Hazy Beer Is Generally Harmless, But It Can Be Prevented

beer, fining, forcing clarification, Harmless, hazy beer, John Lyle Harrison, prevention

Hazy Beer Is Generally Harmless, But It Can Be Prevented
April 20, 2014

John Lyle Harrison brewed his first bottle of beer in his home in the mid-1980s. Now, three decades later, he is still brewing and bottling his own beer, in a dedicated space in his garage. John Lyle Harrison has upgraded his brewing operation as well, and he has graduated from canned extract kits to all-grain brewing.
A problem faced by most home brewers at some point is hazy beer. The most common form of haze is called chill haze because it occurs only when the beer is chilled; it has no impact on a beer’s flavor. Nevertheless, some people are so used to the clarity of “professional” beer that haze affects their perception of the beer’s quality.
Haze in beer is caused either by biological or non-biological agents. If the yeast used in the brewing process does not clump well, for example, the haze could be that yeast. The haze could also be caused by a wild strain of yeast. On the other hand, the haze could be caused by bacteria, in which case the haze will damage the beer’s flavor and aroma in very little time. The best way to prevent biological haze is to attend more carefully to sanitation at all steps of the brewing process.
Non-biological hazes, on the other hand, are nearly always caused by some element of the brewing process. They generally disappear as the beer warms up.
Home brewers can usually manage haze in their beer with a process known as “fining,” which removes the proteins and polyphenols that cause the haze, essentially forcing clarification of the beer. One of the more popular fining agents is Irish moss, a marine algae that is thoroughly rehydrated before being slowly added to the beer, either during the pre-fermentation boil phase or after the beer has fermented.

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