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Thread: Flocculation/Clarity Question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    Hastings, MI, USA
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    Flocculation/Clarity Question

    I'm using WLP002 (English Ale) for my beers across the board, not only because I brew ales that lend themselves to that profile, but also for the great flocculation it has. I've stretched my last pitch out for well over a dozen generations, and was just wondering if a yeast can lose its flocculant characteristics over time, as my last 5-6 batches of beer, while tasting just fine, have had a haze to them even after a week at 32F in the fermenter then another week in the serving tank at 36-38F. The taste is fine, but my boss is not pleased with customers sending back pints and having to dump them down the drain because "....they don't look right...".
    Time for a fresh culture? FWIW, I don't use kettle finings nor finish finings and am wondering if I should take that tack with this issue also. Thanks!

    Rb
    "By man's sweat and God's love, beer came into the world" -- St. Arnold of Metz

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
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    Stavanger Norway
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    yeast can definitly lose its flocculation ability over generations, or even after a few, usually caused by mutations or bacteria. You can prolong the flocculation by getting to the most flocculating yeast from fermentation, but its hard to find if you dont have a lab to help you. Even said you still wont get it right every time. and if you only harvest once and move on to the next fermentation you wont ever get it quite back.

    Perhaps it will be easier to correct with a plate filter, cheap and easy to operate, you can help you yeast to clear out and you can push the beer out a little faster if need be.

  3. #3
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    I'm not equipped, monetarily, nor space-wise to entertain filtering.
    "By man's sweat and God's love, beer came into the world" -- St. Arnold of Metz

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Hi Rob,
    I'm pretty lo-tech in my yeast handling here, but I'd say it's time to start with a fresh pitch. Though my beers are far from clear (except for the occasional clear batch of Wit, dammit!), when my yeast fails, it's more about flocculation than attenuation or fermentation times...though I'm probably more sensitive to floc.

    Typically, this happens when I've had to pull a larger sample of yeast, maybe to re-pitch into TWO batches without growing enough population in there...with more O2. Along with the "good stuff" I pull, I get some of the geriatric types and dilly dalliers, and on comes the cloudy beer.

    If I've got nothing in reserve, it's time for a new batch from the supplier.

    Cheers,
    Scott

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C. Canada
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    216

    Exclamation haze

    Are you sure your haze is caused by the yeast and not protein ?

    Some Irish moss in the kettle might help/solve your problems, we use it in tablet form can't remember the trade name..clearfloc? 10mins before end of boil...also adjunct finings (cellabrite) in the fermenter when cooling after hitting terminal gravity.

    Good luck

    Tariq (Dark Star Brewery West Sussex, U.K.)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    66
    I am often in a similar situation Rob... I use a London Ale yeast which usually has great floculation characters, but occasionally things don't work out quite right. If after 12 generations you are getting a lot of cloudy beers, its probably time to get a fresh batch. Of course, if given enough time, the yeast will settle. One way I have found to help speed up the process is to run some CO2 through a carbstone. The tiny bubbles seem to help 'scrub' the beer a bit, although a couple days of rest afterwards is important.

    I would also recommend using some kettle finings (Irish Moss) which will certainly help, mostly on the protein side of things. As for cloudy beer, the only time my customers complain is when they are drinking a blonde ale. People who drink yellow beer need to see through it for some reason. Anyway, in which case I would recommend a fining like gelatin. It takes just a few days to clear the beer and will result in a sparkling clear product, particularily after transfering to the serving tank.

    As a side note, according to beer style guidelines (BJCP.org), most dry hopped beers are allowed to be a bit hazy. I dry hop about half my beers, so maybe I just use that as an excuse.

    Good luck,
    Dan

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Santa Rosa CA USA
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    Two more thoughts-
    Yeast nutrients may help give your yeast the strength to finish its job and get hope for bedtime.
    I know that when I harvest too close to the top of the yeast pile I select for the less flocculating yeast-obviously the ones that flocculated last. It seems this is the natutral preference for yeasts in nature, hence where they often head towards as they do their inevitable mutations. Perhaps try to get more of the "right-on-time" flocculators that are lower in your cone.

  8. #8
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    Mar 2003
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    Nashville
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    Try using yeast nutrient and kettle finings - the cost is miniscule compared to the benefits of clearer, more stable beer and healthier yeast. We use Yeast X and Whirlfloc B from Crosby and Baker.
    Linus Hall
    Yazoo Brewing
    Nashville, TN
    [url]www.yazoobrew.com[/url]

  9. #9
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    Oct 2002
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    Shanghai, P.R. China
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    I would recommend Whirlfloc G over Whirlfloc B. The "G" version is granular and much easier to use and ensures it all goes into the wort during kettle addition. The "B" version if not hydrated tends to go right out the kettle stack and it can be a little clumpy when hydrating. Good luck!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Hastings, MI, USA
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    Well, I'm going to give Kopperklear a crack. The new sales rep at Brewer's Supply Group is going to send me some samples to try. I also ordered a new pitch of WLP002.
    I'll give C&B a ring today and investigate Yeast X and zerogel....anything to please the masses!

    Thanks!
    "By man's sweat and God's love, beer came into the world" -- St. Arnold of Metz

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Bangalore, India
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    8

    Identify your problem first.

    You have to identify if the haze is due to yeast or not. Just keep a couple of Pint bottles randomly selected after filling and crowing in a water bath and slowly heat the bath to 65 degree celcius and keep at this temprature for 35 min. This should give your beer a shelf life of few months but if the problem still exits then rest assured that the problem is certainly not due to yeast.
    BrewMaster -Simha H

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