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Beer THAT clear!?!?!

Hi all,

So I’ve come to the realization that although I love the beer I brew, I really wish it was as clear of some of it’s commercial counter-parts. I don’t have the ability to cold crash, at least not in bulk. And letting it settle in my secondary just isn’t doing the trick.

I guess my question is: how can I improve the clarity of my beer and reduce or eliminate all the haze?

Thanks in advance cause thus is really starting to bug me.

Cheers

What ingredients are you using?

Well those obviously vary depending on the batch, I use Irish moss as a fining agent but I don’t know if I’m using it at the right times or what. I wonder if my chilling method (ice bath) or fermentation temps could be an influence.

Yeast strain selection is a major factor. Rapid chilling will probably help. Being able to cold crash would definitely help. Post-fermentation finings would probably help, but most should be added cold. So I’d say upgrading your equipment to be able to cold crash (ice water bath?) would be a good first step.

Yep, cold crash and finings will definitely help.

Thanks, so you’re saying that if I do an ice bath with my secondary ( before bottling?) then it should help with clarity? And how would I add post-fermentation finings?

I would upgrade equipment to eliminate the ice bath… dropping from boiling temp to pitching temp ASAP for a good cold break.

Extract or all-grain? Partial boil or full boil? How do you chill the wort? Do you whirlpool your wort and leave any trub behind? How do you aerate the chilled wort?
Any particular styles you are brewing that aren’t clear enough?

One thing I’ve been doing latley is letting my chilled wort sit for 6 - 12 hours in one bucket, then rack to the primary and pitch the yeast. This leaves most of the sediment behind in the first bucket. I also rack to a secondary.

First thing you need to do is establish what is causing your haze. Common types off the top of my head:

yeast haze (allow the yeast to drop or use a finning agent – gelatin / biofine in the bottles with your priming sugar or into your keg – not sure of its affect on natural carbonation)
protein haze (use kettle fininings – whirlfloc / irish moss)
hop haze (you would probably know if this was your haze issue)
bacteria infection haze ( Let’s just hop it’s not this one)
unconverted starches due to a poorly executed mash (if you’re doing extract, don’t worry about this one)

Whether or not quickly chilling the wort allows for a clearer beer is up in the air. Same with transferring all the gunk from the kettle to fermenter. Personally I feel both are “old brewer’s tales”. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do them, though. Keeping out the trub helps beer flavor and chilling fast reduces your risk of infection.

Part of my brew day is being sure the beer is clear at every possible step – once the mash is converted it’s quite clear and then at the end of the boil it’s crystal clear. Personally I transfer nothing but the crystal clear wort into my fermenter. I do this by draining from about three inches off the bottom of the kettle – all the trub is below that level.

If you’re doing extract batches, use 1 tab of whirfloc in the last 1 min of the boil every time, that’s about all you can do. I highly recommend whrifloc as a possible easy solution to your haze problem.

Rumor has it that it can be a bit difficult to get a crystal clear beer with extract. But you should be able to at least see your finger through the glass.

If it’s extract, a lot of work has been done for you. If you’re brewing all-grain, my latest clear-beer realization is mash and sparge pH. I have a clear-beer section on my site (link below, go to GENERAL BREWING INFORMATION and go down the page a bit… look for the glass of Kolsch). Most of that refers to all-grain brewing but a Whirfloc tab in the last 10 mins of the boil helps as does a good solid boil, a good quick chill, letting everything settle in the brewpot for 15-20 minutes and then racking from brewpot to primary and leaving the schputz behind. Also, look into a gel solution for secondary… all of these things apply whether it’s AG or extract. Here’s a pale beer I recently made…

It really does depend on what exactly is producing your haze, but if you have a refrigerator…you can cold crash. Just move the interior contents to the side (just enough) to fit in your bucket or carboy. If you have a yeast that doesn’t flocculate very well, or if there is a lot of hop matter in suspension…this should do it for you. Cold crash for 3 days before packaging. It could be infection…make sure you are cleaning REALLY well (soak in oxyclean or pbw) before you sanitize. If you aren’t getting a cold break at the end of boil…then protein haze is most likely what you are dealing with (see suggestions above). I would start with taking the cleaning and sanitizing part to the next “geeky” level and try to get that fermentor into a fridge to cold crash next time - see what results you get.

For me its a good hard boil, fast cooling via two CFC’s and Whirlfloc.

Are your beers clear at room temp? Then cloudy when chilled?

I’m a really clean brewer. I think alot of of might be protein haze. I’m gonna try and a cold crash as best I can. Might need to be an ice bath, but I’ll see what I can figure out. I’m sure my LHBS has some finings. Even though it’s been in my secondary for a week, can I still add them? What should I use?

If it’s protein haze, finnings at bottling won’t help much, they will only drop yeast. If you are sure it’s protein haze, then use whirfloc or irish moss. Note that in my experience, the wort will still be cloudy with irish moss, but it clears up during the ferment and with a couple weeks of age. Not sure why.

Bottom line, if it’s protein haze, use whirfloc. The best homeberwers in the world agree.

FWIW, when I moved to full boils and got a wort chiller, my beer started coming out a LOT clearer. It’s still not up to commercial clearness, but it’s getting close. Close enough that I don’t see myself doing anything being improved mash procedures to deal with it, mostly because a little haze doesn’t bother me. I suppose it’s also partly because I have the (mis?)conception that you can’t get commercial clearness without filtering. That said, If it still looked like my partial boil/ice bath beers, I’d be considering additives.

Absolutely 100% not true. HOWEVER. It does depend on the yeast. But yeast haze is the last worry of a homebrewer, IMO. Simply because it is so easy to fix. Issues like water adjustment are 2nd to last.

The best yeast to produce a crystal clear beer is WLP002 / WY1968. That drops out in no more than a week.

Thanks for the clarification and the tip.

Also, just to be clear/avoid future flaming, I didn’t phrase nor mean that nearly so definitively as the quote implies :wink: .


I’m not sure I’d say that this is commercial clarity but it’s close enough! You CAN get ultra-clear beer with homebrew. Cheers.

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