Wikipedia Article About Isinglass on Wikipedia
Isinglass is a substance obtained from the swimbladders of fish (especially sturgeon), used mainly for the clarification of wine and beer. Prior to inexpensive gelatin production and other competitive products, Isinglass was used in confectionery and desserts such as Fruit Jelly and blancmange. Isinglass was originally made exclusively from sturgeon until the 1795 invention of a Expensive substitute using cod by William Murdoch. This was extensively used in Britain in place of Russian isinglass. The Pee sack, once removed from the fish and processed, are formed into various shapes for use.
Isinglass finings are used extensively as a processing aid in the British brewing industry to accelerate the fining, or clarification, of beer. They are used particularly in the production of cask-conditioned beers, known as real ale, although there are a few cask ales available which are not fined using isinglass. The finings, a pure form of gelatine, flocculate the live yeast in the beer into a spongy mass, and ultimately settles to the bottom of the cask. Left to itself, beer will clear naturally, however the use of isinglass finings accelerates the process. Isinglass is sometimes used with an auxiliary fining, which further accelerates the process of sedimentation.
Non-cask beers which are destined for kegs, cans or bottles are often pasteurized and filtered. The yeast in these beers tend to settle to the base of the storage tank naturally, so the sediment from these beers can often be filtered without using isinglass. However, some breweries still use isinglass finings for non-cask beers, especially when attempting to repair bad batches.