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Odd question regarding color

Newbie here, with a nice newb question. I have brewed 3, 5 gallon batches of beer so far. All three are very tasty but the odd thing is they all have the same deep reddish color. 1st batch was the Irish ale which to me should have a reddish hue, next up was the Kama Citra, which judging from the pictures should be a golden session ipa, and third was the Bavarian heffwiezen, which I thought should be closer to the color of a blue moon, which should be a cloudy gold beer. I’m getting a consistent reddish ale look. Am I crazy or did I just pick three beers that look the same? Thanks guys!

I’m guessing that these were beers made from extract? You can make really good beer from extract, but it does have a few downsides that can be hard to get around. One of those is color. Extract brews are darker than all grain, even if they taste the same. You can reduce (not eliminate) this effect by doing a full volume boil, or if that is not possible due to the size of your kettle and stove, you can do a late-extract addition. Late extract method involves adding half the extract at the start of the boil, and holding off on adding the rest until there are just 15 minutes left in the boil. Make sure to take the kettle off the stove when you add the remaining extract to avoid it scorching on the bottom, and mix it in thoroughly before putting it back on the boil.

I can’t completely answer your question. I will say that extract batches always turn out darker than all-grain batches due to carmelization of the sugars. This may be a factor in what you’re experiencing.

on the subject of colors, look up " Maillard reaction in beer wert". not really applicable in extract beers but when doing all grain it helps to know that its part of the science.

Irish Red contains darker colored malts, cara, biscuit, roast, chocolate - not too surprising

Kama Citra contain Crystal 40 - not too surprising

Bavarian Hefeweizen contains wheat LME & DME which contain approx. 50% Wheat and 50% barley malts, base, crystal and dextrin - so no real surprise here either.

I’m sure if all three beers were poured into the same glass and viewed under the same lighting conditions side-by-side there would be visible differences in the color.

Bottom line, given the ingredients it’s not surprising they all have a red tint.

Your water might also have higher calcium and magnesium content and may be somewhat alkaline which contributes to the darker color.

To brew a truly light colored beer you’ll need to use advanced brewing techniques like building your own water along with all things all-grain and good brewing practices.

Thanks everyone for the reply, yes it’s extract and that’s something they don’t explain to you in the directions. Good to know! Like I said tasty beer!

That is the most important thing, always. In competition, it may be a different story…but that is a totally different world governed by it’s own sometimes strange set of rules.
In the real world, flavor trumps everything else. :cheers:

I’m in the same boat- just brewed the Kama Citra and though it tastes great, I was surprised by how dark/muddy it was. Since going to full volume boils, I really haven’t noticed much improvement regarding color.

But, like was already mentioned, taste is what matters to me. :wink:

[quote=“Helvetica”]I’m in the same boat- just brewed the Kama Citra and though it tastes great, I was surprised by how dark/muddy it was. Since going to full volume boils, I really haven’t noticed much improvement regarding color.

But, like was already mentioned, taste is what matters to me. :wink: [/quote]
Although you can’t eliminate this completely as the extract will basically be boiled twice (once by the manufacturer and once by you) look into late extract addition. It will go a long way with full boils. Another thing brewers do anything is boil the crap out of their wort thus promoting more maillard reaction.

How late can I add the extract?

How late can I add the extract?[/quote]

I usually add mine at fifteen minutes, along with hop additions. I find that this makes a pretty noticeable difference in color. In fact, I did a Bohemian pilsner extract recipe recently where I put about half the extract (DME) in after steeping my grains, and the other half in at fifteen minutes, and it’s about the perfect color for the style, actually more pale than the photo shows.

Nice looking Pilsner- thanks for the info. :cheers:

Nice looking Pilsner- thanks for the info. :cheers: [/quote]

No problem, and I appreciate the compliment. One thing I left out is, I always use dry extract when possible, it always (in my experience) gives a noticeably lighter color than the liquid counterpart.

15 minutes is correct. One thing. You HAVE TO add some in the beginning to get hop utilization.

I also add the remaining extract at 15 minutes. I shoot for my concentrated wort (before the late addition) to be a similar gravity to a full boil volume with all of the extract added upfront. That way I get close to the same hop utilization in a partial boil as I would get in a full boil.

I thought there was a reason why it was added early in the boil- thanks.

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