clearing beer

Make grain beers with the absolute minimum of equipment. Discuss here.
sam51
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clearing beer

Post by sam51 » Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:06 pm

hi what the best and quickest way to get your ale clear.
thanks.

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Re: clearing beer

Post by Silver_Is_Money » Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:30 pm

Add Irish Moss or Whirlfloc near the end of the boil, and ferment with a yeast known to be a high or rapid flocculator. Generally the yeasts technical data sheet will list it as a high, moderate, or low flocculator.
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Re: clearing beer

Post by Jambo » Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:55 pm

Cooling once fermentation is over helps too, as does transferring to a secondary fermenter before bottling/kegging. You could use a fining agent post fermentation but I find the other methods already mentioned effective, and free.

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Re: clearing beer

Post by guypettigrew » Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:17 pm

Finings adjunct and isinglass. Clears most beers in 24-48 hours if it's the yeast causing the lack of clarity.

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Re: clearing beer

Post by orlando » Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:51 am

Getting mash pH into the right range. Using enough Calcium. Requires you to ignore US advice.
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Re: clearing beer

Post by Kev888 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:34 am

Yes, the best way would be to avoid clarity problems to begin with through good brewing practice. Subsequently a little time in cool storage (perhaps with finings if greater speed is needed) will normally clear it OK.

Probably the fastest way would be to filter the beer with very fine filters; this gives almost instant results. Though it is neither the best nor the easiest way for many homebrew situations IMO.

(Or you could just leave it cloudy and try to pretend that is acceptable for craft beer :twisted: )

Remember that clarity isn't the only factor though - many beers benefit from at least a little maturing. If it is prematurely fined or chilled heavily, let alone filtered into lifelessness, then this will delay or prevent the yeast doing their post-fermentation good works.
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Re: clearing beer

Post by Jambo » Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:37 am

orlando wrote:Getting mash pH into the right range. Using enough Calcium. Requires you to ignore US advice.
Don’t how I forgot this - yes - since I started treating my water, beer clarity has become much less of an issue. Water is very soft where I am.

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Re: clearing beer

Post by orlando » Fri Apr 05, 2019 11:28 am

Jambo wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:37 am
orlando wrote:Getting mash pH into the right range. Using enough Calcium. Requires you to ignore US advice.
Don’t how I forgot this - yes - since I started treating my water, beer clarity has become much less of an issue. Water is very soft where I am.
It's alkalinity that's the enemy as it acts as a buffer, resisting the shift towards acidity that grains and calcium can give you. Pale malts much less, Crystal and dark grains more. Your soft water should be less of a problem but like a lot of things it is a question of how soft or how hard, or more precisely how alkaline.
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Re: clearing beer

Post by sam51 » Sat Apr 06, 2019 12:00 pm

hi all, so i normal put half a pro floc tablet in, last 15 minutes, of boil.
23 ltr batch,
i then ferment in the primary for week or so,
then transfer to secondary for a week,
then transfer to corny keg , chill down to 4 degrees , then force carb at 30 psi,
then let t settle to around 12 degrees,
and star drinking,
does this seem about right.
thanks.

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Re: clearing beer

Post by Kev888 » Sat Apr 06, 2019 12:31 pm

It seems generally reasonable to me. Though personally if I were going to the effort of transferring to a secondary FV then I would leave it in there longer than a week if needed, or else chill and/or fine in there, such that the beer is quite clear and the majority of sediment generated would be left behind before kegging. For just sitting in there a week, it might almost as well be left in the primary fermenter (unless e.g. it doesn't seal well enough for an airlock, or you need to vacate it for the next batch).

Over and above that regime, brewing is partly a gradual process of preventing or removing stuff you don't want right from the start. So for optimum results take every opportunity to do so, and there will be less to cope with at the end.

This could include using decent grain (e.g. not too high in nitrogen), getting the mash pH right, having enough calcium in the water, keeping unnecessary grain particles out of the brew kettle, not sparging excessively (or badly), having a suitably turbulent/rolling boil, using kettle finings (as you mention), keeping unnecessary hot break and hop debris out of the fermenter, using decent healthy yeast and treating them well - all before the post-fermentation clearing stages.

Of course, this isn't something that happens overnight; even after all these years I'm still refining and improving things.
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Re: clearing beer

Post by Galena » Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:48 am

orlando wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:51 am
Getting mash pH into the right range. Using enough Calcium. Requires you to ignore US advice.
I have seen this mentioned many a time, but what exactly is this US advice we should be ignoring?

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Re: clearing beer

Post by orlando » Wed Apr 07, 2021 12:19 pm

Typically they complain about "minerality", I don't what that is or means. As a result they "recommend" 50ppm of Calcium. Calcium is arguably the most important factor in mash chemistry, along with alkalinity. What is not taken into account is the amount of calcium that is lost in the mash. Recently I have noticed a change, 100ppm is more likely to be seen as a recommendation. The biggest influencer with this is people using Brunwater, that has red flags for when you go over the limits prescribed. My guess is the influence of Lager brewing and the palate that has developed over there.
I am "The Little Red Brooster"

Fermenting:
Conditioning:
Drinking: Southwold Again,

Up Next: John Barleycorn (Barley Wine)
Planning: Winter drinking Beer

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Re: clearing beer

Post by Galena » Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:04 pm

orlando wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 12:19 pm
Typically they complain about "minerality", I don't what that is or means. As a result they "recommend" 50ppm of Calcium. Calcium is arguably the most important factor in mash chemistry, along with alkalinity. What is not taken into account is the amount of calcium that is lost in the mash. Recently I have noticed a change, 100ppm is more likely to be seen as a recommendation. The biggest influencer with this is people using Brunwater, that has red flags for when you go over the limits prescribed. My guess is the influence of Lager brewing and the palate that has developed over there.
Ahh, yes I see what you mean though to be honest, having been a disciple of John Palmer his recommendations for Calcium are " 50 -200 ppm, 50 for lagers and light ales, 100-150 for good mash lauter and pH stability, but may be too robust for some light lagers. Levels in excess of 200ppm tend to taste minerally" I was half aware that UK brewers considered more calcium as beneficial but couldn't relate as Palmers levels seem okay to me.

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Re: clearing beer

Post by orlando » Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:18 pm

Even Lagers benefit from higher levels. I'm reliably informed by a member of this forum who has actually visited Czech Lager brewers that they add a lot of calcium. You would have to start with a lot of calcium to have levels over 200ppm in the final Beer, is that what he means? Water over here is naturally nowhere near that level without adding it. I'm sure Eric can confirm.
I am "The Little Red Brooster"

Fermenting:
Conditioning:
Drinking: Southwold Again,

Up Next: John Barleycorn (Barley Wine)
Planning: Winter drinking Beer

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Re: clearing beer

Post by Galena » Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:25 pm

orlando wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:18 pm
Even Lagers benefit from higher levels. I'm reliably informed by a member of this forum who has actually visited Czech Lager brewers that they add a lot of calcium. You would have to start with a lot of calcium to have levels over 200ppm in the final Beer, is that what he means? Water over here is naturally nowhere near that level without adding it. I'm sure Eric can confirm.
Interesting, my tap water is only 15ppm calcium. I brewed a Czech Pilsner with no additions, the finished beer is very nice though perhaps a bit thin. Next time I shall try an increased level.

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