Recipe Formulation

December 5, 2014

George Washington's Small Beer Recipe

If George Washington can write his own beer recipes, so can you.

I have been brewing beer since 1992. At first I brewed other peoples recipes, giving me confidence and knowledge about the ingredients and brewing process. But after a while everyone wants to try their hand at writing a recipe on their own.
I write 99% of all the recipes at Bitter & Esters, both the ones in our recipe books and everything for the Brew on Premises. Quite often I am asked how do I go about coming up with a recipe.

My first step of course is to determine what kind of beer do I want to write a recipe for? If I am brewing for myself I take the season into account. Not just what styles taste good for the season but what temperature I have for fermentation. There are ways to manipulate fermentation temperature but if your closet is at a steady 60˚F during the winter, it’s a good time to make a Kolsch. If it is at 95˚F during the summer it is a good time to make a Saison. I don’t necessarily let that determine the beer I am making as I drink all beer all the time. If I want to make a Saison in the winter, I will make it work. Sometimes it is easier to work with what you have.

Next I will think,what do I want to drink in the next 4 to 8 weeks? That’s pretty easy because again I like to drink everything. I usually like to make something new every time I brew or at least a variation of a style that I have brewed before. Once I know what style I want to make I will then do some research on the style, especially if I have never brewed it before. This is particularly important for the beers I write for the store, because you all are brewing it and I want you to love what you make. The very best way to research a beer is to drink other brewers versions of it. I will go to a beer bar or bottle shop and try the beer style I am attempting and try to determine the different aromas and flavors and take notes on what I like and what I would change. Our monthly beer swap is great for this because I can try other homebrewers takes on beer styles, adjunct/spice additions etc. Brewers are constantly asking each other about the ingredients in each others beer to gain and share knowledge. Research is a great excuse to try lots of beer!

If I am trying to clone a specific brewery’s beer I will look that brewery and beer up on the internet. Many of the craft breweries today will list their ingredients and numbers in the beer description on their site. I have even wrote breweries and had them send me their recipe! Not all breweries will do this but it’s worth a shot. Zymurgy magazine also publishes brewery recipes both in the magazine and online. You can only access this if you are a member of the American Homebrewers Association, so join today!
Sometimes I will look up the style in the BJCP guidelines. This will give me an idea of the parameters that are considered right for the style. OG, FG, alcohol content, beer color, aroma, flavor, and mouthfeel. They also give you history of the beer and what ingredients are traditionally used. If I still need some inspiration I will search forums like Homebrewtalk and see what other people have tried. And last but certainly not least I will refer to Brewing Classic Styles by John Palmer and Jamil Zainasheff. This book has tips and recipes for over 80 styles. They seem to have deliberately wrote these recipes for modification, it is an incredibly handy tool when formulating your recipe.

Once I have a good idea of what I am making, I personally use Brewtoad, which is a free online recipe formulation calculator. You can choose the style you are creating and they will let you know if your recipe falls within BJCP parameters. If you are not brewing for competition it is okay to go outside the box as it were. They are guidelines and it is your beer, but it is nice to see if you are hitting the marks. I will enter my grain bill, my hop additions and my yeast strain. Yeast choice is very important and kind of fun. Sometimes I will split my wort into two fermenters and pitch two different yeasts, or maybe try a blend. Wyeast’s website is great for giving you yeast properties and flavors and what styles work best with what strains.

I will tweak around with my recipe until I get something that looks like the beer I am envisioning. I’ll do the mash calculations and I will also run my water numbers through John Palmer’s water calculator and adjust my mash and/or boil with salts according to style. New York City water is great because it gives you a pretty blank canvas to start from. Once I am happy with the recipe there is only one more thing to do, and that is brew the beer.

Brewing the beer is the only way to know exactly how that beer will come out. This is why taking notes during brewing is so important. There are so many variables that can affect your beer and if you are completely happy with how it came out you will want to do it again. Or maybe you want to change something but at least you now have a place to start from. That is the beauty of being a homebrewer, we can do whatever we want and then do it again or do something completely different. The more you research and the more you brew the easier it will be to formulate recipes according to your desires.

Good luck and keep brewing!
John

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Bitter & Esters 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

November 28, 2014

Hey there homebrewer/beer lovers! Here is our annual guide to all the things you or your zythophile friends might need to satisfy Santa’s relentless desire to make everyone happy. We’ve got a few new options this year, with fun and useful gifts in every price range.

Under $20 – Socks + Candy + Soap

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Keep your brewer warm, sweet and clean! High quality socks with images of hops and beer (a true fashion statement), sweet candies made from hops (childproof yet still delicious!) and soap made from beer that smells fantastic. These make great stocking stuffers. Bonus points if you can use all of these things at the same time!

Under $50 – Digital Scale + Kombucha Kit + Books + Wooden Sixpack Holder

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Recipes are never written in just one measurement system and a digital scale helps with the pound/ounce conversions and helps ensure that you don’t make bottle bombs when bottling. This is a piece of equipment that every brewer (and cook!) needs but rarely buys for themselves.

Kombucha making kit. From our friends at Kombucha Brooklyn, this kit has everything you need to make delicious, healthy Kombucha.

Brewing books. We carry a full line of books from How to Brew to Advanced Techniques. Plus we carry books on mead making, cider making and kombucha making. A great combo is John Palmer’s Water book with a ph meter or Jamil Zainasheff and Chris White’s Yeast book with a stir plate and an Erlenmeyer flask.

Wooden Six Pack Holder. A classier way to carry your homebrew around town. This laser cut six-pack holder is a marvel of technology that will last far longer than the paper six-pack holders you’ve been using to cart your beer around.

$50-$100 – The Bräuler + Wort Chiller + All in One Essentials Kit + 101 Class

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Bräuler stainless steel growler. This wide mouthed stainless steel growler with insulated jacket will keep your beer cold and fresh for a long time. Add the fresh cap co2 system and keep that beer fresh and carbonated as long as you want!

Wort Chiller. The fastest way to cool your wort down. Our 25 foot immersion chiller is American made and will save you lots of time on your brew day. This is the often the first thing we recommend for folks who are really getting serious about brewing.

All in one essentials kit. Our all in one brew kit has everything you need to start brewing 2-1/2 gallons of beer at home. Perfect for tiny NYC apartments, it includes the brewing equipment and ingredients plus instructions to get you on your way to your first delicious beer.

Brewshop 101 Class. Interested in learning to brew but not sure how to start? Got a friend who keeps mooching off your limited homebrew supply? Give a man a beer and you satisfy him for an hour, teach a man to brew and you satisfy him for a lifetime. Our Brewshop 101 class is the answer to your problems. Our 2.5 hour class will guide them through the process with hands on brewing instruction. They’ll learn everything they need to know to brew delicious beer right, the first time.

$100+ Complete Kegging System + Brew on Premises + Gift Certificates

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Complete kegging system. Tired of bottling? Want to have fresh beer on tap? Our complete kegging system comes with everything you need to keg and serve your beer. Once you start kegging your beer, you’ll never go back to bottles. This is the perfect gift for the homebrewer who thought they had everything.

Brew on Premises. Our Brew on Premises is a unique and fun way to brew your own beer, without having to do it at home and there is no experience necessary!. We provide an experienced brewmaster to guide you through the process of brewing 6 cases of delicious beer that you take home after four weeks. Great for parties and events.

Gift certificates are also available in any denomination and can be applied towards equipment, ingredients, classes or our Brew on Premises. If you just can’t decide what to get (or aren’t sure what to get), go with a gift certificate as we’re sure it will be appreciated.

If you’re still searching for ideas – just come into the shop and we’ll be more than happy to try and find the right gift for that special someone.

Fermentation on Wheels

November 21, 2014

Fermentation on Wheels

It was a real treat to have Tara Whitsitt and Fermentation on Wheels parked outside our store this past weekend. Bitter & Esters did a series of fermented beverage workshops on Saturday and Tara taught people all about fermentation on her bus.

People would ask me, what is up with the bus? What does Tara do? My answer is that she drives around the country fermenting stuff on her bus and teaching people about fermentation. Although that is indeed what she does, there is so much more to Fermentation on Wheels. We met Tara when Bitter & Esters opened in 2011. She lived right next to the store! Tara used to come into the shop and talk about her projects, making mead and wine and fermenting food, plus she would show us her artwork (she is a great artist). One day she told me she was moving back to Eugene Oregon, to live and work on an organic farm. We were sad to see her go, Tara has a positive energy and a passion for what she does. Fast forward to 2013 when she had the idea to renovate a huge bus and travel the country to share her passion for fermentation. She visited B&E in 2013 and again this past weekend.

Our free fermented beverage workshops were a hit. I taught beer and cider making, Eric from Kombucha Brooklyn taught Kombucha making and Mary Izett of Fuhmentaboudit! taught a class on Mead making. The highlight of the day was Fermentation on Wheels. People came to see Tara and the bus because they were into fermented foods and sustainable living, others came out of curiosity. Tara welcomed everyone on the bus, gave samples and spoke about her projects and travels.

Hanging out with Tara and visiting the bus it occurred to me that what she is really doing is showing people that this can be done. You can live a life according to your passion and beliefs. It takes hard work, courage and support. When you visit Fermentation on Wheels the first thing you feel is a sense of calm. Everything is alright on the bus. You smell the delicious smells of fermented food, you feel a life lived with purpose. She has dedicated her life to opening peoples eyes to living sustainably and healthfully. Fermenting food and beverages is not just something you can do, it is something you should do. It’s not just about fermentation, it is about living well. Tara is an inspiration.

I am so impressed by the fact that Tara does this. It is the type of thing that people will say, “I would do this if I had the time”. You do have the time. You don’t have to travel the country in a bus, but you can follow your passion. Tara is living proof of this. And you should learn more and more about the foods you eat, where they come from and how to utilize them. This is a big part of Tara’s mission, helping people learn about our world.

We had a great time during her visit. I even chopped wood on the bus for her stove! (I was not so great at it, but I got it done). Tara is a friend and someone I really admire. It’s not always easy living on a bus, teaching all over the country, but Tara does it. And we are all the better for it.

Thank you Tara. Good luck on your life’s journey.

John

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All About Apples

November 6, 2014

These things start the same way, with an idea. When Anthony of Rowan Cider importers asked me if Bitter & Esters would like to do some sort of cider event for NYC cider week, I said of course! Some sort of cider event sounds great, but what kind?

It was Anthony’s brilliant idea to get me in touch with Joy and Jeremy, two friendly home cider makers who make awesome cider under the name Proper Cider. Proper Cider is cider made from fresh crushed and squeezed apples. No sulfites or additives. Just apple cider with yeast pitched. Joy and Jeremy make many batches with a different yeast in each and then blend the cider to taste. That’s the proper way.

It was Joy and Jeremy’s idea to do a Community Apple Press day. They wanted to allow people to bring their apples to them and they would crush and press the apples into cider, for free! The thing that got me about this idea was the word Community. Bitter & Esters is all about fostering community.

Joy and Jeremy graciously offered to bring their grinder (which is like a huge food processor) and their two-20 ton presses to our store. We only had ten slots throughout the day to actually grind and press (it’s a time consuming process!) and they filled up quickly as folks were eager to try their hand at fresh pressed cider.

It was a beautiful fall day and from noon on people brought their apples. We ground them outside and pressed them inside. Grinding is just like food processing, the idea is to get the apples ground down to small bits, but not too small. After grinding we brought the ground apples inside to be pressed. When you press you put about 3 quarts of the ground apples into a piece of mesh, fold it, put a grooved plastic plate on top and then add another mesh of apples. You can do about 8 layers per press. Joy and jeremy put everyone to work pressing their apples, this was a day of community after all. After the 8 or so layers are done, a large heavy slab of wood is put on top and the press comes down and squeezes the apples. Delicious juice flows out of a spigot into a bucket. Each bushel made around 3 gallons with the entire process taking around 45 minutes. What struck me was the incredible freshness of the juice. I could drink it all day.

Once the apples were ground and pressed you took your cider home and added yeast. Primary fermentation is around one month and then you transfer to a secondary for about 5 months. The leftover apple stuff is called pumice. Andy from Aaron Burr cider took the pumice home to feed his cows! During the day, Andy and Joy and Jeremy poured samples of their delicious ciders for everyone to enjoy.

It was a great day. A chance for New Yorkers to get the freshest cider possible, be involved with the grinding and crushing process and ask questions of three awesome cider makers. Thank you Joy and Jeremy, Andy and Anthony. It was such fun and a great community experience. Plus Joy and Jeremy got an amazing NY Post article out of it!

I hope we get to do it again next year. It was a real highlight of the fall. The next step is to try everyone’s cider! Hopefully in 6 months or so we can get everyone back together for a proper cider tasting.

John

P.S. Thanks to Carla Coria for all the wonderful photographs!

Charlie Papazian at Bitter & Esters

October 31, 2014

Charlie Papazian taught me how to homebrew. Good chance he taught you too. When I first started homebrewing there was no other reference book but the Complete Joy of Homebrewing. It was just me and Charlie in the kitchen making beer. Just hearing his name makes me thirsty!

The title of the book alone gives you an insight into Charlie’s attitude. Joy. Homebrewing is a Joyful experience, you should relax and not worry, and you should definitely have a homebrew. Here’s a quick video explaining the origins of his famous phrase.

Charlie visited Bitter & Esters for one of our monthly bottle swaps to sign copies of the fourth edition of the Complete Joy of Homebrewing and the second edition of The Homebrewers Companion. He visited 508 Gastrobrewery the night before. I was lucky to have lunch and dinner with Charlie and to spend a little time with him at the shop before the swap. Just talking and drinking homebrew. A dream come true. I also did a short interview asking Charlie about his famous phrase and about National Pie day (which he started! It occurs every year on his birthday, January 23rd).

We all know Charlie’s famous line “relax, don’t worry. have a homebrew” Spending time with Charlie taught me that wasn’t just a phrase he says, he lives it. Charlie loves what he does, loves homebrewing and doesn’t stress. It all works out in the end. As the people at the swap can tell you, he puts you right at ease. And yes, he still homebrews!

We had dinner right before the bottle swap. I left early to check on how things were going and the shop was packed! Everyone was sharing and tasting beers and were in a very festive mood. Charlie arrived at 7 and everyone burst into applause. The love in the air was palpable and Charlie felt it, he was grinning from ear to ear. At one point I counted 70 people in the shop! All there for Charlie.

After a brief talk and q&a Charlie got down to signing books. We had set up an area for him to sign but instead he just walked around the crowd, signing, talking and trying everyone’s beers. We were all having a blast and Charlie was one of us. Around 8 we picked four beers for Charlie to try and declare who would win a Brauler and one of Charlie’s books. We shouted out nominations and then pointed to the nominees we felt deserved the chance (very scientific I know). The four nominees were Robert Sherril, Brian DeAngelo, Will Reder and Sheri Jewhurst. I was right next to Charlie as he judged. At one point he turned to me and said,”I don’t know who to pick! They are all so good!” He deliberated for some time and announced Robert as the winner. Congratulations Robert!

Charlie told me all of the beers he tried at the swap were very good. He was impressed and I was happy he got to see a slice of NYC homebrewing. By 8:30 Charlie’s publicist Maria told me they had to go soon, Charlie had a 6am flight! I could tell he would have stayed all night. We were all having such a good time.

What an amazing experience, something I will never forget. Thanks to Aisha, Maria, all of the B&E staff and all of our wonderful friends and customers. Our community is the best.

And of course, Thank you Charlie.
John

Glacier

October 24, 2014

This is fourth in a series of posts about lesser known hops that we’ll be featuring in our upcoming Hops class.

Glacier

When most people hear the word “Glacier” it usually conjures heart-wrenching images of polar bears on tiny ice floes, the spawning point for icebergs that result in intercontinental tragedies (and by that I mean Celine Dion ballads), or even Bill Nye the Science Guy arguing facts backed by empirical data against some dude who just isn’t convinced on Fox News. But we’re not most people, we’re brewers!

As brewers, we should be thinking about this low alpha dual purpose hop. Glacier was released in 2000 by Washington State University right about the same time that the high alpha dual purpose craze was really starting to hit its stride. This may be part of the reason that this outstanding hop has flown somewhat under the radar.

For a lower IBU beer, Glacier’s balanced bittering and low cohumulone levels have got you covered. It yields a peachy/apricot stone fruit flavor which can border on the more pineapple-like tropical qualities in higher concentrations. That is all well and good, but where Glacier really shines is in its usage beyond the 15 minute mark. The aroma it imparts goes right back to that peachy stone fruit thing when used late in the boil, but when used as a flame out/dry hop it brings out earthy, pear-like qualities.

Glacier’s versatility lends itself to any brew with a need for lower alpha bittering (but its higher beta acids should garner some consideration if it is something you plan to store for an extended period) and for just about any pale ale you can conjure up. It will perform well as a later addition in any I.P.A., especially when used in conjunction with more unique hops like Galaxy and Mosaic, or as a contrast hop to round out the flavor of something more citrusy and floral like Centennial. My suggestion is tossing it in as a dry hop in your favorite pale ale. Our very own Resistor, Mystical Cap No. 6, and Paradise Pale Ale are the ones that immediately come to mind, but however you decide to use Glacier, I really don’t think you can go wrong.

Bobby B

Bobby Bendily

Pride of Ringwood

October 17, 2014

This is third in a series of posts about lesser known hops that we’ll be featuring in our upcoming Hops class.

Pride of RingwoodPride of Ringwood … let that sink in for a second. As names go, that sounds more likely to be the title bestowed upon a Game of Thrones character than on a hop variety, but when Pride of Ringwood established itself in the early to mid 60’s it accounted for more than 90% of the hop production in the land down under so it’s more than earned that moniker. Named for the suburb of Melbourne where it was originally grown, Pride of Ringwood is a cross breed of Pride of Kent and a wild Tasmanian variety. Primarily used as a bittering hop (back when 7-11% was something to brag about), this hop found its way into virtually every Australian brewhouse. However, as the alpha acid arms race has sped well past Pride of Ringwood’s ceiling, it has been relegated to more of the flavor/aroma usage these days.

The aroma of Ringwood has a robust pungency to it, a kind of subtle resin quality in the realm of a slightly more muted Simcoe. While the flavor does have a little citrus and even some berry-like qualities; they are slight. What’s really pleasant are the earthy notes and the hint of spice that follows. I would describe it as cedar-like, in the very best way.

If you plan on using this Tasmanian devil in your next brew, of course I would recommend it as a middle alpha bittering hop in a pale ale or hop-bursted I.P.A., but you could easily play to those earthy cedar notes as an accent in a hoppy fall amber or even as a middle/late addition in a winter warmer (maybe toss in a little spruce essence?). Truth be told, I started jotting down a recipe where I will do just that as I was writing this, so plan on me asking for feedback come the December swap.

Bobby B

Bobby Bendily

Reaching the Summit

October 10, 2014

This is second in a series of posts about lesser known hops that we’ll be featuring in our upcoming Hops class

Most of us have at least heard of SuSummit Hopsmmit, and the obligatory follow-up question is always the same, “Isn’t that the garlicky one?” Last time I wrote about a hop which seemingly had no reputation to precede it, so I figured this time it would be fun to talk about a hop which has a reputation that it just can’t seem to escape.

First off, pop open an ounce of summit, give it a sniff and yes, there is very clearly a garlicky aroma. However, this hop has a lot to offer. A low trellis hop that shows its parentage well, it gets some of its herbaceous notes from Nugget and its citrus and resinous qualities from Zeus. It is celebrated as being quite clean for bittering with relatively low cohumulone comparative to its alpha acids. Summit’s oil content makes it very desirable as a late or dry addition.

As a flavor hop it imparts a certain juicy tangerine quality. The aroma is also notably citrusy, specifically orange peel, and somewhat earthy to resinous/hemp-like. It fits well into the pantheon of American citrus hops and can be used in conjunction with any of them with great success. I don’t get a ton of the garlic when I taste it, but there is a hint of onion (more specifically red onion) to me. Some people seem to be more sensitive to those qualities than others (kind of in the same way that some folks love cilantro while others find it inedible.), but I wouldn’t describe it as unpleasant.

Overall, I’d say that Summit is a hop that demands a degree of thoughtfulness and a subtle hand in use. It is definitely not an all-purpose hop that works however you use it (e.g. Mosaic) and while I wouldn’t suggest it for a single hop beer, I would readily use it in just about any west coast IPA. I’d also happily find a place for it in a vegetable/spiced beer (like our very own Blood Red Beet Ale). Hell, I intend to toss an ounce or two into the 10% American IPA I have going right now, and I look forward to ya’lls feedback come the next swap. If you still find yourself a little leery about using Summit in your next brew, just pick up a can of Oskar Blues’ Gubna Imperial IPA, and see what you think. As a commercial example I can’t think of a beer that better exemplifies what you can expect from this incredibly interesting hop.

Bobby B

Bobby Bendily

Let’s Talk Topaz

October 2, 2014

Our guest blogger Bobby Bendily is the newest addition to the Bitter & Esters crew. He hails from the great state of Louisiana and has been brewing heartily for the past three years. He likes to keep his mash temp low.

TopazSo you come into the shop and begin putting together the recipe for that seasonally appropriate amber or a nice rich porter and you get to that inevitable point we all eventually reach. You open the cooler to grab those reliable old East Kent Goldings and you see the myriad of hops with the cool names you’ve never used before and you ask yourself “Why am I not brewing an I.P.A.?” They have names like Summer, Glacier, Phoenix, Admiral, and Vanguard. The descriptions read something fairly mundane like “Fruity” or “Unique.” Not enough to tell you anything that might sate your curiosity, just enough to fuel your imagination to begin usurping your current plans for that highly drinkable English Mild. You could very rightly say this is obsessive behavior yet here you are reading a beer blog so welcome to the club friend; see you at the meetings.

I recently had this very same problem. You see, I reach into that cooler several times a day, and the hop whose siren song has been calling to me for the past couple weeks is Topaz. Hailing from the land down under, whose main export is iron ore and actors who play comic book characters, this dual purpose hop is an alluring choice for a 7-8% percent I.P.A.. The flavor it imparts fits the ever popular “Fruity” description in earnest, but it comes off more subtly as berry-like on the palate (specifically blueberry). I’m told it comes off as resinous when used aggressively as a dry hop, but I found Topaz’s aroma to be almost tropical, with notes of lychee (but in a more subtle way than say Nelson Sauvin).

To be sure, Topaz ranks highly amongst the high alpha dual-purpose hops from Australia and New Zealand which brewers can’t wait to use like Galaxy and Motueka, but if I had to suggest a way to use it, I would play to its more subtle nature. Using Topaz as a late addition or dry hop as a supporting character to a more standout hop like Galaxy, Mosaic or even something piney and dank like Chinook may be the way to get the most out of it. Whichever purpose you end up using it for, I just hope you end up bringing it to the beer swap because I am really into this hop.

Bobby Bendily

Bobby Bendily

Filtering Your Beer

filtered beers 1Beer is sensory. Smell, taste, mouthfeel and sight.

The first thing you will notice in your glass of beer will be how it looks. Expectations are funny things and if the beer you get doesn’t match them, it will have an effect on the taste. A muddy looking beer could give you the impression that the beer tastes muddy.

The funny thing is that clarity is usually just aesthetics, rarely does it have anything to do with the taste. Sometimes cloudiness is because the beer is yeasty, which would affect flavor, but generally its just protein/tannin haze that will make your beer cloudy.

Since this is a sensory experience shouldn’t all of your senses be rewarded? (Not so sure about hearing, although I do love the sound of a cap coming off the bottle. Fizz!) The beer should look the way you desire.

There are different ways to clarify your beer. Using carrageenan like whirlfloc or irish moss at the last fifteen minutes of your boil will help bind and precipitate cold break proteins that can cause chill haze when your beer is chilled. Cooling your wort quickly (a wort chiller always helps) will also help bind these proteins and straining your cool wort when adding it to your fermenter before pitching your yeast will also get some of the hot and cold break proteins that form during the boil.

Hoppy beers, especially dry hopped beers, tend to be cloudy because of the tannins that are naturally in hop oils (polyphenols). Yeast that are less flocculant can also stay in suspension giving your finished beer cloudiness. This is desirable in some beer styles, e.g. Hefeweiss.

If you are looking to clarify your beer post fermentation you can use gelatin or isinglass ( which is made from fish bladder, who the hell thought of that?). Added after fermentation is finished but before packaging, these finings attach themselves to the stuff in suspension and help them drop out of solution. After a week or so you then have to rack the beer into your secondary, keg or bottling bucket.

Or you can filter your beer. Filtering beer is fairly uncommon among homebrewers because of the mess and potential oxidation and contamination that can occur. But it works well and faster than post fermentation finings as long as you are careful. I recently made an esb (extra special bitter) that was cloudy. It tasted great but it was just too murky, probably from chill haze. I had already transferred it to kegs so I decided to filter it.

Filtering SetupThe best way to filter homebrew is with a plate filter. It’s a plastic contraption that holds two paper filters inside it. You slowly push the unfiltered beer using co2 from one keg, through the filter, into another keg. Of course before you do anything, everything must be sanitized. I soaked the filter and hardware in starsan at first and then pushed some starsan through the filter to make sure I got everything. It is also a good way to check for leaks. One thing about these plate filters, they leak a little. Especially if you push the beer at too high of a psi. It is rated for 8 psi but I rarely go over 5 psi. I put the filter on a bucket to catch any drips.

There are three micron sizes of filters available, coarse, polish and sterile. You have to start with coarse to get the big stuff filtered. Usually one pass with the coarse filter is enough to get some good clarity, but if you want really clear or even sterile beer, you have to filter them again with each size. You do lose some flavors with filtering, especially some hop compounds. I would never do this to my IPAs. They will be cloudy from dry hopping. You also will lose some beer, but not a lot.

It took me about an hour and a half for a 5 gallon keg of beer! It is a slow go but worth the wait. I did one coarse filter pass of each of my kegs and am very happy with the results. I swear, now that the beer looks clearer it tastes better. Senses!

I hope I made myself clear.
John

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