Clear vs. Hazy

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by dougfur, May 13, 2013.

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  1. dougfur

    dougfur Initiate (0) Jan 24, 2011 New York

    Apologies if this has been discussed ad-nauseum in the past. I did some thread searches and didn't find anything.

    I've noticed that the look of a beer is almost as subjective as the taste. But it does seem like the "traditional" way to look at things is that a pale ale, IPA, etc. should be quite clear. I see a lot of reviewers commenting favorably on the clarity of a beer. But, is it me, or are we seeing a shift towards a different beer aesthetic? Many of the most popular ales out there are quite hazy and I have to admit that more and more, I find this really attractive. I have to say that if I pour out a glass of Pliny (almost shockingly clear) and another of Abner (hazy orange), I think Abner looks much better. Heady Topper is as hazy as Pliny is clear. Kern river citra, Abrasive... these are the cream of the crop and they're all quite hazy. Is there any good reason to prefer clarity? Are my observations only applicable to DIPA's? I don't think so, but I'd love to hear others' thoughts.
    Hendry and Shroud0fdoom like this.
  2. cubbyswans

    cubbyswans Aspirant (238) Jun 10, 2008 Missouri
    Beer Trader

    if it tastes good i don't care if it's clear or looks like mud.
    BlueRogue, Mikus, azorie and 9 others like this.
  3. Haydn-Juby

    Haydn-Juby Initiate (0) Dec 30, 2012 Vermont

    Transparency is really not that big of a deal to me.

    EDIT: The only real thing that bothers me appearance-wise is mass amounts of sediment in the beer.
    richobrien and AdmiralOzone like this.
  4. Davepoolesque

    Davepoolesque Poo-Bah (2,422) Aug 25, 2012 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Could just be chill haze.
    devlishdamsel likes this.
  5. devlishdamsel

    devlishdamsel Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2009 Washington

    Clarity is overrated. give me cloudy unfiltered beer any day! ( or anything for that matter). Probably is chill haze which is quite common in good beer!
    itchytasty, Hendry, fuhkyou and 2 others like this.
  6. BeastLU

    BeastLU Disciple (326) Dec 20, 2012 Virginia

    Gimme hazy!
    timotao and Hendry like this.
  7. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,255) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Or tannins from the dry hops.
  8. mecummins

    mecummins Initiate (0) Nov 16, 2012 Illinois

    To me, it really depends on the style of the beer. Certain beers I prefer to be clear (IPAs & lagers for example.) But I opened a GI Sofie yesterday and had to take a moment to enjoy just what a gorgeously hazy saison it was. I prefer my scotch ales to be a bit cloudy as well. I think, just like food, we first "taste" with our eyes.
    MartzMimic, IrishTank, ESeab and 2 others like this.
  9. Bosoxfan20

    Bosoxfan20 Savant (971) Feb 6, 2013 Missouri
    Beer Trader

    I personally prefer the look of a hazy beer over a clear one, but I won't knock a beer's appearance rating because it is clear or hazy. I am usually rating based off overall color, viscosity, head, and lacing. But I know what you mean...I certainly prefer the unfiltered look in most of my styles. Just something about the "imperfection look" of an unfiltered beer that i find most attractive.
    Hendry likes this.
  10. dougfur

    dougfur Initiate (0) Jan 24, 2011 New York

    Yeah, I guess this is how I feel too. I never knock a beer for being clear, but hazy just looks juicier and tastier to me.
  11. dougfur

    dougfur Initiate (0) Jan 24, 2011 New York

    I'm curious though, whether we're seeing a change here, or just a preference thing that's been around for a long time.
  12. rc51sport

    rc51sport Initiate (0) Feb 25, 2013 North Carolina

    Sometimes my Jai Alai cans pour pretty clear, sometimes they pour cloudy with tons of sediment. The cloudy ones seem to have a much frutier tropical juice smell and mango flavor. I love the cloudy hazy beers. I prefer unfiltered. I love the golden haze of hotter than helles. Not being partial to CCB alone, it's just what's in my glass tonight.
    richobrien likes this.
  13. Kuaff

    Kuaff Initiate (0) Mar 31, 2013 Alaska

    I admire both traits in beers which exemplify them. I appreciate the mysterious, arcane haziness that some beers have, and also the crystal clear purity that others have.

    I have to admit that my initial instinct would be to think that a hazier beer would have more taste and complexity (because clarity is more reminiscent of water). But then there are beers like Ruination, which are very clear, and DEFINITELY NOT lacking in intense flavor. Can't judge by appearances.
  14. lsummers

    lsummers Initiate (0) Jun 21, 2010 California

    I love a hazy weissbier and a hazy ipa/dipa. If it's a kolsch or a pilsner, clear is very attractive. For floaters, I don't mind them in any really hazy beer. However if there are floaters in a clear beer, they tend to just keep getting my attention. I'd rather have them be a subtle addition to the look of the beer. Bells smitten golden rye is a great example of a cloudy lighter beer that has some floaters that I feel compliment the beers appearance.

    One odd example of a beer where the appearance effected my taste might be Dogfish Head's Theobroma. I just expected it to be a dark beer. It tasted great to me and I really enjoyed it any how. It's kind of like when you have a food that's a different color than what it normally is. Seems like the brain decides what flavor it should be before you taste it!
  15. SerialTicker

    SerialTicker Poo-Bah (1,760) Jun 18, 2012 Michigan

    Here's an expected answer -- I like both.

    It makes and keeps beers interesting and more unique.
    IrishTank likes this.
  16. RBassSFHOPit2ME

    RBassSFHOPit2ME Meyvn (1,126) Mar 1, 2009 California

    PtE used to be much more hazy orange before they began bottling. Come to think of it, the first year or two of bottling, floaties were quite common.
  17. dpjosuns

    dpjosuns Initiate (0) Dec 8, 2009 Illinois

    If you're looking for what is "supposed" to be proper, take a gander at the BJCP guidelines. Then you can choose to agree or disagree :wink:. Also, check out the video on HT that Kimmich made where poured the uber-fresh HT and it was cloudy and the older one was clearer.

  18. Biffster

    Biffster Initiate (0) Mar 29, 2004 Michigan

    I love both, like most. Cloudiness can come from chill haze (coagulated proteins, which will settle out over time), yeast (like a hefeweizen), or dry hopping in fresh hoppy beers. Plenty of beers are acceptable to style with cloudiness, and if you arent interested in style, all bets are off.

    There is no objective reason to prefer clarity. With the exception of the case of the yeasty beers like hefeweizen, it wont affect flavor or aroma. And in the case of ultra hoppy beers, cloudiness actually implies freshness.

    Upon reflection, I was thinking that, similar to beer color and expectations, I have an unconscious expectation when I am served a cloudy beer. I think I expect it to be fuller bodied than its sparkling rival. Interesting.
  19. Premo88

    Premo88 Meyvn (1,345) Jun 6, 2010 Texas

    clarity to me screams "miller lite"

    murkiness/opacity says "craft"

    i love the murk
    timotao and Hendrick24 like this.
  20. marquis

    marquis Crusader (715) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    Depends on the style.Pale Ales should be water bright , wheat beer never can be and shouldn't be expected to be.
    I homebrewed for many decades and when I got things right the beers dropped bright without filtration or even finings.
    A chill haze is a different matter as is a haze resulting from exceptionally heavy dry hopping. But I've had beers off the scale for hop additions which were clear, even though on cask.
    IrishTank likes this.
  21. pixieskid

    pixieskid Initiate (0) Jun 4, 2009 Germany

    Kristalweizen...not defending the style because its removing everything I love about hefeweizen, but it does exist.
  22. El_Zilcho

    El_Zilcho Initiate (70) May 3, 2012 Virginia

    I never understood why brewers would go to efforts just to make it clear, I very much prefer the hazy appearance.
    richobrien and timotao like this.
  23. Andrew041180

    Andrew041180 Crusader (700) Mar 15, 2013 Massachusetts

    I love the crystal clear appearance of some beers. If I was selecting attributes from different beers for my perfect "5" appearance would be a clear golden/amber. But appearance is well below other descriptors such as taste/smell/overall impression when I'm actually enjoying a beer.
  24. Ahappyhiker2

    Ahappyhiker2 Initiate (194) Mar 27, 2013 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Most DIPAs I've had have been clear. Having said that, Heady Topper isn't clear, and it's one of the best. Doesn't matter.
    richobrien likes this.
  25. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,165) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    Gimme cloudy, gimme clear,
    What I love's delicious beer.
    Doesn't matter what you see,
    Great taste is enough for me.
  26. marquis

    marquis Crusader (715) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    They don't. Many beer styles end up clear if properly brewed without any action from the brewer.
    azorie, IrishTank and herrburgess like this.
  27. El_Zilcho

    El_Zilcho Initiate (70) May 3, 2012 Virginia

    Yes many styles end up clear, and that's fine and all, but there are methods used strictly to make the beer clearer. While I do like the hazy look more, I guess I should have said I much prefer beers in their natural state, rather than one that has had its appearance altered. I just purchased ingredients the other day for my first two batches of homebrew, one of the recipes called for irish moss, yeah I'm not using that.
  28. Knapp85

    Knapp85 Poo-Bah (5,643) Dec 25, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Depends on the style for me... If drinking a Pilsner I don't want it to be cloudy... If it's an IPA/Saison or whatever sure make it cloudy.
  29. Gotti311

    Gotti311 Crusader (769) Mar 22, 2009 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    I pour a year old Founders Curmudgeon and all the sediment in that beer looked and tasted delicious
    IrishTank likes this.
  30. Crusader

    Crusader Initiate (190) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    I don't abhor the technical advances making filtered beer possible, just as I don't abhor the "unfiltered" beers of impeccable quality which modern technology provides us with (I wonder if they are truly unfiltered or if unfiltered tends to be a relative term, I would think the latter, as even unfiltered beers seem to be similar in their unfilteredness). A filtered clear pilsner, or bitter looks really pleasant in the glass, especially against the light. I think this has alot to do with what you're used to, a person used to opaque looking beers might associate a clear beer with quality, whereas a person used to clear beer might view the opposite as a sign of quality, and still some others might be used to clear beers and still enjoy the brilliant color of a filtered beer.
    IrishTank likes this.
  31. beerindaglass

    beerindaglass Aspirant (217) Feb 20, 2013 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Pliny is clear and it taste f'n awesome. Pure Hoppiness is clear and it taste f'n awesome. Sucks is clear and it tastes f'n awesome. Jai Alai is cloudy and it tastes f'n awesome. Heady is cloudy and it taste f'n aswesome.

    I hope that clears it up for you, but it may have made it cloudier.
    Mouserat, timotao, Tracker83 and 2 others like this.
  32. Geuzedad

    Geuzedad Zealot (540) Nov 14, 2010 Arizona
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I totally agree. I wil say that I do like the look of a cloudy beer as it just looks more earthy as opposed to astringent with a really clear beer. But with that being said it is simply the taste that will determine whether I drink it again. I would never turn down a Pliney or Sucks just because it is clear. Imagine all the great beer I would miss out on!
    IrishTank likes this.
  33. mtomlins

    mtomlins Savant (937) Mar 12, 2010 Ontario (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    +2 ! I also agree that we do take our first bite with our eyes though. For most of the ales, I don't have a 'clear' preferance, but when it comes to lagers, I prefer clear. I think a cloudy Czeck Pils would be a
    Geuzedad likes this.
  34. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Meyvn (1,452) Aug 29, 2012 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    I rate appearance based on whether or not I would have sex with the glass once the beer has been poured into it.

    Or said a slightly less creepy way, I base it purely on it's aesthetic appeal. Sometimes a crystal clear beer can look gorgeous, other times, a hazy beer appeals to me. Color definitely plays a big part.
    cjgiant, richobrien and IrishTank like this.
  35. wingnutter

    wingnutter Devotee (486) May 18, 2005 Florida
    Beer Trader

    I agree 100% and that's exactly how I put it when discussing it. They just look better...more raw and inviting.
  36. Hophazzard

    Hophazzard Initiate (175) Aug 16, 2014 California

    Taste is most important, but I kinda like the hazy look. The best looking beer to me has that cloudy golden red/orange/yellowish hue to it. That color get's me really excited but if it doesn't taste good then what's the point?
    Hendry likes this.
  37. Shroud0fdoom

    Shroud0fdoom Poo-Bah (1,578) Oct 31, 2013 Maryland
    Beer Trader

    I like my beer raw. Clarity is usually polished/filtered, while the hazy beers are alive with everything active. Like my Quads. If it's clear, I don't stand near.
    kerry4porters likes this.
  38. jefffalcone

    jefffalcone Initiate (0) Nov 9, 2013 Massachusetts

  39. fmj40

    fmj40 Initiate (0) Aug 29, 2013 North Dakota

    There's flavor in them there floaties! Leave 'em alone to do their jobs...unless they were added after you open the beer by a friend who snuck a sip with chip crumbs on his moustache. At that point...the floaties are no good, and he's got himself his own beer.
  40. riverlen

    riverlen Initiate (0) Sep 16, 2009 Illinois

    If it tastes good, it tastes good. Since hazy is unfiltered I have to think it has more nutrients in it.
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