Bottle-conditioned beers have a layer of yeast on the bottom that is left in to allow fermentation to continue after bottling. The label should indicate if the beer is bottle conditioned. Some common bottle conditioned beers are Bridgeport IPA, Fuller's 1845 and some other British ales, and a number of Belgian-style ales (Ommegang, Maudite, La Chouffe). As a rule, you should decant these beers to leave the yeast sediment in the bottom, although it is difficult to prevent a little coming out. Don't worry, some people like the taste of the yeast, and it will not hurt you. In fact, it is actually loaded with B-vitamins that are good for you and may prevent hangovers. I usually drink most of the beer without the yeast, then swirl it around and pour it in the bottom of the glass for a little healthy "shot." Then I can decide if I like it better with or without.
Most commerical beers are filtered to remove sediment, but excessive age can cause "floaties" to form when chemical reactions result in the formation of solids. If you see particles in your beer(as opposed to cloudiness), you should dump it out, or pass it to your drunk friend.
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