What Causes Sediment in Homebrew?
Sediment in homebrew consists of yeast and protein particles.
But where does it come from? Sediment in beer is caused by two things:
The decision not to filter beer before bottling
Other reasons for sediment in your beer include the following:
Contamination of the beer
Flavoring or spicing of the beer
Aging of the beer for more than 6 months to 1 year
Now, let’s understand what each of these reasons means. Below, we will explain each cause and reason.
How Does Bottle Conditioning Create Sediment in Homebrew?
You are familiar with how bottle conditioning works, right? As a homebrewer, you have done it multiple times! Bottle conditioning involves adding sugar and sometimes additional yeast to your beer bottle.
This triggers a second fermentation that occurs inside the beer bottle.
When you naturally carbonate the beer this way, some yeast remains in the beer, resulting in sediment.
Why Does Unfiltered Beer Have Sediment?
When brewers choose not to filter their beer, it leaves behind sediment.
For heavily dry-hopped IPAs, such as NEIPA, the sediment is a mixture of protein and polyphenols. This protein-polyphenol bond is also known as colloidal haze.
Colloidal haze particles are commonly referred to as chill haze particles.
Since brewers do not filter their beer, these particles (sediment) remain.
Why Does Contaminated Beer Have Sediment?
Note that contaminated or infected beer is a rare case.
It is uncommon in commercial beers, so there’s no need to worry. Contaminated beer contains sediment due to wild yeast and bacteria.
If these unwanted microorganisms find their way into the bottle…
The bacteria and wild yeast will overpower the existing yeast in the bottle, leading to replication and the formation of sediment.
Luckily, it’s easy to identify infected or contaminated beer. It will have a bad smell and taste awful.
However, even if the beer is infected and contains sediment, it will not harm you or cause stomach problems.
What Is the Sediment in Fermentation?
Sediment in fermentation differs from the sediment in unfiltered beer. It is not usually referred to as sediment.
The more common term for it is “trub”.
So, what exactly is trub?
Trub is a byproduct of the brewing process. During fermentation, a layer of sediment forms at the bottom of the fermentation vessel.
This sediment, also known as trub, typically consists of:
Additionally, the layer of yeast you see is referred to as lees. However, it is less noticeable as it clumps together with the trub.
What Is the Sediment in the Fermenter?
Whether it’s during fermentation or in your fermenter, the sediment you observe is trub.
In fact, it’s a good sign that your yeast is converting sugars into alcohol. It means you’re on the right track!
However, it’s important to leave the sediment in your fermentation vessel or bucket.
Do not include the sediment when transferring the beer to bottles!