Acid Queen, our granadilla sour ale and the ‘Spring’ series of our seasonal releases, was launched at the beginning of September this year. We are amped –it tastes delicious. Not nearly as tart as last year’s version, the 2017 Acid Queen is refreshing and highly quaffable with a slight tartness that is overcome by the sweetness of the granadilla pulp we added during dry hopping. Life is good.
Life was good… until we noticed the bottles started to accumulate ‘floaties’ about a month after release. At first we were concerned that it was an infection in the bottle but after force-aging and other various tests we have concluded that what we are seeing is in fact the settling out of haze.
This led us to write this post and lay our cards out on the table because although haze may not be particularly lekker to look at, it is not detrimental to the beer (or the beer drinker!) at all. It’s actually part of the flavour. The Acid Queen is quite an unusual beer in our range as it is unfiltered and contains 15 g/L of actual fresh fruit. What we are observing in the Acid Queen is the result of colloidal instability. Bear with us as we attempt to explain the subject and why the Acid Queen is still perfect to drink.
SCIENCE ON! The sediment you see floating in the Acid Queen bottles is a mixture of proteins, carbohydrates and polyphenols. The proteins come from the malt and the polyphenols come from both malt and hops, adding to the mix are pectins. Pectin consists of a complex set of polysaccharides contained in the primary cell wall of plants or fruit. It is the reason for the jelly like consistency in jams so as you can imagine it causes haze in beer. At low temperature proteins, carbohydrates and polyphenols aggregate and form what is known as chill haze. As the beer warms, the haze disappears. Gradually however the haze forming ceases to be reversible and thus becomes permanent haze. This permanent haze clumps together and forms ‘floaties’ which settle to the bottom of a bottle.
But fear not! These ‘floaties’ are harmless. Proteins, carbohydrates and polyphenols are present in all beers at varying levels and are part of the flavor, hence why we keep them around (or some of us do). They will even re-suspend when poured into a glass. However, ‘floaties’ at this level are not ideal from an aesthetics perspective, and we are not happy with the visual appearance of the Acid Queen bottles. But we do ask that you continue to enjoy the Acid Queen while we work hard to make sure this doesn’t happen again.