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Appearance: Hazy or Cloudy Beer

Problem:

If you observe unanticipated and undesired cloudiness in your newly poured homebrewed beer, there are several potential causes but all have cures.

Causes:

  • Chill haze results from precipitated proteins that are visible in the beer, making it appear cloudy.
  • Unusually high levels of ions in the brewing water may cause the beer to appear hazy.∑
  • Poor mashing results in the presence of particles such as proteins, protein-tannin complexes, or sugars, which can cause the beer to appear hazy.
  • Lack of adequate fermentation time results in insufficient conversion of sugars to alcohol and carbon dioxide, which in turn can cloud the beer.
  • Incomplete starch conversion results in starch particles being visible in the beer, making it appear hazy.
  • Slow wort cooling results in lack of a cold break. This permits particles such as proteins, protein-tannin complexes, or sugars to become suspended in the beer, making it appear hazy.
  • Poorly malted grain can result in incomplete starch conversion during mashing. This can result in starch particles being visible in the beer.
  • Too high of a sparge water temperature produces incomplete starch conversion. This results in starch particles being visible in the beer.
  • Infection by wild yeast or bacteria can cause particulate to be visible in the beer.
  • Material from ground grain husks can cloud the beer.
  • Insufficient boiling results in incomplete breakdown of particles such as proteins, protein-tannin complexes, and sugars. These particles can then cause the beer to appear hazy.

Cures:

  • Warm the beer, and as it approaches room temperature the chill haze will disappear.
  • Change water source.
  • Properly observe mash steps and temperatures.
  • Use fining agents or filter the beer.
  • Allow sufficient fermentation time for the beer style being made, and monitor the fermentationís progress using hydrometer readings.
  • Lengthen the mash time and lower the sparge temperature below 168 F (75.6 C).
  • Use properly malted grains.
  • Lower the sparge temperature below 168 F (75.6 C).
  • Maintain sanitary conditions.
  • Properly crush grains without pulverizing them.
  • Maintain a strong rolling boil for at least one hour to ensure a hot break, followed by a rapid cool-down of the wort to ensure a strong cold break.
Appearance: Hazy or Cloudy Beer