“What is that floating around at the bottom of my beer?”
This is a question we hear commonly about our hazy beers. And the short answer is: it’s an entirely natural, safe, and edible byproduct of our pursuit to provide you with the maximum mouthfeel and flavor complexity. But we wanted to know more, so we sat down with Amy Crook, Firestone Walker’s Director of Quality Control, to learn a bit more about this phenomenon. Keep reading to get the scientific breakdown of sediment in hazy beers.
Making Hazy Beers
To understand sediment in beer, you must first know how we create the haze in these beers.
Hazy beers have two features that separate them from clear beers. First, they typically use oats and wheat malt in the grain bill, which are high in proteins. And second, they are unfiltered.
We first stack the grain bill with higher-protein malts. Proteins interact with yeast and polyphenols to create a protein-derived haze. Filtering a beer removes all of the yeast, proteins, and polyphenols from the liquid. This results in a brilliantly clear beer. But by bypassing the filtration step for our hazy beers, we keep those compounds in solution, adding to the pillowy-soft mouthfeel of the beer and providing the haze we want.
What Creates Sediment?
As a beer ages or if it is agitated during transport, these compounds can precipitate out of the liquid and fall to the bottom of the can or bottle. Haze complexes can also coalesce into larger-sized particulates, thus resulting in the sediment you may see in Mind Haze or Double Mind Haze. So, while the sediment may not look the prettiest, it is perfectly safe, and it’s a beneficial signature of an authentic hazy beer.
We brew a handful of hazy beers, particularly in our Mind Haze family of IPAs. If you’re new to the haze, we’d recommend checking out our original Mind Haze IPA. But if hazy isn’t really your style, we’d point you to our other IPAs like Hopnosis or Union Jack.