Straining Wort


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Feb 9, 2013
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How critical is to strain the wort? What is the downside of having all that "stuff" in the fermenter?
It's not very critical, but I would strain. If you are straining while funneling, It can really help with aeration of your wort.
Some of the downs of...not as much accuracy with fermentor volume, tougher to wash the yeast later on.
An idea I've been using lately - use whole hops for the final addition, then use the hops as a filter when transferring to the fermenter. Seems to work nicely at removing pellet hop gunk from the wort.
This is an interesting topic to me and I'd like to hear some other methods; I like Nosybear's idea, as that doesn't require additional equipment. What about using cheesecloth or something like that in the funnel? I've tried using a strainer-in-funnel setup before, but the pellet hop gunk just plugged up the strainer, thus rendering my filtration impossible. In the end, most of the stuff will simply settle out anyway though, so I'm not sure any filtration method I can come up with is worth the time and effort.
I leave behind 2 quarts of gunk in my kettle. The dip tube leaves just that much. My kettle is pretty wide.

This hurts my brew house efficiency, but I don't want that gunk in the fermentor.
The reason I asked is sort of embarrassing. I have my 4th ever brew in secondary now and never strained any of them. In my first attempt using a kit that came with the initial setup never mentioned straining. I just started reading Papazians 3rd edition and realized I've missed a step. The thing is my brews have been good! I'm having a homebrew as I type. The only thing I do not like about my brews thus far is that i get a bit of sediment in each bottle and I wondered if this is due to my failure to strain.
If you've missed a step three times in a row and have achieved satisfactory results, why do you think just because Charlie P strains his wort that you need to? ;-)
The sediment is probably yeast, not trub, and everybody who bottles gets that.

Pick a highly flocculent yeast strain next time and you'll have less. The word flocculent means how well do the yeast clump together and settle out.
I've been using paint strainer bags for years and am able to remove a huge amount of break material. This results in a tighter packed yeast cake in the bottom of my fermentor and cleaner beer being transferred to my kegs.
My process is to sanitize the bag and the fermentor and stretch the bag over the rim of the primary. Then, after the wort is cooled, pour vigorously into the bucket. Then I remove the gag and gently squeeze out the bag.
Hope this helps.
I strain with a funnel and strainer and have also used cheese cloth in the strainer, but the mesh strainer is usually enough. After dry hopping in the secondary and then transferring to a keg I now wrap the end of the syphon hose in cheese cloth to create a small bag and then hose clamp in place. This catches any hop pellets that may get into the keg and clog it, which has happened to me. After reading other posts I see some folks shorten the dip tube to remedy this. Sounds good. Hope any of this helps.
Nosybear said:
If you've missed a step three times in a row and have achieved satisfactory results, why do you think just because Charlie P strains his wort that you need to? ;-)


Charlie's mantra applies here: RDWHAHB
RDWHAHB: The lazy brewer's mantra. Repeat over and over while mindfully omitting unnecessary steps or steps that give marginal improvements.... ;-)

Seriously, guys, it's a hobby! Have fun with it!
I'm jumping on this b/c this is one of the earliest things I learned in home brewing:

When I fist brewed I attempted to stain the wort through the screen that comes with the large white plastic funnel and it clogged horribly. I was about to invest into a large SS strainer to alleviate the issue when I discovered the idea of whirlpooling. That lead to one of my first How-To posts on HBT which later became an article (

Now 7 years later, I don't whirlpool anymore but let the trub settle and leave it behind when transferring he wort to the fermenter. I always brew about 2-4 L more than I need. But that wort is not lost. I filter the trub though a paper towel set in the large plastic funnel with the screen and store it in the freezer for future yeast starters.

Thanks all. The information I get via this forum is always helpfull. This thread leads to a follow up, do any of you filter? If so when & how?
The only way I filter the wort is if I'm using whole hops. And the only reason then is that I have to strain the hop cones out of the wort. I don't whirlpool my wort, nor do I siphon into the fermenter. I dip it through the strainer until I can lift the kettle, then pour the remainder through. It causes no problems - I don't seem to get any off-flavors from the hop debris and break material that make their way into my beer. The hop cones filter out enough of the debris I get clean wort. The only exception is if I can't find whole hops, like the Big Lubelski. But in that case, I put the entire boil into a 6-gal carboy then siphoned off the wort into two 3-gallon carboys. Reasonably clean is good enough for wort, as far as I can tell.
Tonight I just ran my wort through a fine mesh in funnel screen (4in Dia), and compared to other methods I have used this was by far the easiest. It did have a tendency to plug up, but as long as I kept the hops suspended with my large slotted spoon I didn’t have to terrible a time, plus it seems to add a fair bit of O2 (I did still give the carboy a good shaking). Now dry hopping would be another issue.
i've found that a hop sack works great for straining the "gag" from my wert..... i know, that sounds weird :shock:
Conservidave said:
i've found that a hop sack works great for straining the "gag" from my wert..... i know, that sounds weird :shock:

Yea tried that before. Let just say putting the hop bag on the end of my siphon hose, then the bottom half of the bag into the carboy was a bad idea :eek:. The hops plugged my bag and then the bag was stuck part way in the carboy, until I get the wort out of it (lots of shaking the bag up and down), then the hop mess still kept the bag firmly lodged in the neck of my carboy. By far not my finest moment in brewing!
Conservidave said:
i've found that a hop sack works great for straining the "gag" from my wert..... i know, that sounds weird :shock:

Hop sacks work great when straining into a pail, carboys not so much! I hear a hopback does a pretty sanitary job
of straining wert too.
I have very limited experience, but like the process I have developed. My biggest issue in filtering is the weight of the brew pot. Yesterday I did my first full boil (in the garage, on a propane burner, with the boys, awesome) and no way was I lifting that bad boy. So, after chilling in the snow (more awesome), I whirlpooled and racked through cheesecloth into my bottling bucket. Next time I will buy 5 gal bucket paint strainer ( saw a reusable one at Ace that sits onto of bucket, $5 ). Cloth grabbed a good portion of break ( I use hop bags). I then used a paint mixer ($7 on clearance at Ace), to aerate (which was also awesome), attached tubing to spigot and drained into carboy thru straining funnel. Used spoon to keep filter clear. Works great, lots of aeration, good filtration, safe, and no back pain.

This was my 4th batch since getting my kit for Xmas. Wondering what I did before then?