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Clarifying Agents

I’m making a simple Saison and I want it to be very clear. I’ve started reading about various clarifying agents. From acids to fish bones to fish swim bladders… It’s it worth the time to try theses? Which one do you recommend? I’ll bottle about 1/11 or so.

The fish swim bladder clarifier is called isinglass. You can also use unflavored gelatin from the grocery. Mix a teaspoon in about 2/3 cup of warm water and add to your beer. The post fermentation clarifiers work by having positively charged charged molecules that cling to the negatively charged contaminants in the beer and drag them down to the bottom. If you have already brewed the beer it is too late for Irish moss (sea weed), that you add to the boil. But not a bad idea in the future.

With any of the clearing agents you use in the finished beer, it will work better if you can first chill it to near freezing. If you can keep it that cold for a few weeks it will clear without adding anything. The cold crash method helps prevent “chill haze”.

Here is some info on fining agents … r-clarity/

I use Whirlflocin the boil and try to just use time to let the beer clear. Finings are a good way to speed up the process.

I use a cold crash (sometimes just a few days, sometimes weeks/months) plus gelatin, along with whirfloc or REHYDRATED Irish Moss during the boil. Adding plain Irish moss at 15 minutes is not nearly as effective.

I started using this guy’s method of adding gelatin and have had great results. I did stop using whirfloc for a while, and when I resumed, the combination of whirfloc, cold crash and gelatin yielded much better clarity.


Many homebrewers don’t worry about clarity, which is fine. However, I do think that in some cases, using a clarifier will drop out lots of other compounds that can get in the way of the flavor. So clearer beer MAY taste better. Some also say that clarifiers can negatively impact hop flavor/aroma. I’m not sold on that one yet, but if they help drop out suspended yeast/trub, that should ENHANCE hop flavor.

Getting your process under control will result in clear beer without needing finings. Proper pH for the mash, a good vigorous boil to coagulate proteins (hot break), a rapid chill to coagulate more proteins (cold break), and enough time to let all the yeast flocculate out will result in crystal clear beer. A cold crash speeds the process, and finings can overcome problems, particularly Irish Moss (I agree with Pietro, rehydrated works better) and gelatin. Some say that gelatin can strip out flavors, but I haven’t used it enough to say if that is true or not. Like said, give it enough time and it will clear beautifully.

I use whirlfloc, a cold crash, and gelatin. I have not found that it strips hop flavor or aroma. I have used it on numerous PA and IPA and haven’t noticed it.

Gelatin works the best. Dissolve a teaspoon or half pack of the Knox unflavored gelatin in a few ounces of boiling water, then pour into your fermenter. A couple days later your beer is clear as crystal.

I’ve become a huge fan of the gelatin method. Before I would only use Whirlfloc in the boil with decent results but the last 3 or 4 kegs I’ve added gelatin as well and what a huge difference. I haven’t noticed any loss of flavors with gelatin and I brew nothing but APA’s and IPA’s.


Does anyone who use gelatin and bottle condition notice an increase in time it takes to carb due to pulling most of the yeast out of suspension?

If you add gelatin to boiling water, don’t you just get jello? I’ve always let it bloom in cool water for 15-20 minutes before heating it (but not boiling it) THEN adding to the fermenter.

To Matt’s question, I have successfully bottle conditioned after gelatin, but I may have added yeast at packaging. I think there will still be plenty without re-yeasting at packaging, my understanding is that the gel binds to the polyphenols and other coagulated/large proteins and drops them out. Yeast can’t bind to the gel.

Not unless you let it cool!

My method works fine too.

Other way around. Gelatin pulls out yeast marvelously. I don’t know if it pulls out proteins or polyphenols – maybe, maybe not, I’m not sure. But there’s still enough yeast in the beer to carbonate naturally without any issues, i.e., it doesn’t pull out ALL of the yeast.

My standard process: proper mash pH > recirculate runnings for 2-10 minutes using a pump (crystal clear runnings into the kettle) > whirlfloc > rack to a keg > [dry hop if applicable] > cold crash > Biofine Clear. I’m happy with the clarity of my beer.

I often cheat and use highly flocculant yeast.

I’ve skipped the Biofine and there was a difference. I prefer Biofine, because no preparation is required.

I have been toying with the idea of skipping the post-fermentation finings in IPAs. If unflitered IPA works for Heady, why not for my IPA’s?

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