the dining mongers problem

John Costello cos at
Mon Oct 16 19:19:06 BST 2006

On Sun, 15 Oct 2006, Peter Corlett wrote:
> On 13 Oct 2006, at 17:32, McGlinchy, Alistair wrote:
> [...]
> > You mean you can get non-vegitarian beer. Cool. Where?
> Actual beer, as opposed to mass-produced pisswater, tends to be non- 
> vegetarian due to the use of isinglass as finings. Isinglass is  
> derived from the swim bladder of certain tropical fish, and finings  
> are stuff you drop into beer to stop it being cloudy.

Which is a shame to do to a good beer.
> There *are* vegetarian finings, and some brews are using it, although  
> these tend to be beers with no other merit that they need to find a  
> USP somewhere. Even so, as a confirmed carnivore, I'm not quite sure  
> what's so special about isinglass that they use it despite there  
> being vegetarian alternatives that apparently do the job.

Wikipedia gives a decent explanation.  

Isinglass causes the yeast to clump and sink to the bottom ("flocculate"), 
while Irish moss clears by removing proteins.  Isinglass is added before 
bottling, while Irish moss is added during the boiling stage.  Use of 
Isinglass will remove the yeast, which is desired if you don't want them 
continuing to ferment and produce funny flavors or smells.

I've used Irish moss to clarify mead - works nicely.

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