STUMPED! soupy beer...

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by sbaclimber, Feb 4, 2018.

  1. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    Background... I have been brewing all grain for about 6 years, on average once a month, always in the same city, using the same municipal water and most of the time brewing the same recipe with minor variations.
    A simple version of my standard recipe (24-25L fermenter vol.) is 6kg base malt (85-100% Vienna) 25g Magnum for bittering and 200g late addition (5-10min) aroma hops, all pellets. I single-step mash for 60min @ ~67°C, batch sparge for 30min @ ~72°C, and boil for 60min. I ferment using US-05 (2 packages) in a plastic bucket (temp controlled at either 15°C or 17.5°C), do not use any fining agent or secondary and bottle.

    Up until about 2 years ago, my beer would eventually clear if left long enough to condition in the bottles. Depending on weather (no temp control for conditioning) and who-knows what other factors, it would sometimes take two weeks for the beer to clear and sometimes two months, but eventually it would clear up. Because I don't use any fining agents, it wasn't always crystal clear, but I generally see through it, even it was still a bit cloudy. Proof = see my avatar :D

    Problem... Since early 2016, my brew doesn't clear any more...at all....ever! I have left bottles for 4+ months and it still looks like soup when I pour it, and I definitely can't see (anything!) through it. I have tried double checking everything I could think of in my process, especially pH, to no avail and no change. When boiling, I do notice that if a cold break occurs the wort appears clear, but I have never used a chiller to cool my wort, and that wasn't a problem earlier, so not sure if that would necessarily help...(I still would like one though :))

    The mineral values have changed slightly in the municipal water, but not much.

    Any ideas!? I am at a loss...
     
  2. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    I have always found it takes a long time for US-05 to drop clear. I used to transfer to secondary, which helps a lot, but I quit doing secondary because of the associated risks. I started fining with gelatin with good results. I keg now, so I add the gelatin to the keg. While i never tried it,I have read that you can add hydrated gelatin to the bottling bucket along with your priming solution.

    If your water is the only thing that has changed, that would be the first thing I'd look at. Seeing your water profile would be a big help. A calcium level of 50ppm or more ( I like 80+ppm) helps the beer to drop clear. If your calcium is on the lower end of an acceptable level keep in mind that some of the minerals don't make it through the mash and into the kettle. This means that the calcium level in the first runnings will dilute the level in the second runnings. Chris Colby recommends adding a teaspoon of either Calcium Chloride or Gypsum to the boil if you don't see sighs of a good hot break.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    unfortunately, I didn't take note of what the profile was in the past (it has changed at least twice...), but here is the current profile (barring chages in 2017)
    Ca+2 Mg+2 Na+ Cl- SO4-2 HCO3-
    76 15 27 44 166 55

    Leipzig, Probstheide, Germany
     
  4. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    too much Calcium Chloride will make a bland beer, did you use it
     
  5. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    no
    I have in the past, but not in a number of years
     
  6. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    It does, but I was using US-05 before this problem started occuring.
     
  7. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    try using a campden tablet in your water before you brew, water sources can change without notice
     
  8. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    hehehe, I didn't mention it, but I h
    hehehe, I didn't mention it, but I have been doing that since picking up a bag of them in America while on vacation in the summer of '17.
    ...unfortunately, without any change to the clarity of the beer. :(
    (I think the taste has improved though)
     
  9. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Chill haze? Can it be that you have a piece of gear that has gotten scratched? Hazy usually boils down to:
    - Chill haze (most common). Maybe a change in the malt's protein content?
    - Starch haze - unconverted starches in the beer. Maybe a change in mash procedure?
    - Yeast haze - yeast didn't flocculate out. I've had that problem with US05 (all the "American" strains, actually). Maybe start fining with gelatin or isinglas?
    - Infection - you'd know that one if you had it.
     
  10. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    That's great looking water for a hoppy beer. Unless it's changes considerably since that was published your water profile isn't the problem. I hesitate to blame it on chilling too slow because many use the no chill method and don't have a clarity problem. Have you done an Iodine test to check for conversion or tried extending your mash time? Starch haze is a possibility, especially if your thermometer is reading high and you're mashing at the low end. While I would expect a certain amount of haze due to the quantity of hops, if you haven't changed the amount much over time I can't see all of your beers going from hazy to soupy.

    Lastly, have you tried another yeast? Maybe Nottingham or BRY-97 if available.
     
  11. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    What about your barley maybe higher proteine % in the base malt manufacturer this may have changed over time?

    Do yoy use same base malt fir recipies...?

    Maybe use a different maltster.
     
  12. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    #12 HighVoltageMan!, Feb 5, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
    In the past I worked on what I called "accelerated maturation". I focused on trying to figure out how many breweries were able to brew and package so quickly and maintain their quality. Through all that work I found it was a lot of different practices, methods and procedures make that happen.

    Part of what I learned was how to clear beer to a brilliant polish. It's not just one thing that makes it happen, it's a number of things that need to come together on order to make it happen. I can take your recipe and water, brew it, clear it to a nearly fine clarity in two weeks. Here's how I do it:

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-60w_IvRv3BRDdidmV5M0JhcDg/view?usp=sharing

    Hope that helps.
     
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  13. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

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    Great article! Took lots of notes for future brews.
     
  14. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! I'm glad you found it useful.
     
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  15. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

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    #15 Mase, Feb 5, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
    Since we “dump” everything from the BK to the FV, those added proteins and other “debris” likely contribute to some of my “haze”. But any beer that we bottle (from the keg) will be clear with the exception of NEIPA’s, etc, within a month from kegging day.

    The two most notable’s from your article for me are:

    1) Not boiling gelatin (so it doesnt denature it)
    2) Using Whirlfloc and Irish moss
     
  16. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    I “dump” everything from the boil into the fermenter too, but I do try to remove excess hops with a strainer. But excess trub in the fermenter makes no difference in the final product.
     
  17. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    thanks for all of the replies!
    Thankfully, I can count out infection...I have had a couple and would definitely notice. o_O
    I have also changed malters, so it shouldn't be protein haze...
    Yeast has been the same for 4+ years now, so that shouldn't be it.
    My thermometer has always been shite (sometimes +3°C, sometime -3°...), and is really starting to show its age too, so that might be something I will have a look at next...
    The other thing that would be nice, but I am not currently able to achieve right now, is a proper vigorous boil. Yes, it boils, but just barely. Might be the problem, as I used to boil on the stove, which was smaller but more vigorous. I switched to bigger but less vigorous a half year after the problem started occurring, but maybe that is just coincidence...
    PS, @HVM: good write-up! some very good info in there!
     
  18. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    that could be it, I set mine to high and never reduce it, 5500 watts 100%, it evaporates a lot but it also removes everything unwanted
     
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  19. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

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    I too keep a vigorous boil. I boil off ~1.5 gallons (6.75 > 5.25) in a 60 minute boil.
     
  20. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    The lack of a vigorous boil might be the problem. No hot break, you leave proteins in solution, combined with tannins you have haze. Try a batch using the concentrated boil method and see if it clears. If so, you have a protein problem caused by the boil.
     
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