Dry hop & cold crash questions

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by Sunfire96, Jun 14, 2020.

  1. Sunfire96

    Sunfire96 Well-Known Member

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    Hello again everyone! I'm going to be racking a one gallon batch of pale ale to secondary this weekend, and had a few questions (I realize racking to secondary is unnecessary, but I would like to try it for the experience/knowledge):

    1) I'll be dry hopping with pellets in a bag...can I put the sanitized bag w/ hops in the bottom of the fermenter and rack the beer on top of it? Will that help saturate the pellets with wort? Do you think the bag will still float and be easily removed after conditioning? Would it cause unnecessary splashing, and therefore, potential oxidation?

    2) When you cold crash after dry hopping, do you wait until the 3-5 day dry hop period is over, or begin crashing during the 3-5 days?

    3) All my googling has told me that cold crashing close to freezing temp is ideal, but would lowering the wort temp into the 50s (F) still allow for some clarification of wort? Would some yeast floccuate and drop at lower temps, even if it's not as cold as is recommended? I have this potentially ridiculous idea to wrap the fermenter in my swamp cooler. My fridge is currently filled with food, and my girlfriend has already been very patient and supportive of me taking over the kitchen every 2 weeks for brew day, I don't know about fitting my fermenter in the fridge :) don't want to push my luck with my SO.

    My goal here is to help with clarification and a brighter beer. Because I'm dry hopping in a bag, I'm not worried about removing hop sediment, but would like to try and clear up the beer post-boil, and was wondering if lowering the temperature, even just by 10 degrees, would be beneficial after primary fermentation and secondary conditioning are finished.

    My sister just got me a one gallon big mouth bubbler for a secondary for my birthday, and I can't wait to try it out!
     
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  2. Sunfire96

    Sunfire96 Well-Known Member

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  3. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    If you must transfer to a secondary, be sure not to splash at all, that will allow air (oxygen) to ingress into the beer. You DON'T want that. Some people throw a marble or two in the bag with the hops to help with exposure to the beer. After 41 batches, I have yet to transfer to secondary, the only thing that comes from that is the risk. Risk of oxygen exposure, risk of infection. I can't say for sure but I don't think you will get much clarification from 50F. What about putting it in an ice bath for a few days?
     
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  4. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Your post boil volume needs to be adjusted
     
  5. Megary

    Megary Well-Known Member

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    +1 to Craigerrr's response. Secondary is for a second fermentation, when you rack beer onto fruit or some sugar thereby causing the yeast to get going on a "secondary" fermentation. If you are going to cold crash, transferring to secondary for clarity only is a completely unnecessary step...at least as I understand it.

    For removal, tie a string of unflavored dental floss to the hop bag and run it out the stopper/airlock.
     
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  6. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    1. Probably more important than whether the bag floats or not is whether there's plenty of room for the hops to expand. I wouldn't be removing the bag at the point you're mentioning. I'd be removing the beer for packaging instead.

    2. If the beer is finished fermenting I'll dry hop relativley cool. Some people are even doing the dry hop at crash temperatures. And I'll crash at the end of whatever period I'm dry hopping (at the moment I'm playing around with 2 days at around 12C).

    Cold crashing is a term used by lots of people to mean a few different things. The two main activities I think about are an initial temp drop to get the larger materials down to the bottom to make packaging easier. The second would be the long, slow, very low temp conditioning (basically lagering) that gets the smaller particles to drop out.

    If you can't keep the O2 out of the fermenter when crashing a hoppy beer I wouldn't crash at all. If it's not a hoppy beer, then I'd crash just long enough to get the larger materials to the bottom.

    If you keg I can only see disadvantages in doing the long low temp crash in the fermenter. If you bottle I can see a few disadvantages and only one small advantage, that being less sediment at the bottom of the bottle. I don't count that as worth the extra oxidation risk. It's much less risky to just let the bottles carbonate and then store enough in the fridge that you get a couple of weeks of fridge conditioning before drinking.

    And while I understand you want to experiment with transferring to another fermenter, I'd only do that if you can do a closed transfer.

    edit: and one data point on the clarity and flavour implications of primary only vs two vessels - http://brulosophy.com/2014/08/12/primary-only-vs-transfer-to-secondary-exbeeriment-results/
     
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  7. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    Just adding to the previous responses. One of the biggest problems with small batch brewing is the % of losses when transferring. By transferring to secondary you're just adding to the list of losses while exposing the beer to oxygen and the potential exposure to contaminants.
     
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  8. Sunfire96

    Sunfire96 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks so much for everyone's advice! I know there's a huge divide among homebrewers about transferring the beer to a secondary, and I appreciate everyone's input. @Mark Farrall when you say keep the O2 out of the fermenter when crashing on a hoppy beer, do you mean the oxygen left in the head space after adding the hops? My hope with cold conditioning is to remove the large sediments. I was thinking a couple days at a low temperature, definitely not the length required for lagering.
     
  9. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    Not really the O2 from the dry hopping, it's the gases that dissolve into the beer as you drop temperature. At the start it's largely CO2, but after a while the fermenter will start sucking atmosphere back in to balance the pressures. Depending on your setup this will suck back the sanitiser in your airlock and then some atmosphere. CO2 is heavier than O2, but nowhere near heavy enough to stop the gases mixing. So there's no blanket of CO2 keeping your beer safe from O2 and some will start dissolving into the beer. The longer you leave it crashing, the more oxygen will dissolve.

    If you've got a pressure fermenter you can push a bit of CO2 into it so that it doesn't suck in air. Or you can do things like change the airlock for a mylar balloon when the fermentation gets a bit lower. Then when you crash it sends CO2 back into the fermenter. Here's my attempt at that (it's an oversized blow off). Works well when I remember to attach it.

    IMG_20200418_102939.jpg
     
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  10. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    If you're only doing a gallon at a time, I personally would say don't bother cold crashing or transferring. The rest looks to make sense but you can "cold crash" in the bottle after you've packaged and everything will crust onto the bottom.

    You'll lose way less beer that way and reduce possible secondary issues. No reason you can't do what you're thinking, but not really necessary, if you have another gallon vessel you could just run 2 batches at a time rather than use it as a secondary too.
     
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