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Old 03-10-2012, 05:02 PM   #1
browillard
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Default All my beers are too dark...

I've been brewing all grain for the past 5-6 batches. I've noticed that all my beers are darker than the commercial counterparts. For instance I brewed a wit a couple weeks ago. Bottled it yesterday and it's tan, not white. I used only flaked wheat and pilsner malts.

Why the dark color? I'd like my wit to be lighter like a hoegaaden or allagash white. Any thoughts?

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Old 03-10-2012, 05:04 PM   #2
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If you used 90% pilsner malt, and 10% wheat, it should be a very light color. Did you boil too hard to the point of caramelizing the sugars? I can't think of anything else. How much water did you use for mashing/sparging?

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Old 03-10-2012, 09:08 PM   #3
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I used 3.5 gallons for sparge, making 7 gallons total before boiling. Boil 90 min to get 5.5 gallons into fermenter.

I guess I could be boiling too hard but I keep the heat just high enough for a vigorous boil. Maybe I'll cut the heat a little more.

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Old 03-10-2012, 10:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by browillard View Post
I used 3.5 gallons for sparge, making 7 gallons total before boiling. Boil 90 min to get 5.5 gallons into fermenter.

I guess I could be boiling too hard but I keep the heat just high enough for a vigorous boil. Maybe I'll cut the heat a little more.
What is your kettle setup?
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:21 AM   #5
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I think I read somewhere that a higher ph will support more maillard reactions in the boil which could be one more reason for a darker color.

Here is the image showing the comparison. There is a link there to the parent page that discusses it.
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php...vs_high_pH.jpg

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Old 03-11-2012, 04:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spook View Post
I think I read somewhere that a higher ph will support more maillard reactions in the boil which could be one more reason for a darker color.

Here is the image showing the comparison. There is a link there to the parent page that discusses it.
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php...vs_high_pH.jpg

I was thinking of the same thing. If I am not mistaken, wheat causes your pH is to rise a tad. Know that I do not own a functional pH meter.

Higher-pH does support darker beer.... or perhaps mashing closer to 5.6 pH yields a darkness.

There's only one way to resolve your darkness issue.

1. Repeat the process as closely as you can, but next time around put 1 or 2 mL of lactic acid into your mash water prior to doughing-in. Lactic acid, I think, has a pH around 3.8.

2. If the beer comes out lighter then you have your answer. Also keep an eyeball on the gravity of your runnings to see if it produces a difference.
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:43 AM   #7
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What type of sample are you using to determine the color? This is probably just stating the obvious, but beer sitting in a fermentor will be much lighter when it's poured into the glass. Sometimes I see my beer in the fermentor and think I've goobered something up and then after the first pour, SRM matched up perfectly.

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Old 03-11-2012, 12:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nbolmer

What is your kettle setup?
I have a 50 qt aluminum kettle that doubles as a direct fire mash tun with false bottom. I fire over a 54,000 BTU propane burner.

Spook, I test pH every mash. It is always at 5.4.
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Old 03-11-2012, 12:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbuzz
What type of sample are you using to determine the color? This is probably just stating the obvious, but beer sitting in a fermentor will be much lighter when it's poured into the glass. Sometimes I see my beer in the fermentor and think I've goobered something up and then after the first pour, SRM matched up perfectly.
I use a clear plastic PET bottle to determine carbonation. It allows me to see the color throughout conditioning.
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:26 PM   #10
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I have a 50 qt aluminum kettle that doubles as a direct fire mash tun with false bottom. I fire over a 54,000 BTU propane burner.
Perfectly reasonable - shouldn't be carmamelization from surface contact, it's not your boil. Sample size?
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