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How to keep beer color light?

How to keep beer color light?..I have been trying to clone duvel for quite sometime but i can never get the light yellow straw color always get a light copper orange… i would really like to get that color duvel has…I use only pilsner malt, full boils and add sugar to fermenter…what can i do?..any tips anyone.

I’m not a believer in the notion that a longer boil of 5-7 (or more) gallons of beer contributes to darker color/carmelization.

That being said, I am assuming you are doing all grain?

I just brewed a kolsch (all pils, except 8% vienna) and it is pale straw. Can you look at an SRM chart, and see how far off your color is?

I’m honestly stumped as to what could be causing this with an all-pils beer. My last classic am pils-ish beer (60% 2-row, 30% maize, 10% 6-row) was triple decocted and was still light, light yellow/straw.

[quote=“Pietro”]I’m not a believer in the notion that a longer boil of 5-7 (or more) gallons of beer contributes to darker color/carmelization.

That being said, I am assuming you are doing all grain?

I just brewed a kolsch (all pils, except 8% vienna) and it is pale straw. Can you look at an SRM chart, and see how far off your color is?

I’m honestly stumped as to what could be causing this with an all-pils beer. My last classic am pils-ish beer (60% 2-row, 30% maize, 10% 6-row) was triple decocted and was still light, light yellow/straw.[/quote]

Yes AG…I am shooting for 3 SRM’s but i ended up with about 6 or 7 …Im pretty stumped myself…Maybe the PH of my mash is off?..Maybe an acid rest or adding buffers will help?

Hoping someone will chime in on pH…one of the components I really don’t understand that well…In fact, I am pretty sure most of my darker beers are having a pH problem.

This is indeed a very odd phenomenon. I can’t see why most brewers couldn’t produce a very light appropriate color in a Duvel clone. There has got to be some very obvious reason for it that you just haven’t thought of yet. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Are you reusing yeast? If you reuse yeast from a darker batch, it will certainly give color to your Duvel clone. I’ve made a Dortmunder before that turned out positively red in color, “ruining” the color, because I recycled from I think a doppelbock batch or something like that. This can definitely have a huge impact.

  2. Along those same lines, what are you using to make your yeast starter (if making a starter)? Liquid malt extract is darker than DME and will result in slightly darker yeast, just as I was saying above. Of course also amber malt extract is darker than light which is darker than pilsner malt extract. If you wanted to produce the lightest possible yeast, you might need to brew a small 1-gallon batch of pilsner ahead of time, then pitch the yeast from that, versus using extract.

  3. Have you considered the fact that maybe you just aren’t using the lightest pilsner malt available on the market? Research malt color and see if you can find something available that is even lighter than what you have used in the past. The color of pilsner malt certainly varies between manufacturers and even from batch to batch from the same manufacturer. Malting is not a perfectly consistent process and there are tons of variables. This might be one of the most likely possibilities for your dark Duvel.

  4. Are you scorching the wort with too big of a flame on your burner? The odds of this are pretty low but theoretically I think it is possible to apply too much heat to the bottom. If you ever notice caramel on the bottom of your kettle, this is not common and you might need to back off on the heat on your boils. But I seriously doubt this could be a problem.

  5. The root source of dark color could be oxygen. Are you splashing your wort or beer at ANY point between the mash tun and bottling/kegging time? All transfers need to be done quietly without splashing for the lightest possible color. But if you just open valves and let the liquid splash down into a second vessel, you are introducing a possibility of oxidation and darkening. This is another case where I am grasping at straws, as I seriously doubt it has much effect at all. But in theory it might.

  6. Is there any chance at all of colors from a plastic bucket or hose someplace in your process leaching colors into your wort or beer? This is really off the wall but I can see that maybe if you were using a black hose or bucket somewhere in your process, perhaps it is breaking down somehow and getting particles into your beer. I think the odds of this are approximately zero, but hey, you never know.

  7. Would anyone have any reason to play a trick on you and add Sinamar to your beer before it is bottled or kegged??

  8. If kegging, are your kegs old and rusting at all inside??

  9. Maybe you just got a mislabeled or bad batch of malt?? Rare but I’m sure it could happen. You’re sure this is pilsner malt, right??

These are some of both of the very obvious and very obscure theoretical causes. Hope this helps.

I don’t know a ton about pH, but everyone loves to blame pH for everything that they don’t understand. Somehow I seriously doubt it is a pH thing – maybe just because people have cried wolf way too many times on that one.

You don’t mention the conditions of your water. If it has significant alkalinity and you are not properly acidifying to reduce the mash pH, that certainly can draw more color out of the grist and darken the beer. Keeping the mash pH below 5.4 and acidifying the sparging water can help keep beer color light. I just finished a Hefe and the wort was a light straw color due to its 60% wheat and 40% Pils grist…and proper low alkalinity brewing water. I aimed for 5.3 on that one.

Wheat really seems to lighten a beer. Or flaked corn. As for pH, you mostly want proper pH for the best conversion. This minimizes the amount of malt used for a given volume, and the malt is carrying the color. Is your efficiency at least 75%? Plus pH affects protein solubility, and clarity is a factor in color perception. I suppose a charged protein that is still soluble can crosslink with a sugar and bring more color to the wort, but I’m not sure just how much thats playing into your situation.

You using a Belgian pils malt? Whats the Lovibond, under 2? And I suppose you are adding 20% sugar as fermentables?

I vote pH… If you didn’t measure it or estimate it, it’s most likely too high. This increases the Maillard reaction darkening wort. Sparge acidification FTW. Your homework for this evening:
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=How_pH_affects_brewing
(go ahead and skip to maillard reactions section)

Petro, with most waters, the resulting pH of dark beers is usually too low and needs to be raised. I like baking soda for this.

Martin, I have a hefe on deck Thursday. I am employing a similar water strategy as yours but aiming for 50-75ppm each of sulfate and chloride since last few low alkalinity beers were bland. Any thoughts?

Bru’n Water to figure out amounts?

I am either an idiot or impatient (or both), because that sheet, while beautifully designed, still befuddles me.

I still use Palmer’s sheet, its pretty simple. Or I’ll just “wing it” and add a teaspoon of calcium chloride for light beers. My water is hard enough that it seems to work for dark beers.

Mash pH also affects the extraction of color and tannins from the grist. Higher pH does increase the color of the wort, prior to any boiling or Maillard rxs.

zwiller, I agree that boosting sulfate (even in a none hop-focused beer) to moderate levels is sort of a gas pedal for dryness. Push that pedal a little harder and boost the sulfate if you want a little drier finish. Do be careful since you can overdose it in a beer that is meant to be malty. I didn’t take my sulfate as high as you intend: 70 Cl and 40 SO4. It is still a malt focused Hefe, but it does dry adequately. I’d caution against going over 75 ppm SO4 unless you’ve had trial experience with similar brews.

[quote=“Pietro”][quote=“zwiller”]

Petro, with most waters, the resulting pH of dark beers is usually too low and needs to be raised. I like baking soda for this.

[/quote]

Bru’n Water to figure out amounts?

I am either an idiot or impatient (or both), because that sheet, while beautifully designed, still befuddles me.[/quote]

Yeah, you ARE an idiot. j/k :lol:

Take the time and pound it on it, it will click. Start a new thread with water info/recipe and I will run it for ya.

[quote=“mabrungard”]Mash pH also affects the extraction of color and tannins from the grist. Higher pH does increase the color of the wort, prior to any boiling or Maillard rxs.

zwiller, I agree that boosting sulfate (even in a none hop-focused beer) to moderate levels is sort of a gas pedal for dryness. Push that pedal a little harder and boost the sulfate if you want a little drier finish. Do be careful since you can overdose it in a beer that is meant to be malty. I didn’t take my sulfate as high as you intend: 70 Cl and 40 SO4. It is still a malt focused Hefe, but it does dry adequately. I’d caution against going over 75 ppm SO4 unless you’ve had trial experience with similar brews.[/quote]

Thanks Martin.

Good points about higher pH affecting color pre-boiling. Sort of compounding problem then.

I agree with you on the sulfate and generally agree with Dave Miller/DeLange to keep sulfates lower on lager/delicate styles but I have been brewing low alkalinity water, using lactic acid and hitting my numbers but the beer is just sort of blah. I am aiming for middle ground in my hefe, not dry, not malty, but somewhere between. Your recent comments about sodium are interesting and I may decide to give that a shot. It also reminds me of my mom salting her draft beer to remove excess carbonation :smiley:

[quote=“zwiller”]

Take the time and pound it on it, it will click. Start a new thread with water info/recipe and I will run it for ya.[/quote]
+1 I want to follow that thread.

Sure, guys, sure… ya’ll blame the water and the pH. Yeah, sure, I believe you.

:cheers:

[quote=“dmtaylo2”]This is indeed a very odd phenomenon. I can’t see why most brewers couldn’t produce a very light appropriate color in a Duvel clone. There has got to be some very obvious reason for it that you just haven’t thought of yet. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Are you reusing yeast? If you reuse yeast from a darker batch, it will certainly give color to your Duvel clone. I’ve made a Dortmunder before that turned out positively red in color, “ruining” the color, because I recycled from I think a doppelbock batch or something like that. This can definitely have a huge impact.

  2. Along those same lines, what are you using to make your yeast starter (if making a starter)? Liquid malt extract is darker than DME and will result in slightly darker yeast, just as I was saying above. Of course also amber malt extract is darker than light which is darker than pilsner malt extract. If you wanted to produce the lightest possible yeast, you might need to brew a small 1-gallon batch of pilsner ahead of time, then pitch the yeast from that, versus using extract.

  3. Have you considered the fact that maybe you just aren’t using the lightest pilsner malt available on the market? Research malt color and see if you can find something available that is even lighter than what you have used in the past. The color of pilsner malt certainly varies between manufacturers and even from batch to batch from the same manufacturer. Malting is not a perfectly consistent process and there are tons of variables. This might be one of the most likely possibilities for your dark Duvel.

  4. Are you scorching the wort with too big of a flame on your burner? The odds of this are pretty low but theoretically I think it is possible to apply too much heat to the bottom. If you ever notice caramel on the bottom of your kettle, this is not common and you might need to back off on the heat on your boils. But I seriously doubt this could be a problem.

  5. The root source of dark color could be oxygen. Are you splashing your wort or beer at ANY point between the mash tun and bottling/kegging time? All transfers need to be done quietly without splashing for the lightest possible color. But if you just open valves and let the liquid splash down into a second vessel, you are introducing a possibility of oxidation and darkening. This is another case where I am grasping at straws, as I seriously doubt it has much effect at all. But in theory it might.

  6. Is there any chance at all of colors from a plastic bucket or hose someplace in your process leaching colors into your wort or beer? This is really off the wall but I can see that maybe if you were using a black hose or bucket somewhere in your process, perhaps it is breaking down somehow and getting particles into your beer. I think the odds of this are approximately zero, but hey, you never know.

  7. Would anyone have any reason to play a trick on you and add Sinamar to your beer before it is bottled or kegged??

  8. If kegging, are your kegs old and rusting at all inside??

  9. Maybe you just got a mislabeled or bad batch of malt?? Rare but I’m sure it could happen. You’re sure this is pilsner malt, right??

These are some of both of the very obvious and very obscure theoretical causes. Hope this helps.

I don’t know a ton about pH, but everyone loves to blame pH for everything that they don’t understand. Somehow I seriously doubt it is a pH thing – maybe just because people have cried wolf way too many times on that one.[/quote]

No i did not use reused yeast I actually truly believe it to be a ph problem…Im not blaming anything just trying to troubleshoot the cause for my darkened beer…I used castle pilsner which is 1.6L doubt thats the problem…i dont seem to scorch…Next time im going to try a acid rest…but thank you for your help

[quote=“tom sawyer”]Wheat really seems to lighten a beer. Or flaked corn. As for pH, you mostly want proper pH for the best conversion. This minimizes the amount of malt used for a given volume, and the malt is carrying the color. Is your efficiency at least 75%? Plus pH affects protein solubility, and clarity is a factor in color perception. I suppose a charged protein that is still soluble can crosslink with a sugar and bring more color to the wort, but I’m not sure just how much thats playing into your situation.

You using a Belgian pils malt? Whats the Lovibond, under 2? And I suppose you are adding 20% sugar as fermentables?[/quote]

castle pils 1.6L yes 21% sugar in fermenter

Tap water treated with campden a day before brew day …neutral PH out of the tap

[quote=“zwiller”]I vote pH… If you didn’t measure it or estimate it, it’s most likely too high. This increases the Maillard reaction darkening wort. Sparge acidification FTW. Your homework for this evening:
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=How_pH_affects_brewing
(go ahead and skip to maillard reactions section)

Petro, with most waters, the resulting pH of dark beers is usually too low and needs to be raised. I like baking soda for this.

Martin, I have a hefe on deck Thursday. I am employing a similar water strategy as yours but aiming for 50-75ppm each of sulfate and chloride since last few low alkalinity beers were bland. Any thoughts?[/quote]

I was thinking the same thing about mailard reaction cause by high ph after reading about how tradition pilsners are made with very soft mineral free water helps produce light color i think…My tap water is neutral but i dont think it gets down to 5-5.2 once i add the grains probably in the upper 5’s which is causing darkening…thank you

[quote=“dmtaylo2”]Sure, guys, sure… ya’ll blame the water and the pH. Yeah, sure, I believe you.

:cheers: [/quote]

beer is 90% water so i dont see why it cannot be the problem …But you are right about other variables may be causing this and not ph…but i tryed doing everything very carefully except water chemistry and everytime i get a higher SRM then i was shooting for

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