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How to keep beer color light?

Heck, I just made a helles and popped the first bottle tonight, and I figure the SRM is closer to 5-6 than to the intended and theorized ~3 SRM. I too used Castle Pilsner malt as the base, with about 20% other malt at maximum 3 Lovibond. However I think in my case it was due to the double decoction. But there could be other factors at play, including perhaps the pH although I know that was 5.2 in the mash, and now when I drink it, it tastes slightly tart. Certainly not a high pH thing. But anyway. Might be in part the Castle Pilsner malt, and in my case, the decoction just made things even darker.

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Yep, I am crying wolPH. :lol:

Color, lighting, photography is all subjective but I think this beer might be lighter than yours and it’s a pale ale. Sure, as a homebrewer, I went through a dark beer phase, but these days, I prefer lighter beers and find the key is sparge acidification not just for color but for a nice crisp taste and brighter hop flavor/bitterness.

I find decoctions a waste of time and energy but you have a point about it adding color, but that helles is very amber to me from that pic. Still a darn good looking beer. :cheers:

[quote=“zwiller”]I prefer lighter beers and find the key is sparge acidification not just for color but for a nice crisp taste and brighter hop flavor/bitterness.

[/quote]

zwiller, can you elaborate on this a bit? I use BeerSmith and I see that often it recommends acid for the sparge. I generally add just a little lactic acid, sometimes I forget. What does this do for me?

Chemically, it does a few things like reduce tannins, protein coagulation, clearer runoff, improved shelf life, etc. But in a general, it keeps wort pH near optimum (lower) which creates the favorable flavor and more pleasant hop bitterness. IE: an IPA’s bitterness is smoother and lets some hop flavor and aromatics pop out.

And how do you determine the proper amount of what to add?

One of things I love about Martin’s Bru’n water is the sparge acidification tab. I input the info and it tells me in ml’s how much to acid to add per gallon. Then I print summary tab for brewday which shows the total. I don’t even use my meter any more…

Zwiller are you saying that sparge acidification is PER GALLON? I thought it was total for the amount of sparge water identified in the table.

Zwiller are you saying that sparge acidification is PER GALLON? I thought it was total for the amount of sparge water identified in the table.[/quote]
I went back and read the instructions. I’m in the middle of a BIAB of a blonde ale and I really wanted to get the water right. If you enter the amount of sparge water in the water adjustment sheet it will calculate the total for you on the adjustment summary sheet. So I’ve been using the correct amount. Freaked me out for a second there zwiller! :shock:

^ :lol:

Sorry man. What did use and what did you acidify to?

[quote=“zwiller”]^ :lol:

Sorry man. What did use and what did you acidify to?[/quote]
No worries! I used 2.1ml of lactic acid in the sparge water. That’s what Brunwater recommended for a ‘yellow malty’ water profile. Like you mentioned previously I didn’t even check pH after I just followed the recommendation. My untreated well water has a pH of 8.1.

Cool. Not sure what you mean by Bru’n water acid recommendation. The sparge tab is totally independent. I usually acidify to 5.7.

Didn’t use anything for the mash since Brunwater estimated mash pH was 5.7.

I was refering to the acid recommendation for sparge water addition on the Adjustment Summary page.

Gotcha. I prefer mash pH at 5.3-5.4 but 5.7 is doable. Sparge at 5.7 is good, but I think I am using an older version and don’t see any pH recommendation.

First time doing this? Be careful with acid additions. Naturally you will get more aggressive as you get familiar with acid use. I can taste the effects of lactic acid at about 2ml per 5G and it’s subtle but there and is a welcome flavor to german beers. I find 4ml is too much but others disagree.

[quote=“zwiller”]Gotcha. I prefer mash pH at 5.3-5.4 but 5.7 is doable. Sparge at 5.7 is good, but I think I am using an older version and don’t see any pH recommendation.

First time doing this? Be careful with acid additions. Naturally you will get more aggressive as you get familiar with acid use. I can taste the effects of lactic acid at about 2ml per 5G and it’s subtle but there and is a welcome flavor to german beers. I find 4ml is too much but others disagree.[/quote]
You ever use the pH 5.2 balancer for mash? I know some guys on here are critical of it but I have a couple of buddies who swear by it. I’ve used it a few times and notice no ill effects. Maybe I just don’t have the most refined palate.

Never used it so can’t comment. I would love to try tasting a beer made with it to see for myself. For light ales I dial mash pH in with gypsum and I can get down to where I want.

I use the pH 5.2 buffer stuff for many of my beers. Never noticed any off-flavors from it. I honestly don’t think it works at all, but I use it anyway because I have a big container of it on hand and I figure it can’t do any harm.

I have had the same problem and I am convinced it is due to my stove being an electric… and I am brewing with dried extract. I think that I just have to start turning to heat down low enough to just keep it at a boil instead of wide open full heat.

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