Sanitizing Wine Making Equipment

Winemaker Sanitizing Wine Making EquipmentI have a wine instruction book that says to use ammonia for sanitizing wine making equipment. I have some beer instructions that say to use bleach. I understand that is dangerous to use both. But is there a reason for the difference, or can I just use ammonia, or just use bleach.

Name: Ken L.
State: California
Hello Ken,

I got to be honest with you. I wouldn’t use either one to sanitize wine making equipment.

There are so many excellent cleaners and sanitizers on the market today for the home winemaker to use – cleaners and sanitizers that are both safer and easier to use. It’s come to a point that sanitizing wine making equipment with bleach or ammonia seem almost ridiculous.

I used to use bleach all the time to sanitize my wine making equipment back in the 80’s. There were old wine making books on the subject out there that recommended doing so, but what I found is that bleach is a big hassle that requires contact time and lots and lots of rinsing.

Chlorine likes to cling to surfaces, so one rinsing is not usually enough. I have not ever used ammonia to sanitize bottles or equipment, but I can’t imagine it to be much better.

Today, there are sanitizers that are very quick and easy to use. Some only require you get your equipment wet with it. Then allow it to air-dry. In fact, the air-drying is when all the sanitizing is actually being done with these sanitizers. It’s an oxidative process that occurs as the solution evaporates. No rinsing required. They are much safer because they are oxidative, becoming completely innocuous with a little time.Shop Basic A No-Rinse Cleanser

I would suggest using a product called Basic A No-Rinse Cleanser to sanitize all your fermenters and other wine making equipment. As the name suggest it is a no-rinse cleaner and the one I like the best for sanitizing my equipment.

For sanitizing wine bottles I use sodium metabisulfite instead of the Basic A No-Rinse Cleanser. This is essentially because evaporation can not happen efficiently within the confines of a wine bottle – something that Basic A needs to do to work.

Sodium metabisulfite approaches sterilization a little differently. You mix up the solution as directed on the container and put about two inches in the bottom of each wine bottle and allow them stand up-right for about 20 minutes. Unlike the Basic A, the fumes rising off the solution is what does the sterilizing in this case.

One of the beauties of using sodium metabisulfite is that the wine bottles do not need to be rinsed at all. They just need to be drained. Whatever remains in the bottles asShop Bottle Washer droplets or condensation is fine and will not hurt or affect the wine in any way. We have a great product for draining these wine bottles called a Bottle Tree.

Ken, if you still insist on sanitizing wine making equipment with bleach or ammonia, I would stick with the bleach. Use 1/4 cup to 1 gallon of water. Allow 20 minutes of contact time. Then rinse 3 times. The rinsing is the most important part.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Tips For Bottling Homebrew Beer

Homebrew Beer In Beer BottlesBottling homebrew beer isn’t always an easy process. If you’ve already bottled a few batches, then you already know what I’m talking about. Filling some 50 bottles of beer can be time-consuming and frustrating for the average homebrewer. But it doesn’t have to be!

One of the great things about homebrewing is that it is a totally modifiable hobby. There’s no single “right” way to do it. All it takes is a little creativity to make things work for you.

Here’s some tips for bottling homebrew beer that will save time and effort on bottling day:


Challenge #1: Cleaning & Sanitizing

No one enjoys scrubbing 50 beer bottles by hand. Luckily, this is a part of the bottling process that can be largely automated.

Advice for cleaning and sanitizing beer bottles:

  • Rinse first. After drinking a beer, rinse out the bottle with a few quick bursts from the kitchen faucet. This will make sure there isn’t any nasty gunk inside the bottle that has to be scrubbed out on beer bottling day. Stubborn deposits inside the bottle? The Bottle and Carboy Washer will blast them away. Consider draining your beer bottles on a Bottle Tree so you don’t have to worry about standing water inside the bottle.
  • Sanitize in dishwasher. This is one of the beer bottling tips that will save you a lot of time. It isn’t a good way to clean beer bottles, but if you’ve already rinsed them, it makes sanitizing pretty easy. The dishwasher jets won’t likely reach into the bottom of every bottle, but the steam and the heat will kill most of the wild yeast and bacteria that may be lurking inside the bottles. Just plan ahead and place your clean bottles in the dishwasher and get the sanitizing cycle going an hour or so ahead of bottling time.


Challenge #2: Removing LabelsShop Bottle Cappers

Probably the most annoying part of bottling homebrew beer is removing the labels, so much so that some homebrewers don’t even bother. But if you submit your beer bottles for competition or want to make sure you don’t look like a total amateur, the labels gotta go.

Tips for removing beer bottle labels:

  • Buy some plain bottles. If you’re willing to spend the money, just get a case of beer bottles from your homebrew shop. For some, the time savings will be worth the expense.
  • Choose your bottles wisely. If you’ve removing labels before, you may have noticed that certain breweries’ labels come off more easily than others. I’ve found that it’s usually the larger craft breweries whose labels come off the easiest. If you need to stock up on bottles for homebrewing, get a case from New Belgium or Sam Adams. Once you’ve made your way through the case (remember to rinse!), just soak the bottles in a solution of Basic A No-Rinse Cleanser and warm water – the labels will come right off.


Challenge #3: Tilting the Bottling Bucket

This is a beer bottling tips that will save you a couple of bottles every batch when bottling your homebrew beer. A lot of bottling buckets have the spout a full inch or so above the bottom of the bucket. This helps leave behind sediment that may be in the bucket, but there’s at least a few bottles worth of beer below the spout. This leaves us having to tilt the bucket to get the last several pints. An extra set of hands will make this easier, but it seems to me like an unnecessary waste of energy.Shop Basic A


  • Build your own dip tube. I found this tip on Homebrew Talk. Take a rubber stopper that fits into the inside of your bottling spigot and construct a dip tube from a short piece of plastic, stainless steel, or copper. For my setup, a Drilled #2 Rubber Stopper did the trick, and now I don’t have to tip the bucket!

Do you have any tips for bottling homebrew beer you’d like to share? I’m sure that others would love to hear them. Comment below and let us know!
David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.

3 Tips For Making Fruit Wine With More Fruit Flavor

Getting More Fruit In Homemade WineI recently entered a homemade blackberry wine into a judging contest. I did ok but two judges said my wine needed more fruit flavor. I used the wine recipe from Kraus. Do I need to add more fruit at the beginning of the fermentation? How do I get more fruit flavor in my wine. I usually make 5 gallons at a time.

Name: Thomas S.
State: Tennessee
Hello Thomas,

Thanks for the great question! Flavor is a subjective topic. One person’s perception of a wine can be completely different from another’s. In fact, two of the tips I’m going to give you for getting more flavor in your fruit wine (number 2 and 3) are based on perception and not reality:

  • Tip #1: Use more fruit – just as you suggested. This will also require you to add less acid blend than called for in the wine recipe. The reason for this is that more fruit acid is being provided by the fruit. An acid test kit may be the best way for you to tell how much acid blend is needed. The additional fruit will also provide more sugar to the wine must. You will want to use a hydrometer to know how much to add. This brings use to the next tip for getting more fruit flavor in your wine.
  • Tip #2: Make your wines with less alcohol. Lower alcohol wines tend to have more fruit flavor. High-alcohol wines numb the tongue, making flavor sensations tougher to experience. This wine can take on a watered-down characteristic. Instead of making your wines at 13%, 14%, or higher, try making them around 10% or 11%. Controlling your wine’s alcohol level is easily done by adding less sugar to the wine must. Again, a hydrometer is your friend in this situation. Add sugar to the wine must until the hydrometer gives you a potential alcohol reading in the 10% to 11% range.Shop Hydrometers
  • Tip #3: Back-sweeten the wine at bottling time. Don’t make your wine bone dry. When you pop a blackberry into your mouth, a lot of what makes a blackberry taste like a blackberry is it’s sweetness. The fermentation takes all that sweetness away by fermenting the sugars into alcohol. Sweetening the wine back just a little bit can give the perception of the wine having more fruit flavor. You don’t necessarily have to make the wine sweet. Use just enough sugar to take the bone-dry edge off the wine can make quite a difference. It is important that you stabilize the wine by adding potassium sorbate when sweetening. This will help to eliminate any chance of a re-fermentation in the bottle.


There are a couple of caveats that need to be brought up.

  1. Adding more fruit to increase the wines fruit flavor means that it will need more time to age. Bigger, bolder wines are more harsh when they are first fermented. Aging plays a more important role in mellowing the harshness of these big wines.
  1. Shop Potassium SorbateThere is a limit to how much you can increase the fruit in a wine recipe. The limit is based on the acidity or tartness of the particular fruit being used. You do not want to add so much fruit that the wine ends up being too tart even without adding any acid blend, at all.

So Thomas, there you have it… three simple things you can do to get more fruit flavor into your homemade fruit wines. You can try just one of them, or you can try all three at the same time, on the same wine.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Yeast Starter For Your Beers: Recipe & Instructions

Clean healthy beer made with a yeast starterUsing a yeast starter when making your beer is simple way to improve your fermentations. Here you will find a yeast starter recipe and instructions for using one to have a healthier, more-thorough homebrew fermentation.


What is a beer yeast starter?

A beer yeast starter is a volume of yeast that’s pitched into wort, usually prepared a day or more in advance of brew day. Homebrewers and commercial brewers alike use yeast starters to ensure that there are plenty of healthy yeasts cells to quickly, cleanly, and completely ferment a batch of beer. In other words, a yeast starter provides an opportunity for yeast cells to grow and multiply prior to being pitched into a batch of beer.

Preparing a yeast starter for your beer has several benefits:

  • Improved attenuation, i.e., a more complete fermentation and lower final gravity
  • Shorter lag time, i.e., fermentation starts more quickly
  • Cleaner tasting beer
  • More effectively ferment high gravity beers
  • Proof the yeast, making sure that it is active and viable

Yeast starters are typically only made from liquid yeast cultures. Dry yeast packets, assuming they have been stored properly, should contain enough cells to ferment an average homebrew, but even making a yeast starter with dried yeast will result in some remarkable improved fermentation

Experienced homebrewers recommend a starter containing about 200 billion yeast cells to ferment the typical 5 gallon batch of homebrewed ale, and 400 billion yeast cells to ferment a lager. Since most liquid yeasts contain about 100 billion cells, we need to grow these cultures in order to achieve an optimal fermentation. (Explore this link for more advanced pitching rate calculations.)


Beer Yeast Starter Recipe

Yeast starters require very little equipment, most of which you probably already have on hand:


Yeast Starter Instructions

Making a yeast starter for beer is an easy way to improve the quality of your homebrew. While lagers and high-gravity beers will require more advanced pitching calculations, these steps will guide you through the basic process of preparing a yeast starter for the typical 5 gallon batch of homebrewed ale:

  1. At least 24 hours prior to brew day, fetch a large glass jug or flask and clean and sanitize thoroughly. Sanitation is extremely important, otherwise your yeast starter may become contaminated!
  1. For an average homebrewed ale, boil 2 liters water to 200 grams (roughly 1.5 cups) light dry malt extract. This is will provide the environment for yeast to feed and multiply.
  1. After a boil of 10-15 minutes, this starter is sterile. Cover with a sanitized lid or bung and chill to pitching temperature.
  1. Pour the cooled wort into a sanitized container through a sanitized funnel.
  1. Shop SanitizersPitch yeast into the starter container. Make sure that both wort and yeast are at an appropriate pitching temperature (and within 10°-15°F of each other), so as not to shock the yeast.
  1. Attach a drilled stopper and air-lock. The yeast starter should begin bubbling within 6-12 hours.
  1. On brew day, pitch the starter directly into your batch of wort.


Making a yeast start for your beer is an easy way to improve on your brewing process. Follow the recipe and instructions above see if you can tell a difference.
David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.

Should I Be Adding Sulfites Before Bottling?

Bottling Wine With SulfitesI made an apple cider and a apple/blueberry cider. Both are in the aging process  (4 months before bottling). I have the apple cider in a 5 gal. oak keg and the blueberry on in a 5 gal. carboy. Should I be adding sulfites before bottling the wine?

Name: Mike in NY
State: NY
Hello Mike,

If you are aging your wine in bulk, such as a carboy or oak wine barrel, we recommend treating the wine with potassium metabisulfite before the aging. So hopefully you’ve already treated it with some form of sulfite. This is to keep oxidation and spoilage down while in the bulk aging vessel.

Regardless if you have or not, we also recommend adding sulfites before bottling. This dose is to keep the oxidation and spoilage down while the wine is in the wine bottle. Sulfites want to leave as SO2 gas over time and during rackings, so it does need to be replenished at various stages. Here is more information about when to add sulfites to a wine.

Also at bottling time, you may also want to add potassium sorbate. This will also help to stop any type of organism from multiplying and spoiling your cider. Potassium sorbate is mandatory if you plan or sweetening back your cider before bottling, or there are still sugars in the wine leftover from the fermentation. Not adding it in these situations could result in a re-fermentation in the wine bottle. This would lead to either popping wine corks, or worse yet, exploding wine bottles.Shop Potassium Metabisulfite

Since your are making apple wine/cider I will also mention this: we also recommend adding ascorbic acid to help battle the oxidation issue when using apple juice. Apple juice/wine likes to turn brown very easy. Ascorbic acid will help to slow down the process and keep your cider looking pretty. The optimal time to add this is right before fermentation, but right now is better than never.

If you’d like to read a little more on this subject, you may want to take a look at Adding Campden Tablets To Homemade Wine. This is another post on this blog.

Adding sulfites before bottling is arguably the most import addition. It is the last time you will be able to do anything directly to the wine to keep it, so don’t skip it.shop_potassium_sorbate

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

How To Brew Witbier

Belgian WitbierWitbier, or bière blanche, in French, is a style of wheat beer native to Belgium. Belgian “white” beer is characterized by its light color and cloudy appearance, usually from the use of unmalted wheat or oats. Moderately hopped, Belgians wits are commonly flavored with coriander, bitter orange peel, and possibly other spices as well. Given its light, fragrant, and refreshing qualities, belgian witbiers are perfect for brewing and drinking in warmer weather. (Can you tell I’m excited for summer?!) So, here’s some insights on how to brew Witbier.

Though once popular throughout Belgium, wits were nearly made extinct until Pierre Celis revived the style in the 1960s. Today, almost every beer drinker knows of Hoegaarden, named for the town where witbiers were made popular, and Blue Moon, the interpretation of the style made by Coors.

In doing some research for this post, I found an interesting tidbit from Michael Jackson, which explains how the Curaçao orange peel and other spices may have found their way into witbiers. In his Beer Companion, he points out that “Belgium was a part of the Netherlands when many spice islands, including the orange-growing territory of Curaçao, were colonized.” It stands to reason that the spice trade influenced what was used in the brewing of witbiers.

Modern interpretations of the style may include some interesting flavoring ingredients. Westbrook Brewing in South Carolina makes a wit called White Thai, which uses lemongrass and ginger root instead of orange peel and coriander.

How To Brew WitbierShop Steam Freak Kits

Witbiers are a fun style to brew and one that you and your non-beer geek friends will likely enjoy throughout the summer. Our Brewcraft Belgian Wit recipe kit includes everything you need to brew a Belgian white. You can also brew your own Blue Moon with Stream Freaks Blue Noon recipe kit. Both of these recipe kits are from extract. If you prefer to formulate your own witbier recipe, read on.

  • Grains – Extract brewers will want to use the lightest malt extract available, probably using a fair amount of wheat malt extract syrup, an extract made from both wheat and barley malt (65/35 wheat to barley malt). All-grain brewers should start with a light pilsner malt for the base of their grain bill. Both might consider using unmalted wheat or oats for added body and the notorious witbier cloudiness.
  • Hops – Traditional European varieties of hops should be used in an authentic Belgian witbier, but feel free to use some American hops if you’d like. According to Michael Jackson, the original Hoegaarden used East Kent Goldings and Saaz, though I’m not sure that’s still the case now that Hoegaarden is owned by AB-InBev. In any event, shoot for 10-20 IBUs.Shop Beer Flavorings
  • Herbs & spices – Coriander and bitter orange peel are the common additions in Belgian whites. Hoegaarden’s “secret” spice is believed to be grains of paradise. This is a good style though for thinking outside the box, so you may wish to throw in some lemon peel, lemongrass, ginger, or chamomile into your witbier depending on your tastes.
  • Yeast – Use a wit beer yeast or other Belgian yeast strain for your witbier.

That’s my take on how to brew Witbier. Are you a fan of Belgian wits? How do you like to brew your own Belgian white?
David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.

How Many Cans Of Fruit Wine Base Should I Use In My Wine Recipe?

Fruit Wine Base For Wine MakingI would like to buy a kit, but would prefer to make a fruit wine.  So I’m planning on buying the Your Fruit! Wine Making Kit and then buying the County Fair Fruit Wine Base.  I’m confused about the number of cans (46 oz) I need or want… the catalog suggests using 2-4 cans.  So I guess my question is:  What changes when you add more fruit wine base?

Thank you very much for your time. I’m really exited to start making wine!

– Holly
Hello Holly,

Thank you for this much needed blog question about fruit wine bases.

The primary difference you will notice between using two cans of County Fair Fruit Wine Base in your wine recipes and four cans is the body. The more cans you use, the more body the wine will have. If you don’t know what body means, it can best be described as the mouth-feel of the wine – the viscosity of the wine. Another way to look at it is to think of the difference between whole milk and skim milk.

There are other secondary differences as well. When using less cans in your wine recipes you get a more crisp, refreshing wine. When you use more cans you get a more robust, assertive wine. A crisp wine is more refreshing or thirst quenching. Some might call it a summer wine. A robust wine might be something you would drink with dinner. With a robust wine the flavors tend to linger on the palate longer, competing very well with the flavors of the meal.

Shop Fruit Wine BasesSomething else that should be pointed out is that wines made with two cans of fruit wine base will age out more quickly than wines made with four cans of the fruit wine base. A two can wine recipe might peak in 4 or 5 months, whereas a four can wine recipe might peak around a year. This is all very subjective, so each persons impression of these wines might vary, but on average this is true.

I hope this answers your questions. It’s a matter of style and the type of wine you like to drink. Many people assume that four cans of the County Fair fruit wine base will taste twice as good as two in their wine recipes, but this is not necessarily true. It will have the characters described earlier, but whether or not it makes it better is a matter of personal tastes.

Happy Wine Making,
Ed Kraus
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Storing Hops: What’s The Best Way?

Homebrewer Storing HopsThe question often comes up: “I’ve had this bag of hops in the refrigerator for over a year…can I still use them?”

In short, yes! However, just storing hops in the refrigerator does not preserve their alpha acids very well, which makes it difficult to predict how they will affect a beer’s bitterness. Hops lose their potency and freshness over time, and only in the case of Lambics are aged hops considered desirable. Further, if not stored properly, hops can absorb some unpleasant odors wafting around your fridge, so it’s important to understand the proper method of storing hops in order to brew the freshest, best beer possible.


So, what’s the best way to store hops?

Learning how to store hops is a piece of cake:

  • Good – At a minimum, keep your hops in the refrigerator in an airtight container—like in a mason jar—and use them as soon as possible after purchasing.
  • Better – Even better, store hops in a vacuum-sealed package in the refrigerator. A consumer grade vacuum sealer can come in handy for this purpose.
  • Best – The best method for storing hops is to keep them in an air-flushed, vacuum-sealed package in the freezer. Most homebrewing hops these days are packaged  and stored this way. If it will be more than a few days before brewing with the hops, just toss them in the freezer until brew day.shop_hops

The same goes for storing hops after opening the package. If you have an unused portion of hops, storing the hops in the freezer in an airtight container is the best way to go. Try to use the hops as soon as possible.


What if my hops are old? Can I still use them? How does this affect IBUs?

If your have been storing hops in the freezer in an airtight container for less than a year, you should be able to use them without their age having a negative affect on your beer.

If the hops have been stored for longer than a year or just kept in a refrigerator, it might be a good idea to calculate the actual alpha acid content of the hops in order to accurately predict IBUs in the finished beer. All hops should be packaged with an alpha acid content expressed as a percentage. From there, it’s a simple matter of using an aged hop calculator to adjust the alpha acid content and the weight needed to achieve a desired bitterness level.Shop Accurate Scales

Keep in mind that there are many factors affecting bitterness in beer, so calculated IBUs are just an approximation. At the end of the day, it may be worth just buying some fresh hops from the homebrew shop so you can be sure you get the best qualities from your hops as possible.
David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder and editor of the Local Beer Blog.

Why Do Some Wine Recipes Call For Pectic Enzyme?

Fermentation Using Pectic EnzymeThis is Greg again with another question.  I have been making wine with your concentrated homemade wine kits for several years and have had a lot of fun for sure.  I would like to make apple wine…  saw the apple recipe you have on your website.  It looks a lot like making wine from concentrate.  The only thing I do not understand is the pectic enzyme. What is the purpose of adding pectic enzyme to a wine?

Dear Greg,

Pectic enzyme is called for in almost all wine recipes that use fresh fruit. The recipes you see in books like The First Steps In Wine Making and the wine recipes on our website will all call for pectic enzymes. However, you do not need to add it to wines made from concentrated homemade wine kits, like the ones you have been making wine with. This is because the necessary pectic enzyme has already been added to the concentrate by the wine kit producer.

The purpose of using pectic enzyme in wine making is twofold:

  • First and foremost, pectic enzyme helps to break down the fruit’s fiber or pulp. This allows more flavor and color to be extracted from whatever fruit is being used during the fermentation.
  • Shop Pectic EnzymeSecondly, it helps to make sure the wine has a clearer, more translucent, appearance after the fermentation has completed and the wine has had ample time to clear up.

Pectic enzyme accomplishes both of these tasks by breaking down the pectin cells in the fruit. Pectin is the gelatinous material that holds together the strands of fiber found within fruits such as strawberry or grape. It is also the “stuff” that makes apple sauce thick and cloudy.

By breaking down these pectin cells, the fruit’s pulp becomes less thick. This allows more of the fruit’s character to be released during fermentation or even when running the pulp through the grape presses. Because pectin is somewhat opaque, if it isn’t sufficiently broken down during the fermentation, the resulting wine will have a pectin haze. For the most part, this type of defect is not correctable once the fermentation is complete.

When making wine from concentrated homemade wine kits, the flavor and color extraction has already been taken care of for you. No pulp is involved and Pectic enzyme is not necessary. It’s one more variable that these kits take out of the equation so that you can be a successful home wine maker.

shop_wine_pressSo as you can start to see there is a reason for adding pectic enzyme to a wine. Pectic enzyme has a purpose. It helps to extract more color and flavor from the fruit, and it helps to insure that the resulting wine is clear.

Happy Wine Making,
Ed Kraus
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

5 Tips for Clearing Beer (No Filter Required!)

Results of Clearing BeerA wise man once said that, beauty is in the glass of the beer holder. Cliché aside, wouldn’t your beer be even more beautiful if it was crystal clear? Clearing beer is not all that difficult. In fact, clearing beer is a matter of some simple steps.

While it is true that most haze-causing compounds have little effect on the flavor of our beers, the psychological effect of seeing a pristine, clear beer helps make for a more-enjoyable beer drinking experience. Additionally, clear beer tends to aid in product stability, giving your beer better shelf-life. With a little planning and patience, it is easy to get clear beer. With that said, here are some easy tips on clearing beer.


  1. Kettle Finings: Whirlfloc or Irish Moss
    Whirlfloc is a refined version Irish Moss, a carrageen seaweed. These products help protein coagulate in your kettle during the boil and eventually settle out of your beer. Adding a tablet of Whirlfloc or a tablespoon of Irish Moss 15 minutes before the end of boil can greatly reduce haze-causing proteins in your final beer. Using any of these is a great start to clarifying your beer.
  1. Proper Calcium Levels 
    Calcium aids in yeast health and their eventual flocculation of the yeast out of your beer. If you find your beers having significant yeast haze, it is worth checking your water report to ensure you have over 100 ppm of calcium in your brewing water. If you’re water is calcium deficient, adding small shop_gypsumamounts of calcium chloride, calcium carbonate, or gypsum to your beer can help the yeast flocculate out once fermentation is complete.
  1. Cold-Side Finings
    If you’re still having trouble with clearing your beer, adding fining products like gelatin or Polyclar to your beer while in secondary can aid in clarification. Different finings work on different types of haze, so be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions and follow their directions.
  1. Cold Crash & Careful Racking 
    After putting your beer in secondary and before bottling, chilling the fermenter to near freezing temperatures will help the yeast and other particulate settle out. This allows you to carefully rack clear, bright beer off any trub cake and into your bottles or kegs.
  1. Cold Storage Shop Water Treatment
    Patience can go a long way when clearing beer. Once you beer is bottled and carbonated, storing it cold for a week or two will help chill-haze proteins form and settle out of solution, leaving you with bright beer. This is traditionally done with lager beers, but most ales can also benefit from cold storage.


Creating bright, clear beer is not rocket science. With solid brewing procedures and a few select ingredients such as clearing and fining agents, clearing beer is a very easy thing to accomplish.
Nick Ladd is a homebrewer, beer enthusiast, and BJCP certified beer judge. He has won numerous beer competitions, has collaborated on multiple commercial beer projects, and writes frequently at his blog,