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I thought I'd ask this after reading Brewchez's effects of filtering question.

I personally don't filter at home, for the most part. I generally make dark beer, and people who drink my beer understand that it's homebrew, and won't be filtered. A little yeast never hurt anyone!

I do user irish moss, whirlpool my wort at flameout, transfer at least twice, and try to leave sediment at the bottom of the bucket/carboy/whatever. What further steps could one do at home to clarify one's beer?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Free (or nearly free)

Cold Conditioning

Before packaging drop the temperature to the thirties or forties Fahrenheit. Hold the beer here for a few days. Haze-causing proteins coagulate more easily at this temperature. I do this for almost all my beer.

Wait Longer

This is one of the most difficult filtering methods. All that beer, nearly ready to drink.... I usually condition my beers an extra two weeks. I once left some malt liquor in a bucket for six months. It was really clear.

That is usually sufficient

I use those methods exclusively and my beer comes out clear, but not brilliant.

Pre-fermentation

While this part is not directly related to the question of filtering the following techniques help clarify your beer. In my percieved order of effectiveness:

  1. Irish moss (acts on haze proteins)
  2. Post-boil whirlpool (removes trub)
  3. A good rolling boil (haze proteins)
  4. Good vorlauf (haze proteins)
  5. A kettle screen (trub)

(I employee all of these except whirlpool because the screen does the job.)

More (not so free) things

Buy a filter

More Beer sells an economical filter. I have not had experience with this.

Clarifiers

Isinglass, gelatin and other commercial products will clear up your beer. After fermentation has subsided, add one of these things to your vessel. The stuff drifts down, picking up haze proteins. I used isinglass once without much success, but that was early on when I may not have known what I was doing.

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Do you bottle condition? If you bottle condition will it fog it right back up, or does it have a pretty minimal affect on the clarity? –  Room3 Mar 24 '10 at 14:00
    
I recently returned to bottling a few six-packs of my beer. Those beers are meant for long-term storage or are small run batches which I bottle condition. If you are careful when you handle and pour you will get clear beer out of a bottle too. –  Dean Brundage Mar 24 '10 at 15:03
    
Why don't you whirlpool? –  hookedonwinter Mar 25 '10 at 16:33
    
I have a decent kettle screen. Should have included that I guess. Fixing. –  Dean Brundage Mar 25 '10 at 20:39

Drink your beer! This usually filters out everything you want and leaves it in your belly. Everything you don't want, comes out shortly after. And it's pretty clear. I find this to be the best way to filter my beer. But good luck with those other methods.

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You could also use a flocculant in secondary, such as gelatin, isinglass, chitosan, or polyclar (a commercial name for the former). An easier method would be to cold crash the carboy after fermentation - drop the temp of the carboy to about 32 for a few days to drop out yeast and haze.

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A combination of these things is usually the best approach. –  brewchez Mar 25 '10 at 11:56
    
Note that your beer, strictly speaking, no longer will be vegetarian/vegan if you use gelatin, isinglass or chitosan. Irish moss and polyclar (PVPP) should be fine though. –  Simon Mar 26 '10 at 10:40

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