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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Why is clear beer "better" than cloudy beer?
View Poll Results: How do you prefer your beer to look?
Crystal Clear 53 48.62%
Cloudy 1 0.92%
Don't care as long as it's beer. 55 50.46%
Voters: 109. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-03-2012, 02:50 PM   #1
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Default Why is clear beer "better" than cloudy beer?

Hi all,

So as I've read lots of threads I've realized that people prefer clear beer over beer that is cloudy. Why is this? Does the clarity of the beer affect the taste? Is this just an aesthetic issue?

I've never really thought about clarity in my beers because I either drink from the bottle or from stoneware (my wife is a potter).

Now I know some styles, like Hefeweizen, are suppose to be cloudy, but why are most beers suppose to be clear?

Thanks!

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Old 11-03-2012, 02:56 PM   #2
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It's aesthetics. Just as I like my food to be visually appealing, I like my beers to be visually appealing. I love great food and I feel like food is more enjoyable when it's prepared and served appropriately. Eating a clump of spaghetti out of pot is ok, but sitting at the table with a glass of red wine and serving pasta from a nice serving platter just makes it "better" and more enjoyable, even if the food tastes the same.

Last night, I was drinking a crystal clear IPA. I poured it and sat next to the fire and looked at the bubbles coming out through the beer, and smelled the aroma. I looked at the lacing as I finished the glass. It's the whole experience- I mean, I can drink a cloudy beer (but not murky, I won't). But I enjoy the whole experience of drinking a well made and great tasting beer.

Then, I pour another!

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Old 11-03-2012, 03:04 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper
It's aesthetics. Just as I like my food to be visually appealing, I like my beers to be visually appealing. I love great food and I feel like food is more enjoyable when it's prepared and served appropriately. Eating a clump of spaghetti out of pot is ok, but sitting at the table with a glass of red wine and serving pasta from a nice serving platter just makes it "better" and more enjoyable, even if the food tastes the same.

Last night, I was drinking a crystal clear IPA. I poured it and sat next to the fire and looked at the bubbles coming out through the beer, and smelled the aroma. I looked at the lacing as I finished the glass. It's the whole experience- I mean, I can drink a cloudy beer (but not murky, I won't). But I enjoy the whole experience of drinking a well made and great tasting beer.

Then, I pour another!
+1^^ Well stated! Case dismissed!
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Old 11-03-2012, 03:22 PM   #4
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Not only does appearance affect the overall appeal like yooper said, but also affects the perceived flavor. Much of what we taste, or think we taste, is in our head, which is why the processed foods all contain dyes. For example, we expect a cherry to be red, so any time a candy company makes a cherry flavored candy, they add red coloring to it. Otherwise, most of us wouldn't even know it was cherry just by tasting it.
The same applies to beer, though a lot of what we think a beer should look like has been dictated by the large beer companies. The degree of filtration has become a popular marketing ploy, much like the number of transistors in radios back in the day. So it isn't really that crystal clear beers are better than slightly hazy beers, it's just that we think they are.
Now, stepping down from the soapbox, if I'm brewing a lighter colored beer, I usually try to keep it relatively clear, but I don't obsess over it. If you make a cloudy beer, the upside is that since most people seem to think it won't be as good, you'll have more of it for yourself.

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Old 11-03-2012, 03:27 PM   #5
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I think you should check the BJCP guide for styles. There are some styles that should be brilliantly clear (such as a pilsner) where there are some where cloudiness is okay and even expected (weizen). The BJCP style guide gives clear descriptions on what beers should be clear and which are okay to have some cloudiness.

For me, I prefer to have a clear beer for the same reasons that Yooper explained perfectly (now I want a beer at 10:30am, Yoop, thanks) above.

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Old 11-03-2012, 03:28 PM   #6
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What Yooper said is spot on!

I also enjoy the challenge of making the best beer possible, which to me includes appearance. I don't get nearly as much satisfaction from drinking or giving out a hazy, god forbid murky, brew as I do a crystal clear one.

All a matter of personal preference though.

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Old 11-03-2012, 03:31 PM   #7
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Functional is one thing. Good looking is another. An old, rusted, falling apart car with a maintained and rebuilt engine is functional. A new shiny, fancy car is functional and sexy. I like my beer to be sexy. Wait...

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Old 11-03-2012, 03:33 PM   #8
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Another thing I thought about. I wouldn't drink a beer out of the bottle or a ceramic mug (as the OP said he does). Unless the beer was BMC and I was on the boat, I would use a glass. I do take glasses on the boat with my growler, though!

The aroma of a good IPA isn't available when you drink from the bottle. The ceramic mug is cool, and I bet it's pretty, but the glass is where I can see the lacing and the bubbles and the head.

I wouldn't turn down a beer that was served in a cool mug or stoneware, of course. It's just that part of the experience to me is the enjoyment of the visuals. When I sit down with a glass of Scotch, I don't drink it out of a plastic mug either.

Even the beers that are allowed to be cloudy (say, a weizen) is cloudy perhaps, but not murky. The haze is due to the wheat proteins or the suspended yeast, and the haze should be slight. You shouldn't ever have a murky looking beer.

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Old 11-03-2012, 03:37 PM   #9
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While Crystal clear beer is nice, I think that some here take it too seriously.

I think quick chilling is the only really important key.

I was concerned when I mashed 2 lbs of oats in a pale ale once, fermenting beer was GREY!!!!!

turned out crystal clear. No finings or filtering.

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Old 11-03-2012, 03:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheezydemon3
i think that some here take it too seriously.
blasphemy! :-)
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