Two new beers, but why your beer so ugly?

We’ve been so busy making and selling beer that blog timeliness kind of took a hit recently. We’re back to tell you that if you’re a hop lover, there are two beers you should try, and they’re going quickly. Galaxy Pale Ale, and Kalakala IIPA are here for your hop lovin’ quaffs.

Galaxy Pale Ale highlights the danker side of Galaxy hops, a favorite of the Australian hop persuasion. It’s fruity and full of pungent intensity. Nothin’ but British pale malt, yeast, and Galaxy hops, with 5.4% ABV.

Kalakala IIPA (spoken with the accent on the 2nd and 4th “a”s) is named after our favorite modern, deco styled ferry that used to live on Lake Union’s shores. Look it up, if you want to fall in love with maritime design inspired by 1920s airplane design. Just be prepared to shed a tear when you find out that it was chopped up and sunk a couple years ago. Feel free to make boat-loads of requests for Washington state to make all of our ferries look like this again. The beer is a balanced combination of hop spice and fruitiness, with a little alcoholic heat to back it up. It’s 8.6%, so be careful, or your former grandeur will be sunk as well.

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This post is also a public service announcement on what we brewers call “turbidity”, AKA “cloudiness”. There was a time when American beer commercials touted the word “filtered” as though it was second only to godliness. Clarity seemed to mean a beer was better made, or at least that it tasted better. Some beer styles call for this clarity, and require by tradition and good design that it be crystal clear on serving. In lighter beers, this often makes a beer taste cleaner, more defined, and can be a marker of maturation.

There are a few things that cause a cloudy beer, but for the purposes of this post, I’m  focusing on yeast in suspension. Like the olive oil in your salad dressing, yeast separates from beer and forms a cake in the bottom when it sits in cold temperatures for a time. Leave any beer long enough and the yeast grow tired and metabolism stops. It will fall by gravity’s effect on it’s own minuscule weight to the bottom of a fermenter, leaving a clearer beer above it. A brewer can use fining agents, which use ionic bonding, clumping to yeast cells to make them heavier, quickening the drop-out, or they may use a filter to remove yeast. Fining agents can get you close to the appearance of filtering, and we use this method on our Kolsch, Altbier, as well as a few other light styles of beer. But our hoppy pales and IPAs are cloudy. Why?

Sometimes you want yeast in the beer, and some strains of yeast refuse to drop out, or “flocculate”. Poor flocculation can come from a hyper-active yeast strain that continues to metabolize slowly, long after fermentation is done. It can also come from a yeast strain whose cells are naturally smaller in size. This makes them lighter, dropping more like a feather than a brick. Saison strains and dry, clean finishing American strains are often poor flocculators. British strains, and those used for maltier beers tend to flocculate better, and naturally clear up brilliantly without getting much colder than 50 degrees.

But how does yeast taste? You may have noticed a “chewiness” in cloudy beers. Often, back-of-the-tongue bitterness comes with yeast cloudiness. If your beer is dry and aromatic, this can enhance the overall perception of it, and a brewer may want it in there. Clear up a super dry IPA, and it may lack character and body, even if the light looks really sexy glimmering through your pint. We typically do not fine or filter our IPAs because we value the flavor of yeast in suspension. The yeast in these two beers absolutely refuses to drop out on it’s own, and we like how it tastes, so in it stays!