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Can someone ID this please

Discussion in 'All Grain Brewing' started by raturay, 22/2/19.

 

  1. raturay

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    Posted 22/2/19
    Brewed this morning and for the third time, that I have noticed, I have some strange "floaties" appearing when I get to the boil stage. Third time in about 30 something brews but maybe I just haven't noticed before!
    Maybe a coincidence but the last three brews have had stepped mashes which I hadn't done before.

    I've been led to believe that it's simply a chain of proteins that have linked together and it's nothing to worry about (the brews have been fine). The photo is a bit blurred and looks like some alien life form.

    Any advice - do I need to be concerned?

    I brew in a Grainfather and think I'm doing everything right in terms of process cleanliness etc.

    Two recipes have been for a 150 Lashes clone and one for A Beer Garden Ale.
    (sorry about the size of the photo!)
    Thanks

    Ray
    IMG_3624.jpg
     
  2. smertin

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    Posted 22/2/19
    Do you use whirlfloc? That will coagulate the proteins, could be this that you are seeing?
     
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  3. raturay

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    Posted 22/2/19
    Yeah I use whirlfloc but the alien appears at the start of the boil well before it's added.
     
  4. smertin

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    Posted 22/2/19
    :S very weird, cant say i can shed any light on that for you sorry. Hopefully someone on here wtih more knowledge can though!
     
  5. huez

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  6. raturay

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    Posted 22/2/19
    Thanks Huez. The link won't open for me but I can get all the way through to the hot break link. It then gives me an "origin error". I'll persevere and have a read.
     
  7. raturay

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    Posted 22/2/19
    And thanks again to Huez. Dr Googled some more hot break references and found a couple of photos that looked remarkably like my alien. Strange that I hadn't noticed it in previous brews. I need to pay closer attention.
     
  8. MHB

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    Posted 22/2/19
    People above have given you the right answer, its hot break material.
    But if you want to get a bit more technical. Hot break is mostly coagulated protein, where it starts to get interesting is why you see it in some brews and not others.
    First up there ate literally millions of different proteins in wort, so many that apart from a few critical ones brewing scientists don't even bother to name them (as a group scientists love sticking a name on things) just look at then in groups by size (molecular weight).
    The bigger a protein is the lower the temperature at which it will coagulate, good example would be egg white, its made up (mostly) of very large proteins and will fully coagulate in hot water (poaching an egg). In a mash really large proteins coagulate in the mash, if you recirculate most of the massive proteins are trapped in and filtered out in the grain bed.
    If you are mashing out (heating to over 77oC) and recirculating properly you should see less of that really chunky snott on top of your boil. Might be a good idea to look at your mash profiles and see if the brews that had lots of snott were mashed out properly.
    A few other things can contribute, pH plays a role in coagulation of protein so does the amount of Ca available, the total amount of protein in the grist (lots of adjunct, lots of wheat/oats, crap malt...), mash intensity (how long at what temperatures doing a protein rest (50-55oC) will put more protein into solution).

    Ultimately it doesn't matter, you want the protein to coagulate and if you just leave it alone it will end up in the trub at the bottom of your kettle at the end of the boil, getting rid of large proteins is one of the half dozen or so reasons we want a long intensive boil - it makes better beer.
    Mark

    Good read on why we boil a wort
    M
     

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  9. ABG

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    Posted 23/2/19
    Mark, do you stir the hot break back into the work, or do you scoop it out? David Heath is a strong advocate of stirring, while others suggest it's important to remove as much hot break material as possible. I would value your opinion.
     
  10. MHB

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    Posted 23/2/19
    All things being equal, I'd leave it alone. It wouldn't make much difference if you just scooped up the chunky snott but (as usual there is a but in brewing).
    There is a finite amount of head building material in beer, if you skim too aggressively you can reduce the head building potential of the finished beer.
    On the other hand, there is plenty of room in the trub, anything that condenses during the boil is removed with/is part of the trub, including the above chunky stuff, so its not a problem.
    Its argued that the HMW protein acts as nucleating points for the boil, tends to give a smoother rolling boil with less glooping, may also help other proteins form larger flock that will settle faster at the end of the boil...
    Another point some authors have suggested is that higher molecular weight proteins have a stronger affinity for some of the undesirable polyphenols in both hops and malt, so not removing the HMW protein might make for less "Tannins" especially big oxidised ones, which is all for the good - this isn't proven, but its being talked about by some respected researchers.

    About the only time I stir a kettle is a couple of minutes after the first hop addition, that's just a bit of a slosh around the sides to get the hoops that are stuck to the wall back into the boiling wort where they belong.

    I doubt its a critical decision, probably not a decision I would expend a lot of time sweating over, in which case be lazy given the chance :)
    There are exceptions, in a brew high in unmalted adjunct which can be prone to boil overs, makes sense, to skim early.
    Mind you even in +30% raw wheat Belgians the only time I had a brew that looked like boiling over it had a lot more to do with unconverted starch (a blue mash) than it had to do with excess protein (that was an educational brew, why we step mash).
    Mark
     
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  11. raturay

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    Posted 23/2/19
    Thanks Mark. Helps to understand some of the technicalities. I recirculate and mash out at 78. I must check more closely next time as I have only noticed (I like your terminology), the snott, early in the boil.

    Ray
     

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