If you’re a home brewer, or even if you like to try the odd craft or microbrew, then you’ve probably come across cloudy beer. While most amber and light beers are free of sediment and cloudiness, there are a number of varieties that contain a significant amount. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily…
Let’s find out exactly what causes cloudiness in beer, and learn about cloudy beers that even the macro breweries are producing.
The Causes of Cloudy Beer
If you’re making your own beer, then there’s going to be a high chance that you’ll produce a cloudy brew from time to time. Without the expensive filtration systems that commercial brewers use, it’s near impossible to produce a pristine, clear beer.
The main cause of cloudiness is protein in the solution. This is especially noticeable when you chill your beer. Cooling causes the protein to appear and clump together, whereas if the beer warms, the protein will mix with the solution and become virtually undetectable. You can use additives to remove these proteins, which are usually only visible during the production process.
Another major cause is yeast. If the yeast is unsettled, then it will easily be visible in the brew. Usually, yeast will completely settle within 15 days, but you will notice significant changes within the first five days. For your home brew, make sure your brewer’s yeast has a high flocculation rating. The higher this is, the better the yeast will be at settling and you won’t be left with beer that is too cloudy.
Commercial Beers and Beer Styles that are Intentionally Cloudy
Some see clouding as undesirable, but there are actually specific types of beer that are supposed to appear hazy in a glass. Witbier and Weissbier are the most common varieties. You may also know these as white beer or wheat beer. These beers use more wheat in the production process, which contributes heavily to the clouded presentation. For master brewers, this cloudiness is exactly what they’re looking for.
The cloudiness in these beers is – you guessed it – caused by the protein and yeast in the brew. There are specific varieties of white beer that have these elements completely filtered out before bottling, although most purists would agree that a cloudy wheat beer is iconic, and not something to worry about.
Some of these beers are even flavored, and it’s not uncommon to find German varieties that include herbs and spices. In craft breweries, you will also find a trend of flavored beer. At home, you could incorporate additives like orange, or even coriander.
Embrace Cloudy Beer as you Discover the World’s Best Brews
When done right, cloudy beer is not something to worry about. If you’re a beer lover, then you’ll find that some of the best cloudy beers originate from Germany, and it’s worth seeking out some imported bottles if you want to taste something special.[Image Credit]