I’m almost ready to rack my brew to bottles, being that I didn’t do the secondary fermentation should I cold crash the beer before I bottle? If so at what temp and how long?
I want to know his answer as well. I’m curious if it’d make too much yeast drop out.
cold crashing will not drop out all of the yeast, more the other proteins/polyphenols that cause haze.
I would drop the beer to 32*, add prepared gelatin after it reaches 32*, then leave it for another 2-4 days, then package.
Gelatin works well for making the beer clear but keep in mind that chill haze has no effect on flavor, only appearance.
Cold crashing will make the beer clearer, and enough yeast will still be in suspension to allow good carbonation in the bottles. I wouldn’t worry about gelatin; it is only needed for a few strains of yeast or beers with some unusual ingredients in them - or if you are fanatical about crystal-clear beer and you don’t want to wait for the clearing to happen by itself with time.
So yes, drop the beer temp to something in the 30s (regular refrigerator temp is fine) for 2-3 days, then syphon into your bottling bucket (into which you have already added the boiled priming solution) and bottle.
Put the bottles somewhere at room temp for 2-3 weeks then enjoy.
I never do secondary fermentation on my beers, at least ales. I always go straight to bottling after the primary fermentation is completely finished, and give the beer at least 3 weeks to properly carbonate and mature, preferably longer because I don’t do secondary fermentation in a vessel. I don’t do cold crashing, and I don’t see how that would really help anything, except maybe precipitate some small amount of particulate matter. Most of that will be at the bottom of the fermenter already if you’ve really given your beer time to fully ferment, so all you really need to do is take care when you transfer the beer to a bottling bucket, to leave as much gunk behind in the primary fermenter as possible. That’s about all I can say.
Cold crashing will accelerate the rate of particulates settling out. deliusism1 is correct that it isn’t really needed if you are doing everything else right that helps to create clear beer. But especially for a new brewer, cold crashing can help in two ways. First, it can help make up for some minor mistake that the new brewer didn’t even know to pay attention to. Secondly, it speeds up clarification of the beer, and new brewers are rarely patient about waiting for their first beer…