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Some brewers use Bentonite clay as a way to clarify their product, after the fermentation is done. It seems that proteins do not pass through, making for a cleaner beverage.

I wonder if this also has other effects on the final product, and if it does affect it, how: nose? aspect? foam? head retention? does it change anything with the use of hops during dry hoping?

Also, given the fact that proteins do not pass, what's the effect on yeast? Do they pass, what happens for refermentation? Do we need to force-carbonate once filtered or do yeast pass trough and adding sugar will work?

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There is use and overuse. As with all fining agents, overuse may drop too much yeast from suspension, leaving you with slower refermentation. It would be hard to totally stop refermentation, but I think it might be possible. If used moderately, I double the time I wait.

Overuse may also cause problems with head, I've read. But never had this happen or heard it happened from anyone I knew. Maybe we just didn't use that much?

Most findings make colour a little bit brighter. This may be either good or bad, but difference isn't big. I feel bentonite makes biggest difference, but I didn't have representative sample of batches to tell for sure.

I never heard or felt it to affect aroma of dry hopping or any other aromatic additions in secondary. It helps to leave them in the bucket when transferring to the bottling tank.

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I have used betonite in wine, and I must tell you that I don't think I will ever use it again. Not only it clarifies, but it also stripes some color and flavor out, so be careful.

In fact, you should used it as a last resort if you are a having clarity problems, so it will also depend on which type of beer you are making. Racking is usually enough for me to get the beer clarified enough to my taste, but if you are aiming for a light and crystal clear beer (like a "coors light") it might work.

If you decide to use it, I recommend adding it after the completion of the fermentation (and after racking) because Bentonite requires to be mixed, and you don't want to move the sediments around.

I have not done bottle fermentation after using bentonite, but you can still add some yeast just before bottling (which might affect the clarity again), so forced carbonation seems the best option if you can.

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  • Why isn't pouring the bentonite in enough mixing? Bentonite requires a few days to work, so why isn't that enough time to settle if you do decide to stir? What happens if you use bentonite before you rack? This answer says you can use bentonite in the primary fermentation bucket: homebrew.stackexchange.com/a/24318/17375. – Chloe Jul 26 '19 at 21:36
  • You may ask a new question homebrew.stackexchange.com/questions/ask if you want more detailed answers. But the link you posted mentions that it CAN be used in the primary AFTER fermentation is complete. But if you do not rack, you already have sediments at the bottom that you will mix again with the bentonite, so it is a bit counter productive... – Philippe Jul 29 '19 at 14:54

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