Beer coming out darker than expected

I have completed my first two batches of the 1 gallon recipe kits for Irish Red Ale and White House Honey Ale. And each time the wort has come out darker than desired, and of course the beer is much darker than the examples showed on this website. I have a feeling I may be boiling on the stove top too hot and possibly burning the extract. If this is correct, are there any techniques you all could suggest to help me avoid this problem? I would like to figure this out before I start making the Sierra Madre Pale Ale, your help would be much appreciated.

Does the beer taste burnt or is it just a color problem? If it tastes burnt, you need to do a better job of mixing the extract with the water, and you need to do that when the pot is not on the burner. It is very easy to scorch the extract if you are heating and there is a layer of concentrated sugar sitting on the bottom.

If the problem is just color, then I wouldn’t sweat it too much. Extract-based beers tend to come out darker in color than you would expect, but there are a few ways to minimize the issue. The best way (if you have a big enough kettle) is to do a full-wort boil. That means you all all the water up front, and don’t add any at the end. If your kettle can’t handle that kind of volume, you can add half the extract at the begining, and then add the rest with 15 minutes left in the boil. Make sure you take the kettle off the burner whenever you add extract, and don’t put it back on until the extract is fully dissolved.

Extract brews are typically darker than all grain but you may have scorched it on the bottom of the kettle. Try adding about half (or more) of the extract at the end of the boil and be sure to cut the heat and stir while adding it. Finally - don’t sweat color - taste is way more important!

Good luck. Brew on…


Uh…what he said - beat me to the keys. :oops:

Yes both of the Ales have had an off taste to them. Thanks for the suggestions, I am positive my 3rd batch will be the best of them now!