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  • Red colour

    we are running 4 bbl nanobrewery for 1 year, but now for the first time I'm trying to brew red coloured beer. To be specific - red saison (OG 1,054, yeast Mangrove Jack M29). I already know, how hard is to achieve truly deep red colour and I already brewed some small batches to experiment with different malts. Most successful was my last attempt with following grain bill:

    75% - Pilsen malt (standard 2-row pale) (EBC 4 / 2 L)
    10% - Wheat malt (EBC 4 / 2 L)
    10% - Weiermann Munich II (EBC 23 / 9 L)
    2% - Weiermann Cara Aroma (EBC 450 / 170 L)
    0,55% - Weiermann Carafa Spezial III (EBC 1400 / 525 L)
    2,45% - Accidulated malt
    (I'm using malts accesible in my region)

    But unfortunatelly the result is still more brown than red (see photo). Has please anybody idea, how could we improve the red colour. Many thanks!

    Click image for larger version

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    Click image for larger version

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    Last edited by Starwalker; 03-01-2020, 04:30 AM.

  • #2
    Best malz red X.


    • #3
      All malt colour is varying shades of red. De-bittered Black Malt or Roasted Barley can often be a good fit giving massive red colour in small quantity. Good luck.


      Liam McKenna


      • #4
        Briess (big US maltster) has a PowerPoint deck on this exact question up on their website:

        It goes pretty far down into the weeds, but the takeaway is that crystal is more red than patent/roasted/etc at the same SRM. All darker malts tend towards red (more transmission toward the red, higher-wavelength end of the visible spectrum; less towards the blue, lower-wavelength end), but the crystal malts have a sharper distinction (very "swoopy" graph from low transmission of blues to high transmission of reds), while the roasted etc are a little more muddy (flatter graph, transmitting more of the moderate blues and less of the moderate reds).

        Sadly, I haven't had a chance to try this out – we just don't brew that much amber-colored beer, and most of what we do are regularly-available beers whose recipes we don't want to mess with. But I bet you'd see a redder color if you were to pull that Carafa and replace it with enough Special B or Crystal 120 to hit the same SRM.


        • #5
          To reiterate-

          Best malz red x


          • #6
            Hello, many thanks for all replies! Bestmalz Red X is the simpliest choice and it's also available in my region, so thumbs up for that advice. But the Briess material looks also very very helpfull and for me personally is a little bit tempting challenge to create red coloured beer just from ordinary and caramel malts. I'll give it a try and post the result here.


            • #7
              I know your challenge is to do it with malt/grain, but given your brewing a Belgian/Saison nothing wrong with adding herbs/spices and you can get that "red" by adding a bit of Hibiscus. Cut back on your total SRMs and ad some Hibiscus flowers…..Hibiscus leans to the violet side, so if your crystal malts are in the amber range you should get red. Good thing is you can get a lighter red doing this (as apposed to dark ruby red).

              ...just throwing it out there if or anyone else haven't used it.


              • #8
                Well, heck, if you're going to go the adjunct route, beetroot powder is another thing to consider – and one I actually have worked with. You can get quite a bit of color before you start to taste it. It's more of a deep pink than a proper red on its own, but balanced against the tan or brown of a little dark-roasted grain, you can produce a true red. Make a tea, add just a little to a pint of beer to get the dosage, then add a big dose of tea to the brite tank – if you throw it in at the boil, you'll boil away a lot of the color!


                • #9
                  I've found that the best guarantee for red colored beer is Caramel 120 malt, plain and simple. And you don't need a ton of it, either. I use about 5lb for 3bbl, and I usually add another 15lb of Caramel 60 to bulk up the flavor for red ales or red IPAs. I keep the SRM around 13-15 in order to avoid the beer getting too brown.