When best to add finings to my brew?

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MTW
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When best to add finings to my brew?

Post by MTW » Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:48 pm

For the first time in years, I'm thinking I may add some gelatine to my current beer, which is an English golden strong ale. The last one, which was a near-identical recipe, has remained pretty hazy despite several days at 1C in secondary. The Nottingham yeast in that seems firmly stuck to the bottles, but I've got a lot of protein/other cold haze in it, which I would like to avoid in the current one. This beer only gets a 30g EKG dry hop in 20L, so the hops shouldn't be the issue.

Here's my usual schedule for a typical ale. I'm looking for the best way to fit some gelatine finings in, hopefully without lengthening the process, requiring an extra transfer, or altering my temperature plan too much:

8-10 days primary until FG is stable > Rack onto the dry hops (always pellets, loose) in a second bucket, still at primary fermentation temperature. Leave for 2 days. > Chill to 1C for at least 5 days. > Rack onto priming solution in a third bucket and bottle immediately.

Instinct suggests not to put dry hops and finings in at the same time, but maybe someone will advise differently. Suggestions much appreciated.
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Re: When best to add finings to my brew?

Post by TheSumOfAllBeers » Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:03 pm

Add gelatine when your beer has hit crash cooling temp. Wait 24-48 hrs check clarity, bottle when ready

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Re: When best to add finings to my brew?

Post by MTW » Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:10 pm

Ok, cheers, so no problem putting it in with a few loose pellets still hanging around?

Is this better than fining and chilling first, in the primary or secondary, and then dry hopping clearer beer back at a warmer temperature? I know it would add a day or two, and be more of change to my routine...
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Re: When best to add finings to my brew?

Post by TheSumOfAllBeers » Tue Dec 12, 2017 5:54 pm

The gelatine can strip out hop polyphenols that you worked hard to get in there, though I would like to see the results side by side .

Chill first then gelatine. If you hop after that you can introduce hop haze same as any dry hop. But trading some clarity for much bigger hop character is IMO always the correct trade off, outside of very specific clarity requirements.

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Re: When best to add finings to my brew?

Post by orlando » Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:09 am

You might want to consider how the "haze" got there in the first place. Get the mash pH in the right range, ensure enough calcium, good rolling boil to achieve the right level of hot break, copper finings (protafloc is excellent) and a fast cold break. If that regime is achieved it should mean cold crashing is all you would need, that and a bit of patience. Post fermentation finings would just speed up a polished finish to the beer.
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Re: When best to add finings to my brew?

Post by MTW » Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:01 am

orlando wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:09 am
You might want to consider how the "haze" got there in the first place. Get the mash pH in the right range, ensure enough calcium, good rolling boil to achieve the right level of hot break, copper finings (protafloc is excellent) and a fast cold break. If that regime is achieved it should mean cold crashing is all you would need, that and a bit of patience. Post fermentation finings would just speed up a polished finish to the beer.
I can tick all the above, though I did get quite a lot of break material getting through to the fermenter. But my beers don't usually suffer from bad hazes, other than the hoppy ones. It's more of a case of having had one brew particularly hazy, and thinking I may as well see how the gelatin goes on the next (same recipe, different yeast). If the beer lacks anything as a result, I probably won't persevere.

The hazy one was with Nottingham - the first time I have used that yeast since my kit days over 50 brews ago! I kept it at the cool end but it's still more estery and tart than I'd like. The current one with WLP007 tastes fantastic in the primary.

I'm sure it's not yeast in suspension that's causing the haze, but maybe the yeast just processes things slightly differently to other yeasts I've used...

The only other thing is that I went for more chloride than usual, just slightly above the sulphate level I recall, both around 150ppm after additions. Can this affect clarity? Calcium was around 100.
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Re: When best to add finings to my brew?

Post by orlando » Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:05 pm

MTW wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:01 am
orlando wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:09 am
You might want to consider how the "haze" got there in the first place. Get the mash pH in the right range, ensure enough calcium, good rolling boil to achieve the right level of hot break, copper finings (protafloc is excellent) and a fast cold break. If that regime is achieved it should mean cold crashing is all you would need, that and a bit of patience. Post fermentation finings would just speed up a polished finish to the beer.
I can tick all the above, though I did get quite a lot of break material getting through to the fermenter. But my beers don't usually suffer from bad hazes, other than the hoppy ones. It's more of a case of having had one brew particularly hazy, and thinking I may as well see how the gelatin goes on the next (same recipe, different yeast). If the beer lacks anything as a result, I probably won't persevere.

The hazy one was with Nottingham - the first time I have used that yeast since my kit days over 50 brews ago! I kept it at the cool end but it's still more estery and tart than I'd like. The current one with WLP007 tastes fantastic in the primary.

I'm sure it's not yeast in suspension that's causing the haze, but maybe the yeast just processes things slightly differently to other yeasts I've used...

The only other thing is that I went for more chloride than usual, just slightly above the sulphate level I recall, both around 150ppm after additions. Can this affect clarity? Calcium was around 100.
Break material carrying over into the fermentor is a moot point. My process always have some break material carry over. Does it affect clarity or not, no. Would it be better without, don't know, maybe I should try, but I somehow doubt it. Although I have not used Notty I understand it is a good floculator so yeast in suspension is probably not it; as you suspect.

You point the figure at hoppy beers. Hops can impart haze when the polyphenols bind to protein in the wort, hence the suggestions about process. You don't mention your alkalinity levels or what your mash pH settles at so the next thing you mention is chloride forward, sulphate and chloride are flavour ions and won't influence haze. If the chloride is coming from calcium chloride it should actually help and with your calcium at 100 that is a good starting point, frankly I like my calcium levels in pale ales to be circa 150 or more to ensure the levels in the boil help the proteins coagulate and drop out, preventing them from binding to the hop polyphenols. A lot of calcium precipitates out of the mash, so starting with a lot more helps to ensure it carries over. Ignore the siren voices from across the pond who complain about "minerality", they're talking nonsense. One test is whether the haze gets worse when chilled, if so it isn't yeast and a colloidal protein/polyphenol problem is the most likely. Gelatine will help with this and it's something I use after cold crashing for 4-5 days, introducing it into the keg before racking.
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Re: When best to add finings to my brew?

Post by MTW » Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:55 pm

orlando wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:05 pm
MTW wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:01 am
orlando wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:09 am
You might want to consider how the "haze" got there in the first place. Get the mash pH in the right range, ensure enough calcium, good rolling boil to achieve the right level of hot break, copper finings (protafloc is excellent) and a fast cold break. If that regime is achieved it should mean cold crashing is all you would need, that and a bit of patience. Post fermentation finings would just speed up a polished finish to the beer.
I can tick all the above, though I did get quite a lot of break material getting through to the fermenter. But my beers don't usually suffer from bad hazes, other than the hoppy ones. It's more of a case of having had one brew particularly hazy, and thinking I may as well see how the gelatin goes on the next (same recipe, different yeast). If the beer lacks anything as a result, I probably won't persevere.

The hazy one was with Nottingham - the first time I have used that yeast since my kit days over 50 brews ago! I kept it at the cool end but it's still more estery and tart than I'd like. The current one with WLP007 tastes fantastic in the primary.

I'm sure it's not yeast in suspension that's causing the haze, but maybe the yeast just processes things slightly differently to other yeasts I've used...

The only other thing is that I went for more chloride than usual, just slightly above the sulphate level I recall, both around 150ppm after additions. Can this affect clarity? Calcium was around 100.
Break material carrying over into the fermentor is a moot point. My process always have some break material carry over. Does it affect clarity or not, no. Would it be better without, don't know, maybe I should try, but I somehow doubt it. Although I have not used Notty I understand it is a good floculator so yeast in suspension is probably not it; as you suspect.

You point the figure at hoppy beers. Hops can impart haze when the polyphenols bind to protein in the wort, hence the suggestions about process. You don't mention your alkalinity levels or what your mash pH settles at so the next thing you mention is chloride forward, sulphate and chloride are flavour ions and won't influence haze. If the chloride is coming from calcium chloride it should actually help and with your calcium at 100 that is a good starting point, frankly I like my calcium levels in pale ales to be circa 150 or more to ensure the levels in the boil help the proteins coagulate and drop out, preventing them from binding to the hop polyphenols. A lot of calcium precipitates out of the mash, so starting with a lot more helps to ensure it carries over. Ignore the siren voices from across the pond who complain about "minerality", they're talking nonsense. One test is whether the haze gets worse when chilled, if so it isn't yeast and a colloidal protein/polyphenol problem is the most likely. Gelatine will help with this and it's something I use after cold crashing for 4-5 days, introducing it into the keg before racking.
Thanks Orlando. Whatever it is, I am hoping the gelatine will guarantee an improvement in the present brew. Yes, it’s a haze that gets worse when chilled.

For the hazy one, my tap water was a measured 130ppm CACO3 on the day and I made my normal assumption that the calcium was around half that figure, in line with a previous lab report. After a Campden tablet, I gradually added sufficient AMS to get to 22ppm CACO3 and then built the profile up a bit with calcium chloride and gypsum using Graham's calc on here. The mash pH would have been well within limits, not that I have it to hand.

I do get a good boil and hot break and cold break, Protofloc went in at 15mins as usual. However, without boring you with the details, the odd nature of my setup means half the break material gets disturbed and re-suspended for a while after chilling, though most does not make it through to the FV, for what that’s worth. If this all adds up to more opportunity for the protein-polyphenol bindings you mention, then perhaps I have to look again. I also stir during chilling, allowing it all to rest for 10 mins before transferring. The majority goes through clear.
One thing: you sound relaxed about break material getting through to the FV, though I would have thought that increases the length of time it is in suspension and able to bind with polyphenols. Maybe I'm missing something.
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Re: When best to add finings to my brew?

Post by orlando » Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:42 pm

Protafloc is great stuff and will bind to the proteins that cause the trouble, I only boil for 10 minutes. I leave my wort covered after chilling for 1/2 hour, this gives the protafloc more time to drag the trub to the bottom of the kettle. I have a mesh filter and always use some leaf hop at the start of the boil to help the filter to remove trub that would go over to the fermentor. One other question, do you treat your sparge water as well as your mash?

Break in the FV is relatively little. I have a conical so I could wait for another 15-30 minutes for it to collect in the cone and then dump it but whatever gets through doesn't cause any trouble. Cold crashing for 5 days is important as this also helps to drop out haze causing properties. Gelatine just adds the polish. Follow this and you should be able to chill your beer in the fridge with little problem.
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Re: When best to add finings to my brew?

Post by MTW » Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:15 pm

OK...

I just tried this method. It was a nice liquid just seconds before I started to pour it in, but somehow, in those last few seconds, it turned to a loose jelly, maybe as it hit the very cold air of the fridge. A few blobs got in before I could stop it. :bonk :bonk :bonk Aargh!

I really did follow that guide to the letter, with the only small variation that the mixture had dropped to just below room temperature at 14C by the time it started to go in, and that I had dipped the pan in cold water to speed up the chilling. Was that my error?

The mixture also smells like cowsh*t!
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Re: When best to add finings to my brew?

Post by IPA » Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:42 am

MTW wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:15 pm
OK...

I just tried this method. It was a nice liquid just seconds before I started to pour it in, but somehow, in those last few seconds, it turned to a loose jelly, maybe as it hit the very cold air of the fridge. A few blobs got in before I could stop it. :bonk :bonk :bonk Aargh!

I really did follow that guide to the letter, with the only small variation that the mixture had dropped to just below room temperature at 14C by the time it started to go in, and that I had dipped the pan in cold water to speed up the chilling. Was that my error?

The mixture also smells like cowsh*t!
That's not the way to do it. I am just off out for yet another pre-Christmas lunch. Tomorrow I will post a fool proof method for using gelatine as finings.
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Re: When best to add finings to my brew?

Post by MTW » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:13 am

IPA wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:42 am
MTW wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:15 pm
OK...

I just tried this method. It was a nice liquid just seconds before I started to pour it in, but somehow, in those last few seconds, it turned to a loose jelly, maybe as it hit the very cold air of the fridge. A few blobs got in before I could stop it. :bonk :bonk :bonk Aargh!

I really did follow that guide to the letter, with the only small variation that the mixture had dropped to just below room temperature at 14C by the time it started to go in, and that I had dipped the pan in cold water to speed up the chilling. Was that my error?

The mixture also smells like cowsh*t!
That's not the way to do it. I am just off out for yet another pre-Christmas lunch. Tomorrow I will post a fool proof method for using gelatine as finings.
Looks like some US threads are saying no more than 160f (71C), and at least one method quoted much more water. In that first attempt, I used 12g in 300ml at 77C (22L batch). In a second attempt yesterday, I used only 6g, and it was in 430ml water, just to 65C. That seems to be more water per g than many other methods, but it certainly stayed fluid! I based that amount on another method I found. Somewhere else, I read that using too much water is OK (other than diluting your beer). Somewhere else says that the mixture should remain over 120f (49c) before adding it to the beer!

Sounds like everyone has their own way.
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Re: When best to add finings to my brew?

Post by orlando » Mon Dec 18, 2017 1:01 pm

Go to the Malt Miller and buy individual sheets (pack of 10) Boil some water, when down to circa 65c, melt in a small cup of water until its disappeared, add to keg drop your cold crashed beer onto it. Angst free.
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Fermenting: I Am A Patriot (Lacons Patriot clone)
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