Floating trub cone for hi grav worts?
We've talked about methods people are using to get a nice dense hop/trub cone at the end of a boil - which have allowed me to improve my process quite a bit, thankyouverymuch.
Now, I just brewed a barleywine, and discovered that instead of my typical well formed cone, I ended up with what looks like a cone that's been ripped into 20 or so irregular, dinner plate sized pieces. (10bbl kettle/whirlpool vessel) Actually, the whole thing looked a bit like a large well-broken plate. Needless to say, this just killed my yield, and I left a lot of that nicely concentrated sugar in the tank.
This was a pretty hi gravity beer, so I'm wondering if the density of the trub is such that it may be coalesced into a cone during the WP, but as the wort is runoff on a big beer like this, it's maybe not dense enough to stay sunk.
...or did I just have a crappy whirlpool today...of all days?
I don't know why a high gravity wort would cause your problem. I have two suggestions, Rest wort for 15 minutes before the whirl, whirl for 5 minutes, rest for 15 and ko. Also, keep the runoff slow, slow, slow. Good luck. Ben
tall trub cake
Without actually seeing what happened I can only guess, but here goes. When brewing a barelywine I usually boil longer creating more protein floc and I add significantly more hops. I would guess that after the whirlpool, the trub cake was simply too tall to remain together and collapsed after the wort level was below the top of the trub cake. Sound reasonable?
no reason to wait 15 mins before the whirl.....unless you're trying to produce DMS. The spin will pick up anthing that settled and spin it bottom to top anyway. kettle off, spin until you reach velocity (5 mins should do it) and let it settle. also, a barley wine will have waaayyy more break. more break = taller cone, taller cone = more weight to fall as the level of the wort drops below the level of the cone. 3 solutions: allow the trub to pass into your fermentor, and drop after 8 hours or so (could be good or bad for your beer. trub contributes to sterol synthesis, but can also leave haze causing goodies etc.). get a bigger whirlpool with a deeper cone (wider helps more than taller), or give up on it and take the losses.
drawing slowly will help. also, how's your pH in the kettle?
I've seen this before....
I think I know what your problem is: your pH.
Someone out there can correct me if I'm wrong, but if your pH is not 5.2-5.5 the trub will stay colloidal (in suspension, but not in solution) and won't settle the way it should. I think that is what you mean when you describe those, "dinner plates".
I've seen what you described on some of the stouts I used to make that had way acidic pH because of all the dark material I used to use along with way too much Calcium Chloride. I think that with a barley wine you are probably more on the basic side.
What water treatment did you use?
Thanks for the comments everyone. This is helpful.
The kettle pH was fine, and in fact, I got an excellent hot break/protein coagulation. The initial cone formation was even decent, but like I say, it was ripped appart as I ran off, probably due to it's size...and the runoff got to be quite slow as I mucked up my heat enchanger with all those solids.
I think it was just more material than I was used to moving around in there, and since I do my WP in my kettle, it's less than ideal to begin with.
All duly noted for next year...
high gravity worts and trub cakes
I'm late to the party here, but in addition to all the other suggestions brewers made it I think you were on to something w/ your high gravity comment. Worts much higher than about 16 P have a density that approaches the density of trub particles themselves. If there is no density differential between the particle and the medium there will be minimal settling. Check out Stoke's Law for more info there. It's probably not an option for a barleywine style (what, 20 + P?) but for future reference if you have a beer that is 17 or 18 OG, you might try adjusting it down a point to 16 or 17. Most consumers aren't going to notice that difference in that big a beer, and the trub will drop more efficiently in your kettle/whirlpool.
Wort pH is a critical piece of kettle finings efficiency. The higher the pH the less Irish moss you need. It is possible to effectively clarify worts w/ pH less than 5 but it requires much more Irish moss to do so. 2-3 x, though will also depend on your fermenter shape and depth the particles have to traverse(again, Stoke's Law) Good luck
Well, yes. That's exactly what my original thoughts were - though I did not manage to express it as clearly as you Joe. Thanks.
My main observation was that it sunk enough to form the cone, but by the time I ran off enough wort to let it come into view, it had lost its structural integrity, due to the wort trapped within the cone making a path toward the exit port...floating the trub out of the way to do so. And yes, gravity was well over 20 by the end of the boil (a little higher than planned actually). Talk about it being okay to bring it down a point or two!