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!