One for the home-brewers…

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  • One for the home-brewers…
  • Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Subscriber

    I’ve always used finings in the boil – irish moss 15 mins from the end say. Don’t use secondary fermenters as a rule, although have done in the past, just bottle condition and job done, clear as a bell.

    I’ve not experimented with finings in the secondary like you describe – I think finings in the boil is pretty standard though. Some people use whirlfloc tablets instead of Irish Moss, right at the end of the boil.

    The other thing to consider is yeast – some strains are very floculent and drop out of solution nicely, others are the opposite IME. Maybe some yeast experimentation will give you some data to work with here.

    bokonon
    Member

    As above = copper finings (protofloc and whirlfloc are both irish moss extracts and work as well for less product used) tend to do the job very well, and if not that, then moving the brew from one fermenter to a second fermenter for a day or two also helps drop bright before moving into bottles to carbonise.

    Another thing to consider – are you leaving the brew in the boiler long enough for the cold break to drop out? having rapidly cooled the wort to shock those proteins into coagulating (which is no mean feat in itself) are they dropping into the trub or floating about and ending up in your beer, dropping out later. This can end up as a big lumpy floaty mass in the fermenter.

    pymwymis
    Member

    Bokonon, that’s a point I hadn’t considered. I got a great cold break due to very effective copper coil heat exchanger thingy but once cooled I pretty much poured it (via a fine mesh chinois) into the FV.

    pymwymis
    Member

    Gary-Lager,

    never used Irish Moss but it’s worth a go. Sounds a better alternative to dealing the problem later.

    peterfile
    Member

    I use Irish moss and carefully siphoning into a secondary FV a day before bottling. I’ve got the massive brewery kit too, it’s great, but i bought another couple of FVs for £5 each which are used for fermentation, then I use the one which was supplied with a kit for bottling duties. I bought a cheap bottle wand which makes bottling SO much easier (basically replaces the existing tap).

    This means i’ve got plenty of space to have a few different brews fermenting at any one time and when i’m bottling there is little/no trub in the bucket.

    I put my bottles in the fridge for a while before drinking which seems to help too.

    pymwymis
    Member

    First off I should say I’m a rank amateur at this malarkey. However since I got one of the Massive Brewery all grain kits I’ve started to get a bit more geekey – there’s a lot more fannying about you can do when you create your own wort.

    This rambles a bit as I’m thinking as I write so apologies.

    The more I get into it the more questions I seem to be coming up with and the latest is this:

    I quite like the idea of clear beer – I’ve drunk plenty of cloudy homebrew in the past and while it was fine I just looking to add the finishing touch.

    My options appear to be :

    Secondary fermentation in-bottle and just leave it for as long as it takes for the sediment to settle and be careful with the pouring from the bottle……Meh !

    Secondary fermentation in another vessel then use finings and decant carefully into a keg for pressurisation / use counter pressure bottler.
    The important bit here is that received wisdom tells me that once I’ve used finings I can’t secondary ferment / prime in bottle as the yeast is buggered.
    (Plan is to use isingglass FWIW but the PITA is cooling everything down to an appropriate temp for it to do it’s work properly – other than wait for the cold weather, how do you do it ?). Is the received wisdom correct ?

    Secondary fermentation in 2nd vessel then filter and fill bottle using counter pressure filler (which I quite like but it’s just extra expense and faff and I would struggle for space – new shed ?)
    Again received wisdom is that once filtered priming in bottle is not possible as yeast will be buggered (assumes 1 micron filter for clarity, which removes yeast aswell). Maybe 5 micron and secondary fermentation in bottle is possible ?

    What I’d like to do (‘cos it’s cheap) is :

    Decant from fermentation vessel……..Isingglass……Prime in-bottle.

    Is that possible or does the middle bit prevent the last bit ?

    What do you lot do ?

    Do not use Isinglass for bottled conditioned ales, It makes the yeast flocculate but it doesnt compact down or stick very well. Isinglass does not kill yeast , not sure where that pearl of wisdom came from.

    A tiny amount of Irish moss or 1/10 of a protofloc will make your wort brighter , but wont have a huge impact on the yeast count.
    Better to stop the fermentation at 1012ish and transfer to a sealed container , either cornelios keg of pressure barrel. Then leave to stand for a week in cold conditions. Bottle after this leaving a good 1″ behind.

    Nottingham ale yeast flocs well. You hardly need any at all for BCA’s . We filter all out and repitch a heaped teaspoon into 180galls ( rehydrated) 1gm / bl ish. Its almost invisable to the naked eye , but give it a week and its a paper thin sediment on the bottom of the bottle. 1 month for condition to reach its peak , roughly.

    john_drummer
    Member

    I use Irish moss for the last 15 mins of the boil – 5g usually.

    my boiler has a tap, so use that to transfer the wort.

    when fermentation finished, I siphon into secondary FV and add finings – usually auxiliary but I tried isinglass on the last (kit) brew.
    Leave a couple of days then siphon into bottles, add 1tsp of brewer’s sugar per bottle, cap & leave to condition for 3-4 weeks

    Premier Icon NZCol
    Subscriber

    Irish moss in boil, secondary clearing tank and chill it for a couple if days – every beer crystal clear.

    pymwymis
    Member

    Singletrackmind, those Cornelius kegs look great. First time I’ve see. One.

    Nice.

    allthepies
    Member

    Hehe, I’ve got about 8 19L and 2 11L cornies 🙂

    I add a protofloc tab to the boil with 15 mins to go and then chill using a counterflow cooler into the FV. After fermentation then I crash cool to stop the yeast and let it settle down. Either transfer straight to cornie or might go via a conditioning tank if I’m dry hopping.

    Got two full cornies of green hop ale sitting in the beer fridge waiting to be started 🙂

    ocrider
    Member

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1708005089/picobrew-zymatic-the-automatic-beer-brewing-applia?ref=home_popular

    If they could ship to Yurp, run it at 240v and have the measurements and temps in metric, then I’d be quids in.

    I add a protofloc tab to the boil with 15 mins to go

    No need to leave it in for this long. 3 – 5 mins is long enough.
    We are currently using 12 tabs in 720 galls, work out if your are over fining by checking your cold breaks . you want a sandy sediment.

    After fermentation then I crash cool to stop the yeast and let it settle down

    You may not be allowing the yeast to reabsorb DMS by crash cooling . 1’F per hour used to be a rule of thumb . If you are getting any sulphery or cabbagy smells this could be DMS , if not then crack on.#
    Green Hop beer you say …….local hops ?

    pymwymis
    Member

    Blimey Ocrider, that’s brilliant…if a little pricey, and available only in North America, and as you say, the wrong voltage, but apart from that, awesome !

    pymwymis
    Member

    We have a hop bush down at the allotment. No idea of variety. How would you measure the acid level ?

    allthepies
    Member

    You may not be allowing the yeast to reabsorb DMS by crash cooling . 1’F per hour used to be a rule of thumb . If you are getting any sulphery or cabbagy smells this could be DMS , if not then crack on.#
    Green Hop beer you say …….local hops ?

    No sulphur/cabbage going on 🙂

    RE: the hops, I’ve got Goldings and Fuggles plants in a mate’s garden (his garden is well suited to growing hops) :). I used challenger for bittering and then two big dollups of the fresh green hops (picked the day before) late in the boil and for steeping. Also dry hopped with some too.

    Made a wild hop brew with another mate recently, 100% hand picked hops from a local lane (in Tongham as it happens 😉 ). The area used to be hop central back in the day and some bines still exist.

    WillH
    Member

    I’ve always used between a level and a generous teaspoon (about 5-10g) of Irish moss added to the boil 10-15 minutes before the end. I then usually ferment for at least two weeks, usually closer to three, maybe even four if I’m busy and don’t get time to bottle/keg it. I never use a secondary FV (mainly cos I’m lazy, partly because each time you transfer you risk contamination). I’ve mostly had perfectly clear beers, occasionally one with some ‘haze’, but never anything that remotely resembles cloudy.

    Sounds like you’re already achieving a fast cool-down post-boil using your immersion chiller, so between the Irish moss and the chiller you should achieve clear or almost-clear beers every time.

    Also, you say you pour the cooled wort into the FV, perhaps try siphoning instead. Once you’ve cooled the wort, put the lid on and leave it for half an hour for the break material to drop out and form a layer of sediment. You could even do a poor-man’s ‘whirlpool’ at this stage, which is a fancy way of saying give it a good stir in a circular fashion, as fast as you can, then leave it until it goes still, then leave it a bit longer for good measure as there will still be movement under the surface. Eventually the suspended solids should form a nice tidy cone in the middle of the bottom of the pan. You can then siphon the clear wort into the FV without disturbing the cone.

    Even if you don’t whirlpool, try leaving the wort for a bit after chilling, as solids will still drop out. Then, either carefully siphon into the FV, rather than pouring, or if your boiler has a tap (as per John Drummer’s suggestion above) you could use this as it will empty the vessel from above the level of sediment.

    One thing that took me a few brews to get my head around, was building losses into my process. That is, just accept that you will leave a bit of liquid in the boiler/pan when you transfer to the FV; you will lose a little more if you transfer to secondary; and lose more still when you transfer to bottles. The bit you lose is the last few hundred ml before you hit the trub/sediment. You basically sacrifice that small amount to avoid transferring unwanted solids with your wort/beer. Don’t try to get every last drop of liquid with each transfer.

    You could also cold-crash after fermenting, which singletrackmind described. Basically, once you’re happy that fermentation is over, move the FV to a fridge for a couple of days (or more) and various proteins – which can cause a hazy/cloudy appearance – will drop out. You can then bottle it and bottle-condition. Even though a lot of the yeast will drop out with the cold-crash, some will survive and should be plenty for the tiny amount of further fermentation needed to carbonate the beer.

    john_drummer
    Member

    and for more help, go to http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/forum

    it’s like this place, but for home brewers

    pymwymis
    Member

    Cheers fellas, lots of good info here. Must get brewing.

    bokonon
    Member

    We have a hop bush down at the allotment. No idea of variety. How would you measure the acid level ?

    My hop harvest this year was around 1.2kg I have a vague idea of acid levels from the variety, but that’s all – I have Target, Northdown and Fuggle hops, and assume they are slightly low for type.

    I’ve been harvesting hedgerow hops for a number of years, and I never bother trying to measure acid levels, if it’s nice smelling, stick it in at the end, if it’s not, then stick it in at the start – if it comes out crap then dry hop or similar.

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