When we think about a pint of beer, most of us will unconsciously conjure up a crystal clear pale colored lager, perhaps the star in a beautiful summer scene.\n\n\n\nThere's nothing wrong with that. Almost all of the beer sold around the globe is that variety of beer.\n\n\n\nSo, for the budding homebrewer, anything that doesn't come out of the fermenter looking so terrifically transparent may have them scratching their heads.\n\n\n\nIf you have a cloudy beer or even nasty little green things floating around (actually they are hops and one of our best friends), the obvious answer is to filter or strain that beer, right?\n\n\n\nStraining organic matter from homebrewed beer is generally unnecessary & possibly problematic, especially on the cold side of brewing. The major dangers are the oxidation of beer in the bottle and\/or the introduction of bacteria. A clearer beer can be achieved with better preparation or equipment.\n\n\n\nIf you are reading this just before picking up some form of filtering utensil, great! There are somethings you should know before you leap. \n\n\n\nIf you've already done it and the beer is in the fermenter or bottles, read on anyway so you don't make the same mistakes later\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nWhy Would You Want To Strain Your Homebrew?\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nPersonally, I found that with my early batches of homebrew at the very start of my homebrewing journey, there was a lot more floating around my fermenter and bottles than just beer.\n\n\n\nIt's common for homebrewed beer to have organic matter floating in it left over from the mashing and\/or boiling phase. At best this flotsam is offputting to the viewer, at worst it can affect the final taste of the beer. So trying to remove it is often the first reaction. Better control of the brewing process can stop this from happening.\n\n\n\nSome of the biggest culprits of 'imperfect' beer are:\n\n\n\nHops\n\n\n\nHops are absolutely essential in most modern beer recipes (see my article here on hopless beers). \n\n\n\nWhen using whole hops or hop pellets it's more than possible that some of this wonder ingredient will make its way into your fermenter and even your bottles.\n\n\n\nI've found that when you simply add hops to your boil, at any point, they can quickly disintegrate and spread over the surface of the wort. This is especially true of hop pellets and when they are given their freedom (more on this later).\n\n\n\nYeast\n\n\n\nAfter fermentation you are just as likely to run into the issue of yeast which is still suspended in your beer, which will make it look extremely cloudy.\n\n\n\nDepending on the yeast strain this might actually be what should happen, but if you are brewing something like a clear Pilsner, then the yeast has probably still got some work to do.\n\n\n\nIf you've just relocated your fermenter in anticipation of your bottling day, this could also lead to more yeast being in suspension (even if it has previously flocculated).\n\n\n\nGrains\n\n\n\nIf you are brewing an all-grain recipe, then having loose grains hanging around could be an issue, assuming you aren't going down the BIAB route.\n\n\n\nMore than likely, this will be an issue you'll face as you rack your wort into your brew kettle but it's still possible to see some grain particles as late as at bottling time.\n\n\n\nHowever, I would say that in my experience this is quite rare unless you have an issue with your grain bed during lautering, especially if you are rushing this phase.\n\n\n\nHaze\n\n\n\nHaving a hazy beer, although popular nowadays, may not be what you set out for. This can be caused by a number of things, but chill haze is quite common.\n\n\n\nThis happens when the beer is, well, chilled, and is a result of additional proteins present in your beer. \n\n\n\nOften these come from things like specialty grains which have been added to the grist purely for color or improved head retention and\/or mouthfeel. \n\n\n\nTo be honest, the slight haze you'll get is a price worth paying for an improved beer character. But that's just my humble opinion.\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n Plan your next Beer Creation?