Yeast cake in bottle problem

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Jasonja1474, Dec 6, 2019.

  1. Jasonja1474

    Jasonja1474 Initiate (89) Oct 15, 2018 Tennessee

    Was just wanting to know how to avoid the build up of material in my bottles once the yeast carbonates it? I just made a stout and once bottled it has a yeast cake I guess it’s what it would be called. I wasn’t sure if I should cold crash a stout prior to transferring to my bottling bucket or not? Also I thought about running it through a coffee filter that’s has been soaked in star San while transferring to bottling bucket? It’s just some of my friends seem turned off to my beer once they see that as they pour it into a glass.
  2. CShell1234

    CShell1234 Initiate (24) Oct 25, 2018 New York

    I would say unless you’re going to attach the coffee filter to the bottom of the racking cane so that you can still get the tubing to the bottom of the bottling bucket then running it through a coffee filter would cause too much splashing and oxygen.
    In the particular case of a stout it wouldn’t hurt to just leave it in the fermenter for at least a few weeks or even a month or more after fermentation has completed to let as much yeast settle out as possible... I suppose there’s not much down side to cold crashing though, although I have never done it or considered it so maybe there is some reason not to do it.
    At the end of the day, if you are bottle conditioning you are always going to get some amount of sediment in your bottle but it shouldn’t be so much as to be off putting... this might be obvious but make sure the intake on your racking cane is above the yeast cake as much as possible as there should still be plenty of yeast left in suspension to carbonate your beer.
  3. riptorn

    riptorn Aspirant (278) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    How thick of a layer in the bottle are we talking about? Is it possible you’re transferring some (or a lot) of the yeast cake from the bottom of the fermentor?

    I haven’t cold crashed. All my bottles have sediment and there’s rarely any visible sediment in my glass unless it’s intentional. Sediment usually compacts in bottles over time and will be less likely to end up in the glass, especially with a proper pour, which you could offer to do for them.

    If I understand your coffee filter scenario it will aerate finished beer; you don’t want that.
    There are inline filters for beer, like the Bouncer or the Bouncer Mac Daddy. I haven’t used one but seems I remember someone posting that they were pleased with it.
  4. Brewday

    Brewday Initiate (148) Dec 25, 2015 New York

    #4 Brewday, Dec 6, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2019
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  5. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Devotee (454) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    +1 to all the above.

    Personally I have never cold crashed. Leaving beer in a secondary for a couple weeks and sometimes longer will reduce the amount of sediment in the bottom of your bottles,

    Filters are just one more expense I can do without.
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  6. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,574) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    If it's just sediment from bottle conditioning you can let the bottles sit longer before drinking any of them so that the sediment will firm up a bit. But to avoid this issue, you still need to tell your friends to pour gently and leave that last ounce behind. (No drinking from the bottle.)

    Have you looked closely at this sediment to make sure that it's not also some trub that includes hop finings, etc? If you're getting trub, you need to evaluate your siphoning process and don't try to cut it so closely about getting all of the beer out of the fermenter and bottling bucket.
  7. Granitebeard

    Granitebeard Initiate (114) Aug 24, 2016 Maine

    Well, I always try to explain to people what this is and if they don't like it, then they can watch for it while pouring the beer and prevent it from going into the glass.

    The other option is to bottle off a keg.
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  8. Jasonja1474

    Jasonja1474 Initiate (89) Oct 15, 2018 Tennessee

  9. Jasonja1474

    Jasonja1474 Initiate (89) Oct 15, 2018 Tennessee

    Yes I forgot to tell them about it when I gave them the bottles. They thought it was the toasted coconut I put in secondary. But I used a Muslin bag for that. One day I will buy the Blichmann gun but first I need to up grade to a legging system. I’m still up grading my brew house right now.
  10. Jasonja1474

    Jasonja1474 Initiate (89) Oct 15, 2018 Tennessee

    Ya I’m looking into a pump for transferring cause I stink with that hand pump cane one lol. I always stick it in the crap in the bottom of the fermentor lol
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  11. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,855) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin

    Here are a combination of things I considered when I bottled:

    -Cold crashing your fermenter will encourage flocculation faster. I don't think it is necessary, but it will speed things up. Before doing this, be sure that fermentation is complete, and that there are no off-flavors that the yeast could clean up, like diacetyl and acetaldehyde --in other words, do gravity tests and taste your beer.

    -You could also try a fining agent like gelatin a few days before bottling to help clear up your beer.

    -When you rack to your bottling bucket, don't send the racking cane all the way to the bottom to pick up yeast that has settled out. Leave an inch or two of beer behind. Yes, it seems wasteful, but you want to avoid excess yeast.

    -If transferring through a spigot in your fermenter instead of with a racking cane, put a wedge or a block under your fermenter to raise the spigot end. Allow a few days for the sediments to settle on the other side of the fermenter, away from the spigot. This should help keep most of the sediments from getting transferred.

    -The above items help you avoid moving excess yeast into your beer. There will always be some yeast that didn't flocculate yet. There needs to be enough yeast to carbonate your beer in the bottles (note: there WILL be enough yeast to carbonate, don't worry about it). Of course, during the course of carbonating, those yeast populations will grow some, and there will still be some yeast accumulation in your bottle. When bottling, I would give 2-3 weeks at room temperature or slightly elevated to carbonate. I would test a bottle or two along the way. Once carbonation was complete, I put the bottles in a cooler or fridge. This is like cold crashing, but it the bottle. Most of the yeast will settle out, sometimes into a compact sediment at the bottom (see yeast selection comment at the end).

    -Again, this sounds like wasting beer, but try to decant the bottles carefully so you do not pour a big slug of yeast. If it is a 12 oz bottle, work on leaving a half ounce behind. A slow continuous pour into a large glass will help you. The glass should be large enough so that foaming does not make you pause your pour, because if you have to tip the bottle back to an upright position, the sediments will mix with the remaining beer.

    Practice the above. You'll get good at this.

    These are all post fermentation aids. Something you can do at the front end, during recipe development, is select yeasts that have medium to high flocculation (usually listed by the manufacturer). Of course, this limits your yeast choices, but it might be worth trying for a few batches, to win over your friends while you work on perfecting the above.
  12. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Zealot (535) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    Hard to tell what you are pulling over with a stout, but a guess is you should stop your transfer earlier than you would probably like to. i.e. Don't be afraid to waste. If it looks like it might. Stop. Those cakes are also a big source of gushers. So. Don't expect to just quick chill and drink them. Give them a day.
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  13. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (1,591) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Lots of good information there. The only thing I would disagree with is yeast growth during carbonation. I'd say that 99 times out of 100 (or maybe 9 out of 10) there's probably little or no new yeast growth in the bottle, because the yeast in suspension are already at (or above) critical mass for the amount of food available (priming sugar). They can't afford to spend energy/materials budding because there are not enough resources to sustain an increased population. So they eat what's available and then flocculate and go dormant.
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  14. Bryan12345

    Bryan12345 Zealot (520) Mar 17, 2016 Texas

    Leave the last half-inch of sludge in the bottle. If your friends want to continue to receive free beer, they’ll get over it.