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Thread: Color darker than expected

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    109

    Color darker than expected

    Hey all -
    I could use some help here. I recently switched over to to all-grain brewing (i'm still a relatively new brewer) and all my batches are darker than I expect them to be and the variation in color between batches is quite a bit. For example, I formulated a recipe for a Belgian Wit and last time the color was just a little too dark, this time I made the same recipe (except added a few more hops) and it is almost an amber color. I read somewhere that a vigorous boil adds color so I've tried to keep it a a low boil and I don't boil for more than 90 minutes. any thoughts?

    thanks
    joel

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
    Posts
    209
    Small batches generally end up being darker than expected, even programs like Promash aren't much help here. If you're using a program like that and homebrewing, I'd take whatever SRM they're saying you'll get and then add a few more points. If you're going for a lighter beer, aim lower.

    If you're brewing commercially, I'd say use less specialty malts. Keep your long boil as the stability and quality of your product needs it, just remember that in most cases with brewing materials, less is usually more.
    www.devilcraft.jp
    www.japanbeertimes.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Asheville NC, USA
    Posts
    15
    It called the Mailliard reaction, and yes, smaller boil volumes are more likely to do it. Gas is more likely to darken than steam. It's ok to cut down boil vigor, but be sure you are still getting a proper evaporation rate.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    109

    thanks, and another question

    thanks jason and john for your thoughts. i am using a homebrew pilot system with quite a few specialty malts. all the recipes that it is happening to are "just for fun" recipes, so i will change the recipe and see what happens.

    another thought is caramelization...would that darken the color as well. because with a 10 gallon polarware tank heated with a turkey fryer i'm sure some level of caramelization occurs.

    joel

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    185
    direct fire definitely increases a couple more degrees...
    also you should watch for oxidation... any oxidative stress from hot side to after fermentation can increase your final beer color.

    Yeast, on the other hand, strips off a few degrees of color; so if you over-pitch the yeast, you can get a few degrees off... but it will also affect your IBU and other fermentation parameters... not recommended for this purpose!

    the other thing is filtration. sometimes the beer appears darker not so much because of the color per se, but has quite a lot to do with the brightness... even a coarser filtration helps to lighten the color a bit!

    but really I would agree with Jason, aim lower with your recipe! that's the easiest thing to do. a lot of the time, color appearance does wonders to what people perceive the flavor should be! you may not need the extra bits of dark malt to achieve the flavor you are looking for.

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