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Cold Crash Purpose

Newb question - I’ve only ever brewed a few batches before. I always bottle. I’ve heard of people “cold crashing” their beer before bottling or after kegging to help create a much clearer product.

  1. Is this achieved by just placing your fermented beer (fermentor and all) inside the fridge for a few days?
  2. Do you do this right after fermentation is complete?
  3. Can you cold crash in your primary fermentor or do you have to rack it first?
  4. Are there any other benefits other than clearing up your beer? Is there anytime that you would recommend not cold crashing?
    Any advice is welcomed!
  1. yes - and try to not shake it up again when taking it back out.
  2. Make sure fermentation is really complete. Don’t rush it. I cold crash just before kegging.
  3. Sure you can.
  4. Not that I know of. Don’t cold crash if you want to keep the some yeast floating - maybe an unfiltered wheat beer?
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It’s all about pretty clean brews… Steve is spot on. I’ll just summarize some thoughts to this…
You can use more “stuff” you have to buy to clear your brew…
You can really go overboard and get a filter system to make super clear brews…
Or… Simply cold crash and enjoy your brew…
I believe if you totally strip out the yeast and other desirables, you lose some of the flavor and the added health benefits from the yeast… I really don’t need a crystal clear brew, but at the tail end of a keg… it just happens… Unless you drink it in a couple of days…
Sneezles61

One other thing I like about cold crashing and kegging. CO2 is absorbed easier in cold liquid so get the empty keg cold and the beer cold I crash at 32F then rack it to the cold keg and immediately hook up the gas. Set the refer at serving temp and I’ve noticed getting it carbed faster. I generally don’t cold crash when bottling. After the bottles are carbonated cold crash the bottles

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This :point_up:

I would suggest that you use a solid stopper if cold crashing. It will create a vacuum and suck in the airlock fluid along with O2.

Don’t feel you HAVE to cold crash however. If you want a super clear bottled beer, time will clear it as well. There’s some beers like wheats, stouts, hazy IPAs where a cold crash is either a waste of time or detrimental to the finished product IMO.

Thanks for the advice!
So, if I’m always going to bottle (at least for now) then there isn’t any benefit to cold crashing? After the beer is carbonated and the bottles have set in the fridge for a few days, then you’ll get the same result?

It will take more than a few days for a beer to clear cold crashing. Using Irish moss, whirlfloc or other clearing agents helps.Then cold crash for a week or two if you have the room in a fridge. You want to get as close to freezing as possible then have the serving temp a little higher. Most of the haze is what we call chill haze. Your beer looks great warm then after you get it cold it’s hazy. The haze is formed with proteins and tannins. If the haze remains long enough it can turn into permanent haze, no getting rid of it so it is better to cold crash all of it, not a few bottles at a time IMHO.

If you start kegging like @sneezles61 said toward the end of the keg your beer gets clearer. That is because it has sat cold for a while.

I have also found that all grain beers are more likely to be cloudy than extract. I assume that is due to the process. I always use Whirfloc and sometimes it does not work. Wheat beers or using oats doesn’t help. Strangely enough I try to make a wheat beer every summer and since they are typically cloudy make no attempt to clear them. More than once they have come out crystal clear. Go figure.

Good point Mark, if you have your pH corrected for the mash, then the possibilities for chill haze goes away…
Sneezles61

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@hd4mark those wheat beers are prone to clearing because if the larger proteins from wheat being able to settle.

And @sneezles61 brings up a good point. Correct pH is a big factor in beer being able to clear.

I cold crash simply to get more beer. Cold crashing compacts the trub layer so I can draw off more beer before picking up particles of trub. I use an auto-siphon and bottle.

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