Irish Moss in secondary, OK?

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Irish Moss in secondary, OK?

Postby bredmakr » Wed Nov 28, 2001 6:06 am

During the end of the boil I forgot to add Irish Moss. Fermentation is nearly complete and I need to get this batch to settle. Is it ok to add Irish Moss to the secondary fermenter? Or, is there some other product that would work better in this situation? I know that I could just let it sit for a longer period of time to settle but I want to serve this beer for Christmas.
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Gelatin & Polyclar

Postby BillyBock » Thu Nov 29, 2001 1:34 am

In my last few brews I've experimented with a combination of gelatin and polyclar in the secondary. The idea is the gelatin would clump the excess yeast and the polyclar would attract the chill-haze compounds. So far all the beers have been brilliantly clear. Or if you have space, you could always chill it near freezing to get the yeast to drop. However, you might at least add the polyclar just in case you develop chill haze.
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Irish Moss Is For Cold Break Enhancement...

Postby Mesa Maltworks » Thu Nov 29, 2001 8:59 am

No, irish moss (actually a type of red seaweed) will not work if added to the secondary. Irish moss has to be boiled for at least 10 minutes to put carageenans, the active agents, into solution. This is why it is added toward the end of the boil. Most people have developed the assumption that it is an aid in settling hot break trub, which is composed of vegetative and protein matter, due to when it is added. Actually, irish moss begins binding proteins and dragging them out of solution AFTER the wort is cooled and in the primary fermenter where the cold break takes place.

I have used most of the commercially available fining aids and have discovered that as long as you don't have a severe chill haze, nothing beats liquid isinglas (fish swim bladder extract) for speed and completeness. If you have chill haze, the best aid I've used is PVPP, a powered form of an inert plastic. You dose the warm beer with it and stir it in. You then crash cool the beer below the temperature you expect to serve it and let it sit for 1~2 days. The you have to filter the beer while it is cold to filter out any remaining haze and because not all of the PVPP will sink.

A more moderate approach is to chill the beer to arount 30 to 35 degrees to bring the proteins out of solution so they will be visible. Stir in isinglas and return to the refrigerator and hold the temperature this low for 3~4 days. This should work 90% of the time and will always yield better results than geletin.

Otherwise, as long as the beer tastes good, who cares ! Serve it in stone mugs or something else opaque. Remember, clear beer is a recent invention... you can claim you are respecting historic traditions or something else that sounds convincing and they'll probably buy it !!!
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Don't Sweat It

Postby l48shark » Thu Nov 29, 2001 6:39 pm

On 2 of my most recent batches, I completely forgot to add Irish moss... And didn't even notice until I was brewing the third. If I was brewing for competition then I might have been kicking myself. But they were kegged and served at a couple of parties and nobody noticed; it still tasted great. It sounds like your brew is earmarked for a Christmas party, so you should be OK. I think Mesa was right on at the end of his reply: serve in opaque steins. If anyone actually notices, boast that your beer is unfiltered and extol the virtues of vitamin B complex.

Cheers,
Ford
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Thanks much! Relax...thats the ticket..

Postby bredmakr » Fri Nov 30, 2001 3:16 am

Thanks guys for the good advise. I racked off 5 gal last night and it is very cloudy, but tastes most excellent. Great taste and very filling. Will keep in cold storage for the next two weeks to settle and then let it ride.
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