I used to strain out the trub with a sieve when transferring the wort from the kettle to the fermenter but on one brew I got lazy and just dumped it all into the fermenter, every last bit of trub – hot break, cold break, hops debris and every single drop of liquid and solid material that was in the kettle. The result? Great beer, nice and clear, no off-tastes that I could tell. After that I never went back to attempting to prevent trub from making it’s way into the fermenter. I’ve been getting good clear beer and have made some of my best beers since then.
So when I came accross a blog post detailing experiments done on this – The Great Trub exBEERiment – I read it great interest. The article refers to a reasearch study done on the impact of kettle trub on levels of isoamyl acetate (banana) and ethyl acetate (nail polish remover) compounds. Surprisingly, the study found the that wort with the most trub actually produced a beer with significantly lower levels of these compounds! The author details his own experiment and discovery that the beer fermented with the kettle trub actually came out significantly clearer than one that had the trub carefully removed.
So why do brewers go to the trouble of seperating out the trub by whirlpooling, straining etc? I guess most brewers would assume that doing so will improve the clarity and reduce off-tastes but now it seems that not only is it not the case, but the opposite may actually be true.
I’ll keep on doing it my way, trub and all, but now with the knowledge that it’s not just a lazy shortcut but something in my process that may actually be beneficial to my beer.
Love your site (which I have just discovered). (Esp the challenges to tradition like “just leave the trub in”). I’ve set up the Occasional Brewer in Wellington with 6 x 50 litre units showing people all grain brewing. You should stick your nose in the door if you’re ever up this way..
We’ve deviated from common practice ourselves in one or two areas where we think we can make it work better e.g. adding the bittering hops before the hot break .
Interesting concept you have going at the Occasional Brewer. What level of interest are you seeing so far? Not sure when I’ll be over in Wellington but if I get a chance I might pop in for a look. If you happen to be in Nelson for Marchfest you might see me at the brewing demos.
I have been using a hops spider in my kettle, makes for far easier cleaning than having hops clag up the elements.
Definitely pour in all the trub into the fermenter though, just has less hop matter. Makes pretty good beer!
my gut feeling is that you get more out of the hops by letting them go ‘free range’ as opposed to constraining them in a hops spider or bag, etc. is that you get more of the hops goodness out of them that way. Of course that is just gut feeling and not based on any experiments or anything.