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belmontbrew 10-14-2010 04:07 AM

Gelatin Or Not?
 
Ok, I know it's not a big deal and I should be RDWHAHBing, but...

I have a helles-like ale fermenting in the garage. This is my first from scratch recipe, and I have really big hopes for how great it will come out. I don't enter competitions, but I would really like this to be my flagship brew and just knock the socks off my friends.

I used Whirlfloc during the boil, and was going to just bottle condition as normal, but then I started to think about gelatin for extra clarity. I can't do a crash cool, but I can store carbonated bottles in the fridge for a few weeks before drinking.

So, is the gelatin going to give me "wow" clarity without affecting head retention or carbonation, or should I not bother?

All opinions appreciated!

Suthrncomfrt1884 10-14-2010 04:24 AM

Don't bother. A long primary (3-4 weeks) and a little time in the bottle will be fine.

rocketman768 10-14-2010 05:49 PM

Personally, if you are going for clarity, I find that you cannot beat gelatin. You don't have to crash cool either, as long as you can get the temp somewhere reasonable 60-70F. Boil a cup or so of water to sterilize, let cool to below 170F, put in 1 to 3 tsp of knox gelatin per 5 gal, let it rehydrate for 10-30min, bring back up to 170F (do NOT boil), and pour straight into the fermenter. The next day, you will have perfectly clear beer. Also, in my experience, this does not seem to hurt the head retention.

stubbornman 10-14-2010 06:08 PM

I do the same as rocketman, except I add it to the keg, and it seems to take longer than a day for me. Usually by the time the beer has fully carbed (10-14 days) it is clear.

I say go for it, it isn't hard at all.

lyacovett 10-14-2010 06:21 PM

I used it only once. I have always had somewhat hazy beer. I decided to use gelatin in a pale ale, and it was crystal clear. I don't think it affected body or head retention at all.

It's worth a shot. If it doesn't work for you, your only out like a dollar.

MikeP 10-14-2010 06:26 PM

If you have any vegetarian friends, be sure and mention it to them before they consume.

avibayer 10-14-2010 06:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Suthrncomfrt1884 (Post 2336333)
Don't bother. A long primary (3-4 weeks) and a little time in the bottle will be fine.

Not trying to hijack the thread. I am also a supporter of gelatin use, though i haven't yet gotten the clarity i want. But i was recently told that i should have the beer in the primary and secondary as little as possible, and age and mature the beer in the bottles. Any thoughts? and if this has any impact on clarity?

Suthrncomfrt1884 10-14-2010 06:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by avibayer (Post 2337484)
Not trying to hijack the thread. I am also a supporter of gelatin use, though i haven't yet gotten the clarity i want. But i was recently told that i should have the beer in the primary and secondary as little as possible, and age and mature the beer in the bottles. Any thoughts? and if this has any impact on clarity?

This was the old way of thinking.

Leaving the beer on the yeast for an extra few weeks will allow the yeast to clean up any off flavors they've created during primary. There was a recent article in BYO on the extended use of primary vs. 2 week primary, 1 week secondary. I'd say take a look at it. Interesting stuff. Either way, with most beers, extended bottle conditioning will also improve the beer. You should definitely be leaving your beer in primary for 3-4 weeks, unless it's an IPA or wheat beer.

As for gelatin use...I'm not quite sold on it. Yes, it works. But, with proper hot break, cold break, and a good long primary, your beer should come out crystal clear. I strain out the break material before it hits the fermenter, and that also helps.

Mischief_Brewing 10-20-2010 04:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MikeP (Post 2337478)
If you have any vegetarian friends, be sure and mention it to them before they consume.

I've been able to successfully make vegetarians consume gelatin, willingly. If they eat cheese, then there's a 90+% chance that they're consuming products derived from the killing of an animal. Nearly all cheese production uses rennin (derived from the intestinal lining of young cows) to begin the culturing of the cheese.

It's an easier argument for beer clarified with gelatin since all of the gelatin drops out and they won't be consuming it anyway...

MikeP 10-20-2010 05:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mischief_Brewing (Post 2349791)
I've been able to successfully make vegetarians consume gelatin, willingly. If they eat cheese, then there's a 90+% chance that they're consuming products derived from the killing of an animal. Nearly all cheese production uses rennin (derived from the intestinal lining of young cows) to begin the culturing of the cheese.

It's an easier argument for beer clarified with gelatin since all of the gelatin drops out and they won't be consuming it anyway...



You make a good point about the gelatin dropping out.

Actually though - a lot of commerically produced cheese uses enzymes and not rennet these days. My SWMBO is vegetarian (has been for years and years) and we read cheese labels looking for those made with enzymes and not rennet.


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