Coagulated Proteins

I’ve been running into problems with my last few batches of beer. I would use Whirlfloc in the last 15 minutes of the boil to coagulate the proteins. The thought is to clarify the beer. Then I dump the wort into the primary (I have been doing partial 3 gal boils for 5 gallon batches). But when I move the beer to the bottling bucket, I get a ton of coagulated proteins transferred which eventually makes it to my bottle. As such, when you pour your beer, you have these crazy floating things. Probably both yeast chunks and proteins.

I thought maybe my problem is that I’m pouring all the contents of the brewpot into the fermenter. Perhaps if I can keep most of it behind in the brewpot, the rest would settle out in the primary. So, for my latest batch (Zuul Drool Brown Ale), I tried something different. Instead of dumping, I’ll use my auto-siphon to transfer to the primary. After cooling the wort, I stirred the wort to create some centripetal force and let it set for 30 minutes. My understanding is that it will condense the heavy particulates in the center. Then I can siphon off the edges, avoiding the goo.

Well, this worked for the first half of the wort transfer. Perfectly clear. But then I got toward the bottom. The last 1/4 of the wort was coagulated proteins, which looked like gelatin. If I left this behind, I’d lose out on a lot of beer.

In the end, I poured all the wort into the primary. I just bought a carboy to use as a secondary (up unitl now, I just used the primary). So hopefully between the two, it will clear up and I can leave that gunk behind.

This is really bugging me, so I asked in the Home Brew Talk forums (you can read some of the responses here). I also shot James from Basic Brewing an email asking his opinion. I’ll update this post as I get things figured out.

Update 12/2/2011: According to the forum thread I posted, this coagulated proteins is considered cold break. Now that I know the term, it will be easier search for the solution. Right now, it seems the best solution is to transfer to primary and let it settle out. Then transfer to secondary for additional clarification. We’ll see what others have to say.

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  • Pingback: Zuul Drool Brown Ale — byTravis()

  • Travis,

    I’ve used that, but I used it in the last 5 Minutes on my Last Brew. English Pale Ale. What I did was Cleaned out my Siphon Hose, and Sihponed the beer into the Bottling Bucket then I added my Priming Sugar, This eliminated as much Sediment as Possible when it came to bottling.


  • Travis

    I don’t bother with the siphoning anymore. Now I just use my whirlflock in the last 10 min along with a hop bag. Most everything settles out in the primary fermentor, then I rack it to the secondary for further clarifying. Works pretty good for me.