Have you ever finished up the fermentation of an IPA or pale ale, excitedly poured yourself a pint only to be dismayed that that it looked more like a hefeweizen?
That is where beer claifiers come in. Different parts of the home brewing process can contribute to chill haze or cloudiness in a finished beer. Too high of a pH or temperatures in excess of 170 F during the mash can lead to tannin extraction from the grains which will cloud and cause off flavors in your beer. Additionally, excess protein from big lighter colored beers can contribute to haze.
One of the best solutions that I have found to combating haze is a beer clarifier called whirlfloc. Whirfloc is a blend of irish moss and kappa carrageenan that encourages the precipitation of haze causing materials such as tanis, proteins and beta glucans. Best of all, whirlfloc is inexpensive and easy to use. About 10 minutes prior to the end of your boil, toss 1 tablet of whirlfloc into the kettle for every 10 gallons that you are brewing (half a tablet for a 5 gallon batch). The whirlfloc bind with the heavier solids and sinks with them to the bottle of the kettle.
Whirlfloc can be purchased here: Click Here For Whirlfloc
Another great way that I use of fighting of haze in a beer is to cold crash at the ending of fermentation. To do so, I will knock my fermentation chamber temperature down to about 35F which will help the yeast and other residual solids in the beer precipitate to the bottom of the fermenter. I will typically allow the beer to crash for a week or two at that temperature prior to racking to a keg. This can also help clean up the flavor of a beer by removing excess yeast, prior to moving it to a keg or holding tank.
Just let me know if you have any questions on whirlfloc, cold crashing or any other beer clarifiers.