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Hazed and confused: Seeking clarity in murky IPAs

Dude, Where’s My Haze?

Taprooms everywhere are filling up with unfiltered brews as the haze craze takes hold.

The Daily Growler in German Village had six hazy IPA variations on tap this past weekend, and the other locations have a few as well, including a New England take on the Mandala series by Jackie O’s.

Unfortunately, the haze is nowhere to be found when the beer hits the glass. The opportunity to take that epic beer-fie of your murky pint has been denied.

What’s going on?

Relax, friends. This is perfectly normal.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

The residual solids that contribute to haze have a natural tendency to fall out of suspension after a while. Until very recently, brewers sought ways to expedite this process to produce a “bright” beer.

If you’ve ever heard a brewer or a beer know-it-all mention a “bright” tank, that is referring to a refrigerated tank brewers move beer to prior to packaging.

Resting the beer at a lower temperature forces the yeast, hop particulates, and grain residue to flocculate and drop to the very bottom of the tank.

Clear, or “bright” beers were sought after because minimizing the amount of residual solids ensures shelf stability.

Once a beer leaves the brewery, it could be exposed to light, heat, and other forms of abuse that might react unfavorably with residual solids. Some hazy beers can experience a reactivation of the yeast in the package causing bottles and cans to rupture.

A keg can be similar to bright tank.

A beer keg can sit in a cooler for a couple of weeks before it’s tapped, and stay on tap for weeks more. Even though kegs are drawn from the bottom, there’s still enough room for the particles to settle.

If you’re ever seen an uncharacteristically cloudy beer pulled from a relatively full keg, it’s usually because a layer of sediment has been drawn from the keg. After that layer is cleared, the remaining pints will be clear.

If you look closely, and compare your clarified hazy IPA to something like a pilsner, you’ll notice that there’s still some cloudiness to it.

No, it doesn’t have that chicken soup look that is all the rage, but gravity will not be denied.  

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