Beer containing fish?

I notice that the ingredients on a bottle of Sainsbury's "Bottle Conditioned Ale" describe "fish" as one of the ingredients.
I seem to have a vague memory of seeing a fish compound being used in home brewing to combat cloudiness.
Can anyone explain the nature of the "fish" used in ale preparation - is it literally fish?
Gareth.
Reply to
Gareth
I don't know how widely it's used these days but you are referring to a substance called isinglass which is a "pure transparent gelatin obtained from the swimbladder of certain fish, especially sturgeon". It's used as a fining agent. I am sure there are some experts here who will tell us more!
Gavin
Reply to
gavin

Really interesting.
But yuck you don't think of fish when drinking beer! Obviously not for vegetarians then. It was actually quite a nice beer.
I knew it was possible to get more than you bargained for when drinking large amounts of beer but this is ridiculous ;-)
Gareth.
Reply to
Gareth
Ever wondered why the first guy to do this thought it would be a good idea to add ground up Sturgeon's swim bladder to beer to clarify it ?
Makes you wonder what other "ingredients" were tried first.
-- JohnB
Reply to
JohnB
JohnB a écrit :
IMHO because it was already common practice to use such protein solutions to clarify wine...
egg white ? beef or pig blood ?
Besides, the history of beer adulterations over the centuries is a long and unsavoury one indeed...
Reply to
The Submarine Captain
In message , The Submarine Captain wrote
These days the breweries hide the unsavoury ones by only quoting the 'E' numbers :)
Reply to
Alan
Alan a écrit :
Indeed, but it's already positive if they do : they're not even forced to list the ingredients in most of the world. :o(
Reply to
The Submarine Captain
As a (lapsed) home brewer , my experience was that 80% of brews cleared rapidly without using finings of any sort. But of course my beers did not have to travel around and be roughly handled! Talking about the unusual , beer itself is an unlikely product! To soak barley grains , leave them then dry and kiln them , soak them in hot water , add hops to the result , boil , add yeast and later the swim bladders of fish is such an unlikely combination of materials and processes that we must consider ourselves very lucky someone thought of it!
Reply to
valeofbelvoirdrinker
I suspect things evolved from small beginnings. eg, from soaking barley grains in water for some other purpose, and the liquid spontaneously fermenting with air-borne yeast. Discovering malting. Hops were certainly a long time coming in the UK, though other herbs were added. Things like finings maybe only became important as clear beers became the vogue. KeithS
Reply to
KeithS
In article ,
Pile up some grain for eating later. Have it get soggy and acquire a small yeast infection. Eat it in desperation and discover the interesting flavour and effect. Decide to make more. Stay in one place to grow the grains to make more.
So civilisation was born.
See, beer is a civilising force contrary to what the anti-alcohol bods would have people believe. :-)
Reply to
Steven Pampling
In message , KeithS wrote
As I understand it, clear beers only became important when the clear glasses became affordable and became the 'normal' container for a beer in a pub.
Reply to
Alan
The ancient Sumerians were making beer 5000 years ago - they made little bread cakes from germinated grain, which they soaked in a pot for a few days and thus discovered the wonders of fermentation - even if they didn't know too much about the science behind it. The bread was probably unleavened and the yeast would have been naturally occuring - a bit like lambics. The role of yeast in brewing wasn't properly understood until Louis Pasteur came along. Hops were added to beer from about the 16th century onwards, and at first they were used principally for their preservative qualities rather than for flavour. Principal flavourings before then were fruit, honey and herbs - there would have been a lot of experimentation and huge variety across the beer drinking world.
So, basically, what we know as beer wasn't exactly dreamt up overnight - it has been through several thousand years of evolution. And one of the joys of beer is that it is still evolving, despite the best efforts of the international brewing giants to make us all think of beer as nothing more than flavourless fizzy piss that makes you fall over.
d.
Reply to
davek

OK the simple facts are: 1/ Isinglass is a highly refined fish protien. 2/ It has never caused a reaction to anyone who is fish allergen sensitive because of its highly refined state 3/ The brewing industry has succesfully campained for it NOT to be classed as a potential allergen. successfully. 4/ Usually it should not be present in beer (although some older tomes suggest it helps head retention). 5/ In most bottled beers, the Isinglass is used as a pre filter aid then fresh yeast is added without fining as bottling yeast tends to be selected for its stickyness and inability to float 6/ Many tomes suggest that clear beer goes hand in hand with the development of Paler ale malts and cheap glass drinking vessels (chicken and egg that one!). 7/ With few exceptions, most cask ale producers use it. 8/ A defined and consistent flavour free colour free and cost effective alternative would be welcome so that we do not have to rely on the dwindling fish stocks of this planet to obtain it. 9/ Alternatives have been: Bulls blood, egg white, Indian Tonic, serve it cloudy and call it vegan. Cheers, Don.
Reply to
<freeminer
Interesting stuff, Don, but I don't know that I'd agree that the facts are just that simple - I welcome labelling of all beer, both of brewery of origin & ingredients/processing aids.
If it is the case that there has never been an allergic response to isinglass, fair enough (and IMO it should therefore not be labelled as likely to cause allergic response in those with fish allergies) but I think the same cannot be said of some of the sulphur compounds (e.g. metabisulphite) legally used as preservatives in wine and beer, including cask - do you know if they are going to require brewers/vintners to mention them on the label.
If you point about a workable alternative to isinglass being welcomed is true of much of the industry are brewers/finings manufacturers/etc ploughing much money into research towards finding it? I suspect this isn't happening, due to lack of interest from brewers, but as you say dwindling stocks might make them more intersted. Cloudy I can handle, yeasty & the bitey taste, I can't. cheers MikeMcG
Reply to
MikeMcG

The case about there being no allergic reaction was the pivot which much of the argument to the EU revolved around. The problem is that few producers and own label people label as well as the customer of mine in question, this leads to mis - assumptions by the public that we must be the only people using it etc... and the result can be seen on this NG.
Everybody using simple truthful labels would be the answer (for all of our cask ales read "Malt Hops Yeast Water and add Roast Barley for the dark ones) the clever bit is how much is used, when and where it came from!
I cannot be too critical of the reaction of some of those on here [ running brewery tours has tought me how little some people really know about the stuff that they will happily pour down their throats ] I am dissapointed in the whole food thing out there that no-one thinks about what they consume untill one key word appears {bet if the label just said "isinglass" and didn't mention fish there would have been little/no reaction}.
The recent problems with Sudan1 show how pervasive chemicals can be in our food chain. I can only hope that it has made more people read labels and that there will be more consumers looking for pure , natural, products (like Real Ale rather than that "beer" stuff the multidominants seem to be keen to sell to the public and pay as little as possible to the brewers for). Apologise for this late reply/rant, but I was accross the pond selling Freeminer to the colonies along with about 30 other SW beers. Cheers, Don.
Reply to
<freeminer
Furry nuff, Don, I pretty much agree with all you say.
I wouldn't worry too much about being one of few brewers who are more honest & informative than most about what's in your beer - OK you'll get some people saying "Eueuurgh, there's fish in my beer" but some will know why it's there & not mind its presence; and others (veggies/vegans, etc) might care & avoid it, but at least respect your honesty. (plus you could look into processing/packaging the beer without the use of isinglass?)
Good luck with the US stuff, cheers. MikeMcG
Reply to
MikeMcG

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