Irish moss ineffective?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Tidwellc

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2012
Messages
120
Reaction score
30
Location
Dallas
Ok, so third brew ever, and first brew with irish moss or any sort of clarifier. I threw it in at 15 minutes left in the boil, about 1 1/2 tsp. of it. Spent about a week in the primary, racked it over to secondary and poured a sample for the hydro and noticed it had not cleared up at all, just as cloudy as my last beer which was a dunkelweizen. Does it take longer than a week to clarify? It's still got another couple weeks to go before bottling day, so should it clear up by then or did I do something wrong?
 

drhookmec

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2011
Messages
281
Reaction score
3
Location
Pontiac
Irish moss only helps clear up the wort during the post boil cool down.

After the beer has been moved to the primary the irish moss is gone.
you can try some gelatin finings in the secondary that should help clear up your beer.
 

Bmorebrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2010
Messages
473
Reaction score
14
Location
Baltimore
Time is usually the answer here. If it doesn't seem to be settling as quickly as you'd like, you can add gelatin when you bottle. Works awesome.
 

cperry7467

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2010
Messages
101
Reaction score
2
Location
Louisville
Gelatin really does the trick for me. I've used it on my last couple of beers and think it works great. I just put some in my secondary a couple days ago and within 24 hours i could see through the carboy. Love gelatin.
 

rawlus

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2010
Messages
515
Reaction score
58
Location
milford, ma
Transfer to secondary after a week? That's a little rushed IMHO... Most agree a secondary is not always needed but you can go 30 days in primary and that gives a good deal of time for ferment to complete, yeast cleanup to happen and flocculation....

Gelatin is a reliable fining agent, I would not use it on a dry-hopped beer as I am too concerned about stripping the aroma but otherwise it's very reliable. Works well in conjunction with cold crashing.
 

JLem

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2009
Messages
3,644
Reaction score
187
Location
Attleboro
what type of beer is this batch? what yeast did you use? Some yeast strains do not flocculate well, staying in suspension a long time. As indicated above, Irish moss only helps with remove certain types of proteins, so it will not help with other sources of cloudiness (e.g. yeast, tannins, polyphenols)
 
OP
Tidwellc

Tidwellc

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2012
Messages
120
Reaction score
30
Location
Dallas
Transfer to secondary after a week? That's a little rushed IMHO... Most agree a secondary is not always needed but you can go 30 days in primary and that gives a good deal of time for ferment to complete, yeast cleanup to happen and flocculation....
I was taught to transfer to secondary after about a week. Mostly because initial fermentation is mostly over after a few days, and leaving it in a plastic fermenter could possibly cause it to become oxidized if left in for too long.

But as far as the gelatin is concerned, what would be the best method to introduce it into the car boy? Does it need to be stirred into the wort or mixed up in any way, or just pitch it on in?

what type of beer is this batch? what yeast did you use? Some yeast strains do not flocculate well, staying in suspension a long time. As indicated above, Irish moss only helps with remove certain types of proteins, so it will not help with other sources of cloudiness (e.g. yeast, tannins, polyphenols)
It is an Irish Red recipe, and the yeast was WLP004. The recipe did call for the moss (making me assume it is in fact "clarifiable").

I think I may try the gelatin trick, although getting it thoroughly mixed might be difficult. Since it is already in a glass carboy, I could make up some gel solution, put it in the bottom of an empty bottling bucket, siphon the beer into the bucket to mix, and then siphon back into another carboy? Am I on the right track or am I thinking too hard?..
 

JLem

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2009
Messages
3,644
Reaction score
187
Location
Attleboro
I was taught to transfer to secondary after about a week. Mostly because initial fermentation is mostly over after a few days, and leaving it in a plastic fermenter could possibly cause it to become oxidized if left in for too long.

But as far as the gelatin is concerned, what would be the best method to introduce it into the car boy? Does it need to be stirred into the wort or mixed up in any way, or just pitch it on in?



It is an Irish Red recipe, and the yeast was WLP004. The recipe did call for the moss (making me assume it is in fact "clarifiable").

I think I may try the gelatin trick, although getting it thoroughly mixed might be difficult. Since it is already in a glass carboy, I could make up some gel solution, put it in the bottom of an empty bottling bucket, siphon the beer into the bucket to mix, and then siphon back into another carboy? Am I on the right track or am I thinking too hard?..
You'll find debate on this, but a lot of homebrewers are no longer using a secondary. The risk of oxidation in the plastic bucket is really not an issue if only leaving it there for a relatively short time (3-6 weeks).

Wlp004 flocculates pretty well, so I doubt you should have to worry about a yeast haze. The haze you have may be from excessive tannins/polyphenols and/or proteins not pulled out of suspension my the Irish moss. Lots of things can affect these compounds - water chemistry, recipe, pH, hops. Here's a nice primer on polyphenols that may help you figure out where to start looking. http://www.draymans.com/articles/arts/05.html
 

keesh

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2011
Messages
325
Reaction score
29
Location
Central Coast, CA
what type of beer is this batch? what yeast did you use? Some yeast strains do not flocculate well, staying in suspension a long time. As indicated above, Irish moss only helps with remove certain types of proteins, so it will not help with other sources of cloudiness (e.g. yeast, tannins, polyphenols)
Isn't that a redundancy? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tannin
 

Grinder12000

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2008
Messages
2,996
Reaction score
50
Location
Columbus WI
Transferring in 1 week is not a good thing as you need the yeast to clean up after themselves and thus make the beer slightly clearer but mainly make the beer taste better. Plus they might not be active looking, but they are working very hard doing many other things.
 

cperry7467

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2010
Messages
101
Reaction score
2
Location
Louisville
I do a 1 week primary on lighter beers, no problems. As far as gelatin, I put it in a couple ounces of cold water for an hour in a pot, then boil, cover the pot and cool the pot down in an ice bath then just pour it in slowly. I don't stir it, seems to work fine without stirring.
 

RM-MN

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2010
Messages
14,640
Reaction score
5,450
Location
Solway
I was taught to transfer to secondary after about a week. Mostly because initial fermentation is mostly over after a few days, and leaving it in a plastic fermenter could possibly cause it to become oxidized if left in for too long.
I think you had a bad teacher. One of the posters has left his beer in the primary for something over 8 months without autolysis or oxidation issues. Racking to secondary is as likely to lead to oxidation as leaving it in the plastic bucket for a longer time.
 
OP
Tidwellc

Tidwellc

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2012
Messages
120
Reaction score
30
Location
Dallas
I do a 1 week primary on lighter beers, no problems. As far as gelatin, I put it in a couple ounces of cold water for an hour in a pot, then boil, cover the pot and cool the pot down in an ice bath then just pour it in slowly. I don't stir it, seems to work fine without stirring.
So just slowly funnel it into the carboy?
 
OP
Tidwellc

Tidwellc

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2012
Messages
120
Reaction score
30
Location
Dallas
I think you had a bad teacher. One of the posters has left his beer in the primary for something over 8 months without autolysis or oxidation issues. Racking to secondary is as likely to lead to oxidation as leaving it in the plastic bucket for a longer time.
Marty Nachel.
 

DonMagee

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2011
Messages
384
Reaction score
40
Location
Granger
I've only done 3 brews (brewers best kits with their "mini-mash" instructions so far and I'm about to go all grain on my 4th here in a week or two.

My first beer (IPA) was very cloudy and I did 10 days primary, 2 weeks secondary, 3 weeks bottle. After a about 3 months bottle time and a week it is actually clear now (also, it tastes a lot less bitter). My second beer I did 3 weeks in the primary, and then dry hoped it for another week in the primary (rye pale ale) and cold crashed it to about 35 degrees (the temp of my garage) before bottling. It looked very cloudy in the bottle, but the chill haze cleared up after some time in the fridge.

My last beer was a chocolate oatmeal stout (3oz 90 cocoa chocolate added last 5 minutes of boil and as a 'dry hop'). I simply left it in the primary for 6 weeks and in the bottle for 4 weeks and it is the clearest beer I've made yet (and also my favorite to date).

I'm pretty sold on no secondary. I think a lot of my cloudy issues were simply poor racking technique and faster wort cooling. The newest piece of gear I added in my last brew was a immersion chiller. Took almost 10 minutes off my chill time.
 

Nateo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2010
Messages
2,050
Reaction score
44
Location
Bennett Springs
Some of the best wines in the world are produced "sur lie" meaning resting on the lees (old yeast). To the extent that autolysis is an issue in homebrewing (I personally don't think it is), it is not necessarily a bad thing, and is in fact desired for a number of reasons in winemaking.
 

cperry7467

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2010
Messages
101
Reaction score
2
Location
Louisville
So just slowly funnel it into the carboy?
You can... I just pour it out of my pot that I boiled it in so I don't have to worry about sanitizing a funnel. You just want to keep splashing down to a minimum, adding 2 ounces isn't going to ruin your beer even if it does splash a little so don't sweat it.

How much gelatin do you use?
I use 1/2 tsp but I've seen some sites say to add as much as 1 tsp.
 
OP
Tidwellc

Tidwellc

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2012
Messages
120
Reaction score
30
Location
Dallas
I will be bottle-conditioning this beer, will using gelatin in the secondary cause problems by settling out the yeast? Or will there still be enough yeast suspended to carb the bottles? Should I add some yeast on bottling day? If so, how much for 5 gal?
 
OP
Tidwellc

Tidwellc

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2012
Messages
120
Reaction score
30
Location
Dallas
It will help to settle out some yeast but there should be enough to still condition your beer. Good article on finings...Beersmith Finings
Good article! Thanks for all the advice. I think I'll take a hydro sample this weekend and see how it looks. If it still needs more clarity, I'll throw some gelatin in there a few days before bottling. Thanks again!
 

KevinW

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2009
Messages
1,126
Reaction score
7
Location
Milwaukie Oregon
Racking to a secondary has benefit to dry hopping/fruit or lagering. There really is no benefit for most homebrewers to use a "secondary". I think you would find that 3-4 weeks sitting in a primary will allow the trub to tighten up quite a bit and let most of the "stuff" settle out.

One major disadvantage to racking to a "secondary" could be racking too soon and having an incomplete fermentation.

I have followed the 3-3 formula (3 week primary 3 week bottle condition) and my beers are pretty good!

Instead of Irish Moss I recommend Whirlfloc! It is amazing to watch the "stuff" that precipitates out of my beers while chilling.

Only recommending here but try the easy stuff first (waiting, whirlfloc) then start adding more "complex" steps to improve your beers. Sometimes the easiest stuff works the best! I know waiting is not easy but it can help;)
 
OP
Tidwellc

Tidwellc

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2012
Messages
120
Reaction score
30
Location
Dallas
Update: Thiefed a sample the other day and compared it side-by-side with my hefeweizen which has no clarifiers. It is alot clearer now. Not crystal, but it is better. I'm going to hold out on the gelatin for now and give it another week and see how it does.
 

JLem

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2009
Messages
3,644
Reaction score
187
Location
Attleboro
keesh said:
I suppose so, but I thought all polyphenols in beer were tannins.
I think the two terms get used interchangeably by brewers, but I would be surprised if all polyphenols found in beer are tannins. In Fix's book "Principles of Brewing Science" he basically mentions tannins as a subgroup of polyphenols.
 

Aschecte

Brewtus Maximus
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 20, 2011
Messages
1,682
Reaction score
65
Location
Florida
Racking to a secondary has benefit to dry hopping/fruit or lagering. There really is no benefit for most homebrewers to use a "secondary". I think you would find that 3-4 weeks sitting in a primary will allow the trub to tighten up quite a bit and let most of the "stuff" settle out.

One major disadvantage to racking to a "secondary" could be racking too soon and having an incomplete fermentation.

I have followed the 3-3 formula (3 week primary 3 week bottle condition) and my beers are pretty good!

Instead of Irish Moss I recommend Whirlfloc! It is amazing to watch the "stuff" that precipitates out of my beers while chilling.

Only recommending here but try the easy stuff first (waiting, whirlfloc) then start adding more "complex" steps to improve your beers. Sometimes the easiest stuff works the best! I know waiting is not easy but it can help;)

I agree with you on the whirfloc though I don't know why this is true as both are made of Irish Moss athat's all Whirfloc is but I do find it works MUCH BETTER. As to the OP as stateed before irish moss and whirfloc or that matter on precipitates and enhances protein seperation in the break material hence less proteins make it into the carboy and in the long run clearer beer. One big point based on your post is that it has only been 1 week !!! I have never seen a beer "clear" in a week after pitching. I understand your confusion thinking irish moss would clarify the beer in the carboy as does gelatin but it doesn't. I would bet that given 3 week or so in the carboy you'll see it clear on it's own.
 

tennesseean_87

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2011
Messages
1,773
Reaction score
228
Location
Albuquerque
So Irish moss is used to clear the beer in the kettle before transferring? Is it pointless to use IM then dump the whole kettle into a fermenter, or will the IM help the proteins fall out of suspension in the fermenter just as well as in the kettle?
 

KevinW

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2009
Messages
1,126
Reaction score
7
Location
Milwaukie Oregon
Whirlfloc is basically concentrated Irish Moss.

I usually transfer to the carboy straight from the kettle once the wort is chilled. The precipitates will settle to the bottom in just an hour or so. You can let the wort settle out before transferring from the kettle but I don't think it is necessary.

It is actually kind of cool to watch the precipitates form and settle if you have a clear fermetor!
 

jaytizzle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
335
Reaction score
14
Location
Baton Rouge
I used whirlfloc for the first time in a brew on Saturday (a vanilla porter) and it definitely looked different, right away, than the first two brews I did. I'll know more in the coming weeks once I can get a handle for how well it actually worked.
 
Top