Fining, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I’ve been having fining trouble lately with a Blonde Ale.  I finally got the beer as clear as I’d like but it appears it was at the expense of flavor.  Here’s its sordid history.  I first fined with gelatin, thinking I’d bottle in a day or so.  Fate conspired against me and I didn’t get it bottled after taking it out of the refrigerator.  A few days later all the gunk the gelatin took out was floating in ropes in the beer.  No, it wasn’t Pediococcus, no off flavors, just ropy gunk from the gelatin.  So I moved it back into the fridge and in so doing, stirred all the stuff back up.  The beer was just as cloudy as when I started.  Scheisse!  So I tried gelatin again.  No effect.  In desperation I turned to Super-Kleer KC.

The Super-Kleer stripped the haze out of it.  It’s particularly good because it has both a negative and positive charged component.  The beer is crystal-clear but most of its flavor seems to have gone with the gelatin.  The LHBS told me the Super-Kleer is actually gentler than gelatin and I may use it for the two lagers I have in the fridge right now.  But two doses of gelatin don’t seem like the way to get a good beer.  Lesson learned:  Don’t fine if you can’t bottle the beer.  If you do fine and can’t bottle, leave the beer in the fridge.  And if you get ropy crap, try to rack around it to keep from stripping the “good” from your beer.

I bottled the Blonde tonight anyway.  We’ll see how it comes out.

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