Brewing additives

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Brewing additives are anything that is added to beer with an intent to do anything except add fermentable sugar (see fermentable adjuncts) or add a specific flavor to the finished beer (see flavoring agents). These can include substances added to the mash or the boil or during fermentation or bottling. The most common brewing additives are finings, used to clear the finished beer, and water treatment agents designed to change the water chemistry or mash pH.


Type Use Time Use For Notes
Clearfine Secondary 1 day Clarity Commercial blend of animal collagen and polysaccarides that helps rapidly precipitate yeast and tannins. Mix with 2 oz cold water and add after fermentation has completed.
Gelatin Secondary 5 hours Clarity Clear, unflavored gelatin can be purchased from your grocer. Aids in settling yeast. Prepare in 1 pint of water by heating gently until dissolved. Add before bottling. Do not boil.
Irish moss Boil 10 minutes Clarity Fining agent that aids in the post-boil protein break. Reduces protein chill haze and improves beer clarity.
Polyclar Secondary 1 day Chill Haze Plastic powder that reduces chill haze by removing tannins and proteins. Add to secondary after yeast has settled. Amounts vary by manufacturer -- check instructions before adding. Do not boil.
Whirlfloc Tablet Boil 15 min Clarity Aids in clearing yeast and chill haze. Easy-to-use tablet form.

Other additives

Type Use Time Use For Notes
Amylase Enzyme Primary 3 days Fermentation Enhances fermentation and lowers final gravity by breaking down complex starches. Produces light bodied, high alcohol beers. Add when pitching yeast.
Ascorbic Acid Bottling 5 min Preservative This is Vitimin C. Adding at bottling time to wine and soda as a preservative. Not recommended for beer due to the off-flavors it might add.
Heading Liquid Bottling 5 min Head Retention Aids head formation and retention. Mix into beer before bottling.
Malto-Dextrine Boil 5 min Adds body Malt bases sugar that is less than 5% fermentable. Increases the body and mouth-feel of the beer and adds slight sweetness.
Yeast Nutrient Primary 3 days Fermentation Gives yeast nutrients for healthy fermentation. Not needed for most beers, but good for those with a high percentage of adjuncts. Add before yeast.