During my first all-grain (an Imperial Stout recipe a friend and I invented), I managed to forget adding Irish Moss towards the end of the boil. After 3 weeks in primary, I've verified that fermentation has finished through consecutive days of gravity readings and I'm trying to decide what to do next. OG: 1.080, FG: 1.012, and the recipe I have written down somewhere if it's needed with regards to my questions.
After reading around lots of books, forums, and wikis, it seems no one agrees on cold-crashing, so I'd like to ask some more-specific questions.
I've read that cold-crashing will clear up your beer by causing yeast and other solids to settle to the bottom. Some have argued that this is an unnecessary step for a stout, but I'd like to put in the effort to minimize bottle trub and cloudiness after in-bottle conditioning. So my questions are:
- Can I cold-crash with the beer still in the primary fermenter bucket before transfering to secondary? (My thoughts being that I can siphon from the bucket into the secondary carboy without moving it from the fridge and agitating the beer)
- If so, for how long and at what temperature should I cold-crash this imperial stout ale? The yeast used was Wyeast 1056 (American Ale).
- My fridge has other food in it, too. I know there will be a suck-in effect created from the pressure differential that arises when cooling a sealed container to match a new environment's temperature, and I realize this could cause the bucket to 'suck in' potential contaminants or flavor-affecting aromas from whatever else is in the fridge. Is this a deal-breaker for cold-crashing?
- I plan to dry-hop for a week as another experiment right before bottling. Is there a problem with racking to secondary AFTER cold-crashing my primary bucket, raising the temperature back to 68F, then adding my sanitized and weighted hop bag?
- Will this process have a substantial effect on carbonation? If so, should I pitch more yeast or increase the amount of priming sugar I use before bottling? I do plan on aging this beer for a long time in the bottles, so if cold-crashing will just cause the beer to take longer to carbonate, that is not a problem.