A little clarity...

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I am always trying to improve my brews and at the moment I am turning my attention to clearing my beer.
I want to get a better handle on what various additions do in this respect.
So far I have have used gelatine to completely clear a beer with great success but have trouble in getting the more hazy beer styles to look good.
I have made a Weissbier which tasted good but if compared with a commercially produced German brew it looked murky. The haze colour looked slightly brown, like it should have the larger particles removed to give it the right golden colour. A half clear if you like.
I used gelatine to clear such a beer once and the colour of the beer was perfect which is what leads me to think it is particles and not colour imparted by the choice of grains.
So should I use protofloc in the boil? If so how much, indeed what is the effect of adding differing amounts of protofloc? Most recipes seem to add a single tablet to 20 litres, and I wonder what would be the effect of adding a quarter or half a tablet.
Any advice would be very welcome.
 
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I think when it comes to clarity u can’t beat gravity, its just a waiting game..iv used gelatine and starbright and tbh iv not seen a difference to those bottles that have just been left longer without a finning agent.. I always use half to a 3rd of a protofloc tablet for 20l.
 

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If I brew "hazy" beers like a weizen or NEIPA I don't use any irish moss/protofloc or other additives.

You mention brown colour which is typically associated with oxidation. It could also be boil issues (Maillard reaction) in which browning takes place.
 
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I don’t have hazy beer and I put that down to 1 protofloc tablet per 27 litres added at 15 minutes and 3+ days of cold crashing. I usually ferment for 7 days (ensuring the FG is stable) then transfer to the 2FV. I hardly ever dry hop but if I do gravity should sort that out as well. As a rule of thumb don’t keg cloudy beer or if you do cold crash in the keg.
 

MickDundee

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If I brew "hazy" beers like a weizen or NEIPA I don't use any irish moss/protofloc or other additives.

You mention brown colour which is typically associated with oxidation. It could also be boil issues (Maillard reaction) in which browning takes place.
I would tend to agree with this.

Apart from the occasional issue (like my completely clear witbier a couple of months back - blaming using a different yeast from usual with that one) my beers generally look how I want them to. Even the beers that don’t clear initially usually clear up after a few weeks (my recent blonde ale was still super cloudy on Christmas Eve but by the 29th it had pretty much dropped clear).

For that are meant to be clear, half a protofloc in the boil, 2-3 days cold crashing, and a couple of weeks in the kegerator usually does the trick (although obviously for the first few pours it’ll pick up some of the yeast that’s dropped out after kegging, unless you’re using a floating dip tube). For hazy beers, I never use protofloc and never have an issue with colour. I do usually do a short cold crash before kegging though (particularly for hoppy beers to get the dry hop to drop).

If the issue is oxidation, how are you kegging? My previous method was closed transfer for pressure ferments, and tubing from tap to liquid disconnect for non-pressure ferments and never had an issue.
 

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I always think there's a difference between 'clear', which I would describe my bitters, as, say, and 'crystal clear' like commercial beer. I think my beer is seldom crystal clear, but 'clear enough' in my book. I've never used any gelatine (would prefer not to) or any other fining agent, but have wondered from time to time if that would take me the extra mile, so as to speak. I only bottle.
 

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How do you brew @Eskimo John? An all in one system, BIAB or three vessel. I'm wondering if, as you don't use protofloc, if the murky brown colour is break material from the boil rather than just suspended yeast. Trub can have a darker colour. How clear is you wort at each stage? After the mash, boil and when kegging?
 
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I berw from grain and in three vessels. I use SS brewtech fermenters and fill kegs from the fermenter via a bounce filter to catch hop debris ect using good and fashioned gravity.
My wort is always cloudy, the bounce filter is only good enough to catch the bigger bits and has no clarification effect.
I an earlier post I mentioned a brew I had cleared using gelatin. I had not intended to clear this beer wanting a hazy style beer but added gelatin as the brownish tinge was unsightly. The resulting clear beer was beautifully golden without a hint of brown which make me think the colour was in the suspended particles, hence my speculation about the hop pellets.
Would oxidation or the mallard reaction colour change dissappear when the beer is cleared with gelatin?
 

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I think using half a protofloc or some Irish moss would help no end, it sounds very much like the cold break isn't coagulating and precipitating out at cooling, if your wort isn't clear going into the fv. It will possibly help drag some of the finer hop debris out with it.
 

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Would oxidation or the mallard reaction colour change dissappear when the beer is cleared with gelatin?
Most likely not. Oxidation would make the beer darker than calculated and would have some typical issues like cardboard flavour and very muted hop flavours. Some hazy beers like NEIPA are more susceptible to oxidation and those are easy to spot.

I found the picture underneath of two clear beers in an oxidation test. both of them look acceptable in colour to me yet one is darker than the other due to oxidation. I think the flavour issues are worse than the optical issues (both look fine to me).

1642171130195.png


The haze is most likely just protein and yeast still in suspension. A good cool crash at the end of the fermentation will do wonders (perhaps 2 days just to be sure). A hop spider and/or good whirlpool should fix your hop sludge issue.
 

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I think using half a protofloc or some m Irish moss would help no end, it sounds very much like the hot and cold break isn't coagulating precipitating out at cooling, if your wort isn't clear going into the fv.
 

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As most have said, add protofloc / whirlfloc which is a protein coagulant. It forms "matter" in the boiling wort which looks like a brain or sea sponge. Using more just seems to make the matter look more alien. Half to a whole tablet or teaspoon is pretty standard for a 23l brew.

Interestingly, I never feel like I'm getting particularly clear wort going into the FV from my grainfather. I've tried leaf hops in a hop spider which helps but that has its downsides.

I typically ferment for 2 weeks and cold crash at 3C for a full week before syphoning into the kegs, which I do from the top/middle of the FV not at the bottom. As soon as I get near the bottom of the FV and the crud starts shifting around, I stop. The fermented beer looks clear going into the kegs but it's amazing how much it clears after 4-6 weeks in the keg.

I've been tempted by one of these in the past but not sure it would be possible to get the filter clean after each use.

 
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I looked at the keg token filter but would rather used gelatine as it seems lass of an infection risk.
Thanks to all for the advice. I think I will try to brew a weissbier with leaf hops to minimise hop particles and add 1/4 protofloc tablet to the boil to take out some of the crud.
 

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I always use half a protofloc in the last ten minutes of the boil, and always cold crash for a few days before kegging.

The beer will drop perfectly clear in the keg after a few weeks. However if I want it clearer faster i use gelatin and it drops crystal clear in the keg in less than a week.

Im not too bothered about how it looks, but hazy beer gives me rotten farts 😂😂
 

-Bezza-

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I looked at the keg token filter but would rather used gelatine as it seems lass of an infection risk.
Thanks to all for the advice. I think I will try to brew a weissbier with leaf hops to minimise hop particles and add 1/4 protofloc tablet to the boil to take out some of the crud.
A weissbier is supposed to be cloudy as a lot of the flavour comes from the yeast, which is never a particularly flocculent variety. Greg Hughes even goes so far as suggesting you should rouse the yeast before pouring. Because it's already cloudy, I've not bothered with protofloc but Hughes still suggests it. I guess it becomes a different type of cloudy. Also, not that much hop in a weiss.

You might be better off experimenting with a pale ale or something.
 
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Another shout out to using Protofloc from me. I’ve always used half a tablet crushed between my fingers into a powder and added 10 minutes from the end of the boil. Until last week, when I forgot to put it in. I’ve just posted the photos on my brew day thread showing the difference Protofloc makes to the wort from my Kettle into the FV.

 

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I think you should be looking at your transfer to fermenter process, and as others have said, use a kettle finings. This will coagulate the proteins together and you have to remember wheat has more protein than barley.
The idea is to get as clear as a wort as possible into the fermenter, then you are off to a good start.
It is nothing to do with the pellet hops they drop out of suspension easily.
 

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