Settling agents

Grains, malts, hops, yeast, water and other ingredients used to brew. Recipe reviews and suggestions.

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Settling agents

Postby wolf67672 » Sat Jan 03, 2004 10:33 pm

Hi ,I am new to this forum,and have a question for all of you brewers.This is probably something that seems dumb,but I dont know the first thing about making beer.However,my father has made beer before many years ago,and would like to try his hand at it again.
He has a recipe that he would like to use,and it calls for gelatin as a settling agent.My question is... does this mean a gelatin like unflavored powdered Knox bramd gelatin,or is there something more specific that he will need.
Any information that you could give me would be greatly appreciated!! :)
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Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 10:26 pm

Knox works

Postby jayhawk » Sun Jan 04, 2004 12:14 am

I have once used a settling agent, and Knox was what I used. It did the job fine. The purpose of the settling agent is to remove suspended yeast and other protein particles (referred to as trub) from the beer. By doing this you end up with a beer that should finish nice and clear like the store bought stuff. However, if you are bottling the beer, you will need some yeast to remain in the batch in order for the beer to carbonate. Therefore, after using the gelatin and letting it settle out, you will have to add back some yeast to the batch to allow for carbonation. The easiest way to do this is to buy a package of dried yeast from the brewing store and add a few kernels to each bottle before capping them.

You can probably just skip the gelatin step altogether, therefore skipping the additional yeast addition prior to capping. If your dad has yet to brew, he should pick up a package of Irish Moss, which is a sea plant that most brewers use to help facilitate precipition of the trub during the cooling of the beer and during its fermentation. Irish moss should be rehydrated in warm water for 10mins or so, and then added to the brew kettle for the last 10-15mins of the boil. It tends to smell salty and a little like the ocean, but, like gelatin, will not affect the flavour of the finished product at all. The added Irish Moss just becomes part of the sediment layer at the bottom of the fermenter which is made of yeast and trub. The beer is then easily removed off of the sediment by siphoning it in to another fermenting vessel. I use 1/2 teaspoon of Irish moss per 23L batch. Using this stuff will really increase the clarity of the beer. In fact, the only time I had to add gelatin was when I forgot to add Irish Moss to the boil.

Also, because it is added to the boil, Irish moss will not expose the beer to possible introductions of undesirable bacteria. There is a risk of this happening if you add gelatin the batch later on. Also, you eliminate the need to add what is essentially ground up horse hooves, fish bones etc to the beer, instead using an all plant source which is, to me, much more palatable.

This is probably a little more info than you wanted, but I really recommend using the Irish moss over the gelatin. It is just as cost effective and is much easier.
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