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I'm making a cream ale and just moved it into a new carboy for secondary fermentation. While siphoning it over, I noticed that there's a lot of solid creamy substance still in the beer. Maybe I did something wrong and that's not supposed to happen (not enough water in the original boil?), but what's done is done.

My question is that, if it's still present after my secondary fermentation is complete, how can I make sure to filter out all that nonsense before going to the bottling phase? It seemed like a kind of buttery substance that clung to the auto-siphon.

  • Is the "cream" floating on the top of beer? On the bottom? Throughout? I suspect it's just krausen, but it's hard to know for sure without a more complete description. If it krausen, just wait a week or two more and it'll drop the bottom. – FishesCycle Sep 24 '14 at 0:59
  • @TobiasPatton It was mostly at the bottom after the primary fermentation, but it was a lot. Like at least a gallon out of five. Is that normal? It mixed back in a bit when I was siphoning it to the secondary fermentor. – asteri Sep 24 '14 at 1:58
  • By a gallon, I mean that there was about four gallons of nice brown beer on top of a gallon-ish of pale yellow stuff. – asteri Sep 24 '14 at 2:02
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What you describe in your comments sounds like trub (pronounced "troob"). It's mostly yeast, proteins, fats, and sometimes hop material. It's totally normal for that stuff to settle to the bottom of the vessel after fermentation is complete. You don't filter it; you just let it settle and then carefully siphon the beer off while picking up as little of the trub as possible.

Based on your description, I'm guessing you dumped everything from your kettle into your fermenter and, if you were short of five gallons, topped up to the five gallon mark. (It seems like most people start this way; I know I did.) You can limit the amount of trub in the fermenter by leaving most of it in the kettle after the boil.

Losses are part of brewing. You'll always lose some beer to trub. People account for those losses by targeting 5.5 gallons post-boil volume, figuring about a half gallon of it will be lost to trub in the kettle. That allows for five gallons to make it to the fermenter with minimal trub.

And just in case there is some confusion caused by the style of beer, brewing a "cream ale" is no different than brewing most types of beer. The trub that you refer to as cream is part of brewing, regardless of the beer style.

  • Got it. Thanks. This is my third or fourth brew, and thus far all of my beers have only had traditional grainy hops in them. I've been good about keeping all of that in the kettle after the boil. I didn't realize that the cream and sugar and whatnot were supposed to stay there, too. Thank you for the answer. – asteri Sep 24 '14 at 13:31
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    Wait, "cream and sugar and whatnot"? A cream ale shouldn't actually have cream in it. And sugars should fully dissolve in the wort. – jsled Sep 24 '14 at 13:59
  • @jsled Sorry, you're right, it doesn't have cream. One pound of corn sugar. I guess I just thought of cream because of the way it looked and because of the name. Was also thinking of the "candi" stuff that I added to a Belgian golden ale brew and got it mixed up. – asteri Sep 24 '14 at 20:20

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