I'm brewing my first batch of brew and I bottled almost two weeks ago. I've been super anal about keeping everything sterilized, clean, and at the correct temperature during fermentation and bottling. I've "swirled" each beer bottle as recommended by the kit I have and I checked it last night and the beer is still cloudy with small amount of "stuff" (Im' assuming sediment/yeast/etc).

I'm getting ready to finally try it out this weekend for the first real taste test, but I have a few questions:

  • Why is the beer cloudy?
    • What did I do wrong?
  • What is the "stufff" at the bottom of the beer? Yeast? Sediment/etc?
    • Is it still OK to drink with it in there?
  • Should I let it sit for a couple more weeks?


  • How long was the beer in the primary fermentor before you bottled?
    – baka
    Commented Dec 10, 2010 at 19:15
  • Primary 1 week. Secondary 1 week. Bottles 2 weeks. Commented Dec 10, 2010 at 21:04

8 Answers 8


If you've never home brewed before or have never opened a bottle of someone's homebrew, I understand this can be disconcerting. But if you really have followed all the instructions on your kit and been careful during your sanitization, then what you have in that bottle is real ale.


Most home brewed ale will not clear up significantly when sitting at room temperature. Now that you have bottled it and given it enough time to carbonate in bottle, I suggest putting a few of those into the fridge. Let them sit undisturbed for a few days to a few weeks (how ever long you can last having to stare at them without drinking them).

When you are finally ready to check, bring one out of the fridge. Gently handle it. Don't upend it. Hold it up to a bright light and see how it looks through that brown bottle. Is the light on the other side easy to distinguish? Or is it still hazy? Is there a nice layer of sediment on the bottom? OK. Now pop that cap off. Did it go 'psht' like a carbonated bottle should? OK. Now pour it gently into a clear glass. Don't pour the last ounce or so. Let the beer set. Does it have a nice head? Is the beer still clear? OK. Now drink it. Does it taste like beer? OK. Congratulations. You have beer.

Seriously though. Don't worry about it. Real beer has yeast in it. Yeast can create haze. They do this until they flocculate (a fancy word that means they clump together and fall down). If the beer is still cloudy (and the style says it shouldn't be) you may notice a slightly yeasty or bready smell or taste. This is OK. It won't hurt you. It just won't win you any ribbons at a competition.

  • Well, I just cracked open my first homebrew today and it was GREAT!! Really good stuff. Still cloudy, but tasted really good. I'm going to let a bunch of it sit for a few more weeks in the fridge and then try it then too (if I can wait that long). :) Commented Dec 11, 2010 at 20:16

Generally speaking, unless you take steps to clarify your beer, like resting the beer in a secondary fermenter, cold crashing it and/or adding clarifying agents, you can expect it to be cloudy. The junk at the bottom is called trub, it's mostly inactivated yeast and proteins, totally safe to drink.

I say drink some now, and save some for a couple weeks. See how the time affects your brew. Also you can let some of it sit at room temp, and some sit at fridge temp. I usually find that lagers and ales improve flavor after sitting in the fridge for about a week.


How did you chill your wort? Long, gradual cooling will not remove as many haze-forming proteins as a quicker temperature drop will.

  • Did a quick chill by slowly stirring while in an ice bath in the sink. It cooled in under 10 minutes. Commented Dec 11, 2010 at 20:15

I find 24 hours in the fridge (not the door, too much movement) before serving will help the sediment to congeal at the bottom of the bottle.

Carful pouring will give you a relatively clear result.

This is not ideal for brews best served at room temperature, but excellent for ciders and lagers.


Brew Strong -- Beer Haze

It could be cloudy due to yeast still in suspension, or from Haze Forming proteins. You didn't necessarily do anything "wrong", but a flocking agent such as irish moss or Whirlfloc would probably increase clarity.

The stuff is trub, leftover particulate matter, and dead or dormant yeast cells. The beer is safe to drink with it in there, but I highly recommend leaving the sediment in the bottle (live yeast get really happy in your intestines). Pour carefully, and you'll only leave a quarter inch or so of beer in the bottle.

The longer it sits, the more stuff will drop out. Also, more will drop out if you chill the beer. After 2 or 3 weeks, you've probably got as much carbonation as you're going to get.


I used dry ice in a sink with a sanitized stainless pot, same size as my wort. Dumped the boil in the super chilled pot in the dry ice. It chilled in under seven minutes. Be careful. Dry ice will burn exposed skin frostbite style. Any liquid contacting dry ice causes a reaction (theatrical fog). First time I ever got clear beer. NOTE: USE CRUSHED ICE IN SINK with MINIMAL AMOUNT OF WATER if dry ice is unavailable. Secret is; DO NOT TRY CHILLING YOUR HOT POT OF HOT INGREDIENTS , DUMP YOUR HOT INGREDIENTS INTO AN ALREADY CHILLED POT TO CHILL THE INGREDIENTS!


Typical beer recipe instructions are as you mentioned in comments

  • 1 week primary
  • 1 week secondary
  • 2 weeks in a bottle

These instructions will work fine and make beer, but they won't necessarily make the best (or clearest) beer. Some suppliers have adjusted their recipes to the beer style, adding more time to the instructions.

In most cases, 1 week is not long enough for a beer to finish, but the secondary racking will kind of kick it along, though the use of secondary is questioned by some (myself included - I never secondary unless I have another reason to, like racking onto fruit or because I want a cleaner container), but the added time is helpful (whether you moved it or not).

Most beers finish fermentation within 7-10 days with temperature control, but this can vary widely depending on the yeast and temperature. However, even after fermentation is finished, most ales will benefit from at least some bulk aging at ale temps; improving the flavor. After that, cold crashing or lagering will help clear a beer (letting the ale sit at cooler temps - the cooler the better). Ales aren't wine, so we aren't talking months, although the stronger the ale, the more time it may take. Giving an extra week or two in the primary, and another week or two at fridge temps can have a significant positive impact on the flavor and clarity of an ale. Lagers benefit from much longer aging, especially at lager temperatures.

You can use fining agents, but time is also effective, though it may take longer. Most fining agents take a couple of weeks, which is a good aging period after fermentation is complete anyway, so you really can't go wrong with them. You'll probably find adding a 2 week period without a fining agent will also get you very clear beer, but that will depend on the recipe and method.

Aging will typically not benefit the clarity of a wheat beer, as the haze remains in suspension for longer periods (forever?). There is such a thing as kristallweizen, but that normally takes filtration.


Palmer says that a fermentation be complete in 3 days at 68degF, for a 4% 1040 beer,(Ale)!! Others say that the first 75% of the wort is fermented in 4 days,the remaining 25% goes in a further 4 days. Stronger brews take longer so my 4.5% beer worts are 10 day ferments. My dry hopping takes up the recommended maximum 4 days(to avoid any grassiness,it is said),So far it has been 14 days in the FV. Then Its time to bottle,using 1 carbonation drop per 500cc bottle. We now keep the bottles at room temp (usually the same temp that you have been fermenting at) for 3 days,to carbonate up,before moving to chill to clear, whilst maturing at the same time.This means a total of 14 days in bottle before sampling.

  • I find best to let the beer tell me when it's ready, rather than relying on rules of thumb. Rules of thumb can give you a ballpark, but are really not useful for much more. In the case of your example, if I decided the specific timeline was sound, I would brew on day 1, then on day 4 I would take a gravity reading and see if it had, in fact, fermented to about 75%, then base my next move on that, and so on.
    – Frazbro
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 21:17
  • In addition, there's more to beer than just the abv. I find my 10% ferments totally dry in about 3 days, while my 3% mild ale takes about 8 days to finish up. Point being, if you want to estimate time to completion, there are an awful lot of factors you have to take into account, including wort composition, yeast, hop levels, fermentation temp, aeration, and more. For this reason I don't bother counting days, I just read the beer.
    – Frazbro
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 21:19

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