Cold Crashing Ales A Way to Clarify BeerSaturday, April 18th, 2009
Many homebrewers are interested in achieving that sparkling clarity that they see in mass produced beers. A clear beer doesn’t taste any different, and if it is free, your friends won’t be complaining if it is a little hazy! Clearing your creation will further highlight the care and effort that you put into producing it.
Clearing beer with cold temperatures is easy and effective, if you are patient. Ferment your beer as you always do, being sure that you have reached FG and that the beer is ready to be bottled or kegged. Place the fermentor in your lagering/fermenting refrigerator for a minimum of one week at nearly 38F. Given more time, more of the haze producing proteins will coagulate and settle out.
During this time at cold temperatures, proteins and yeast will be settling out of the beer, as they do when you place your bottles of hazy beer in cold storage for long periods. Temperature and time are your friends when you are cold crashing beer. After a minimum of one week at about 38F you can rack your beer off the settled yeast and trub and either bottle or keg it.
If you are bottling your beer, prime the beer normally but be sure to place the bottles in a 70F climate to ensure that the yeast has an optimum temperature at which to carbonate your beer.
If you are kegging your beer, simply transfer the clear beer to an awaiting keg. Since the beer is at or near your serving temperature this is a great time to apply pressure and begin to carbonate. CO2 does not dissolve well into warm beer, but at nearly 38F you will be able to properly carbonate your keg in as little as 24 hours.