Homebrewing Tips

Here’s How to Clarify Your Beer

January 4, 2018
Clarifying Beer

cold crash·ing
/kōldˈkraSHiNG/

verb

  1. clarifying home brewed beer by cooling it to near-freezing temperatures before bottling, forcing remaining yeast to fall out of suspension where they settle at the bottom of the fermenter
    “nobody likes floaties in their beer, you should’ve cold crashed”

 

Having some residual floating stuff in your finished beer is totally normal. In fact, foreign beers often still have particles left in them (think Coopers’ beloved Sparkling and Pale Ales). However, the bright, clean look of most US favorites leads many homebrewers to feel iffy about beer with things suspended in it. No biggie. Here’s how to remedy the issue next time you brew.

What you’ll need:

  • Your fridge
  • Seriously, that’s it

A depiction of the yeast in your LBK

Intended temperature range for cold crashing: 33-40 degrees Fahrenheit

The goal here is to get yeast remaining after fermentation to flocculate, or clump together and fall out of suspension. This will allow you to get more beer from the spigot of your LBK before the particles collect and make their way to the spigot. Get every drop. Oh, and enjoy neat, clarified beer.

Some beers, especially hazy wheat beers, will not come out entirely clear. Still, cold crashing will prevent larger particles from getting into your bottle.

Instructions

Once your beer is fully fermented and ready to be bottled (usually 3 weeks for our brewers)

  1. Clear an area large enough to handle your LBK in your refrigerator.
    You may want a hand with this bit as the LBK can be heavy…
  2. Carefully place your LBK fermenter in the cleared space in your refrigerator, trying not to slosh around.
  3. Close the refrigerator door and leave your LBK in the refrigerator for 12 – 24 hours.

On bottling day, after sanitizing and prepping all other components, remove your LBK only when you are ready to bottle. You do not want to remove the LBK first and risk warming it back up and undoing your hard work.

While some of our expert Mr. Beer Community members (Hi RickBeer!) would suggest propping you LBK to keep all collected particles away from the spigot, it’s not a must as the LBK’s reservoir is deep enough to avoid having particles clog the spigot.

FAQs about cold crashing:

  1. Is cold crashing okay for lagers and ales? -Yes. While cold fermentation is only done with lagers, cold crashing can be done with both lagers and ales.
  2. Will this kill my yeast? -No, cold temperatures only cause the yeast to “sleep.”
  3. Will cold crashing mess with carbonation? -No, this short period of cold temperatures will not ruin the process of carbonation.

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