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Thread: Looking for help on how to get clear wort into my fermentors...too hazy!

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Looking for help on how to get clear wort into my fermentors...too hazy!

    Hey folks, this is my first time posting here. I've recently been in charge of a little 1 BBL nano, and getting that bright, clear, wort during knockout into the fermentors just isn't happening (90% of the time at least). Any likely culprits that stand out immediately? I'll outline a bit of my process below for those who care to take a look.

    -Mash Ph's are being hit between 5.4-5.5 room temp samples
    -Whirlfloc in almost all batches
    -post boil PH on last batch was 5.3 ish
    -after boil, and whirlpool if I'm doing a hopstand, I first use an immersion chiller to take down the wort to 110 F or so, then I let it sit for 20 minutes or more
    -after letting it settle for 20ish minutes I run knockout through a counterflow chiller.
    -Post boil I definitely see big flakes of coagulated proteins, etc., leading me to believe it will drop clear.

    It's been confounding me....On a couple batches I got nice, perfectly clear runoff, but most of the time it's a hazy runoff. Not muddy with sediment, but hazy.
    I'm wondering if it's the whirlpool hop pellets. Most of the beers have this pretty intense bitterness that fades out by drinking time, but it's unsettling to me and I really don't know what I'm missing.

    I've tried just running straight through the counterflow (when our public water was colder) after settling, and still, hazy runoff.

    Any tips/insights are much appreciated, thanks!

    Finn
    Last edited by Finn; 05-17-2019 at 11:05 AM. Reason: Typo in title

  2. #2
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    You only whirlpool if there is a post boil hop addition? You should always whirlpool.
    Second, put a prescreen ahead of your chiller to catch any big particles.

    Are you having haze issues once the beer is finished? Generally speaking, wort is almost twice as bitter as what the finished product will be due to yeast absorption.
    Are you seeing all of this after the chiller or before? You will get cold break from running through the chiller, you should have nice clear beer from the kettle to the chiller, then it will be hazy on the way to the FV. You can always dump the trub when it settles in the fv prior to pitching yeast, but it shouldnt be a problem.

  3. #3
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    Jebzter, thanks for the response.

    -Concerning the whirlpool, I don't think at this point it will help me to have the trub cone built up in the middle of my kettle, because the design, for better or worse, has a elbowed diptube pulling the wort from the middle of the kettle. I adjusted it so it's at least not on the very bottom, it leaves a few gallons behind which works great IF the wort has settled nice and clear in the kettle.

    -In reading through your response I've realized the big issue here is that the post boil wort in the kettle just isn't settling nice and clear before running it thru the counterflow.

    -Good call on the prescreen, we don't have one yet

    -The finished beer is clearing up well, and tastes fine. Here and there though, the intense bitterness during fermentation, and after hitting terminal gravity/plato, bothers me, and lingers into the beer just a bit for the first week after kegging.

    -Are your wort samples hazy after chilling due to cold break on the way in to the fermentor? I've only worked at 1 brewery before but I recall the samples after knockout being pretty clear.....

    Overall the beers are turning out well, but the lack of clear post boil wort that I've been used to as a homebrewer is bugging me. In that setting I would just let the wort sit 15 minutes after chilling with an immersion, and bingo, it'd be clear as a bell.

  4. #4
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    Yea, its all cold break.

    Regarding the lingering bitterness, its probably not due to what is carrying over from the kettle. I suspect you have yeast in suspension still that give you the intense bitterness. They soak up IBU, so after their first use, the bitterness is quite strong with the yeast.

    I think you might still be better off with a whirlpool, the tighter your pile, the clearer your wort. Theres always a vortex around the point where wort is drawn off, so the further away from that point the trub pile is, the better off you'll be. Also you can slow down your pump to decrease the velocity at the draw off point, that will have an effect as well.

    There's been a lot of work on how long you can stand post boil without any negative effects. Its in excess of 80 minutes now, so dont rush your whirlpool or stand time post whirlpool. We generally do 30 minutes total post boil, always good clear wort from the kettle.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jebzter View Post
    Yea, its all cold break.

    Regarding the lingering bitterness, its probably not due to what is carrying over from the kettle. I suspect you have yeast in suspension still that give you the intense bitterness. They soak up IBU, so after their first use, the bitterness is quite strong with the yeast.

    I think you might still be better off with a whirlpool, the tighter your pile, the clearer your wort. Theres always a vortex around the point where wort is drawn off, so the further away from that point the trub pile is, the better off you'll be. Also you can slow down your pump to decrease the velocity at the draw off point, that will have an effect as well.

    There's been a lot of work on how long you can stand post boil without any negative effects. Its in excess of 80 minutes now, so dont rush your whirlpool or stand time post whirlpool. We generally do 30 minutes total post boil, always good clear wort from the kettle.
    Jebtzer, thanks for the further thoughts, I'll be sure to try out a good whirlpool next time.

    Do you have any guess as to why sometimes the post boil wort settles nice and clear with no special effort, and then other times it just stays hazy in the kettle, even with 25 -30 minutes of sitting still?

    Thanks again.

  6. #6
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    alot of haze can be from big whirlpool hop additions. that's the real reason NEIPA is hazy as i've come to understand it.

    as jebzter notes, you should still whirlpool even if your pickup is a bit weird. the centrifugal forces help pull some of those particles down faster than gravity will work alone.

    dont rush the settling. sometimes a good 20 minutes of settling after WP pump goes off is the key.

    lastly, if this happens alot on your hoppy beers then look into something that will clear it up. polyclar is a product that bounds to polyphenols, if used with whirlfloc it will give you very compact trub at the bottom. some folks say it takes a bit off your hop levels, but they come out "brighter" and more present. i've just now tried it in a brew and man that trub was settling nicely and the wort was very clear given the amount of hops used. havent finished the ferment yet but it seems promising.

    and lastly- look at your ion/salt levels. i dont recall exactly but i think low calcium has some weird effects that might be related. just a thought

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