How to use Whirlfloc tablets when brewing

Thursday, November 30, 2023
whirlfloc tablets brewing
It's always amused me that people think it is OK to add moss to beer.

I mean really, how the heck can Irish Moss clear beer?

It's not even real moss, it's an algae from the sea!

Which makes m then wonder who the heck discovered that adding Irish Moss as a fining agent for beer?

Anyways, work the moss does.

A popular form of it is the Whirlfloc tablet which is a blend of Irish Moss and purified carrageenan ingredients. Carrageenan is another extract from seaweed that is used for gelling, thickening and stabilizing properties. This is because it bonds to proteins which means it is just perfect for brewing and removing proteins and so-called 'beta-glucans' (sugars) at the end of the boil.

Guide to using Whirlfoc tablets

Here's a table guide detailing how to use Whirlfloc tablets effectively during the brewing process:





1. Prepare

Ensure your brewing equipment is clean and sanitized.

Before brewing begins.

Clean equipment helps prevent contamination.

2. Measure

Determine the right amount of Whirlfloc to use. Generally, one tablet is sufficient for 5-10 gallons of wort.

Early in the brewing process.

Overuse can lead to excessive removal of desirable proteins.

3. Boil

Add the Whirlfloc tablet to the boiling wort.

Last 10-15 minutes of the boil.

Adding it too early or too late may reduce its effectiveness.

4. Stir

Stir the wort gently after adding the tablet to ensure it's fully dissolved and mixed.

Immediately after adding the tablet.

Proper mixing ensures even distribution.

5. Settle

Allow the wort to finish boiling and start the cooling process.

After the boil is complete.

Cooling helps proteins and hop particles to coagulate.

6. Whirlpool

After cooling, stir the wort to create a whirlpool effect. This helps solids collect in the center of the kettle.

Before transferring the wort to the fermenter.

A strong whirlpool will enhance the clarifying effect.

7. Rest

Let the wort rest to allow the solids to settle in the middle of the kettle, forming a trub cone.

20-30 minutes after whirlpooling.

Patience during this step ensures clearer beer.

8. Transfer

Carefully transfer the clear wort from the kettle to the fermenter, avoiding the trub pile.

After the rest period.

Use a siphon or valve to control the transfer flow.

You can use Whirlfloc tablets as a clarifier for both extract and all grain brewing.

If you are doing an ll grain boil, you add one tablet per 10 gallons when you have 5 minutes left in your boil. If you add any earlier, the boiling of your wort will destroy the ingredients ruin their effectiveness.

If you are using an extract kit for either beer or cider, you can add the Whirlfloc when fermentation has completed.

If you are wondering whether Whirfloc tablets actually do work, here's an experiment which proves they do improve beer clarity.

There are plenty of other ways to clear beer with finings. There are other fining products such as Chillguard and Polyclar and silica gels like Kieselsol but if you are a bit of an expert, you can actually filter your beer but you'd need to be kegging it.

Cold crashing is always a good way to get rid of proteins from beer as well. 

using whirlfoc tablets as a finning agent

What is the science of how whirlfloc tablets in terms of using them as a clarifier / fining agent when making home brew beer?

These tablets work by utilizing the science of coagulation and flocculation. Coagulation occurs when particles in the wort, such as proteins, tannins, and other sediment, bind together to form larger particles. This is achieved by adding a coagulant, which is usually made of positively charged ions, to the wort. 

In the case of Whirlfloc tablets, the coagulant is purified carrageenan.

Once the particles have bound together, flocculation occurs. Flocculation is the process of the larger particles settling to the bottom of the brewing vessel, where they can be easily removed. The Whirlfloc tablets contain both carrageenan and Irish moss, which provide a high concentration of negatively charged ions. 

These ions attract the positively charged coagulant and the particles in the wort, causing them to form larger particles and settle to the bottom of the vessel.

The result of this process is a clearer, cleaner beer. 

By removing sediment and unwanted proteins, the beer has a smoother mouthfeel and a more appealing appearance. It's important to note that using too much fining agent or leaving it in the beer for too long can result in over-fining, which can strip the beer of its flavor and aroma compounds. 


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