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Old 04-01-2010, 01:12 PM   #1
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Default Agar Agar as an alternative to Gelatin?

I have some flakes of agar agar I bought from the health food store on a whim a while ago. Right now, I'm making a stout, so clarity is not so big right now, but in the future I know I'll be making lighter beers. Some of my friends are vegetarians, so I don't want to use gelatin for assisted clearing, and I don't feel like buying Irish moss if I already have something that would work.

Since agar agar is loaded with carrageenan, can I use it?

Failing that, I can always use it to make apple mock-caviar.

PS: Yes I know the gelatin drops into the trub and doesn't make it into the beer, but that's irrelevant to most vegetarians. Dead animals were still used to make the final product, so it's still morally bad to them.

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Old 04-01-2010, 01:47 PM   #2
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I suspect that agar wouldn't work as a fining agent . It might work in place of irish moss, but it is more expensive. Looking at the structure of gelatin it has a mix of residues with positive and negative charges. It is these charges that give it it's binding properties. Agar has only negative charges so things with a predominately negative charge are unlikely to bind and precipitate. That being said, I'm not sure what the predominant surface charge are yeast are, but I would suspect it tends to be negative.

Polyclar is another alternative. Of course this is a "chemical" so some people might not like that either.
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Old 04-01-2010, 03:40 PM   #3
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You could try Bentonite clay into secondary, I use it with wines and mead sometimes, and have had ok results with beer (just when I forgot the Irish Moss). I generally use Irish moss and usually dont worry about fining/gelatin.
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