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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > What makes some beers cloudy or clear?
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Old 03-05-2014, 03:21 AM   #1
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Default What makes some beers cloudy or clear?

OK guys, let's talk about why a beer is clear. Perhaps some of the more experienced brewers here will chime in with their ideas on the topic.

If I read Palmer correctly there are three major reasons for beer that is cloudy and simply will not clear regardless of how long it is left in the bottle/keg:

1) Chill haze or other proteins. Most common source of cloudiness. Probably will not settle out even if the beer is left to set for a long time.
2) Starches in suspension. The brewer failed to steep/mash the grains properly. Again, most likely won't settle out.
3) Yeast. Some yeast strains simply don't flocculate as completely as others.

Am I missing something here? If so, what else will cause a beer to not be clear that can't be corrected by simply allowing it to be still and settle for a while?

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Old 03-05-2014, 03:27 AM   #2
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Well, incomplete conversion can create a starch haze that won't clear. You've mentioned that.

But also, a too-high kettle pH and lack of calcium can mean that a beer won't clear as well. It might stay murky and never want to clear.

Some ingredients, like wheat, can leave a haze behind but it should never be murky.

Chill haze will clear with extended cold aging, although the stability of the beer long-term may be affected by having chill haze.

Lots of oils in a beer, say in a heavily hopped beer with tons of hops oils, may mean a haze that won't clear also.

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Old 03-05-2014, 03:32 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
But also, a too-high kettle pH and lack of calcium can mean that a beer won't clear as well. It might stay murky and never want to clear.

Some ingredients, like wheat, can leave a haze behind but it should never be murky.

Lots of oils in a beer, say in a heavily hopped beer with tons of hops oils, may mean a haze that won't clear also.
Wow, aside from the wheat I had never considered these points. I had thought about the wheat thing but thought that might fall under either the incomplete conversion or the type of yeast used.
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Old 03-05-2014, 04:05 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
Some ingredients, like wheat, can leave a haze behind but it should never be murky.
Just to add to this point, stuff like flaked barley is notorious for causing haze. In what may have been my first attempt at my own recipe, I added flaked barley to a pale bitter. It had horrible haze, but did clear after many months. That's why you tend to see it in stouts, etc., and less so in pale beers.
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Old 03-05-2014, 04:25 AM   #5
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Just to add to this point, stuff like flaked barley is notorious for causing haze. In what may have been my first attempt at my own recipe, I added flaked barley to a pale bitter. It had horrible haze, but did clear after many months. That's why you tend to see it in stouts, etc., and less so in pale beers.
It did eventually clear?
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Old 03-05-2014, 04:07 PM   #6
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It did eventually clear?
It did, indeed. Not sure how long, the last bottles were the best, which sat at cellar temps for probably at least 6 months.
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Old 03-05-2014, 04:39 PM   #7
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Some of my IPAs and IIPAs stay hazy til the last drop because of hop oil saturation.

I ran out of fuel right as I was reaching a boil on a bitter recently and didn't get a good hot break. That beer stayed cloudy throughout it's life.

I had some issues with beers brewed at this house not totally dropping clear until I got the water report which showed that I have zero calcium. Since adjusting, the problem has... cleared up.

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Old 03-05-2014, 08:26 PM   #8
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Some of my IPAs and IIPAs stay hazy til the last drop because of hop oil saturation.

I ran out of fuel right as I was reaching a boil on a bitter recently and didn't get a good hot break. That beer stayed cloudy throughout it's life.

I had some issues with beers brewed at this house not totally dropping clear until I got the water report which showed that I have zero calcium. Since adjusting, the problem has... cleared up.
That calcium issue is very interesting.
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Old 03-05-2014, 09:40 PM   #9
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Can we get some elaboration on the pH and calcium contributions to haze? I'm curious.

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Old 03-05-2014, 09:59 PM   #10
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I was going to start a thread to ask for help trouble shooting the cloudiness/haze in my beer, but I figured no use adding to the never ending of amount of first timer questions. Although I'm not a first timer, this is my first beer batch in maybe two years so I'm foggy on technique. Attached is a picture of the IPA (partial mash). I let it ride in primary for 3 weeks and the SG never got below 1.022, ABV is 6.8% (fermented in mid 60's, after fermentation slowed I tried warming it up for the last week or two with a brew belt). I used Wyeast 1217. The carbonation is fairly light for what I thought (primed in keg with sugar and used brew belt/blanket on keg). The beer is currently around 35 degrees, and has been for about 3 days. So, what are the best options for trouble shooting haze vs. cloudiness vs. poor flocculation in the finished beer? Trying to figure out what caused it and how to avoid it.

General notes:
-Not dry hopped at all
-I don't use an immersion chiller, but I added cold water and let the kettle sit in the snow in minus 10 degree temps and it was down to pitching temp in around 40 minutes
-I didn't use whirlfloc or any fining agents
-The flavor is great (combination of Citra, Sorachi Ace, and Summit hops)
-I've never looked at the chemistry of my mash, and I've never had this much haze in a beer but maybe I was just lucky before.



Also, there is an LED flashlight behind the beer in the picture that you can't really see at all?

ipa.jpg  
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