Sometimes beer could be dull and blurry, which is not so attractive to drink. It’s a common problem for homebrewers that need to find effective ways to deal with it.
Even though it’s not a real issue for mass-production beer brewers in factories, the quality of the beer has to do with its image. That’s why cold crashing is the ideal process to ensure that your beer mix will have the best possible quality and aesthetics.
Today we will talk about cold crashing and if it’s necessary to apply to your homebrew beer mix. Even though you didn’t know that process before, it’s pretty easy, and you will learn it once you see it performed by an expert.
Applying the cold crashing at home is always possible and will add some value to your beer. Follow the next chapters to have a clear explanation of the process and its benefits or drawbacks.
What Is Cold Crashing?
Cold crashing is the introduction of your beer mix to an ice-cold environment. That could lower the temperature close to 0 degrees Celsius and ensure that all the elements that lie freely in your beer will gradually disappear.
The process of cold crashing requires you to have regular control of the temperature. Although it’s rare to freeze your beer, it’s always something you need to control if you want it to have the best premium taste you always wanted.
Beer will need to get close to -10 Celsius degrees to totally freeze since the alcohol concentration inside it lowers the freezing point. However, having close monitoring of the whole process will make it easier for home brewers to protect their precious beer and improve its quality and taste.
How Cold Crashing Improves Your Beer?
Cold crashing allows your beer to become brighter and more transparent. It’s a process that violently lowers the temperature close to zero degrees and helps the small particles in your beer to get to the bottom of the barrel.
When you perform cold crashing in a homebrewing facility, you need to bring the whole beer mix to the lower temperature room. Big-scale beer factories use certain tubes to pass beer through and let it decrease the temperature to achieve cold crashing.
Which Are the Best Ways to Achieve Cold Crashing?
These are the most plausible ways to achieve cold crashing for your beer mix when you brew beer at home:
- Place your beer mix in the freezer: That requires you to have a freezer that is big enough to accept your container. It’s also required for your freezer to go close to zero temperature but not beyond that point.
- Another popular way to achieve cold crashing would be ice baths. You can have your beer barrel inside the ice bath and replenish the ice using buckets. Even though you can’t control the temperature, it would crash your beer mix and make it look clearer after a whole night on the ice.
Are There any Risks During Cold Crashing Your Beer Mix?
The first and most obvious risk would be to have your beer mix freeze. Even though that’s not easy to happen, there is still a chance to have a temperature close to -10 degrees Celsius that could make your beer freeze.
Once you have a frozen beer, it destroys all the taste and the foam creation, making it flat. That’s why you need to avoid freezing during cold crashing at all costs.
Additionally, exposure to oxygen and oxidization is always a risk for your beer mix during cold crashing. It will make the fermentation process stop, so you need to avoid that risk when you cold crash your beer.
Is Cold Crashing Necessary for All Beer Types?
Cold crashing is absolutely necessary when you brew IPAs. That is because they are lighter beers and need to be transparent and free of any residue when you serve them to other people.
However, if you brew stouts and other ales, there is no reason to worry about cold crashing. Your beer could have some cloudy effects when you have a darker ale in the barrel.
Cold crashing is a smart way to have a clearer beer, but it’s not absolutely necessary. That’s why you need to decide if you will use it or not and what the benefits would be for your beer mix.
What Is the Recommended Cold Crashing Duration?
Small-scale homebrewers usually perform cold crashing for a time duration that will never exceed 24 hours. That is because there is no need to prolong the process, and there is no beer clarity improvement after that timeframe.
Cold crashing your beer mix for one day will easily make it more transparent and allow you to bottle it right after the process. Mass production beer factories always perform cold crashing for less than one day before they start bottling their beer mix.
That’s why all beers are clear, especially the blonde ones, that you need to see before you drink them from the glass.
Could Cold Crashing Replace Beer Pasteurization?
Many people insist that cold crashing could kill some germs. However, the process is not identical to pasteurization and should not replace it.
It’s mandatory by law to perform pasteurization on any beer bottle you sell as a home brewer. This pasteurization process includes warming the beer mix to temperatures that could reach 80 degrees Celsius before cooling down the beer again.
As mentioned before, pasteurization removes all the contaminant germs and spores from the beer mix. However, cold crashing cannot remove the spores, and sometimes, there are germs that are resistant to freezing temperatures.
As a result, you should consider cold crashing and pasteurization as two completely different procedures that you need to do before you serve your beer to the public.
Brewers who cold crash their beer mix usually have better acceptance from their audience. You can produce beer that is clear and transparent, giving the perfect taste and advanced aesthetics to beer lovers!