I'm still pretty new to home-brewing, but I've got a couple of extract kits under my belt so far and I was wondering how I could get more clarified beers. I've used both Irish moss and Whirlfloc tablets, but still would like to know what else I could do to obtain better clarity.
Time and colder temps in the carbonated bottle are the main way to get it clearer without doing much else. You may need to identify the type of haze you are getting if that doesn't help. Haze comes from many different sources: yeast, protein, starches, hop oils etc etc. Irish moss and whirfloc are only going to touch the yeast.
You could also filter using a plate filter Like this one. One thing to note is you will also filter out some of the beers taste and aroma.
No one has mentioned Isinglass when barreling ale. Whereas Irish Moss and whirlfoc will remove proteins, isinglass added during barrelling will clear the yeast. Yeast is negatively charged and isinglass, a long and twisted positively charged protein, can 'trap' many yeast cells at a time. It should be prepared and added according to the producer's instructions and you might need a few trials to get the amount to add spot on. Too little and the beer won't clear, too much and the beer will be overfined, with the same result.
It is important though, that the sediment stays with the beer in the barrel, as it is needed to allow that final conditioning, so don't add it before barrelling and rack off from the sediment!
A bit fiddly, but once you get it right the result is really bright ale - assuming you have dealt with your proteins with auxiliary finings.
One thing to note, though, never add auxiliary finings and isinglass at the same time as they will bond together and cancel each other out.
Here are a couple of things to try if you are not already doing them:
- Make sure to strain the wort as you pour it into the primary fermenter. This will get rid of the larger suspended particles.
- Use a secondary fermenter if you aren't already. Move the primary fermenter to an elevated spot and let it set there without disturbing it for a day or so before transferring to the secondary.
- Again, move the secondary fermenter into place well before it's time to bottle to allow plenty of time for the particles to settle to the bottom.
If you're brewing all-grain, try recirculating the wort back over the top of the grain bed for at least a few minutes at the end of the mash. You can literally see the wort clarifying as the sediment is caught by the spent grains.
For more information: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Vorlauf