IPA came out dark and water question

Hi, The IPA I brewed came out dark. I used a extract method with specialy grains. I soaked the grains at 150 and shook the bag up and down prior to removing it. Boiled the wort …about 3 gallons. Added hops etc and cold crashed the wort in a large ice bath. It cooled so fast I could almost see a curling/clumping in the wort. I added the wort to my fermenter that had 2 gallons of cold bottle water…Is cold bottled water OK or do I have to boil the 2 gallon portion then chill it? Upon racking to the secondary fermenter I saw I had extra and put he wort in a gallon jug that filled only half way. Should I used the extra or discard it. Did I do anything wrong? This is my first brew using extract with specialty grains.Any suggestions would be appreciated.

I forgot to add. The extra volume was I added some LDME to bring up the SG it was on the low side for a IPA. I would like to find out what I did wrong. I will be helping my son in-law next week with his first brew. He also wants to try home brewing.

Help me with some confusion:

  1. when did you brew this?
  2. how long was the beer in primary?
  3. when did you fill the gallon jug?
  4. why did you think the OG was low?

#4 refers to the fact that with extract your OG is set at 5gals. If you used all your extract and have exactly 5gals then the stated OG per recipe HAS to be correct. The only way you can get a lower OG is to have more than 5gals or not use all the extract. Chances are that your OG appeared to be low after you topped off due to ‘wort stratification.’ This means the water/wort wasn’t thoroughly mixed. It can be difficult to get it mixed.

The darkening comes from boiling the wort. It’s common place for extract since the extract has been boiled once, and now getting reboiled (have to boil some for hop isomerization). Partial boils only compound this problem. To help combat this look into full boils and late extract additions. FWIW, extract also darkens as it gets older so make sure you’re getting it from a place that turns it over quickly.

As far as water, if you are using bottled water I think the risks are low in regards to topping off.

Hi Josh,
Thank you for the reply. The IPA was racked to a secondary this morning and is brown in color. My target SG was to be 1.053 I had 1.048-49 I added extra water for the whole leaf hop additions.So I added 8 oz to that 1/2 gallon of water to increase the SG. I have only one beer brew under my belt at this time. This brew was different than my first brew it had grain bags and hops that I grew this year. Since I could only estimate the bitterness of my hops I used commercial hops as the base and added my leaf hop additions. I am considering BIAB, but my son in-law has extraxt w/ grains . He too is a first time brewer. Your recommendation for a full 5 gall on boil sounds like the way to go with the up coming brew. I will have a helper lifting the brew pot to the ice bath and fermenter this time.

Let me get this straight. You poured 2 gallons of water in the fermenter and topped off with the wort and ended up with extra wort? At this point trow the wort in you will be over five gallons and the of won’t match the recipe biy that’s not a big problem. Next time put the wort on the fermenter first and only add enough water to reach 5 gallons. And know you don’t have to boil and chill the water, you can use tap gathered in a clean container


Read Howtobrew.com it’s an excellent introduction to brewing extract and all-grain beer. There’s a newer version in print.

If using extract for most of the fermentables, the color was already set by the maltster. However, your specialty grains would add color. If you didn’t use very low alkalinity water like RO or distilled water for the steeping, then its likely that extra color was extracted from those grains. In addition, there is a real chance that you also extracted some harshness in the form of tannins and silicates due to using high alkalinity water for both the steeping and to reconstitute the extract.

Bottled water is no guarantee of suitability for brewing. You still have to neutralize high alkalinity water before using it to brew…even with extract brewing.

Does your beer look to dark in the fermentor, or does it look to dark in the sample tube for the hydrometer reading?

The full volume of beer in a fermentor will look darker, than it will in a glass because light cannot go through it. The beer that looks to dark in a thin sample tube may have darkened in the boil, the Maillard reaction. If the beer darkened in the boil, try late extract addition next time. Add one-half of your extract at the beginning of the boil, DME before LME if using both, and the remaining half with 15 minutes left in the 60 minute boil.

Take the kettle off the heat when adding extract. Without a vigorous stir during the addition, extract can collect at the bottom, becoming scorched.

I just read the extract part of “how to brew” kindle version. The book does mention what flars suggested putting the extract in the boil as two additions. I did not know about water alkalinity being a problem with the specialty grains…I will used distilled water next time for the grain part. Bottled water being about the same price a distilled water should I just do the whole boil with distilled? The tap water in my area has a fair amount of chlorine and additives in it. Next week I will put your advice to work in a brew with my son in-law.

Thank you for the replies.


Go with the distilled water, or RO water, if the price is the same.

Brewing with water that has chlorine or chloramines will create off flavors in the beer. One Campden tablet can treat 20 gallons of water, one-quarter tablet for five gallons, to remove both.

I agree. Go with distilled. The nutrients and brewing salts are already set in the extract by the producer. This can be troubling if your brewing water has a high level of a particular ion.