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Old 06-27-2012, 06:39 PM   #1
TarVolon
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Default Sam Adams and SRM

I've been debating trying to come up with a clone recipe for Sam Adams' Mighty Oak Ale, so I've been poking around the stats on their website. And, unless I'm making some newbish mistake, their SRM reports don't make any sense at all.

They claim that Mighty Oak is brewed with a mix of pale malt and crystal-60. They list the SRM as 25 (rich amber). It's my understanding from reading HBT that adding enough crystal-60 to get an SRM of 25 would make for a disgustingly sweet beer. It's also my understanding that SRM 25 isn't amber but black, or at least fairly close to black.

Their Irish Red is also supposed to be a mix of pale and crystal-60 with an SRM of 30 (deep ruby). Their chocolate bock, which I recall being the color of over-strong chocolate milk, is listed as SRM 75 (deep rich brown). Unless I'm very confused, SRM 75 is pretty far from rich brown.

Has anyone else noticed this? Am I confused (I am, after all, getting my information on SRM mostly just from hopville and Wikipedia)? Is Boston Beer Company confused? If the latter, what are they actually reporting? EBC? Or just some random made-up number?

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Old 06-27-2012, 07:54 PM   #2
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I think when you look at an SRM chart on a two dimensional computer screen, it is a bit misleading. The colors represented on the 2D SRM chart are often much different than what you see when you look at a liquid beer with light shining through it, which is what most brewers would think of as the "color" of a beer. When I look at the SRM chart, 30 looks like the same color black as 75, but I know that if you hold a beer of SRM 35 up to the sun, it still has some tinges of red/brown, whereas you do the same with a 75 and it's just black. And SRM does take into account a certain constant amount of light, so it is the color with some amount of light shining through it. There's no light shining through the SRM chart, so it is almost a false representation by definition!

But yeah, either way a 75 SRM doesn't have any brown character to it. It is the blackest of the black, so Sam Adams has a discrenpency there.

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Old 06-27-2012, 11:24 PM   #3
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Fair point. Perhaps it's not so obvious that an SRM of 25 can't be "deep red" or "rich amber" or whatever. But, supposing they're not lying about the grains they use, is there any reasonable way to get SRM of 25-30 from just pale malt and crystal 60? I was under the impression that there wasn't. In which case, they're probably making the same mistake consistently. I'm just not sure what that mistake is, unless it's reporting EBC as SRM.

In this case, I'm not as concerned about the color of my finished product as I am trying to use SRM to get a good idea of the proportion of base malt to crystal.

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