At Land-Grant, we have put a lot of effort into our Juicy/Hazy/New England/Whatever-You-Call-Them Pale Ales. Our brewing process has evolved over time – and continues to evolve – in order to put the best product possible into your glass.
One of the defining features of our Juicy Pale Ales is that they are run through a centrifuge, a process that has several benefits. In some breweries’ hazy beers, you may notice sediment or clumps. While this is a feature to some, others encourage you to “roll the can” to re-suspend these particles, but either way – a mouthful of yeast and hop grit doesn’t scream “juicy” to us. Centrifuging our beer removes the sediment, but maintains all of the hoppy, hazy goodness.
While hops are delicious, the compounds in them don’t dissolve easily in beer – which is why we have to use so much of them. Over time, those compounds will fall out of suspension and leave sediment in the can because it provides a surface for them to stick to and drop out. Our juicy beers retain flavor and aroma longer because we remove that sediment.
One of those hop compounds we’re not crazy about is myrcene. It’s responsible for that “hop burn” that scorches your throat and tastes like carrot juice in heavily hopped beers. Myrcene will eventually fall out of suspension over time, so much so that some brewers ask consumers to hold onto their freshly packaged hazy beers for 2-3 weeks until they smooth out. However, Land-Grant Juicy Pales are meant to be consumed fresh since our centrifuge reduces myrcene by 50%.
Leftover yeast can also begin re-fermenting in the can if it’s stored warm and the beer is not fully fermented. In the best case scenario of this re-fermenting, the beer will gush all over the place when opened. In the worst, the can explodes. It’s because of this risk that we add a few days to our process to ensure our beers are fully fermented and the centrifuge removes the yeast to prevent further fermentation so you don’t run into either scenario.
All of this said, removing the yeast from our Juicy Pales does present some challenges. Because of the high protein and hop content in these beers, they are extremely fragile and prone to oxidation. (Yeast are greedy for oxygen, so specifically in this regard, having them present in the package to gobble up any oxygen would be helpful.) In addition to reducing the hop aromatics of the beer, oxygen can also cause a darkening from pale-to-grayish-brown or even a slightly purple appearance. Oxidation is even more dramatic in our Juicy Pale Ales that are lighter in color and lower in alcohol.
Here at Land-Grant, we extensively test oxygen throughout the brewing process, but occasionally a can picks up enough oxygen to darken. Unfortunately we can’t test every can (since we have to open cans to test them, there would be no delicious beer for you to drink if we tested every can.)
While not particularly appetizing in looks, it’s important to note that there is nothing unhealthy in these beers and there is no harm in drinking them. If they have been recently packaged, it’s likely the flavor will be indistinguishable from a “normal-looking” version, though – as with all beers – they will lose hop aroma over time, it’s just accelerated in this case.
If you should find one of your Land-Grant products to be oxidized, you can let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or using the form on our contact page. Please include the product name, place/date of purchase and a photo of the oxidation that’s occurring. We’d be happy to exchange it for a fresh product at our taproom at no charge. If possible, we ask that you please return the product to us so it can go through additional QA testing to determine a possible source of the issue, while helping us tag it within our own internal quality tracking system.
We are very proud of our Juicy Pale Ales, but are dedicated to continuous improvement, and will not stop until every beer that we produce meets our very high standards.