I am editing an academic economics paper (I'm a grad student), and I ran across the following line:

Schlitz changed preservatives, which led to green flakes in the beer.

The paper references an article --- amusingly titled Why the Schlitz Hit the Fan --- which makes the following claim:

In 1976, new Food and Drug Administration regulations regarding which ingredients needed to be printed on the bottles prompted Schlitz to change the preservatives it used (it had been using silica gel). The company did not spend sufficient time testing the new process, and tiny green flakes appeared in the beer.

Internet sleuthing reveals this Beer Connoisseur article, which gives more info and claims that the flakes were, in fact, white:

Schlitz decided to use another beer stabilizer instead, one that would be filtered out of the final product and thus would not have to be listed as among the ingredients. Unfortunately, what Schlitz's brewing technicians did not know was that the new anti-haze agent, called Chill-garde, would react in the bottles and cans with the foam stabiliser they also used, to cause protein to settle out. At its best this protein looked liked tiny white flakes floating in the beer and at its worst it looked like mucus, or "snot," as one observer bluntly called it.

After more research, I can't find any other references to Schlitz being [literally] green. As a beer lover and homebrewer, this inconsistency is driving me nuts. Does anyone know which color the flakes in Schlitz were in the mid-1970s? I have the following hypotheses:

  • Beer Connoisseur also mentions that Schlitz switched from whole to pellet hops; coupled with inadequate filtration, this could have led to green flakes.

  • Adults doing research thought of "snot" like kids, which meant that a "snotlike" substance in beer was probably green.

  • This is a misunderstanding created by non-brewers reading that Schlitz was "green" (which does appear frequently in search results); combined with knowing that there were flakes, and that the liquid of beer is generally amber-ish, it must have been [to someone unfamiliar with "green beer" being beer which needs to be further aged] that the flakes were literally green.

  • Beer Connoisseur is wrong, and the flakes were in fact green.

Does anyone have first-hand experience with this era of beer?

  • 2
    I want to go to grad school to study beer!
    – wogsland
    Jan 3, 2016 at 22:12
  • @wogsland If only it were that straightforward... the paper had nothing to do with beer, but was just using it as a helpful example of a completely different concept. But, fwiw, beeronomics.org.
    – kyle
    Jan 4, 2016 at 15:49

1 Answer 1


"Green" refers to the flavor of the beer. Under-matured beer can have a green apple aroma called Acetaldehyde. IT is reduced by yeast in the maturation phase.

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