Beer is the world’s most widely consumed and third-oldest alcoholic beverage. How do you whirlpool your beer after the boil? And as craft breweries continue to grow in popularity, more people are getting into home brewing.
But brewing beer at home can be a complicated process. There are various steps involved such as mashing, boiling, fermentation, and carbonation.
Hopefully, this after-boil whirlpool beer tutorial will help simplify the process and make your next batch even better. Whirlpooling your beer after the boil rather than before it undergoes fermentation is much easier. What you want to do is create a circular motion in your brewing kettle and preferably use a long-handled spoon to stir the wort.
We understand that everyone has their own way of doing things, but if you’re making a second batch of beer and want to whirlpool again, this article will get you up to speed.
How to Whirlpool Your Beer After the Boil
It is quite easy to whirlpool your beer after the boil by doing it to the wort after you take it off the heat. What you want to do is create a circular motion in your brewing kettle and preferably use a long-handled spoon to stir the wort.
Commercial brewers can easily whirlpool the wort by pumping the wort into a vessel at an angle creating a centrifugal force in the boiled beer that makes the wort to have a circular motion (spin as if being stirred). The centrifugal force separates the hop particles and trub from the wort which settle in the center of the kettle or brewing cone-shaped mass.
For homebrewers, you can whirlpool the beer by stirring first slowly from the outside of the kettle using a long-handled spoon. Thereafter, you need to speed up the motion to create a higher centrifugal force.
Ensure that you do not change the pace of the stirring to minimize splashing. Once the mini-whirlpool is created, you can let the wort stand for about 10 minutes for the hop particles and trub to settle at the bottom of the kettle.
Thereafter, transfer the wort to another vessel meticulously to leave the particles in the kettle. Alternatively, you can chill the wort using an immersion chiller in the kettle before the transfer of the wort to another vessel.
Finally, as you transfer the wort from the kettle, the hops particles among other trub will also start getting transferred the moment you reach the part of the wort containing the cone-shaped particles. Thus, care should be taken not to transfer the trub with the wort.
What is Whirlpooling?
Whirlpooling is the process of creating a circular motion in your boiling kettle to help remove the hops and trub after the boil. A whirlpool is created by stirring the wort with a long-handled spoon in a circular direction.
The wort should be roughly three to five gallons in volume. If it’s less than this, the entire process could take a bit longer, but it shouldn’t affect the outcome. A larger batch of wort requires more time for the whirlpool to occur.
When you boil your beer, hops are added to provide bitterness and aroma. The amount of bitterness in your beer is determined by how long you boil the hops. The longer you boil them, the more bittering acids and oils are extracted.
The more hop oils you use, the more aroma they impart to your beer. Aromatic oils are responsible for the majority of the flavor and aroma of beer.
The main hop used in home brewing is the Cascade hop, which imparts a flavor reminiscent of citrus fruits. Analysis of the hop oils in brewing beer has shown that the longer the hops are boiled, the more hop oils are extracted.
Brewing: How long to whirlpool after the boil
The first thing to do before whirlpooling your beer is to do a cold break. The cold break helps clarify your beer by removing proteins that form a hot break.
Whirlpooling helps remove the hot break, but it also removes hop particles and other solid impurities that are present in the wort after the boil.
The longer you wait to whirlpool your beer, the more of these impurities will settle out.
Why Is Whirlpooling Important?
The main reason to whirlpool your beer after the boil is to remove the hops and trub. This allows you to avoid the use of filters and strainers, which can sometimes lead to contamination and a less-than-fantastic-tasting beer.
The beer is still very hot during the whirlpool process, which helps to kill any bacteria present and allows the beer to cool down a bit faster.
Whirlpooling your beer after the boil will provide a clearer beer with a more consistent taste than otherwise.
1. Removes Hops & Trub Before Fermentation
During the boil, the hops are in the beer and will be transferred to the fermenter. This will lead to excess bitterness in the beer, and very little flavor and aroma.
A full-wort boil is important for hop utilization and to kill off any bacteria that might be present in your wort.
The whirlpool process takes place after the boil and before fermentation begins, so the hops are removed from the beer and do not go into the conical fermenter.
2. You will not use Filters, Strainers, etc.
Hops are very small and can get caught up in the filter, which can lead to flavor changes and even clogging. The centrifugal force created by the whirlpool creates a trub cone that you can leave on the kettle by siphoning out the wort.
With this, you can easily separate the hop pellets and trub from the wort after the wort boil. You can pump or siphon out the wort leaving the trub cone in the kettle when done carefully.
Strainers also have a tendency to clog, especially if you use leaf hops. Whirlpooling will remove the hops and other impurities, allowing you to avoid the need for a filter or strainer.
3. Allows Faster Cooling
Once you’ve finished the whirlpool process, the beer will have a greater heat transfer rate than if you were to just let it sit in the boiling kettle. This allows for faster cooling.
The cooling process will happen more quickly because the whirlpool allows for a greater surface area of the beer to be exposed to the air.
The Dangers of Whirlpooling Beer
Whirlpooling beer before fermentation can lead to a variety of problems. First, fermentation will not proceed as intended.
Most of the yeast will die off in the beer before it is ready to be bottled or kegged.
The beer will likely be extremely sweet and under-attenuated. The beer will also remain in the fermenter longer, which makes it more susceptible to contamination.
Whirlpool before or after chilling?
The best way to whirlpool your beer is before you chill it. Waiting until after the beer has been chilled can make the process more difficult, especially if it’s been cooled down to 50 °F (10 °C) or less.
Whirlpooling the beer before you chill it will make the process much easier. The beer will be warm, and there will be less risk of it becoming too thick for you to be able to stir it.
Whirlpooling after boil gives you the chance to add aroma hops at lower temperatures that you want to be bright and highly aromatic. This thus gives your brew a great flavor and aroma of the volatile aromatic compounds that evaporate at high temperatures.
Whirlpooling your beer after the boil will help remove the hops and trub from the wort so you don’t have to strain the beer. The longer the beer stays in the boiling kettle the more it will be exposed to the air, which can lead to contamination.
If you’re making a second batch of beer, remember that whirlpooling the beer after the boil will help remove the hops and trub, speeding up the cooling process and making it easier to avoid using filters and strainers.