Friday, 3 June 2016

Seeing through the murk

At the conference on Recreating Old Beer Styles at Fuller's we had a chance to try an unfined beer made in collaboration with Moor Beer. I am very much a murkosceptic, but I'm fairly relaxed about a bit of haze. The beer in question was more turbid than I expected, which perturbed me a little. I wonder how long the cask was left to settle, surely unfined beer will need days? Or was lots of yeast in the beer a feature?

There are some beer styles that benefit from being yeasty, but I was dubious that strong bitter was one of them. As it happened I enjoyed the beer, it had a nice fruity flavour, but there was a bit of a harsh aftertaste to it, a touch of yeast bite I thought.

The beer was available in a range of formats so I trousered a couple of cans for more careful consideration. I let them settle for plenty of time in my fridge before trying them side by side. One poured carfully and one with all the yeast tipped in.

The (mostly) bright beer had good fruity flavours, and malty sweetness. There was a slightly harsh after taste but generally a pleasant drop.

The murky beer defintiely had a yeasty smell. It tasted a lot harsher. The fruitiness was still there but it was overwhelmed by the unpleasant yeast bite.

Perhaps not the most scientific of trials, but a clear victory for murkoscepticism in this tasting. 


  1. Unfined does not equal murky beer, as some idiots seem to believe today. A properly-brewed beer, given time, should drop bright.

    I don't like the flavour of yeast. Too much of it in suspension and it clouds all the other flavours that I actually like. I eveb pour Hefeweizen clear. I can't understand why anyone would want all that yeasy in their beer.

  2. When I had a can of JFK's Heady Topper it was opaque with yeast, but there was so much hop flavour I didn't notice it in the taste. I suspect things like that lead to people associating opaque beers with hoppy flavours. Personally I was left wondering what it would be like if the yeast count was at a more sensible level as I doubt the taste would have suffered from it.

  3. Just read that some brewers are adding flour and pectin to make sure their beers are cloudy enough. That's just plain crazy.

    1. I think that was originally done as a bit of a piss take, but bizarrely seems to be spreading. If you really want your beer to be hazy there are already available proper hazing agents.