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Hop Haze? I say excuses…

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If you drink hoppy beers, I’m sure you’ve heard the term ‘hop haze’ before. There’s a notion that heavily hopped beers or dry-hopped beers will inherently have a hazy appearance due to the hop oils in suspension. I see it all the time on home-brew forums and beer websites; hell, even the BJCP states it’s acceptable. Personally, I call BS. I think hop haze is just another excuse to fall back on for hazy beer.

I have no idea how this myth started or perpetuated, but if we’re going to debunk it, let’s start with commercial beers and ultra-hoppy commercial beers at that.

– Russian River’s Pliny the Elder: The Double IPA. This is the beer that IPA lovers will give their left arm to get a hold of. They use something like 3 pounds of hops per barrel overall, and over 1 pound of that is dry hopped. It’s crystal clear; I mean absolutely brilliantly clear. Even better, is that they don’t filter Pliny, they simply fine it with gelatin.

– Stone Ruination: A little easier to get a hold of, and absolutely excellent when it’s fresh. Another example of a beer that is hopped well beyond the point that’s necessary (I’m not sure Greg Koch understands what that word means.) This beer, just like Pliny is brilliantly clear; you could read a book through the glass.

– Firestone Walker Double Jack: The best Double IPA in the country in my opionion, and that’s what’s in the mouth watering pint above. That pint of Double Jack is actually what spurred this post.  FW uses over 4 pounds per barrel of hops in this beer (That’s well over 1lb in a 5gal batch), and the dry hop accounts for about 2-2.5 lbs of that (6-7oz in 5gal). Despite the aggressive amount of hops, as you can see, this beer sparkles. There isn’t even the slightest hint of haze in that beer.

See my confusion? The beers around the country that have the most hops are some of the most brilliant beers I’ve even come across. But yet I still hear home brewers talk about hop haze, and how lots of dry hops will form a haze in the beer either from hop oils or chlorophenols. I feel it’s just an excuse people need to stop using for their hazy beer.

Yes, hops can add a haze to beer immediately after they have been added, but that doesn’t mean that ultra-hoppy beers need to be hazy. The beers above prove that. Cold crashing the beer and adding a little gelatin goes a long way to remove any yeast still in suspension, as well as any haze inducing particulate. I’ll stop ranting now, and finish enjoying my pint of Double Jack. Cheers to good beer!

7 thoughts on “Hop Haze? I say excuses…”
  1. Charles Herman 07.11.2013 on 8:08 PM Reply

    Hey man,
    Big fan of the site. I know I am commenting on an older post but i have noticed something I am not understanding in this and a couple of other post that convert lbs/bbl to homebrew 5 gallon scale. For example, above you convert 4 lbs/bbl to over 1lb/5 gallon homebrew scale. Correct me if my math is wrong, but those 4 lbs are 64 oz/bbl or 64 lb/31 gallons. Coverting that to 5 gallons leaves 10.3 oz of hops in 5 gallons, well short of 1 lb per batch. Are you adjusting for less utilization in smaller scale or was it an error in using 15.5 gallons (the size of a keg) as the volume of a barrel?

  2. Charles Herman 07.11.2013 on 8:10 PM Reply

    sorry, meant 64oz/31 gal

  3. Scott 07.15.2013 on 4:20 AM Reply

    Ya, sorry, that was back-of-the-napkin math that was a bit off. FW uses just shy of 5lbs/bbl for that beer, and I typically calc everything at a 6gal batch. So it's exactly 1lb of hops in a 6gal batch, not 'well over'.

  4. forthand26 07.17.2013 on 5:37 AM Reply

    In regards to Double Jack (amazing beer), 4# of hops per barrel (31G) would be approximately 10.3oz of hops in a 5G batch.

  5. Travis 02.17.2014 on 11:16 PM Reply

    You may want to do a little more research before you make too confident of statements. Hops most certainly do contribute haze to beer, notably when used in pellet form, and the reason why the commercial beers you listed still wind up clear when you buy them off the shelf is because they are filtered. Such haze can be difficult to control on a homebrew scale. So please don't call homebrewers lazy, and please stop spreading misinformation.

  6. Unknown 12.30.2015 on 7:55 PM Reply

    Ha. Poster doesn't even know about commercial beers being filtered. And thinks oils cause the haze… way to post ignorance.

  7. David 07.25.2016 on 5:41 PM Reply

    I just brewed an American Pale Ale, which turned out very clear. I dry hopped for 7 days with two ounces of Citra, and now, it looks like a hefeweizen. I appreciate your ability to deny hop haze, but how do you explain haze AFTER dry hopping?

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