Hot break transfer

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Mark Farrall, Jul 22, 2019.

  1. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    Been hitting a few mentions recently of people equating transferring the hot break into the fermenter as a crime against beer.

    Has anybody stumbled on anything mildly study based on what's in the hot break and why it'd be adding 'off' flavours to the fermentor?

    Otherwise do you do anything about excluding/including the break material from the transfer? I'm assuming you'd have to treat all the break material as 'evil', as I can't see how you'd seperate the cold and hot break material.

    I used to pour the whole kettle into the fermenter, but now that I've got a bigger kettle and a valve a bunch stays in the kettle and that generally contains most of the break material. I haven't noticed an obvious difference since this change, but who knows? So not something I'm worrying about, but some people seem so definite that the hot break is verboten.
     
  2. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    I've always thought it was protiene I've been stiring it back in rather than scooping off the top.
     
  3. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    Over the years and several boilers, I've transferred clean and clear wort, just dumped everything into the fermenter and varying degrees in between. Never found any distinguishable difference in the end product.
    Since I started boiling with the Digiboil, I've found that I have a choice between more kettle loss or more break material transfer. This due to the small diameter. I choose more break material transfer. Break material doesn't bother me at all. It settles out and compacts with the yeast once fermentation is complete. The only concern I see would be if your lacking a large enough fermenter to accommodate the extra volume and still meet the needs of your batch size.
     
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  4. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I'm with Bob on this one but I'm starting to notice: I can now do recirculation and keep most of the trub out of my wort. The beer seems to have lost "something", I can't quite describe it. Since so many things changed with the pump and recirculation, I can't say for sure that the trub is the cause of the missing je ne sais pas, but something's going on....
     
  5. ChicoBrewer

    ChicoBrewer Well-Known Member

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    I don't transfer it but not because it's a crime I just don't see any reason for it. I let the break settle for twenty minutes or so and drain to the fermenter using the spigot on my boil kettle. I run it slowly for the first quart or so to clear a little spot where the dip tube is I dump that and then gradually increase the output. I just don't see any reason to start with two inches of crud in the fermenter from the get go. My speidel spigot is just above the yeast without it so I don't have problems working around it at transfer to the keg.
     
  6. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    My current setup has a dip tube in the kettle so I transfer anything that isn't in the trub cone to the fermentor. I use a Big Demon conical so when I'm transferring off the yeast, it's whatever comes out the spigot. Generally, that's everything above the trub so I'm happy with that. The hot break is mostly flavorless protein, think cooked egg whites. Where I'm going is it hasn't been that long ago that I was a "dumper", everything in the kettle went in. Now I'm a "clear wort" kind of guy and guess what, I've not noticed a difference in my beers. I don't think, at our scale anyway, there's a "truth" to offer in this debate. There may be a difference at large scales but I don't think there's much at ours. Would be an interesting experiment; however, due to very limited funding, I don't think many people are doing much science at our scale.
     
  7. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I think that the main reason for leaving trub in the kettle at the pro brewing level is that it keeps the fermenter cleaner and cuts down on filtration issues. Also, most breweries have extra brewhouse capacity compared to fermenter space so kettle losses are less costly than fermenter losses. Lastly, breweries don't use hop bags or hop filters in the kettle so that whatever hop material goes into the kettle is loose. There's just no way to transfer without leaving a lot of gunk at the kettle. Break material gets left in the kettle with the hops in the whirlpool.
    When using conical fermenters, whether pro or homebrewing scale, it's better to keep the kettle trub out so that yeast harvesting yields a better cell count per given volume.
    If you have a relatively small kettle and you're going into a carboy and siphoning off the trub, you'll get better yield overall by transferring everything and letting the yeast pack down the protein sludge. The difference is a couple of pints of beer and that can be enough to make it worth it.
    In terms of beer quality, comparisons have been done that indicate that having the protein break material in the fermenter can be beneficial for a few reasons. It definitely doesn't seem to diminish the quality of the end product.
    If someone is getting off flavors, it's not from protein. Off flavors are either contamination somewhere in the system with cleaning chemicals or infection in some part of the post-boil chain (spigots, valves, hoses and plastic components are all suspect) or faults in fermentation due to temperature control or cross-contamination by other organisms.
     
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  8. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    It seems I've read several places that a certain amount of trub is good for the yeast. More isn't necessarily better, but doesn't seem to do any harm in my experience.
     
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  9. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I tend to agree with JA: It makes sense to separate the trub on an industrial level and if you're harvesting yeast; otherwise, it's brewer's choice.
     
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  10. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I leave what I can behind but mostly so I don't have to deal with any more hop particulate than I truly need to when it comes time to keg it. I don't really give a second thought to where the trub ends up.
     
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  11. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    +1
     
  12. Finn B

    Finn B Member

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    I get clear wort into my fermentor, but I have no set opinion. Here's a couple of not so recent studies referred: http://scottjanish.com/esters-and-fusel-alcohols/ .To me that's not convincincing either way.

    As I see it, both yeast health and oxygen levels will influence the outcome. Trub might compensate for the yeast being a little tired + not enough oxygen. But that's just guessing.
     
  13. Frankenbrewer

    Frankenbrewer Well-Known Member

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    Isn't the concept the same if you dry hop in the fermenter and not use a hop spider of some sort? There are residuals sitting on the bottom along with the yeast cake.
     
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  14. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Yep. Conicals are best utilized for harvesting so that yeast can be dropped when the fermentation is done and then dry-hops added. Even then, the hops take up a lot of space in the bottom. I have a really hard time racking beer out of my half barrel unitank. There's just a ton of hop residue to get past before I get to anything I can keg. I just got a stainless keg-hopper that I'm going to try for the next batch.
    When using a carboy, it's best to transfer to a secondary for dry-hopping, at least if re-using yeast is a desired outcome. ;)
     
  15. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but if I'm not dry hopping then I'm helping myself in the long run.
     

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