How and when to use gelatin for clearing homebrew

clearing beer with gelatin

Whenever I think of gelatin, I think of horse hooves.

That's right horse hooves.

From the knacker's yard. Gross right?

Well I say jelly is jelly, food is food, and if I need to use the foot of a horse to clear my beer and reduce sediment in the bottle I will!

So, here's the guts of using gelatin to clear your beer.

Basically gelatin acts a fining agent. It combines with the 'leftovers' of the beer brewing process and they fall to the bottom of the fermenter thus clearing the beer.

So how much gelatin should I add to my beer?

Many beer brewers have found that between half and a whole teaspoon per 23 litres or 5 gallons will be a sufficient amount. You will probably get diminishing returns if you use much more.

When do I add the gelatin?

You can add it any time after fermentation and word on the street that it actually works best when the beer is quite cool.

A common timing is to add it a couple of days before you intend to bottle your beer.

How do I add the gelatin?

A good trick is to dissolve it in a half a glass of hot water. You then open up the fermenter or carboy, add the liquid and then shut the fermenter back up.

Do I need to use gelatin if I'm making an ale?

For many people, clarity of beer is important to them. If you are making a dark ale, clarity may not be so important to you.

However, finings do remove leftovers that can impinge on the taste of the beer too. The gelatin helps remove the unneeded proteins and polyphenols from the beer.

Where do I get gelatin from?

Most specialist beer shops will stock fining agents such as gelatin. You can also try your local supermarket as it's used in many cooking recipes. You can totally order it online from Amazon for speedy delivery too.

Gelatin can come in powdered form and sheets.

As Robby the Robot would say 'Beware Will Robinson!'

Make sure you buy unflavoured gelatin.

If you use Jello because you know it has gelatin in it, you might be in for quite the taste surprise. That said, we've been known to use gelatin jelly beans from time to time...

Of course, if you don't wish to use gelatin (maybe because you're trying to make vegan beer?) you can try to use other kinds of finings to clear your beer.

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