To follow up on my previous post about the benefits and drawbacks of using gelatin in your brew. For a quick recap, gelatin is a finings, meaning that it is used to remove proteins and some of the “stuff” that is floating in your brew. There is no doubt that it works to clear beer, but now the question is does it impact the flavor of the beer?
For this, I brewed up 10 gallons of ESB and added gelatin to one of the two five gallon carboys during the secondary fermentation. To test the flavor, I have two bottles of this ESB, one with gelatin and one without that I am going to taste head to head. This is what I got:
With gelatin – Clear, off white head, great retention. Aroma is very hoppy with a nice malt stench. There is a smell of rye bread in the nose. The flavor is crisp and intense. There is a lot of bitterness. the flavor leaves quickly and all I am left with is a bitter aftertaste. This is not very sweet at all.
Without gelatin – Color and head are very similar to the other brew, the brew is more cloudy, but it’s not that bad. The flavor is a lot more full in the initial experience but the flavor ends very abruptly. There is a lot of hops, it has almost a grassy flavor. There is a little bit more sweetness in this brew compared to the other.
Conclusion – There was not a lot of difference between the two. The color was a huge advantage to the gelatin as it makes the brew as clear as can be. If you like a commercial level of clarity in your brew and don’t want to wait 6 months for it to clear out on it’s own (it will given time and temp, get as clear as with gelatin), this is not a bad option.
It pretty good news. This is a cool way to make your brew look good and win over some non-believers in homebrew. There was a lot of traub at the bottom of the bottle that had the gelatin in it compared to the one that did not. It stuck to the bottom and didn’t come out when I poured the beer.
Hope that helps anyone considering this method. Cheers!