Whirlfloc Tablets: How To Use When Brewing

Home-brewing is becoming an increasingly popular way for people to drink beer. Though it remains a niche passion, hopefully, this hobby will become more mainstream.

How to Use Whirlfloc Tablets When Brewing

The best part of brewing your own beer is the freedom you have in choosing what ingredients and styles to brew with.

The downside is that there are many different variables involved in making good beer.

One of those variables is how well the yeast performs. As a result, some people struggle to brew beer.

You can use a Whirlfloc tablet to improve your brewing. Continue reading to find out what these products are and how to use them. 

What Are Whirlfloc Tablets?

Whirlfloc tablets are used to help brewers control their fermentation process. They contain moss and carrageenan.

Moss may sound like an odd ingredient to add to beer, but trust us, these tables can be super effective. 

Specifically, Irish moss is used. If you don’t know what this is, Irish moss is made from seaweed. It’s basically just a bunch of red algae that grows on rocks near the ocean.

This stuff naturally occurs. Though it is called Irish moss, it is not restricted to Ireland. In fact, it can be found throughout Europe and America. 

Meanwhile, carrageenan is also obtained from seaweed. It has been used as a stabilizer in food for decades.

Carrageenan is often used as a replacement for gelatin since it is both vegan and vegetarian.

When used properly, they work by binding proteins and other molecules that cause haze or cloudiness.

They do so without affecting the taste of the finished product. As a result, the beer looks clearer and still has its usual terrific taste. 

As you may have guessed, these products are sold in a soluble tablet form. Essentially, this means that they automatically dissolve in water. 

Why Do Brewers Add Them?

The addition of these tablets helps prevent over-fermentation. This happens when too much sugar is added to the wort during the boil.

It also prevents under-fermenting. This results in a perfectly clear beer. If you’ve ever seen a cloudy or hazy beer then you know why we need to add these tablets.

How Do Brewers Use Them?

Brewers usually add these tablets at the end of the boil.

This is because they will not be as effective when used at the start of the brewing process and you likely will not experience their benefits. 

Consequently, we advise using a tablet roughly 5 minutes before the brew is finished.

Though this timing does not need to be exactly 5 minutes, it is best to implement them as close to this time as possible. 

You should add one tablet for every 10 gallons of water. For example, if you’re using 5 gallons of water, you would add half a tablet.

Meanwhile,  if you are making a more substantial batch of 40 gallons, you should use 4 Whirlfloc tablets. 

You should bear in mind that instructions will vary between brands.

Some manufacturers recommend adding the tablets directly into the fermentor while others suggest leaving them in the kettle until after they boil.

They will also differ in terms of the right time to add the tablets. 

Because of this, you should always thoroughly read the manufacturer’s instructions before using the product.

What Are The Benefits Of Using These Products?

Whirlfloc tablets are very easy to use. There is no special equipment needed. Simply put the tablets into your brew and follow the directions. Then you’ll get a crystal clear beer!

Whilst some brewers claim that the tablets make their beers taste better, there is little evidence to support this theory.

However, we think that they do enhance the overall appearance of the final product. This is especially true with darker beers such as stouts and porters.

These tablets are also great for homebrewers who want to experiment with different recipes. You can easily substitute them for other ingredients that might affect clarity.

For instance, instead of using Irish moss, you could try using isomalt. 

What Is Beer Haze?

Beer haze occurs when certain proteins and polyphenols bind together and create a cloudy or opaque effect.

This problem can occur during fermentation, storage, or even later on when drinking the beer. 

Though it will not impact the taste, it makes the beer look less appealing.

Since taste is often linked to appearance, some people may find the beer less enjoyable if it is hazy. Beer haze is the opposite of clarity. 

Where Can I Get Whirlfloc Tablets?

Whilst most online retailers sell these products, we highly recommend buying from an independent brewer or supplier.

Because these products are relatively new on the market, many companies do not yet stock them.

Moreover, you won’t find them at supermarkets. So, if you want to buy them, you must visit a brewery or specialist shop. 

Fortunately, there are lots of online stores that you can use. Shopping for specialist products, such as these tablets, online is super convenient.

Plus, you don’t have to worry about waiting around in queues at the store.

You can get them delivered straight to your door, meaning that you won’t even need to leave the house. 

These Whirlfloc tablets from LD Carlson are of incredible quality. In fact, customers often comment on how good the products are.

There are roughly 182 tablets in a pack, meaning that they should keep you going for a while.

Also, they are great value for money considering the number of tablets you receive for this price. 

Plus, these LD Carlson tablets are simple to use.

All you need to do is add one tablet per 5-10 gallon batch of beer. This should be done within the final 15 minutes of boiling.

This means that you can leave it closer to the finishing time if you desire, such as the last 5 minutes. 

Alternative Clarity Enhancers

Although Whirlfloc tablets are widely considered to be the best method for making beverages clear, there are some other beer clarifiers that you may want to be aware of. These include:

  • Irish Moss – This is another popular addition to beer clarification. It works by absorbing proteins and fats found in the wort. As a result, it reduces haze and cloudiness. Interestingly, this is one of the main features of these tablets, hence why they can also be used on their own.
  • Isomalt – This is a sugar substitute made from maltose. It’s commonly used to clarify lager-style beers. Like Irish moss, it absorbs unwanted particles and impurities. 
  • Cool Wort – Cooling wort is another way to reduce haze and cloudiness. The process involves cooling the brew.
  • Silica gel – Silica gel is a porous material that helps to trap suspended solids. It’s usually added to the fermentor during bottling. When using this method, you should bear in mind that it needs a day to settle.

As you can see, there are plenty of calcification methods for you to try. With any luck, this list will help you find the right one. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Whirlfloc Tablets Necessary?

No, they are not essential. You can still drink a finished beer even if it has not been brewed with one of these tablets.

On the other hand, the use of these tablets is recommended if you want to have a desirable beer clarity. If not, your home-brewed beverage may suffer from beer haze. 

Is It Safe To Drink A Beer That Has Been Brewed With Whirlfloc Tablets?

Yes, this is perfectly safe. As long as you ensure that the tablet has dissolved when the brewing process is complete, then there is no risk of consuming any harmful substances.

We do not recommend eating a Whirlfloc tablet.

They could also be a choking hazard if they do not dissolve, so be sure to give these tablets enough time to fully solvate. 

Do These Tablets Work Better Than Other Clarity-Enhancing Ingredients?

We cannot say for certain whether these tablets work better than others. However, we know that they are far more effective than other commonly used clarifying agents.

One reason for this is that they are much smaller and easier to handle.

Another reason is that they dissolve quickly.

You can test a few different clarity-enhancing ingredients to see which works best for your brew. After all, each brew is different. 

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, using these tablets is about controlling the amount of protein present in the final product.

By doing so, you get a clearer and better beer.

Though using Whirlfloc tablets may sound intimidating to inexperienced brewers, hopefully, this guide will encourage you to give them a try when making your next batch of beer.

Andrew Carr
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