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Well, I have been talking a bit about it on the forum - so I thought (spur of the moment) that I'd finally brew an American style Pale Ale. I had a packet of US-05 in the fridge that was due to expire... the dreaded 03-09 batch! I did a brew with another 03-09 packet 3 or 4 weeks ago: it was my GP Simcoe SMaSH. The beer is incredible - so I thought bugger it, I'll just use the same yeast... it's fermenting quite happily now at 18 degrees. What I thought I'd talk about this week is beer clarity, and what I do (be it supersticious probably) to try and get clear beer. I will disclaim now - that this is not a "How To" or me proclaiming to be a great home brewer. I don't even claim that my home brew is any good. The following is just a "this is what I do" for anyone to read. I will state though, that when I want clear beer, my beer is clear. I made a brew yesterday that has to flavour it two Yakima proprietry hop varieties: Simcoe and Amarillo. In my opinion. Yakima Chief is leading the way in producing unbelieveable flavour and aroma hops with incridible smoothness. I used the generic cultivar "Nugget" to bitter this batch - however the main theme here is "Late Hopping". To me, I'd say that if you want clear beer - you need clear wort. Before I rigged up my recirculating mash setup, I used to do the "pitcher then pitcher" technique: i.e. I'd fill a 2 litre pitcher then move the hose to the next while tipping the previous back into the top. Now, I just turn the pump on (at the same flow rate) and just leave it to recirculate. This is handy in 2 respects. The first is that the wort becomes very clear with minimal effort: I recirculate what I calculated to be 30 Litres. That is 15 pitchers. Normally I'd get bored after 5 pitchers or so, and make do. The second is mashing out. Because there is a constant flow in the mash tun, mashing out can be completed without even disturbing the grain bed. This is a major plus as disturbing the grain bed will unclog all the shit you just filtered out over the last 15 minutes. This is a photo of the wort once the mash was complete, after 15 minutes of reculation.

After the sparge and I have my full volume in the kettle, I'll have a look at a sample of the wort. This takes a bit of judgement, and it all depends on if you want a clear beer - or one with a bit of haze. If there is visible haze in the sample, I'll think about upping my regular dose of carageenan. Normally, the dose for this stuff is 4 grams per hectolitre. If my wort is as clear as, I'll stick to about 75% of this: I use 0.6 grams. Below is the level of clarity for the Yakima Monster.

For the Yakima Monster, I wanted a clear beer (as opposed to my Simce SMaSH) so I threw in 0.8 grams with 15 minutes to go in the boil. This stuff needs to be thoroughly mixed into the wort. I use a paint strirer being careful not to aerate. After it's mixed in, I start the whirlpool to a: steralise the pump and hoses, and b: keep the carageenan in contact with all the wort. It drops out very fast - so the motion of the boil alone may not ensure that all the protein will coagulate. Lately I have been incorperating a 90min boil into my brew day. I believe (amongst other things) that this too aids in clarity. Below is a photo with the whirlpool running after I have thrown in the "Flameout" addition.

Finally is the waiting game. I've heard a lot of people will finish the boil, cool the wort and chuck it into the fermenter - which is fine: 1,000,000 brewers in the world; 1,000,000 ways to brew beer. What I do is whirlpool for 30mins while cooling. Then I'll leave the chiller running for another hour to let everything settle in the bottom of the kettle. Regardless if the wort is at pitching temp after 15mins of whirlpooling: I still do 30min whirlpool and 1 hour for settling. Lately, with the new setup - I'll be able to see the "cone" at the bottom of the kettle with about 5 litres to go when transferring to the fermenter. Below is a photo of the kettle at the same level as before (80mm) with all the crud below the surface of the wort.

And that's pretty much it really. I tasted the wort, and went to smile in the mirror. I was shocked when I realised that my teeth had completely dissolved. The brewday didn't bring as many Dramas as it did last week. I found out that my online friend was right when he told me that "Baby sitting and Home Brewing go hand in hand". One of Christinas friends came down from Auckland along with her Husband and 2 daughters. The Women ditched us for the whole day - and we turned this batch out without any injury to the infants. We hit the home brew last night - and he was quite fond of the Simcoe Smash (US Blonde), and my German Pilsner. He liked the flavor of the Blonde, but said he could drink more of the Pilsner - he has a regular blokes pallate. Watch out you Westie Boys - looks like I have a contender in my fridge... now the only challenge is keeping enough stock in hand before thr 28th arrives. Cheers.

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Comment by denimglen on January 18, 2009 at 1:54pm
"...The second is mashing out. Because there is a constant flow in the mash tun, mashing out can be completed without even disturbing the grain bed..."

Are you direct heating your mash tun? Gas or electric? What sorta false bottom? Any dramas with scorching? Questions, questions, questions haha :-P
Comment by JoKing on January 18, 2009 at 2:03pm
Hi Glen. I just use braided hose turned into a loop at the bottom of the MLT. I use a 1kW element in the mash tun hooked onto an oven type temperature controller. It's not a rheostat: it turns the element on for a second then off for 10... or whatever. The higher you set it - the longer the period that it stays on for. I used to have problems with scorching when I went from the protein rest to the Saccrification Rest. Now - I just infuse with boiling water to step up from 52 degrees. It's all about learning what youyr system is going to do anyway - if you direct heat a MLT with gas - you'll more than likely scorch the grain too. I just focus on not trying to push it too far. I haven't scorched a batch in over 3 years now.
Comment by denimglen on January 18, 2009 at 2:47pm
Awesome, cheers mate.

I did a mash out with my direct fire MLT yesterday, and just stired the whole why, only took a few minutes so no biggie, then just recirc'd for about 5 mins, had nice clear wort. Started to run off to the kettle, but the false bottom mustn't have been sitting on the bottom properly and a bunch of grain sucked through haha. Oh well, it will still make beer.
Comment by jt on January 21, 2009 at 4:36pm
the dreaded 03-09 batch

I don't think there's anything wrong with the 03/09 batch - whattaya reckon ?
Comment by HerrSchnapps on January 21, 2009 at 6:12pm
I pitched a 3/09 S05 two weeks ago with no results. Pitched another and it fermented, can't say I've ever had that happen before...
Comment by JoKing on January 21, 2009 at 8:55pm
Nothing wrong with the batch in my best estimation - I was a bit scared because of the hype on here, but after tasting my blonde ale: I have no concerns at all: it tastes mint as! Just aerate first - no worries. I have to admit that it ferments different to wlp001 on the first generation, but on the 2nd gen - same fermentation behaviour... what's up with that?
Comment by jt on January 21, 2009 at 10:44pm
I though that there were suggestions it was more like like American Ale II (W1272, don't know the WL equivilent) But I couldn't say as I've never tried 1056 or 1272 (useless eh ?)
Comment by Stu McKinlay on January 22, 2009 at 8:28am
1272 = WLP051

1272: With many of the best qualities that brewers look for when brewing American styles of beer, this strain’s performance is consistent and it makes great beer. Fruitier and more flocculent than Wyeast 1056 American Ale yeast, slightly nutty, soft, clean with a slightly tart finish. Ferment at warmer temperatures to accentuate hop character with intense fruitiness, or ferment cool for clean, light citrus character. Expect good attenuation, but this will vary with grist makeup, mashing protocol, or other wort characteristics. Reliably flocculent, producing bright beer without filtration.

Definitely sounds more like US05 than 1056.

1056: Very clean, crisp flavor characteristics. Low fruitiness and mild ester production. Slightly citrus like with cool (60-66F, 15-19C) fermentation temperatures. Versatile yeast, which produces many beer styles allowing malt and hop character to dominate the beer profile. Flocculation improves with dark malts in grain bill. Normally requires filtration for bright beers. DE or pad filtration recommended.
Comment by JoKing on January 22, 2009 at 10:39am
Thats the intersting observation - when you pitch dry US-05 into the fermenter, it behaves like 1272... (I have used 1272 in 5 brews this year). But when you repitch (jamils pitching rate calculator) US-05 for 2nd gen fermentation it bahaves more like wlp001 / wy1056.

Yeah... I believe this so much, that I brewed the blonde ale specifically to reuse the yeast in a hoppy brew aka Yakima Monster. Someone should do a scientific analysis on this methodology... cough (MrCherry)...
Comment by jt on January 22, 2009 at 10:48am
So why would you want to use 1056 after reading 1272 ?

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