Monday, February 14, 2011

Homebrew Notes: Using Gelatin

I received this tip (by email) from a fellow QUAFFer, Kelsey McNair (Of the West Coast Bitter and North Park Beer Co fame). Most of my beers get pretty clear because I brew a lot of beer styles that have high flocculation or have sit around for a year. But with my Dubbel with figs it had a bunch of fruit matter floating around. I think some was pectin, but I thought the gelatin would also help.
And did it ever work. It worked so well that I have done it on every beer I've kegged since then. And my Best Bitter was brilliant, it looked like a commercial beer. I think it also improved the flavor by doing 2 things.
1) Removes yeast, which helps sharpen the malt or hop taste
2) Helps trick the brain that the beer will taste better because it looks pretty
(Kelsey also agreed with the above and uses it on all beers regardless of color except those that should have haze)

Gelatin Clarifying Process:
Start with a fully chilled keg of beer. It can be carbonated or still - it has no effect on the fining process.
1) Boil 2 oz of water for a minute or two to sanitize things.
2) Let things cool to 180-190. This will help dissolve the gelatin well without denaturing it.  Do not boil your gelatin!
3) Add 1tsp of gelatin and swirl around for a minute to dissolve well.
4) Add this solution to your keg.
5) Purge head space in keg and swirl entire keg to mix well.
6) Let sit 24 hours (kept cold) and then dispense the first muddy 8-16oz through your tap.

Not Kegging (Will end up with "yeast bologna" - a slimy blob of yeast in the bottom of the bottle. The beer on top of said glob will be nice and bright) 
2 days before you would normally bottle
Follow steps 1 - 3
4) Add the gelatin solution directly to your fermenter
5) Get it as cold as you can without freezing it for 24-48 hours.  If you are using a carboy at this point, you'll be able to see the beer clear from top to bottom.
6) Rack into your bottling container with fresh yeast/bottling sugars.


  1. Good write-up. I also saved, referenced, and used Kelsey's gelatin procedure. I've read and heard that water chemistry also can contribute to the precipitation of hazing elements when using gelatin. Since both of us are dabbling in brewing water adjustment territory, I'm thinking this process will be more noticeable in future brews.

  2. I'm hooked on the gelatin, the beer looks so good and it only takes about a day. I find that it makes a huge difference when serving to others, they are much more open to drinking a bright beer.

    About my water chemistry experiment stay tuned for my post about my Scottish 60/-...


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