Does hazy mean unfiltered?

Answered by Bill Hernandez

Does hazy mean unfiltered? This is a question that often comes up in the world of craft . The short answer is that hazy does not necessarily mean unfiltered, but the two terms are often used interchangeably. Let me explain further.

When a beer is described as hazy, it refers to its appearance. Hazy beers have a cloudy or murky appearance, which is typically the result of suspended or other solids in the beer. This can give the beer a somewhat “muddy” or “opaque” look. However, it is important to note that not all hazy beers are unfiltered.

Unfiltered beer, on the other hand, refers to the process. When a beer is unfiltered, it means that it has not gone through a filtration process to remove any yeast or sediment. This can result in a beer that is hazy, as the yeast and other particles remain in the liquid.

So, while hazy beers are often unfiltered, it is not a requirement for a beer to be hazy. In fact, there are many clear beers that are also unfiltered. For example, a beer could be unfiltered and still look totally clear, whereas if you labeled a Hazy “unfiltered,” that would also be acceptable.

It is worth mentioning that the terms “hazy” and “unfiltered” are often used to describe specific styles of beer, such as New England IPAs or Hazy IPAs. These styles are known for their hazy appearance, which is achieved through the use of specific brewing techniques and the addition of ingredients like oats or wheat to create a fuller body and haze. These beers are typically unfiltered to preserve their unique characteristics.

In my experience as a sommelier and brewer, I have come across many hazy beers that are unfiltered. These beers often have a distinct look and mouthfeel, with a soft, pillowy texture and a slightly sweet finish. The haze can also contribute to the beer's aroma, giving it a fruity or tropical character.

To summarize, while hazy beers are often unfiltered, the two terms are not synonymous. Hazy refers to the appearance of a beer, while unfiltered describes the brewing process. A beer can be hazy without being unfiltered, and vice versa. It is important to consider both factors when discussing the characteristics of a beer.