How to make your beer more clear.

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LostBavarianMan

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I would like to know what I can do to clear up my beer.
I poured a glass of my first brew last night. Witch was an American Blonde Ale.
while it was tasty a little head need to try and not chill it so cold.
But it was no where near clear. So how can I make my beer more clear? I know it wont be as clear as commercial beer but there has to be a way.
I was told that Irish moss helps to clear it up. Any thoughts on this?
 

frazier

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Time makes a difference. How old is your beer? And we would need to know more about your process.

On a list of things worth worrying about, it's pretty close to the bottom. As you start to dial in other parts of your process, your beers will start to clear up as if by magic.
 

Indyking

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I'm assuming you are talking about commercial lagers when you mentioned "commercial beers".

First of all, Ales will never, and should never for that matter, be as clear as commercial lagers because they are different styles.

Ales tend to be hazy by nature, but there are a few things you can do to improve it:

- Cold break needs to occur as quickly as possible to result in clearer beer. If you are using ice bath, just make sure you have a lot of ice to keep the bath very cold, otherwise the best way to accomplish this is getting a counter-flow chiller.
- Irish moss is controversial. A recent article in BYO showed that while Irish moss helps clear the wort during the first stages of fermentation, the final carbonated beer ready to drink showed little or no improvement.
- You can also filter your beer.
 

breez7

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It could be a lot of things but Irish moss will help coagulate the proteins during the cold break. Put it in 15 min before the end of the boil, I use about a tsp per 5 gal. Then make sure you are cooling the wort down quickly to ensure a good cold break.

Also time is key. I always let me beers sit for 3 weeks minimum before I start thinking about bottling or kegging. The yeast need time to clean up after themselves once fermentation is complete.
 

gregpio85

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frazier said:
Time makes a difference. How old is your beer? And we would need to know more about your process.

On a list of things worth worrying about, it's pretty close to the bottom. As you start to dial in other parts of your process, your beers will start to clear up as if by magic.
Agreed. Irish moss will help. So will gelatin in your fermenter I'm told, but the better your process the better the beer. I.e. Sanitation, temp control, etc.
 

stevo155

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I use Whirlfloc in the boil and gelatin in the keg and they come out commercial-grade clear. You can also use gelatin in the fermenter if you don't keg. Search the forum for Gelatin finings.
 

bonzombiekitty

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There's a couple of different things to do.

1. Use a teaspoon of irish moss or a whirfloc tablet towards the end of your boil.
2. Cool down the beer as quickly as possible after the boil. The faster you do the cool down, the more proteins you can get to fall out of suspension. The slower, the more chill haze.
3. Give it plenty of time to clarify in the bucket/carboy and bottle condition. The longer it sits, the more proteins and yeast will fall out of suspension.
4. Cold crash. Even if you don't want to drink the beer at fridge temps, keep the beer in the fridge for a few days. That will get even more proteins out of suspension.


Some people swear by adding gelatin, but I've never done it, and there seems to be a little dispute as to what this might do if you are not force carbing.
 

COLObrewer

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Was this first glass from a bottle or a keg? The first pour from a keg is typically hazy.
 

sensibull

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I recently started using gelatin in my beer, a few days after cold crashing the keg (but before carbonating). I haven't taken a great picture yet, but my beers have turning out amazingly clear. The instructions I follow are here, only I'd recommend starting with tepid water as warm water started the coagulation process too soon.

To clarify, the gelatin used is plain, unflavored Knox, available in every grocery store. I also use Whirlfloc during the last 15 min. of the boil and always cold crash before serving.
 

Indyking

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Well, forgot to mention cold conditioning, It will help for sure.

Regarding Irish moss, like I said, the results of the BYO magazine a couple of issues ago showed it has little to no effect in the finished conditioned beer. I personally found it was a waste of time and money and was glad when the article came out with the results of the experiment.
 
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LostBavarianMan

LostBavarianMan

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Let me see if I can answer some of these questions.
First let me say this I know I rushed the process I went from fermenter to glass in 18 days.
I bottle havent moved into kegs yet.
I cool my wort in an ice bath I really need to make a chiller.
Ok good to know about ales and lagers like that.
I have my second brew in the fermenter now is it to late to add geliten to the fermenter?
Im sure I will have more questions.
 

COLObrewer

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You don't want to add gelatin until fermentation is complete, i. e. you have reached FG.
 

Valcarde

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Let me see if I can answer some of these questions.
First let me say this I know I rushed the process I went from fermenter to glass in 18 days.
I bottle havent moved into kegs yet.
I cool my wort in an ice bath I really need to make a chiller.
Ok good to know about ales and lagers like that.
I have my second brew in the fermenter now is it to late to add geliten to the fermenter?
Im sure I will have more questions.
If you don't have a wort chiller, there's something you can do in addition to an ice bath that can help (if you have a bug enough pot to handle it).

Soda bottles (1 or 2 liter) filled with water, and frozen. Sanitize the outside of the bottles and put them into the wort inside the ice bath. Cheap alternative to the wort chiller for now. I did that with my last two batches and I was at pitching temps within 15 minutes, using two 2l bottles, used in concert with an ice-bath.
 
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LostBavarianMan

LostBavarianMan

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If you don't have a wort chiller, there's something you can do in addition to an ice bath that can help (if you have a bug enough pot to handle it).

Soda bottles (1 or 2 liter) filled with water, and frozen. Sanitize the outside of the bottles and put them into the wort inside the ice bath. Cheap alternative to the wort chiller for now. I did that with my last two batches and I was at pitching temps within 15 minutes, using two 2l bottles, used in concert with an ice-bath.
I never even thought about this very cool idea. Thank you very much.

You don't want to add gelatin until fermentation is complete, i. e. you have reached FG.
COLObrewer and then how much gel do I add to the fermenter? This is a 5 gall batch.And then do I mix it, and how long do I let it sit with the gel?
 

COLObrewer

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. . . . . COLObrewer and then how much gel do I add to the fermenter? This is a 5 gall batch.And then do I mix it, and how long do I let it sit with the gel?
I use a half packet (Knox unflavored gelatin) for a 5-6 gallon batch, disolve it in hot water, cool it a little, add it, swirl a little, wait till the beer is clear enough for your tastes. You can chill it at this time also.:mug:
 

PVH

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First of all, Ales will never, and should never for that matter, be as clear as commercial lagers because they are different styles.

Ales tend to be hazy by nature
Not saying you are definitely incorrect here, but can you back this up? I have made ales that are every bit as clear as my lagers. Please explain why ale yeast produces haze in beer.
 

wolverinebrewer

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I would like to know what I can do to clear up my beer.
I poured a glass of my first brew last night. Witch was an American Blonde Ale.
while it was tasty a little head need to try and not chill it so cold.
But it was no where near clear. So how can I make my beer more clear? I know it wont be as clear as commercial beer but there has to be a way. I was told that Irish moss helps to clear it up. Any thoughts on this?
Yes, you can have beer as clear as commercial. Mine is and yours can be too. Just follow what these guys are saying. I believe time is a key factor. I have had bottles in the fridg for 2 months and when in the glass I can read through it. Also I believe time in primary is a factor. I leave beer in primary for a month and then bottle. It is pretty clear at this point.


Regarding Irish moss, like I said, the results of the BYO magazine a couple of issues ago showed it has little to no effect in the finished conditioned beer. I personally found it was a waste of time and money and was glad when the article came out with the results of the experiment.
Wow, I have a 2 oz. bag that cost me $3. It takes me about 10 seconds to scoop out a teaspoon and throw it in. This $3 bag will last at least 15 five gal. batches. I think I'll continue to spend $.20 per batch.
 

ASantiago

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Soda bottles (1 or 2 liter) filled with water, and frozen. Sanitize the outside of the bottles and put them into the wort inside the ice bath.
You have no concerns about the high temps getting chemicals out of the plastic and into the wort?
 

Hang Glider

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Let me see if I can answer some of these questions.
First let me say this I know I rushed the process I went from fermenter to glass in 18 days.

I think you may have hit upon the major issue here.

Time and patience will help clarify your beers. Try 3-4 weeks in the fermenter, 3 weeks in the bottle, then pour slowly, leaving the last 1/4" behind. I'm willing to bet you will get a much clearer product.
 

Valcarde

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You have no concerns about the high temps getting chemicals out of the plastic and into the wort?
Considering that the wort isn't consistently boiling, and that the whole thing is being chilled by the ice inside of the bottles themselves, as well as the washing of the bottles both before and after, I'm not really worried about it. Won't change the taste of the beer and rapidly cools it.
 

jeffmeh

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Given enough time, it will clear. Cold-crashing speeds up the process, as does gelatin. Chilling the wort quickly is a fine practice, but I find that to be less of an issue. I do no-chill, cold-crash in primary after 3-4 weeks, add gelatin after it's down to about 33F, and my brews are crystal clear. I also use Irish moss in the boil.
 

quadbikerjosh

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so what if you want to use gelitain if your dry hopping in your secondary? do i use gelitain in the keg instead?
 

jeffmeh

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so what if you want to use gelitain if your dry hopping in your secondary? do i use gelitain in the keg instead?
Dry hop first for as long as you need to reach your desired flavor profile, then you can add the gelatin. Gelatin in the keg is another viable option.
 
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LostBavarianMan

LostBavarianMan

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Thanks for all the answers I pulled a hydro sample 2 days ago and this beer is clearing nicely I am bottling Saturday and by then it should be very clear. I left in it in the primary for Saturday well be 20 days. Again thanks for all the help.
 
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