Thursday, February 28, 2013

Simple Instructions for Fining your Beer

One of the challenges facing home brewers is getting perfectly clear beer.

You can use techniques during the brewing process that help promote clear beer.  Planning and executing your brew day properly is the first step in having a clear beer.

  • Design the recipe to minimize high-protein malts when not needed.
  • Ensure the starch is fully converted during the mash by doing an iodine test.
  • Boil vigorously to promote hot break.
  • Add Irish Moss for the last 10 minutes of the boil.
  • Use a wort chiller to promote cold break.

But occasionally you'll either need to clarify your beer after fermentation  or you will simply want to clear it further to ensure a crystal clear product.  The simplest method for this is using unflavored gelatin.

Instructions for Fining Beer with Gelatin

  1. Boil 1 cup of water per 5 gallon batch.
  2. Allow water to cool to 170­F.
  3. Add half of a packet for a 5 gallon batch of unflavored gelatin, stir to dissolve.
  4. Pour into fermentation vessel.
  5. Lightly swirl the vessel to combine.
  6. Wait 48 hours for the protein and yeast matter to drop out of solution.


Q - Can I do this instead of adding Irish Moss to the boil?
A - Using Irish Moss should still be part of your brew process.  The more protein you can remove before fermentation the better.

Q - Can I still dry hop when fining my beer with gelatin?
A - You should dry hop after doing the gelatin fining.  Some people find that the gelatin can reduce the aroma from their dry hopping.

Q - Which brand of gelatin is best to buy? Does it need to be specific to beer?
A - Any brand of unflavored gelatin will work.  Knox, store brand, or the beer-specifc kind.  They are all the same, and have the same effect on your beer.

Q - Does this effect bottle carbonation negatively?
A - No.  There will still be enough yeast to carbonate your beer once bottled.  Remember, when you siphon the beer from the fermentor to the bottling bucket, you will naturally pick up some of the yeast from the bottom of the fermenter.  

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