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Trub: whirlpool vs. settle

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by herrburgess, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. herrburgess

    herrburgess Champion (925) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Verified

    Here's the setup: I have a 10-gal brew kettle with a weldless valve on it that is located about 1" above the bottom line of the pot. I use Whirlfloc in the boil (about 5 min from finish) and then use an immersion chiller to get the wort to between 90-100F. I then lift the kettle up to the top of my brew sculpture to hook up my plate chiller, and take a few minutes to let the Trub settle before starting the flow through the plate chiller (which works by gravity) down directly to the carboy.

    Usually I have my valve open at least 3/4 of the way, lest the wort get too cold. I am still getting some Trub in the beer this way, despite my efforts to get it to settle out. My question, then, is if it might be better to try and create a whirlpool to concentrate the Trub into a cone in the middle of the kettle before starting the flow through the plate chiller? Or would the relatively fast flow suck out the Trub regardless?

    Any insights on what might be the best method under these circumstances?
     
  2. Utawana

    Utawana Aficionado (130) New York Nov 7, 2007

    By all means get a whirlpool going, then let it sit (how long is up to you - I will let it sit for an hour or so if I am not in a hurry) then send it through the cfc. You might get some trub right at the end, but the vast majority will stay in the kettle.
     
  3. I've been running the beer through a kitchen strainer with the first 3 bucket-to-bucket aerations. just wondering what your thoughts are.
    for fear of contamination, i'd rather get the beer into the carboy as soon as possible instead of having it sit for an hour.
     
  4. HaysAmerica

    HaysAmerica Aficionado (230) Kansas Jan 28, 2011 Subscriber

    Have you tried reducing your flow velocity? Perhaps opening your valve 1/2 way open would create less trub into the final product. Will take longer for sure but it could be as simple as whirlpooling & then perhaps slower rate of flow. Just my thoughts...prosit!
     
  5. herrburgess

    herrburgess Champion (925) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Verified

    Yea, thought about that. Problem is that my plate chiller works so well that if I don't open up at least 3/4 of the way I'll chill the wort down into the low 40s and will be slightly too cold to pitch. I have utilized the method of switching the aquarium pump that pumps the ice water through the plate chiller on and off in order to keep the temps in the pitching range; I could slow the flow down and probably do something similar just as a test I suppose.
     
  6. telejunkie

    telejunkie Savant (390) Vermont Sep 14, 2007

    Alright, first have to say, the immersion chiller followed by plate chiller is a giant waste of cleaning time in my book...are you trying to get to lager pitching temps most of the time? A plate chiller run properly should be more than sufficient to get you down to ale pitching temps and the most efficient way. If you're going with immersion chiller, just get a giant whirlpool going after KO and let settle while cooling...the 20mins or so will be more than enough time for hot & most of the cold break to settle to the bottom.
    But really don't fear some trub in the fermenter...pretty much all commercial brewers are fermenting with cold break in their fermenter and only if I were brewing a light lager would i possibly fear a lot of break material in my fermenter.

    Basically you're going to suck up some trub from the kettle...obviously you can try to minimize it, but in all honesty it would be a waste of energy to fret over a little trub in your fermenter.
     
  7. herrburgess

    herrburgess Champion (925) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Verified

    Yea, 98% of the beers I brew are lagers. Also, I'm brewing outside in SC, so ground water (and ambient) temps are sometimes extremely high.

    As far as cleaning time, after I take out the immersion chiller I just put it in the sink filled with sanitized H2O. Same thing with the plate chiller...submerge it in the sanitized water while I'm cleaning up after the brew day and then take it out, drain it, and stick it in the oven at 350F for 1 hr. I've tried other chilling methods (just the IC; just the plate chiller), but I found that this one cuts a good 30 min (not to mention about 5 bags of ice with the former) off my brew day.

    As far as Trub goes, I agree that some is OK. But I do a Koelsch regularly and am planning a Bohemian pils, so I am just trying to gauge if whirlpooling or settling is the best method to get as much out as possible without too much added hassle.
     
  8. telejunkie

    telejunkie Savant (390) Vermont Sep 14, 2007

    alright, so you're a special case...and yes, the two step approach is gonna be worth it and yes concur that you'll probably want to remove as much trub as possible. Actually I might go the other way though and run through the plate chiller then hit with immersion chiller (which is aquarium pump with ice water so you can gauge exactly when to stop).
    This would require an extra vessel ($), but would leave hot break in kettle and most of cold break in your second vessel, which would act like a brewery's whirlpool vessel (read about 4-vessel brew systems). There is probably going to be a better way to do it, but off the top of my head, that's what I'd be doing. Extra work & cleaning but should be clear wort.
    Another thing some brewers do is vacuum the trub out of the fermenter with a siphon vacuum.
     
  9. telejunkie

    telejunkie Savant (390) Vermont Sep 14, 2007

    sorry, not necessarily answering your question...yes whirlpool will help, but you will always get some levels of trub in your fermenter.
     
  10. Utawana

    Utawana Aficionado (130) New York Nov 7, 2007

    I think hops and such are strainable, but that cold-break is hard to stop with a strainer. If the break is not an issue, I wouldn't bother doing anything special to keep it out. For me, it is how I beat a chill haze problem that started when I traded my immersion chiller for my cfc. The first time I ran my hot wort through a cfc right into the fermenter - chill haze. This continued until I changed procedure. When I cool it off in the kettle and let it sit, no chill haze.
    My procedure now is to pump hot wort through my cfc back into the kettle until the whole batch is near pitching temp, then I let her sit. A few hours is not out of the question, and I have let it sit overnight too. For my system, the microbes in my area and garage, and the beers I make, contamination has not been an issue. Your results may vary.
     
  11. Generally speaking, sanitizing your equipment after brewing is a waste of time and effort. And an immersion chiller doesn't new to be sanitized at all. The boiling wort will take care of that for you.
     
  12. herrburgess

    herrburgess Champion (925) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Verified

    Thanks for all y'all's concern ;) To clarify, I keep my wort-in and wort-out hoses in sanitized water in the sink before hooking them up to the plate chiller, so when I'm done I just toss both chillers in there. I'm not trying to be wasteful, really....
     
  13. Pegli

    Pegli Savant (315) Rhode Island Aug 30, 2006

    If the trub isn't clogging your plate chiller, I wouldn't worry about it getting into your primary fermenter.
     
    leedorham likes this.
  14. ryane

    ryane Savant (380) Washington Nov 21, 2007

    What kind of hops do you use?

    Just about all of the trub is left behind in the kettle when I brew because the hop cones act as a filter when they pack around the kettle screen in the bottom

    also, some trub in your fermentor isnt a bad thing, it will contain nutrients/etc that can be useful to yeast, and given time will settle out of the beer. If your really worried though, rack to another carboy when it settles and before you pitch your yeast
     
  15. herrburgess

    herrburgess Champion (925) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Verified

    Generally use German noble hops (Hallertau, Tettnang) in hop bags. I am considering the suggestion above about the 4-vessel system, as I actually have an extra 8 gallon pot I use for decoctions. Prost!
     
  16. Pegli

    Pegli Savant (315) Rhode Island Aug 30, 2006

    Are you having chill haze issues ?
     
  17. herrburgess

    herrburgess Champion (925) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Verified

    Slight ones, yes. Even with the use of gelatin some of the beers can still have a slight chill haze.
     
  18. leedorham

    leedorham Champion (845) Washington Apr 27, 2006

    Have you tried polyclar?
     
  19. ryane

    ryane Savant (380) Washington Nov 21, 2007

    Do you have a kettle screen? If you do stop using the hop bags, hops are a great filter and will strain out most of the trub when you drain your kettle
     
  20. Tad

    Tad Zealot (75) Mar 12, 2012

    The easy answer is yes, if your using both immersion and plate chilling, bring down to desired temp with immersion, then remove chiller and whirlpool as fast as possible without splashing, it will settle out in 5-15 min and leave more break/hop/etc. material behind in a nice cone.

    Also play with your cooling method, reducing flows on both sides of your plate chiller will get less break at desired temp. Cheers!