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I'm looking to put down a Hefeweizen tonight, and am pondering whether adding Irish Moss to the last 15 mins of the boil would be a good thing, or a bad thing. On the one hand, I would expect the Irish Moss to help clear up some of the unwanted cruft. On the other hand, would the Irish Moss be too effective at cleaning up? Meaning, would the resulting beer be unnaturally clear for the Hefeweizen style?

The recipe: - 60/40 wheat LME - Liberty hops (alpha 3.7%) @60 mins - liquid yeast (WLP300)

My brewing experience: - dabbled some 30 years ago - got back into it a few months back - have only done 2 batches previously, both extracts, the second included specialty grains steeping - never used Irish Moss or any finings before; selected Irish Moss because one of the potential drinkers is vegetarian

  • My experience is that beer containing carrageenan produce a headache some hours after consumption, which may last 6 to 12 hours. Carageenan causes a headache every time I consume it, whether it is in sausage, lunch meat, or dairy products. – TexasTore Mar 7 '19 at 1:53
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Irish moss is a protein coagulator, as a result it is not a primary determinant of yeast based haze. Yeast remaining in suspension is where a good hefe gets its haze from. Therefore, adding irish moss will not clear your hefe up much at all.

If you do add irish moss it will simply help remove some of the cold break, which is the protein source where irish moss exerts its action.

Most brewers forgo the irish moss in hefe simply because the yeast will make it hazy regardless.

I have seen little difference the few times I have brewed a hefe with or without Irish Moss.

  • I'm fond of the yeasty haziness of the Hefeweizen style. I'm unclear on whether reducing the protein component of the haze will improve on the taste, or whether the benefits are at the more subtle end of the spectrum. Good info to have, though. Thanks! – CaffeCaldo Jan 12 '12 at 17:36
  • Clearing up some of the protein may help with shelf life, but with a hefe that's not really a key concern anyway, shelf life is already piss poor. – Frazbro Mar 7 '19 at 3:14
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Skip the moss in my opinion. this style is intended to be hazy and you wouldn't want to over-clear it. Clarity is also somewhat overrated in my opinion so take it with a grain of salt. All of the Hefe's I've done have not used moss and have come out looking excellent (just enough haze in the glass to look proper).

  • I'm deeply suspicious of crystal clear hefeweizen. – FishesCycle Jan 11 '12 at 19:11
  • Technically... Kristallweizen is a valid style, it's just not terribly common and not what we expect from a Wheat Beer. – Kevin Colby Jan 11 '12 at 19:48
  • Yup, agreed on the Kristallweizen. I almost mentioned this as something I wanted to avoid. – CaffeCaldo Jan 11 '12 at 21:07
  • Kevin, much obliged for that. I'll leave the IM on the shelf tonight. ;-) – CaffeCaldo Jan 11 '12 at 21:08

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