The difference between filtered and unfiltered beer
difference between filtered and unfiltered beer

Beer is a beverage that boasts a millennial history. Today, beers can be classified according to their process: craft and industrial. Generally, filtered beer is associated with large-scale industrial distribution, while unfiltered beer is associated with the craft process of microbreweries. 

The difference between filtered and unfiltered beer is linked to the production process itself.


Both industrial and craft beers undergo a fermentation process by means of yeasts, thereby producing the multi-flavoured beverage we are all familiar with. Following maturation in tanks and before bottling, however, it is possible to filter the yeasts still contained in the liquid to preserve the beer for longer or to leave them in floating suspension in varying quantities.

difference between filtered and unfiltered beer

What is unfiltered beer


However, what does unfiltered beer mean? Following fermentation by different yeasts such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae for top-fermentation and Saccharomyces carlsbergensis for bottom-fermentation, beer left to settle may undergo one last process before bottling, namely yeast filtration. 


In unfiltered beers, therefore, as the term itself implies, filtration is not used and thus yeasts will be present in the beer in floating suspension and sometimes even form deposits on the bottom. This will result in a more full-bodied, characteristic and intense taste as well as a cloudy, opaque colour. 


Among unfiltered beers, Ale and IPA are worth mentioning. On an industrial level, the most famous among unfiltered beers is certainly the Weiss.


Unfiltered beer: the benefits


Thanks to the presence of yeasts of the Saccharomyces strain, unfiltered beer has several benefits. Indeed, these microorganisms are an excellent panacea for our intestinal microbial flora. In addition, the properties of barley, malt and hops are preserved in unfiltered beer, providing an exceptional supply of B9, B12 vitamins and folic acid. 


Moreover, unfiltered beer contains aromatic compounds called polyphenols that have an antioxidant effect on our body, counteracting cellular ageing and oxidation. As a matter of fact, polyphenols are also present in extra virgin olive oil, which is recommended in all diets.


Filtered or unfiltered: which beer is better?


It depends on your taste! If you are into freshness, filtered beer is better, while if you prefer stronger, more characteristic and artisanal flavours, then unfilter beer is the beer you are looking for. In terms of benefits to the body, unfiltered beer contains good microorganisms for the intestines, B vitamins, polyphenols, antioxidants and enzymes that are healthy for metabolic activities. In filtered beer, the percentage of these is lower.


Unfiltered beer however has the peculiar characteristic that, for some beers, fermentation continues in the bottle, and sometimes even in the stomach! It may be difficult to digest for those unaccustomed to this type of beer.

difference between filtered and unfiltered beer

Unfiltered beer: characteristics


What makes it possible to distinguish unfiltered beer visually are its colour as well as flavour characteristics. Indeed, unfiltered beer is cloudy, opaque and may sometimes have deposits on the bottom. Generally speaking, a golden unfiltered beer appears cloudy compared to a common lager or Pils which is on the other hand clear, transparent and full of bubbles, representing the classic example of a filtered beer. Dark beers are mostly unfiltered, like IPAs, Ale and Stout. The flavour is always full-bodied, intense and with a characteristic aftertaste of yeast or bread.