Author Topic: A clarity mystery...  (Read 1874 times)

Offline MDL

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #30 on: April 26, 2022, 11:00:30 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.

Filtering could potentially oxidize the beer.

I have great success with BTB, whirlfoc, and polyclar VT in the kettle.

Clarity ferm in the fermenter.

And clear beer draught systems in the keg with gelatin.

Clear beer in 12 hours. 

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #31 on: April 26, 2022, 11:34:43 am »
Filtering could potentially oxidize the beer.

I have great success with BTB, whirlfoc, and polyclar VT in the kettle.

Clarity ferm in the fermenter.

And clear beer draught systems in the keg with gelatin.

Clear beer in 12 hours.
Oh, thanks for the reminder.  I bought a bottle of Cellar Science Clearzyme and have been using that as well.  But it seems like another situation where if a certain group of conditions align just so... this product does not clear the beer.  The same is true (IME) with gel.  If there is a stubborn haze that is not going away then it's not going away.  I have had many batches come out clear when Clearzyme was used but my guess is that they would have come out clear anyway.  Whatever it is that I'm experiencing is definitely a process-based issue... water, mash, boil, pH, etc. but that's frustrating because I try to be oh-so-consistent on every batch I make. 
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline pete b

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #32 on: April 26, 2022, 11:51:13 am »
I am far from a brewing chemistry guru so this may sound dumb.
I noticed you said everything was the same including water, which I take to mean water + brewing salts. Should that be the same for the 2 row and the pilsner malt? Could the PH turn out different or something?
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #33 on: April 26, 2022, 11:57:53 am »
I am far from a brewing chemistry guru so this may sound dumb.
I noticed you said everything was the same including water, which I take to mean water + brewing salts. Should that be the same for the 2 row and the pilsner malt? Could the PH turn out different or something?
I have been getting my source water to a pre-boil pH of 5.5.  Blending the water with the malts should bring it into the preferred mash pH range and that's been true many, many times.  In the case of the helles made with GW 2-row, I would have added about 3g of CaCl because my source water is higher in sulfate than it is in chloride and for a helles I would want that smooth, round, full character.  It's what I would do if I were using German Pils malt as a base so it's what I did with the GW 2-row too.  I feel like that's reasonable but if someone saw something wrong with that, I am certainly willing to listen. 
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Offline pete b

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #34 on: April 26, 2022, 12:08:32 pm »
I was just wondering if since they were kilned to different levels if the buffering effect would be different. Obviously not like roasted malts but roasted malts are used in smaller doses. If you are targeting water ph vs mash ph maybe it makes a difference when you put in a differntly kilned malt.
I don't know if this is a "thing" but it seems to fit the pattern.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #35 on: April 26, 2022, 12:41:25 pm »
I was just wondering if since they were kilned to different levels if the buffering effect would be different. Obviously not like roasted malts but roasted malts are used in smaller doses. If you are targeting water ph vs mash ph maybe it makes a difference when you put in a differntly kilned malt.
I don't know if this is a "thing" but it seems to fit the pattern.
The mash pH at mash temp was 5.35 which falls into the preferred 5.2 to 5.4 range.  I don't think it's to a point that would have caused a permanent haze issue, AFAIK.  Many, many pale beers have been made here with a similar grist (which is to say pilsner malt, vienna and/or munich, maybe flaked corn, etc) and also the same approach to the water being at a pH of 5.5 prior to mashing.  Many of the gold beers I have posted in the pictures thread were made with this same approach but none of those (except this helles) were made with GW 2-row. 
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline pete b

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #36 on: April 26, 2022, 12:47:05 pm »
Yea, I didn't think that was it, it just popped into my head.
At this point we have to consider sabatoge.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #37 on: April 26, 2022, 12:56:41 pm »
Yea, I didn't think that was it, it just popped into my head.
At this point we have to consider sabatoge.
Right.  Or sorcery.  Maybe static electricity or sun spots.  :D 

I know this is a fishing expedition but the AHA forum is filled with great brewers and great minds and I hoped that maybe someone would see this and say that the same thing had happened to them and they resolved it [this way] and it would be a place to start.  It's very rare and very random and for the life of me I can't think of a cause.  But I admit that I'm not exactly equipped to go back and look at various measurements or data because I am not that type of brewer.  I generally don't read malt lot data sheets, etc. so that's not going to help. I know my mash pH and mash temp.  I know I mashed for 60 minutes as I always do. 
« Last Edit: April 26, 2022, 12:58:33 pm by Village Taphouse »
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Offline denny

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #38 on: April 26, 2022, 01:00:31 pm »
Yea, I didn't think that was it, it just popped into my head.
At this point we have to consider sabatoge.
Right.  Or sorcery.  Maybe static electricity or sun spots.  :D 

I know this is a fishing expedition but the AHA forum is filled with great brewers and great minds and I hoped that maybe someone would see this and say that the same thing had happened to them and they resolved it [this way] and it would be a place to start.  It's very rare and very random and for the life of me I can't think of a cause.  But I admit that I'm not exactly equipped to go back and look at various measurements or data because I am not that type of brewer.  I generally don't read malt lot data sheets, etc. so that's not going to help. I know my mash pH and mash temp.  I know I mashed for 60 minutes as I always do.

Then maybe the best thing to do is take what you've learned from this discussion and move on.  See how the next one turns out.
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Offline pete b

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #39 on: April 26, 2022, 01:02:15 pm »
Yea, I didn't think that was it, it just popped into my head.
At this point we have to consider sabatoge.
Right.  Or sorcery.  Maybe static electricity or sun spots.  :D 

I know this is a fishing expedition but the AHA forum is filled with great brewers and great minds and I hoped that maybe someone would see this and say that the same thing had happened to them and they resolved it [this way] and it would be a place to start.  It's very rare and very random and for the life of me I can't think of a cause.  But I admit that I'm not exactly equipped to go back and look at various measurements or data because I am not that type of brewer.  I generally don't read malt lot data sheets, etc. so that's not going to help. I know my mash pH and mash temp.  I know I mashed for 60 minutes as I always do.
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Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #40 on: April 26, 2022, 01:18:35 pm »
Filtering could potentially oxidize the beer.

I have great success with BTB, whirlfoc, and polyclar VT in the kettle.

Clarity ferm in the fermenter.

And clear beer draught systems in the keg with gelatin.

Clear beer in 12 hours.
Oh, thanks for the reminder.  I bought a bottle of Cellar Science Clearzyme and have been using that as well.  But it seems like another situation where if a certain group of conditions align just so... this product does not clear the beer.  The same is true (IME) with gel.  If there is a stubborn haze that is not going away then it's not going away.  I have had many batches come out clear when Clearzyme was used but my guess is that they would have come out clear anyway.  Whatever it is that I'm experiencing is definitely a process-based issue... water, mash, boil, pH, etc. but that's frustrating because I try to be oh-so-consistent on every batch I make.

Every step of the brewing process has the potential for oxidation. Just running the beer into the serving keg can introduce O2.

I will be filtering 20 gallons of Pils in a few days. It is expected that there will be no issues. If there is any problem resulting from filtration, you will be the second one to know.

The very slight chance of oxidation (if it really exists) will be more than offset by the benefits.

edit: Our beers were always filtered in a previous brewery. There was never any issue with O2 off flavors. The filter set up was 5 micron, then 3 micron. It worked well, very well.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2022, 01:25:25 pm by Bel Air Brewing »
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #41 on: April 26, 2022, 01:57:13 pm »
Then maybe the best thing to do is take what you've learned from this discussion and move on.  See how the next one turns out.
Tomorrow I am making a starter (SNS, btw) with White Labs 940 Mexican Lager yeast.  The first batch will be a sort of Mexican Light Lager.  Pilsner malt, Vienna, Flaked Corn, Hallertau hops (2021 harvest).  4.8%, SRM of about 4-5, 22 IBUs or so.  It will be a pale gold lager and I guess I will be on high alert although I don't know what to look for.  The base malt will be Montana Craft Malt Pils.  Will probably be brewed Friday evening or Saturday day.  Thanks Beerheads.   
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline Megary

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #42 on: April 26, 2022, 02:24:33 pm »
I meant to say that the flavor of the helles is very good too.  Good flavor, good head formation and stability, etc.  This is not an infection.  On the malt thing, I seem to remember some talk about how protein rests might be more conducive to German malts where American malts are typically better with a single infusion.  That said, I pretty much mash everything the same way and the vast majority of the time I have satisfactory clarity.  Another data point:  The pilsner was made (clear), then the helles was made (cloudy) and then there was a Vienna Lager (clear)... all with the same blob of Omega 113 so pointing at the yeast seems strange.   

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?

Offline jeffy

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #43 on: April 26, 2022, 03:10:25 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.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: A clarity mystery...
« Reply #44 on: April 26, 2022, 03:19:28 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
Ken from Chicago. 
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.