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I recently made a big beer (Dogfish Head 90 minute clone) with an OG around 1.11. I had never tried to strain wort before moving to a primary fermenter but thought it would be a good idea since this had some much hops. So I used the basic muslin bag and bungee cord method of putting the bag over my fermenting bucket and using the bungee cord to secure it. This seemed to work fine until I tried to remove the bag and material. When I released the bungee cord all the contents of the muslin bag fell back into the wort.

I know this result was mainly due to user error (me), but is there a better way to do this? Or, don't strain the wort and let it naturally settle and use a secondary fermenter?

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I put a 1 gallon paint straining bag over my autosiphon. It worked ok for a RIS with 6 oz pellet hops. I do need to move the bag around toward the end to shake off debris and find the remaining pockets of wort. –  user2047 Jan 15 '12 at 14:42
    
I use my brother to hold a muslin bag open while I pour the wort into the fermenter –  user3043 Jan 19 '13 at 4:13

6 Answers 6

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I use a large noodle strainer. place the stainer at the opening of the ale pail and steadily poor the wort through the stainer into the bucket. Then I just lift the stainer and throw away the trub.

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This seems like the easiest option. I'm going to order a large commercial kitchen strainer like amazon.com/gp/product/B001CDRHLY –  atodd Jan 13 '12 at 21:07
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This is what I use as well. It can get clogged, but just keep a sanitized plastic spoon on you and slowly scrape some of the used hops to the side. –  roto Jan 13 '12 at 22:57

One option is to get an appropriately sized funnel with a removable screen. I just bought one of these recently (the funnel cone is huge) and used it for the first time last night. The only downside is that I had to stop a couple times to unclog the screen, and of course I realized after doing so that my fingers hadn't been sterilized (should have had a container with Star-San solution nearby).

One variation on this theme is to get one of those 'gold' coffee filters and put it at the far end of a reusable grain mesh bag.

Alternatively, just let it go into your fermenter. Careful racking should minimize the uptake of trub. That said, I think I've seen comments which say that if you can eliminate such hoppy cruft earlier rather than later, you minimize the risk of acquiring an off taste (if you happen to leave it in the fermenter for too long; the taste in question is I believe described as 'grassy').

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Thanks CaffeCaldo, I normally just let it go into the fermenter. I finally racked this IPA and there was about an 1-2" of trub at the bottom of my bucket. –  atodd Jan 13 '12 at 19:30

I use 5 gallon sized "Paint Strainer" bags from Lowe's. They are designed to filter out clumps of latex paint. A single bag will line a 5gal cooler or bucket perfectly. The beer gets poured in, then I lift the bag out, and it pulls out any hop debris, even from pellet hops. It's not quite fine enough to catch cold break, but I don't care about that.

I pour 100% of my boil into a No Chill tank after the boil is over, then I transfer from the tank (once cooled) to a bucket with a paint strainer page. Pull out the bag, then transfer again to a fermentor. The first beer I did this with was a Scotch Ale that came out shockingly clear with no lagering or even a real cold crash.

Likewise, I use these strainer bags things to mash with. I have an unmodified 5gal igloo cooler that I line with 2 of these bags (1 on top of the other). Bags get put in, grain goes into the bags, water added to the grain, then after the mash, I can run the wort out of the spigot or just lift the grain bags up and out, and let the wort drain that way. Basically 5gal-sized Brew In A Bag technique. Works like a charm.

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I chill my wort in place on the stovetop and transfer to my primary with an autosiphon. But I transfer to a larger metal screen strainer on top of my primary fermentor that has a paint strainer bag arranged inside it. This strains out the debris (hops, whirlyfloc, and hot break) and helps with aeration. I have also used a nylon stocking and the paint strainer bag over the autosiphon inflow and this works but clogs after a while.

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I use something called a "china cap strainer" to strain my wort before it goes into the fermentor. These things work greater, as it fits into the funnel I use on top of the fermentor and they have a good handle to jostle the strainer to encourage the wort to work it's way past the captured hops and trub.

An example of a "china cap strainer" can be seen here: http://www.webstaurantstore.com/12-fine-china-cap-strainer/407S5012F.html

If you live in an area with a significant Asian population, you can find these things in a store that sells Asian cooking ware.

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I also use the paint strainer method, but I use it during the boil. I have a little piece of PVC that the paint strainer is connected to using a clamp. I just toss the hops into the strainer, and then pull the strainer out when I'm ready to transfer.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-0HE-wsXN4Kc/Tq87G_Ti4PI/AAAAAAAAGL8/wWfOW4r7-D0/s576/brew8.jpg

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