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Cold-Crashing Ales After Dry-Hopping


Grandmaster Brewer
Jul 6, 2012
Reaction score
Plain City, OH
At what point along the temperature scale does ale yeast drop out to the extent there wouldn't be enough left come bottling time?

I plan to dry-hop my upcoming IPA using pellets in the secondary, and I've seen tips here and there saying to cold-crash before bottling to be sure all hop particles have settled out. If I'm going to crash it for that purpose, I'd like to not remove too much yeast so as to avoid problems with bottle-conditioning, should I choose to bottle.

Is there a reasonable temperature where one could expect hop particles to drop out more easily while staying away from temperatures that are likely to put my yeast into a coma?

P.S. I also plan on using a hop-sock on my auto-siphon just in case...
I've got a carboy in the fridge at 35 degrees F for a month now. This is a secondary fermentation. I fully expect to bottle with no issues when I get to it at some point this week.
You won't have any problems with bottle conditioning if you cold crash, even for a month. There will be plenty of yeast left even in a beer that appears perfectly clear to properly carbonate your beer.

Even if the carbonation process takes a bit longer, the increased quality of the finished beer will more than make it worth the wait.
Thanks guys, that's good news. Suggestions on a minimum crash time/temp to get the dry-hops to settle out? I'd like to build that time into the 7-day dry-hop schedule.
Sorry to hijack an old thread, but I'm going to dry hop my first beer and have a question about cold crashing and can't seem to find the answer I'm looking for.

When I decided to dry hop, I hadn't even heard about cold crashing, my plan was to dry hop with loose pellets in the primary after about 7 days of fermenting and then let it dry hop for 7 days and then bottle. A lot of people are suggesting cold crashing as a way to make it easier to rack to the bottling bucket, which I get(and want).  So I guess my question is, should I start cold crashing during the 7 day dry hopping period or wait the full 7 days and then cold crash? And how long is the cold crash for? I see some people leaving it for months, I was thinking just a couple of days.

I also have one more question about the cold crashing environment, I don't have a fridge, I'll be using the storage area off my apt. This time of year its about 30-40 F but fluctuates 5 to 15 during the day(there are two windows in there, but I'll be keeping the carboy inside a cardboard box and far away from any of the windows so no light gets in). Is the temp fluctuation going to cause me any problems?

Or should I just use a filter on my auto siphon and forget about the cold crash?

My training is to cold crash the primary for one to two days after fermentation is complete. Then rack to secondary for dry hopping. You should get the beer off the dead yeast and trub for proper conditioning. You'll know when fermentation is complete by getting the same hydrometer reading three days in a row. This can be anywhere from 10 to 14 days. Patience is usually not one of the better virtues of a beginning brewer. Therefore, you might want to consider buying additional carboys so you can increase the frequency of your brewing and give each batch the proper amount of time for all brewing phases. When I first started, my buddies all wanted to know how much time it takes from start to finish. You can easily get something of acceptable quality in two weeks. However, if you gave that same batch a month or two to condition, it makes all the difference in the world.
Patience is not my issue. I don't want to rack this to a secondary, because of fear of oxidation and possible contamination.(trying to keep it simple for the 1st one).

I've read in a lot of places that dry hopping in the primary right at the end of fermentation works well. You just then cold crash it before bottling. I just can't seem to find an answer on the timing of it.
+1 to everything Mike said.

If you don't plan on racking to a secondary; you may still cold-crash in the primary after dry-hopping but please be sure to check the gravity as Mike suggested at least 2 days in a row (3 is even better) to ensure there are no further changes in gravity.

Once you've confirmed fermentation is done, the yeast are still cleaning up after themselves, getting rid of the byproducts of fermentation - you'll want to leave it at or around fermentation temperatures for at least a few more days to allow for this process.

Now you can toss in the hop pellets and let sit for your prescribed amount of time (3 or 4 days will get most if not all of the aroma into your brew - 7 days won't hurt anything - plenty of folks go even longer) THEN crash to as close to 32 as you can get it for a few days. This should drop just about everything out of suspension and leave you with a nice (fairly) clear beer for racking to the bottling bucket.

Remember to practice good sanitation when racking and keep the drain tube at the bottom of the bucket to avoid splashing, which could result in oxidation and potential off-flavors down the road.

That's what I was looking for.

Most of what I'd read said if you don't plan on racking to a secondary you can just leave it in the primary for 14 days and you'd be G2G on bottling. But since I was planning on dry hopping I didn't know exactly when a good time would be to start. And then once I started reading about cold crashing I was beginning to get overwhelmed.

So I'll start taking gravity readings around day 7 and once I get 3 days in a row of the same reading I'll dry hop. I'll do this at 65-70 F temp for 5 days and then cold crash for 2 or 3 and then bottle.

Thanks for all the help guys

I'm not convinced that temperature plays any role in hops sinking. I'll bet you see some floating after 3 days. Your gonna wanna have some method of straining or just deal with the occasional hop particle floating in your bottles.
Don't forget to sanitize your hydrometer or any other utensil you plan to use to extract your beer for measuring gravity!
In the few I've done recently, it has been my experience that the pellet hops dissolve fairly quickly once added to the beer and form sort of a green foam layer that sits on top for several days. I've had pretty good luck getting most if not all of this green foam layer to drop by lowering the temp to around 32 F for 2 or 3 days before racking.

I've not yet used whole hops in the primary or secondary but from what I've heard; they do not like to drop even when crashed so some kind of filter during racking is desired.

While there may be a particle or two lingering post-crash; I'll still use a hop-sock or other filtering means (cheese-cloth works great!) at the end of my auto-siphon secured with a zip-tie and soaked in sanitizer to be sure what gets racked is free of floaters.
I dry hop for 7-10 days and cold crash for 1-2 days and the hops settle fine in that amount of time.
+1 Philm and Skippy.

I jumped on the "rack to a secondary" bandwagon...been off for a while. Haven't found any difference other then less work and less chance of contamination by not racking to secondary. After primary fermentation (3-4 days) I dry hop in same vessel for 7 days and cold crash to 34-35°F for two days. Great results. Great clarity.  Remember cold crashing a plastic carboy will suck down your sanitizer solution in the airlock and  collapse the sidewalls due to the temp change. I just remove the stopper and airlock and place sterile gauze on the mouth of the carboy. Once it reaches crash temp i replace the stopper and airlock.  (Sorry..just a sidebar)
Even if the entire airlock full of starsan ends up in the beer, you will never taste the difference. 

A cold crash might draw half of the contents of the airlock into the beer.  It's OK.  Really.

It's better than oxygen.  However, avoid using iodine sanitizers in the airlock because you might taste that.
Skippy's right, no big deal if its StarSan....to me just didn't want that little bit of chemical in the beer.....  It's all in my head.   

On another note the oxygen it will suck in will be minimal and won't touch the beer because of layer of CO2, which is heavier, sitting on top. Your choice. I use sterile gauze method without ill effects because the sides of my PET carboy don't suck in and put unwanted stress on the plastic walls.

Brew on!