Hazy Ales: Why Unfined is Fine

Posted 9 July 2019

There are many different ingredients which can affect the taste, appearance, smell and consistency of a beer. From the huge variety of hops available to the type of malt used, there are plenty of options to choose from when looking to develop a new ale. As enthusiastic brewers keen to keep our beers fresh and exciting, our new single hopped series of ales is not only stripped back to the very simplest of components, included in this is our decision to leave out a usually quite anonymous ingredient: finings.

As avid ale drinkers will know, beer is naturally cloudy. ‘Clear beer’ if you will, has only been around since the 19th century, initially to make ales more attractive and brighter to increase falling beer sales. However, in today’s brewing revolution, there is much more to beer than just the appearance. With our new single hopped series, we were sure that we could win over those with a preference for fined beer with the sensational flavour, aroma and consistency from our hazy new ales.

So, other than appearance, how does it affect the beer when we leave out the finings? As it happens, there are quite a few ways in which it will change a brew.

Firstly, fining a beer not only strips away the haze, but it also takes with it a significant amount of flavour given off by both the hops and malt. Largely, the overall taste of a fined beer will be slightly more bitter than an unfined one, where some of the flavour has been removed but the bitterness has remained.

Secondly, much like the flavour, the aroma of the ale will be muted. When left unfined you’d probably be able to lift the beer to your nose and tell that citra hops were used, simply down to the fragrant citrussy aroma emanating from your pint. And if you like a fuller consistency, a better texture and an all-round more wholesome pint, an unfined brew is almost certainly one for you to try next time you’re enjoying drinks out. The benefits continue too, as unfined ales actually last longer in the cask.

Lastly, because the ingredient most commonly used as a fining agent is isinglass, which is a form of gelatin created from the swim bladders of fish, fined beer is not vegetarian or vegan friendly. Given that the vegan/vegetarian trend is booming at the moment, customers are much more conscious of what they’re drinking. So, when something is as easy as not adding finings, it would be missing a trick not to tap into this market and offer an unfined beer to suit those with varying dietary requirements

We all have a preference when it comes to beer, some will prefer their pints to be crystal clear purely out of habit. If that’s you, we’d encourage you to take a little leap of faith and step out of your comfort zone. You may just find that the flavours in our rich and hazy single hopped series open up a new world of beer for you to try. If you’re partial to a pint of cloudy ale, we already know you will particularly enjoy this Ramsbury series. What would be even better is if you were to pop over onto untappd and rate them – our brewers love hearing just how well their latest ale has gone down!

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