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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Isinglass in chilled secondary
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Old 04-01-2010, 10:33 AM   #1
thelusiv
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Default Isinglass in chilled secondary

[This started as a reply to this thread but I decided to make a new thread. However the last post in that thread was where I found the procedure for using the isinglass I got.]

The above information is quite helpful. But I have a few questions. First here's what I did already (note: all equipment was sanitized, not bothering to write all that).

  • Forgot to throw a whirfloc tablet into boil. Oops! It's a pale ale so I decided to do some post-fermentation clarifying. This is my first time trying this.
  • Got some isinglass from Northern Brewer (this stuff).
  • Racked from primary to keg, put keg in fridge at ~38°F, for about 24 hours.
  • Used a wine thief to remove about 500 mL of chilled beer. Chill haze is clearly present.
  • Added 1 packet (45 mL) of the isinglass solution from NB to chilled beer sample.
  • Put beer/isinglass mixture into the blender for about 2.5 minutes. Beer was just at 60°F when finished. Bottled, capped, refrigerated for about one hour.
  • Added re-chilled mixture to keg of beer. Stirred with brewing spoon. Removed ~8 oz sample in clear bottle for observation.
  • Attached CO2 to OUT post on keg, bled off oxygen. Moved CO2 to IN post. Set regulator at 12 psi.
My goal here is clear, carbonated beer by Saturday evening. I will siphon some out into a growler, not transfer to another keg, at that point. I'll leave the rest to continue clarifying and transfer it later.

Questions:

Will carbonating and clarifying work OK simultaneously?

Will this be reasonably close to clear in just a few days? The packet says 2 weeks - that long really? or is it mostly done a fair amount sooner than that?

Is one packet enough? I have another and I could repeat this procedure. I don't want to overdo it, as it seems like it is mostly ineffective anyway. If I do repeat this, will it make the clarifying go quicker?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 04-01-2010, 02:18 PM   #2
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I haven't used isinglass for beer, so I don't know how long it will take. If you want it carbed by Saturday, though, you have to turn the pressure up. You can put it at 30 psi until Saturday morning, or Friday night, and check it. It should carb up ok by Saturday if you keep it at 30 psi for about 24-36 hours.

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Old 04-01-2010, 11:47 PM   #3
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Thanks YooperBrew. I turned it up some more, I think it's at 25 psi now. I somewhat dislike trying to quickly force carb at high rates because it is hard (for me) to predict what kind of carbonation levels I will end up with...but I am kinda stuck at this point.

Anybody else used isinglass in a small batch before?

For what it's worth, the clear bottle I set out is already showing some clearing, after less than 24 hours. I guess that's a good sign that I did something right...

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Old 04-02-2010, 12:29 AM   #4
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Isinglass and Irish Moss are both fining materials, though their uses differ wildly. The principle behind both products is the same: Bonding with materials present in wort/beer to create larger masses which settle more quickly than smaller masses.

Whirlfloc - processed Irish Moss - is a kettle coagulant. It bonds with break proteins. Note kettle finings don't really work with hot break - on the contrary, they work with cold break.

Isinglass is most commonly used in naturally-conditioned ales, specifically cask-conditioned "real ale". Isinglass - a fish product, so vegans take note! - bonds with yeast, causing less-flocculent cells to clump together and precipitate more quickly. It is not a multiple-use material; if the cask is roused more than, say, three times it loses its effectiveness. Warm temperatures (over, say, 70F) denature the material. When used properly, it is very, very effective. Isinglass will not remove chill haze proteins. It will only bond with yeast.

The most effective methods for reducing chill haze are procedural and ingredient-intensive. They include liquor chemistry, malt selection, mash/sparge procedure, sparge liquor pH, proper boil procedure, rapid chilling, quick separation of trub from the bitter wort, long(ish) periods of cold storage (lagering), and filtration. If you seek a product to reduce chill haze in a beer already brewed, the only thing I can recommend is Polyclar (PVPP) or Polyclar Plus (PVPP plus silica gel). The reason Isinglass will not remove chill-haze compounds (a protein-polyphenol complex) is due to the ionic charge of the two materials. Yeast and haze complexes have different charges; Isinglass targets one and PVPP the other (no, I can't remember at the moment which is which! ).

Short story - to reduce chill haze formation:

1. Use a well-modified, low nitrogen pale malt for the bulk of the grist.
2. Don't oversparge; polyphenol content in sparge wort rises exponentially as runoff gravity decreases.
3. Maintain a vigorous boil for at least sixty minutes. I personally recommend 90 minutes.
4. Use a kettle coagulant like Whirlfloc.
5. Chill the bitter wort as rapidly as possible, and as soon as the wort is at pitching temperature knock the wort out into the fermenter, leaving as much break material behind in the kettle as is humanly possible.
6. Use a tank fining like Isinglass to remove yeast once the ferment is complete.
7. Cold-condition your beers - even ales - for a period of time. A week, minimum. If you still see haze, consider permitting more time "lagering". If after "long" cold-conditioning* you still see haze, consider treating the beer with Polyclar.

That's about it! Hope that helps.

Cheers,

Bob

* The definition of "long" is relative. For some beers/people, that's a week. For others, it's months.

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