IPA Too Dark?

Used an IPA recipe this weekend I found online that was indicated to be a partial mash conversion of NB’s Chinook IPA. The ingredients and instructions were:

Mini Mash in 2.5 gal water @ 154F for 60 minutes:
• 4.0 lbs American Two-Row Pale malt
• 0.75 lb American Crystal 60L malt
• 0.75 lb Belgian Caramel Pils malt

Sparge with 1.5 gallons 170F water

• 4.0 lbs Briess Amber DME
• 1.0 oz Chinook hops for full 60 minute boil.
• 1.0 oz Chinook hops at 50 minutes (10 minutes remaining).
• 0.5 oz Chinook hops at 59 minutes

Everything went fine with no boil-over, no noticeable scorching, a quick cool-down and a pitch of WLP001 California Ale Yeast at about 70F. It now sits in our wine cellar fermenting at about 68F with a great looking krausen and the expected air-lock activity after a day and half.

My question pertains to the darkness of the wort. When I initially plugged this into the recipe calculator provided on TastyBrew.com, it came back with an estimated 15 on the SRM Color Chart which is at the high end (darkest) for IPAs. I would, however, guess the resulting color to be about 20 points higher in the 33 to 36 area…more like a Black IPA.

With less than ten batches brewed in my history (most of which were extracts), I’m still a relative newbie and my understanding of the interactions between some of the ingredients is limited. Any of you with greater experience have ideas as to what may have happened to make this batch so dark?

It’ll look darker in bulk in the fermenter than it will in the glass.

Next time switch the amber extract for something lighter.

Yes - I’d imagine the color in the carboy will be slighly darker than that in the pint glass but this almost looks like a porter or stout…it’s clearing up nicely (most likely due to the teaspoon of irish moss in the last 15 minutes of the boil) but still very dark.

Oh well - probably won’t win any ribbons at the fair this summer due to its being outside the color range but I’m certain it’ll taste great.

I’ll try another (lighter) DME next time.

Thanks folks.

Don’t stress too much. Several years ago at the Oregon Brewer’s Fest I poured Indica IPA from Lost Coast. I was surprised at how dark it was. It was pretty good, maybe an early version of dark IPA?

Yep - Just looked way darker in the carboy…I took a sample for a two-week hydrometer reading and I’d guess the color on the SRM scale to be somewhere between 15 and 17. Hit my hoped-for FG reading and it tastes great (for a flat IPA anyway). Looking forward to bottling this in a couple weeks and even more so to drinking it.

Thanks again for talking me down…

Well if it was still a little bit darker than you expected, here is one tried and true secret I found out the hard way after a few batches of darker IPA’s than expected. A seasoned home brewer buddy of mine said: “put half of your extract or DME in at the beginning of the boil, and the other half in with about ten minutes left in the boil ya dummy!” It made a HUGE difference in the color and a slightly better difference in the taste due to the carmelization that occurs during boiling DME brews. I felt stupid, but am always open to the advise of seasoned brewing veterans. What a difference! Better tasting, and exactly the right color ever since. Works every time! :cheers: