent during the last 15 minutes of boiling, it took a major effort to get the beer to eventually clear.
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Offline jeffy

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2022, 06:14:19 am »
Chill haze needs proteins and tannins/polyphenols. The protein can't do it itself unless there was a lot of it. Malt that bad would be $h!+. I can't imagine it was good one brew and bad the next. Is the malt really so bad that it had a massive amount of undegraded proteins left in it? What's the malt spec sheet show? Was there high FAN in the report? What did you do to reduce tannins? Did you use PVPP? What was your boil pH? Did you use use a clarifier in your boil? What was your mash pH? Did you use a clarifier post fermentation?

The brewing process is complicated and to blame the malt is to assume your process is refined to the point of not skipping any steps to improve clarity or adding mistakes or missteps that would lead to increased turbidity. Dr. Charlie Bamforth is often self described as obsessive about clarity. He has studied it most of his career, it's not simple. You are asking a complex question with a complex answer.

The one time I forgot to use a clarifying agent during the last 15 minutes of boiling, it took a major effort to get the beer to eventually clear.
I've brewed over 430 batches of beer since 1990.  This is the first time I have used Great Western malt.  Both batches brewed with it remained hazy for a long time and never really completely cleared the way most of my beers do.  Subsequent batches using the same equipment and processes and Weyermann malt cleared up normally. 
I will check the G.W. bag this evening to see if there are lot numbers or any other indicators.  My homebrew supply shop/brew-pub where I made the purchase uses this malt for a lot of their beers.  I think I'll ask them if they have any issues.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2022, 07:45:59 am »
Chill haze needs proteins and tannins/polyphenols. The protein can't do it itself unless there was a lot of it. Malt that bad would be $h!+. I can't imagine it was good one brew and bad the next. Is the malt really so bad that it had a massive amount of undegraded proteins left in it? What's the malt spec sheet show? Was there high FAN in the report? What did you do to reduce tannins? Did you use PVPP? What was your boil pH? Did you use use a clarifier in your boil? What was your mash pH? Did you use a clarifier post fermentation?

The brewing process is complicated and to blame the malt is to assume your process is refined to the point of not skipping any steps to improve clarity or adding mistakes or missteps that would lead to increased turbidity. Dr. Charlie Bamforth is often self described as obsessive about clarity. He has studied it most of his career, it's not simple. You are asking a complex question with a complex answer.
I answered a number of these questions earlier.  Mash pH was 5.35 at mash temp.  I have been in the habit of adding about 1ml of lactic acid with 10 minutes left in the boil because whirfloc works better at a lower pH (and I have read that yeast prefer the wort at a lower pH) and I used the acid and whirfloc on this batch.  No PVPP but I have never used it.  I used a gel solution after the beer was cold and in the keg and prior to carbing.  I am not necessarily pointing to the malt.  I am simply listening to others who had similar issues and looking at the most logical component of the process.  I would guess that 90% of my batches are satisfactorily clear.  Like Jeffy, I have been brewing a long time.  Probably over 1000 batches since 1999.  I do realize the question is complex which is why I asked it here on AHA where many high-level brewers hang out.  I'll check out turbidity and see what I can learn.  Thank you for the suggestion. 
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2022, 08:03:01 am »
Chill haze needs proteins and tannins/polyphenols. The protein can't do it itself unless there was a lot of it. Malt that bad would be $h!+. I can't imagine it was good one brew and bad the next. Is the malt really so bad that it had a massive amount of undegraded proteins left in it? What's the malt spec sheet show? Was there high FAN in the report? What did you do to reduce tannins? Did you use PVPP? What was your boil pH? Did you use use a clarifier in your boil? What was your mash pH? Did you use a clarifier post fermentation?

The brewing process is complicated and to blame the malt is to assume your process is refined to the point of not skipping any steps to improve clarity or adding mistakes or missteps that would lead to increased turbidity. Dr. Charlie Bamforth is often self described as obsessive about clarity. He has studied it most of his career, it's not simple. You are asking a complex question with a complex answer.
I answered a number of these questions earlier.  Mash pH was 5.35 at mash temp.  I have been in the habit of adding about 1ml of lactic acid with 10 minutes left in the boil because whirfloc works better at a lower pH (and I have read that yeast prefer the wort at a lower pH) and I used the acid and whirfloc on this batch.  No PVPP but I have never used it.  I used a gel solution after the beer was cold and in the keg and prior to carbing.  I am not necessarily pointing to the malt.  I am simply listening to others who had similar issues and looking at the most logical component of the process.  I would guess that 90% of my batches are satisfactorily clear.  Like Jeffy, I have been brewing a long time.  Probably over 1000 batches since 1999.  I do realize the question is complex which is why I asked it here on AHA where many high-level brewers hang out.  I'll check out turbidity and see what I can learn.  Thank you for the suggestion.

Going forward, in an effort to improve stability, clarity, and shelf life, all of our beers will be filtered. A 3 micron sterile filter, followed by a one micron sterile filter.
We had great success with this in the past.
Yes, a little more work. But we don’t mind at all as the results are worth the extra effort.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2022, 08:32:31 am »
There is a good amount of 'turbidity' information out there but most of it talks about contributors to haze without mentioning specific ways to avoid it.  Two things stand out from what I just found:  Boil rate and also the temp of sparge water being added.  I mention these two things because they have a likelihood of not being perfectly consistent.  I typically bring sparge water to about 140° and it's never over 160°.  I seem to remember not to bring it over 175°.  I boil in the garage on a propane burner and I get a visual and adjust it but I assume there is room for error.  The LO guys mentioned a softer boil and I was doing that for awhile but a good 2 years ago I got away from that and did my normal boil rate which I feel gives a better opportunity for clearer beer.  There was also mention of proper recirculation of the wort which I feel like I have a good handle on and I do the same thing on every batch.  For what it's worth... I always get very clear wort going into the fermenter.  Not sure if that's a reasonable indicator or not but had this wort been cloudy going into the fermenter I might have expected a cloudy beer in the glass but that's not the case. 
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2022, 08:43:07 am »
There is a good amount of 'turbidity' information out there but most of it talks about contributors to haze without mentioning specific ways to avoid it.  Two things stand out from what I just found:  Boil rate and also the temp of sparge water being added.  I mention these two things because they have a likelihood of not being perfectly consistent.  I typically bring sparge water to about 140° and it's never over 160°.  I seem to remember not to bring it over 175°.  I boil in the garage on a propane burner and I get a visual and adjust it but I assume there is room for error.  The LO guys mentioned a softer boil and I was doing that for awhile but a good 2 years ago I got away from that and did my normal boil rate which I feel gives a better opportunity for clearer beer.  There was also mention of proper recirculation of the wort which I feel like I have a good handle on and I do the same thing on every batch.  For what it's worth... I always get very clear wort going into the fermenter.  Not sure if that's a reasonable indicator or not but had this wort been cloudy going into the fermenter I might have expected a cloudy beer in the glass but that's not the case.

Our sparge water is always at 170-175.
 
The boils are done vigorously. We always get a solid hot break and a huge cold break. Adding a Whirlfloc tablet really improved our cold break! The wort is brilliantly clear when going from the mash tun into the boil kettle, and from the boil kettle into the ferment vehicle.

In addition, a final filter is inline with the wort as is runs out of the boil kettle, just to catch any particles that might have slipped through the hop filter bed. Our beers are very clear, and with gelatin become brilliant.

My last Munich Helles was not fined with anything, and was nearly crystal clear from day one.

Have you considered filtration? That is our next step, for a number of reasons.
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Offline joeinma

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #25 on: April 26, 2022, 09:03:43 am »
For the OP, any consideration to using BrewTan B?   I discovered it during my dabbling into low oxygen brewing and even though I don't do LoDO anymore, BrewTan B is a must for my brews.  Combined with whirlfloc, it drops my beers super bright after chilling, which leads to clear beer into the fermenter. Then after fermentation a day or two cold crashing, the beer drops clear again and is usually crystal clear in keg after 1-2 pints.

First time I used BTB was with a Pilsner and after chilling, I took the cover off the kettle and did a double take, the wort was so clear it looked like it was gone and I could just see all the trub at the bottom.   I do no-sparge brewing and have settled on 1 gram in the mash and 0.6 grams at 15 mins in boil. You do have to wait 5 minutes before adding whirlfloc or other fining agents.   But in the 4-5 years using it, I have only had 2 beers that have not cleared, a stubborn Kolsch when I did not realize the yeast was a slow flocculator and a Trappist Single on tap now in which I used Wyeast 1214 which is also slow to floc.   I think in the future, I will increase my BTB addition if I am using a low flocculating yeast.

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #26 on: April 26, 2022, 09:18:15 am »
For the OP, any consideration to using BrewTan B?   I discovered it during my dabbling into low oxygen brewing and even though I don't do LoDO anymore, BrewTan B is a must for my brews.  Combined with whirlfloc, it drops my beers super bright after chilling, which leads to clear beer into the fermenter. Then after fermentation a day or two cold crashing, the beer drops clear again and is usually crystal clear in keg after 1-2 pints.

First time I used BTB was with a Pilsner and after chilling, I took the cover off the kettle and did a double take, the wort was so clear it looked like it was gone and I could just see all the trub at the bottom.   I do no-sparge brewing and have settled on 1 gram in the mash and 0.6 grams at 15 mins in boil. You do have to wait 5 minutes before adding whirlfloc or other fining agents.   But in the 4-5 years using it, I have only had 2 beers that have not cleared, a stubborn Kolsch when I did not realize the yeast was a slow flocculator and a Trappist Single on tap now in which I used Wyeast 1214 which is also slow to floc.   I think in the future, I will increase my BTB addition if I am using a low flocculating yeast.
Thanks for that.  I probably used BTB for 4-5 years as well.  I never found it to be a clarification aid.  I did notice that beers brewed with BTB were "smoother" if that makes any sense.  There is no copper, iron, etc. in contact with my wort (stainless, plastic, silicone tubing, etc) and from what I understand, BTB's main function is to address the wort's contact with these metals and avoid the oxidation that would result.  Correct me if I'm wrong on that.  So in an attempt to take an overview and simplify my processes, I stopped using it.  My occasional hazy beers were around when I used BTB too.  I also heard from brewers who complained that BTB made their beers HAZIER, not CLEARER so my conclusion on that is that a combination of factors can make BTB behave differently.  If I had experienced crazy-clear wort and beer while using BTB, I would go back to using it.  I still have some and it's easy to incorporate into the brewday. 
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline Cliffs

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #27 on: April 26, 2022, 09:23:43 am »
BTB definitely helps my beer clear faster. I love the stuff

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #28 on: April 26, 2022, 09:34:58 am »
A couple things from my experiences.

Gelatin removes particles of one charge, I forget which. It works on yeast. Particles of the other charge reminds. Polyclar/ PPVP work on the charge. A stubborn batch I used a combination of gelatin and Polyclar on the second keg vs just geletin, and the second keg turned out brilliant.

Had a string of very hazy beers. Wondered what was going on. On another forum, a guy had brilliant clarity in the kettle and in the glass. He claimed you should not run your pump when chilling if using Brewtan B  and whirlflock, as that will chop up the cold break. I've tried that, and the resulting break left after transferring off is huge. I haven't had any of that beer, I'm away, and those are Lagering.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #29 on: April 26, 2022, 10:08:14 am »
I did buy some polyclar at one point and I'm sure I have an almost-full container of it.  I don't even remember when/how you add it.  Mix it with water and add it to the boil?  I could try it but the part that gets me is that the majority of my beers are very clear so I would rather focus on the cause instead of the symptom so that I know why it's happening.  I'm sure I'm oversimplifying but I have no real way of knowing how this would occur in such a small percentage of the batches. 
Ken from Chicago. 
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