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Porter very light in color

So I brewed NB bourbon barrel porter extract kit a week ago and everything went well. OG was right on target at 1.064. Pitched 2 packs of dry yeast at around 64* and kept anywhere from 62-65 during the entire week.

I decided to switch out my blow off tubing as I saw no activity in the last 2 days and figured I would take a gravity reading while I was at it. The first thing I noticed when I pulled some out with a wine thief was the brew was nowhere near as dark as any porter ive ever seen. I would say it was around the opacity and color of a brown ale. Just curious what would could cause the lack of darkness.

The gravity was a little on the high side (1.025) so im hoping it isn’t done fermenting. Not sure if this would attribute to the color or not. I pulled it from the swamp cooler to raise the temp a bit hoping to get a little more activity.

Does it look milky?
Suspended yeast can really throw off the color of a beer. Think creamer in coffee.

Maybe a little but it was more the opacity that bothered me. I have one of those open topped thieves that allows you to drop the hydrometer right inside. I could see the hydrometer through the beer while not a lot of beer I didn’t expect to be able to see thru to the hydrometer at all.

The thickness of the vessel makes a HUGE difference in the color/appearance of the beer. My lightest beers look like a brown ale in the carboy, and amber colored beers look like a porter. In a thin tube you will see the opposite effect with darker beers.

If you’re really concerned about color, then pour a good size sample in a pint glass and put it in the fridge for an hour or two to get most of the suspended solids to fall out. That’s the only real way to see what the finished beer will look like.

Or better still, wait until it’s done and assess the color as you enjoy drinking it. If you like the taste, it’s really quite easy to adjust the color next time you brew it. To me, a good porter shouldn’t be black as night anyway…a deep ruby red or brown is more like it. AFAIC, it needn’t be totally opaque, either once it clears.

As someone pointed out further up the thread, there will be a difference once it’s done fermenting and everything settled out.

Obviously going to wait till its done and enjoy it thoroughly once that happens :slight_smile: Just curious how to fix this if the color is off. Steep the specialty grains longer or at a higher temp?

Definitely don’t steep them at a higher temp.

Increase the amount of dark grains. Maybe add an additional dark grain in a low amount so as not to change the flavor to much.

lol i usually have the opposite problem, all my beers turn too dark :slight_smile:

In my brewclub that happened because they forgot to crush the specialty grains. Came out looking like an amber ale.

You could use Sinamar, which is a Carafa-based coloring. Or go the opposite route on the temperature side. Use a huskless roast malt like Carafa special or Midnight Wheat and cold-steep them overnight. That should keep the roastiness to a minimum while still extracting the color.

It might help if you posted the recipe you brewed. It’d give us something to go off of.


  • 1.0 lbs English Chocolate Malt
  • 0.5 lbs English Dark Crystal
  • 0.5 lbs English Black Malt


  • 2 lbs Wheat malt dried malt extract (60 min)
  • 6.3 lbs Dark malt extract syrup late addition (15 min)


  • 1 oz Chinook (60 min)
  • 0.5 oz US Goldings (15 min)
  • 0.5 oz US Goldings (5 min)

Hard to believe that recipe is going to result in a brown beer.

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