View Full Version : Tandleman's Beer Blog - Clear As a Clear Thing

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30-01-2014, 13:30
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I posed a question (http://tandlemanbeerblog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/back-to-unclear-beer.html) on the 14th of this month about unclear beer and what people thought about it. Despite what some thought as the loaded and pejorative way in which my pole was framed, nonetheless it came out with an err... not exactly clear answer. Well sort of.

Out of a respectable 163 votes, no less than 51% had some doubts about beer which isn't clear, while the biggest single answer was "Not if it tastes good to me". The results are below.

Not if it tastes good to me

66 (40%)

Depends how murky it is

15 (9%)

Yes I mind. Beer should be clear
17 (10%)

If it is craft keg, I don't mind, but I expect cask to be clear

9 (5%)

I would like to be warned in some way before I buy and then I'll decide

53 (32%)

I don't know enough about the subject to make a correct decision

3 (1%)

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-WTjvAkeGq70/UupbrwK8ojI/AAAAAAAAFdk/-geoS3_8RQY/s1600/muddy.jpg (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-WTjvAkeGq70/UupbrwK8ojI/AAAAAAAAFdk/-geoS3_8RQY/s1600/muddy.jpg)Taken together with Mudgie's similar poll (http://pubcurmudgeon.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/obscured-by-clouds.html)which shows an overwhelming majority would like to be given an indication beforehand if the beer isn't meant to be clear, (I'm staying well away from the word "warning"* at this point), it seems that the general dissatisfaction about the situation needs to be addressed in some way. That may be the end, but what might the means be? Now I have to confess, that as a mainly cask drinker, that I'm not quite so bothered if keg beer is cloudy or not, though in most cases I'd just like it to be no more than a hop haze. (I have already expressed my views that the case for finding good things in your unclear beer is at least as likely to be counteracted or outweighed by the bad). But when it comes to cask I'm firmly of the view that the beer should be clear, or have no more than a slight haze caused by hopping, or maybe by lack of finings, though that's a more complicated argument.

So back to means. Should CAMRA, through its AGM, try and do something about this given the confusion and possible undoing of years of campaigning? I thought maybe, but having talked to many veterans recently, the difficulty would be in finding the correct form of words for a motion and the appropriate sanctions - though I don't rule out trying. Taking a different tack, I somehow doubt that most pubs will adopt a voluntary code as it were and I have the same reservations about breweries doing it either. Seems the only thing is for the customer to have the onus put on them to ask if they care enough, though given the paucity of beer knowledge amongst many bar staff, seems unlikely to put minds to rest.

The case for not letting this rest is well put by Mudgie and funily enough, by Cooking Lager. This quote is telling and one with which I agree "it is all too easy for a defect to masquerade as a feature. And it’s hard to avoid the thought that promoting the virtues of cloudy beer is another way to create a divide between the crafterati and the general public."

Despite what a healthy 40% allege in my poll, it isn't all about how it tastes to an individual. There are bigger issues at stake.

* Despite dislike of my use of the word "warning", that's exactly what people mean when they say they wish to know in advance.

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