Clear beer here! Thank you, gelatin

After about a decade of homebrewing – both extract and all-grain – I now want that perfect look I see after emptying contents of many bottles and cans into my glass. I want that golden clarity. I want clear beer.  After a quick trip to my favorite LHBS, words of advice from Arne, and $1.50 for 1 ounce of gelatin, my beer has the look. Beautiful part is – aside from the low, low cost – it’s  so easy to do. Very little prep for this pageant.

One teaspoon into 2/3 cup of water

One teaspoon into 2/3 cup of water

I used filtered water from my fridge, but whatever water you brew with should be fine. I sanitized everything but am not sure I needed to as the solution is going into alcohol anyway.

Heat in the microwave for 20-30 second increments, stirring along the way.

Heat in the microwave for 20-30 second increments, stirring along the way.

I paused after each round of heating for temperature checks and to stir. The dissolved  solution will soon help take yeasties to the Davy Jones Locker of my fermenter. I’ve read differing viewpoints about whether it’s wise to boil or not, but my goal is to simply pasteurize at around 150 degrees.

Poured into COLD secondary.

Poured into COLD secondary

You can use gelatin in primary, secondary or a keg, but it needs to be cold BEFORE, so the gelatin can do its best work.  When cold, more haze-forming particles will gather for the gelatin to take down. I chilled my pale ale to 38 degrees in secondary, poured in the fining agent, then swirled the carboy around a bit. The cold crash continues. Just two days later:

Into the bottling bucket.

Into the bottling bucket.

Clear beer here. This is the second time I’ve used gelatin with S05, a yeast with medium flocculation. A week-long cold crash might yield similar results, but for a few dimes a batch, I can “get the flocc out of there” in just 48 hours.

Ain't that pretty?

Ain’t that pretty?

While John Palmer says “much of the emphasis on using finings is to combat aesthetic chill haze, the real benefit of dropping those compounds is to improve the taste and stability of the beer,” I can’t say I noticed a difference in taste, although certainly no off flavors. It costs about a quarter per batch to get this sparkling success.

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