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Filtering between First and Second Fermentations

I am relatively new to the art of brewing but have researched the process plenty. One thing that I cannot find an answer to is the following.

I am currently making a double IPA, high gravity beer causing a large yeast cake in first fermentation, and I cannot find anything that tells me what I can do between fermentation steps. A lot of places I see state that you just siphon of as close to the yeast cake as possible, but my frugal mind thinks that I want the 1/4 inch of beer at the end right above the cake. So my question is:

I can filter off what comes out from the cake in the bottom with say, a coffee filter or something else like that. However, will the suspended Yeast cells, since they are smaller travel through the filter? Can I filter between the first and second fermentation?

Thanks for all your help!

No need to filter anything, if you leave a little beer behind or take a little of the cake into your secondary no big deal either way. The yeast you transfer over will just settle out again during the secondary. That being said you could always skip the secondary altogether and not worry about transferring in the first place, up to you really.

Excellent info!

I understand that there is no need, but it is something that I was thinking about. The idea of filtering, would be to remove the yeast cake, but also get all the liquid beer. This will save the precious liquid but also remove the settled cells to reduce any possibility of autolysis from the initial cake. I am just curious if the suspended cells would pass though the filter. Does anyone have an idea of how big the suspended cells are?

I understand that this is not standard practice, and that a lot of home brewers state “Simpler is better,” but being the community here, just wondering what people would have to say about it.

No need to.
RDWHAHB :cheers:

[quote=“TG”]No need to.
RDWHAHB :cheers: [/quote]

Especially no need to if autolysis is a concern. Autolysis take a LONG time to happen. I’d say the risks and problems of filtering outweigh any possible benefits.

When I said there’s no need I just meant there’s no upside you’re not really gaining anything. You can certainly transfer every last drop and if some of the cake comes along for the ride no worries, as Denny mentioned that’s not going to cause autolysis to be a problem for you.

Individual cells are ~1 micron. If they’ve flocculated, though, you can get almost all the yeast with something in the 5-10 micron range.

I think you’d have problems with carbonating filtered beer, you need the yeast to carbonate. If it did carbonate, the yeast would multiply and you’d have to wait for the beer to clear again. In the end, it’d be the difference in how much stuff is in the bottom of the bottle, and it really doesn’t matter.

Thank you for all of you who piped in. Got the answers I was looking for. Not many places explained how long Autolysis takes to happen. I was under the assumption that it could happen with a brew that was fermenting for a couple months.

Autolysis isn’t a concern until fermentation ends, which should be 14 days at the absolute most. A couple months after that is probably a reasonable time frame to start worrying. If you’re going to condition a beer for more than 2-3 months, I’d rack to a bright tank once fermentation is complete.

There are filters available for filtering beer into a keg, where the beer would need to be force carbonated due to the lack of yeast. This has to be done using CO2, since trying to pass fermented beer through a filter in the presence of air would cause severe oxidation.

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