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Cloudy Beer

New to home brewing - just into my second batch. The first, Caribou Slobber, looked great just before bottling - dark, but “clear”, and it turned out very nice. Now I am about to bottle a batch of West Coast Radical Red. It fermented fine, starting in about 24 hrs and continuing nice and steady for about 5 days. My question is about the color - it is opaque, and very cloudy. There is a small amount of sediment on the bottom, but looks like there is still a lot suspended in the beer. Is this normal with this brew? Will it clear up with the secondary fermentation in the bottle? Any information or suggestions appreciated.

What yeast did you use for the 2nd brew? If you used a different yeast, it could just be that it was a less flocculent strain. If you do a secondary (I always do one…many folks never do one) it will clear considerably during that stage.

When you’re sure the ferment is done, you can just cold crash it whether you’ve done a secondary or not.

It will also clear considerably if you leave it in it’s current fermenter. Nothing magical happens to the clarity of a beer by transferring it to a second vessel.

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Some yeast strains will take longer (sometimes much longer) to clear than others. If you want, you can use techniques like adding clarifying agents and cold crashing to accelerate the process. But even then, you’ll still need to give it time. The process will happen even faster if you can store the beer cold after it has finished bottle conditioning.

The Basic Brewing guys performed an experiment that showed that beer does seem to clear slightly faster after being racked to a secondary vessel, but there was no discernible difference after bottle conditioning–so IMO there’s no point to racking for clarity purposes.

Right…kind of what I was getting at.
Secondary isn’t necessary. I like the results I get using a secondary having found early on that I got cleanrer results (especially with powdery yeasts) but that’s only one old fart’s personal preference, one which poses no risk and creates minimal added effort.
What can I say…old habits die hard.
And generally, I’m in no hurry. :mrgreen:

Your results may vary.

Prof, I too do secondaries. Before I had my 14gal fermenter I would use 2 carboys. So once I made a beer and racked one carboy and not the other. I witnessed first hand that the racked beer cleared quicker and better. Wish I would have taken pictures. Was there a flavor difference? None that I could taste but if I want a clear beer I secondary.

Good thread for us new to brewing. Can someone tell me what cold crashing is? I’m about to keg a 5 gal batch of Irish Red Ale and a couple others had mentioned cold crashing.

Dropping your temp on the beer to the mid 30’s for a couple days…Some folks do their “fining” additions during this process, I believe.

Haze that is caused by yeast can be eradicated using gelatin. But the preferred clearing method is just patience. In another week or two the beer should be clear as a bell with no additional action required on your part. You can rack to secondary, but why? Given time, it will clear just fine in the primary. Any concerns over yeast autolysis are way over blown. It takes at least a couple of months before autolysis kicks in. Any fermentation completed in less than a couple of months does not require transfer to secondary, in my experience. Just give the beer an extra week or two and it will clear up fine all by itself in 95% of cases. An exception would be for example the Wyeast 2565 Kolsch yeast, which stays cloudy for at least 5-6 weeks, which is extremely unusual compared to other yeast strains. FWIW, I clear most of my beers at cellar temperatures. There is no need to cold crash IMHO, and in fact, sometimes cold crashing locks in off-flavors that would disappear if you’d just leave the beer in the 60s or 70s. So I just leave my beer alone. Let the yeast do their thing, and leave them alone, and try not to get involved until they are totally 100% done doing their thing. That’s my advice to anyone and everyone.

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Dave I agree. Unfortunately patience isn’t usually a trait that brewers have, especially new brewers (luckily I have it). I would also agree about letting the yeast do their thing. One thing I tell new brewers is that you’re better off being a day late than a day early when brewing.

Can you say with absolute confidence that there is a difference in the packaged product between the racked and unracked beer? Personally I did not notice a difference, so I stopped doing a secondary when I used to bottle condition. Now that I keg everything, this discussion isn’t even relevant for me.

Dropping your temp on the beer to the mid 30’s for a couple days…Some folks do their “fining” additions during this process, I believe.[/quote]

So do you do the cold crashing at the end of the secondary fermentation? I have similar issue to OP. Red Ale and it’s been almost 2 weeks and is still a bit cloudy. I could easily transfer to my Keezer and set to 35º for a couple of days?

Scalded, yes wait until fermentation has completed before crashing or adding finings or you will shock the yeast before attenuation.

KC I visually could tell a difference. Like I said, I don’t remember a flavor difference but the one I racked cleares much quicker.

About three-quarters of the way down THIS

page, I put some CLEAR BEER information that may help. I’m a clear-beer freak so I try to do these things on every batch. Good luck.

[quote=“Ken Lenard”]About three-quarters of the way down THIS

page, I put some CLEAR BEER information that may help. I’m a clear-beer freak so I try to do these things on every batch. Good luck.[/quote]
Well Ken you better be a clear beer freak if you’re popular with the bud light lime crowd! :stuck_out_tongue:

[quote=“Ken Lenard”]About three-quarters of the way down THIS

page, I put some CLEAR BEER information that may help. I’m a clear-beer freak so I try to do these things on every batch. Good luck.[/quote]
Ken, that was a great link you posted, but now I have a question from the excerpt below. Is he talking about the Knox Gelatin

If you keg, try adding a gel solution to the keg when the beer is cold but before it’s carbed. I will normally add gel to room-temp (or “cellar-temp”) beer when the beer goes from primary to secondary. But I recently learned that adding a gel solution to COLD beer will boost the effectiveness of the gel quite dramatically. I typically have secondaries sitting at cellar temps for weeks or months until a keg opens up. I rack one of those beers to a keg and then put it into my “on-deck” fridge overnight to get it cold before I carb it. The next morning, I whip up some gel solution, pour it into that keg, seal it back up and then start force-carbing it.

Any non-flavored gelatin will work. I buy mine online in bulk because I get it cheaper.

My experience is that the only thing you need to get crystal clear beer is time.

There are some process issues that will also help:

  • ensuring complete conversion during the mash
  • a vigorous boil to produce good hot break
  • adding Irish Moss 10 minutes before flame out
  • rapid chilling to produce good cold break
  • pitching enough yeast and controlling temperatures to ensure a trouble-free fermentation

But after that, I figure time takes care of everything. And I make sure I have enough beer on hand that I don’t fee rushed to drink it before it’s ready.

[quote=“rebuiltcellars”]My experience is that the only thing you need to get crystal clear beer is time.

There are some process issues that will also help:

  • ensuring complete conversion during the mash
  • a vigorous boil to produce good hot break
  • adding Irish Moss 10 minutes before flame out
  • rapid chilling to produce good cold break
  • pitching enough yeast and controlling temperatures to ensure a trouble-free fermentation

But after that, I figure time takes care of everything. And I make sure I have enough beer on hand that I don’t fee rushed to drink it before it’s ready.[/quote]
RC: I agree that if you have a lot of time and a good amount of cold storage space, beer can clear over time without any additional effort. There seems to be issues with various processes (poor mash pH, a wimpy boil, etc) that will create a pesky haze that will not leave the beer no matter how much time and cold storage you give it. Whirfloc, a vigorous boil, a good quick chill, some time to settle in the brewpot and also in the primary followed by gel solution in the secondary and/or keg plus some cold storage time has done me up righteous as far as clear beer goes. It sounds like a lot of additional steps but this is how I make every batch of beer here so I’m used to it.

Also… yes, unflavored gelatin that you get at the store seems to work. I have not used Knox gel or any other grocery store gel but many brewers have used it and say it works well. I usually pick it up at the LHBS. Cheers Beerheads.

First, let me thank all that took the time to share their knowledge in response to my question. Looks like I have a lot to learn. Relative to the yeast used, it was Lallemand Dry-97 American West Coast ale yeast, which came with the one gallon kit. Don’t know if that is one that has a tendency to take a long time to clear. Since I asked the question, I do notice more sediment on the bottom and more clarity, but still a ways from clear. I see the responses about being patient - how long can I leave it to “settle” before bottling? Now closing in on 2 weeks. Can you leave it too long, and then not get the additional fermentation / carbonation in the bottle. Thanks again. BJS***Ohio

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