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Jeff Lockhart
10-15-2007, 12:40 PM
Anyone using Vegetarian friendly finings in their serving tanks?
Currently I'm using gelatin and I really don't want to continue with it. The main reason being that it is difficult to use in my system.

I have heard that Bentonite is ok but have no idea where to get any.

Any others out there?

Thanks,
Jeff Lockhart
McClellan's Grill and Brewing Co.
Canon City, CO

liammckenna
10-15-2007, 02:18 PM
Try univarusa.com If they can't get it for you they can definitely point you in the right direction.

Usually with bentonite, you have to make your own slurry, which can be messy and time consuming. Remember using earlier in life when I was a winemaker. Losses can be quite high with bentonite if I recall. If you have a wine supply store close at hand, you can probably get enough to trial it benchtop.

Have had many a discussion with real ale producers regarding their use of gelatin and isinglass, both obviously unsuitable for vegans/vegetarians and both preserved (usually) with sulfites which piggy back their way in these 'real' ales.

Having been a winemaker, I have seen some miracluous transformations of oxidized, 'dirty' wines through the addition of sulfites. I'm sure the same thing happens regularly with some mediocre, poorly made beers.

Most quality brewers, I know, no doubt don't rely upon these sulfites to help present their beers well and likely use minimal finings as a matter of course, but I have seen brewers with difficult to fine brews who double or treble the usual amount of finings.

I happen to be quite sensitive to elevated levels of sulfites. I generally must avoid 'real' ales for this reason.

Anyone else heard of gelatin/isinglass alternatives out there. It's only collagen for goodness sake. Surely theres some clever biotechnologist breeding bacteria/plants to produce it?

Good luck

Pax.

Liam

fatty_matty
11-06-2007, 07:49 AM
Hey mate,

I tried experimenting on several different types of finings for my brewing dissertation and amongst others tried two vegetarian options - bentonite and albumin (egg white).

Bentonite will clear your beer almost as effectively as isinglass but it has a few draw backs. Firstly bentonite indiscriminately absorbs peptides. This isn't a problem for wine makers but in beer it results in severely diminished foam retention. Secondly, as already mentioned,it produces a huge amount of slurry and needs very thorough preparation to work effectively. Also using bentonite may increase alminium and/or sodium levels in your finished beer.

Egg white wasn't a very successful medium etiher - it failed to precipitate from the beer and reduced its shelf life.

Vegetarian options that you may wish to consider could be PVP, PVPA and silica gels. These are synthetic compounds which absorb proteins in a similar fashion to bentonite but are more specific so foam retention isn't diminished.

Where in the brewing process are using considering using finings? This determines what is suitable for use e.g. irish moss, wood chips, extended cooling etc..

As an interesting aside there is some research being made into using protiens derived from human salvia to prepitate polyphenols in wine and beer!

If you need any more info PM me!

Cheers

Matt

Ted R.
11-08-2007, 07:26 PM
Check out Biofine A3.
http://www.brewerssupplygroup.com/brewing_aids/beer_clarification.php
I have only tried it on a trial basis but the results were as good as isinglass.
I plan on using it once BSG has it in stock. It's a new product and it wasn't in yet last I checked.

Ted

tariq khan
11-09-2007, 10:15 AM
Curious as to how it may work in a cask....very interesting !

T

mic_mac
11-19-2007, 11:16 AM
(Hi again Tariq - I'm not e-stalking you, I swear ;~)

The availability of a veggie product to replace isinglass (specifically in cask beer) has been an occasional newsgroup topic that always gets my interest - I reckon there's heaps of UK veggies who would love to drink real ale but won't because of the fishy business (& loads more who do drink real ale, but have sleepless nights - "how do those poor fish maintain an even keel without their swim-bladders!?").

Anyway, the conversation always seems to go - "on a brewery trip, they told us that they used seaweed instead of isinglass to fine the beers" which doesn't quite ring true.

My own experience of brewing veggie real ales involved 1 regional where we filtered the beer of yeast & dosed back a tiny amount to the beer prior to racking. The other place was a brewpub where we used horizontal tanks & cold-sedimented almost all of the yeast out, before racking to keg & the odd cask for festivals, etc.

There is an organic veggie brewpub/micro in Manchester (UK) that says there beers are unfined (or at least not fined with isinglass) - the beers used to have a reputation for being heavily yeast-bitten, but not any more & IME they're pretty clear & excellent tasting. Another NW UK brewpub/micro says that he doesn't use isinglass when his beer is sold in his own pubs (but does do when supplying other pubs, as otherwise the yeast takes a while to naturally drop bright, then gets thrown back into suspension if you knock the cask accidentally).

I'm intrigued about this Biofine stuff, though - for me, the point is - does it do exactly what isinglass does - i.e. it's re-fining properties - its ability to clear beer in cask after the cask has been stored at the brewery, then rolled to the van, stood upright in the pub cellar & then finally put onto the stillage for settling, conditioning & dispense?

cheers
MikeMcG

jcaugh76
11-19-2007, 03:25 PM
Time works pretty well.

tariq khan
11-20-2007, 01:24 AM
I sent an email to the company that manufactures Bio-fine, no reply yet..I'm guessing they don't have much micro-brewery feedback....

Mike... I heard that Marble brewery in Manchester used to use tea bags in their conditioning tanks before racking into cask. That was my favorite place to drink when I lived up north!..

T

mic_mac
11-20-2007, 06:40 AM
I sent an email to the company that manufactures Bio-fine, no reply yet..I'm guessing they don't have much micro-brewery feedback....

Mike... I heard that Marble brewery in Manchester used to use tea bags in their conditioning tanks before racking into cask. That was my favorite place to drink when I lived up north!..

T

Tea - excellent! (we drink little else up North, apart from beer!) I don't know if I believe it's the tea that does it, or the cold-conditioning in tank, though :-)

Re the veggie finings - I had a good look at google & on Kerry's own website & could see no mention of beer at all! Seemed a bit odd.

But on the same subject, one of the homebrew companies sent me a sample of a veggie isinglass replacement a while back, but I think it's a "one-hit" thing - i.e. wouldn't stand up to the multi-settling that isinglass can cope with.
cheers,
Mike
(I just washed some DarkStar casks by the way - those long shives are a bugger to get out!)

Brett0424
11-20-2007, 08:22 AM
Anyway, the conversation always seems to go - "on a brewery trip, they told us that they used seaweed instead of isinglass to fine the beers" which doesn't quite ring true.

Sounds like they're using Irish Moss which won't help with the yeast, just with protein haze.

mic_mac
11-20-2007, 11:07 AM
Sounds like they're using Irish Moss which won't help with the yeast, just with protein haze.

yep, my thoughts exactly - well, Irish Moss & seaweed-derived "auxiliary finings"

http://www.murphyandson.co.uk/FAQs/FAQ_Topic25.htm

- oh & my other thought is that if they're regularly brewing cask beer for sale out in the trade, then they're probably using insinglass ;~)
cheers
MikeMcG

canyon
11-21-2007, 12:37 AM
Let's not forget the original vegetarian fining known as wood...AB got stuck on the beech variety many years ago. Although I imagine it has more to do with tradition or marketing in this day and age. I wonder what percentage of high grav brewed bud is "beechwood aged" ? Has anyone experimented with any other wood species for fining?

fatty_matty
12-04-2007, 04:13 AM
An alternative to wood chips thats easier to sterilise and reuse is aluminium or stainless steel chips, although this probably lacks a certain romantiscism compared to woodchips...

mic_mac
12-04-2007, 12:15 PM
An alternative to wood chips thats easier to sterilise and reuse is aluminium or stainless steel chips, although this probably lacks a certain romantiscism compared to woodchips...

I also think that in the specific case of fining *cask beer* (i.e. a veggie isinglass replacement) - wood or steel/alu chips in the bottom of the cask may cause a few raised eyebrows amongst pub landlords, drinkers or health & safety officers!
cheers
MikeMcG
http://www.betwixt.co.uk