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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Cream Ale too dark: Where did I screw up?
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Old 10-31-2007, 02:44 PM   #1
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Default Cream Ale too dark: Where did I screw up?

This is just odd. My cream ale is not the lovely straw color I was shooting for. It's more like the orangey-bronze of a pale ale. I'm trying to figure out what I did that would cause it to darken up like this.

Recipe adapted from Yooper's Corn Cream Ale into a partial mash:

Quote:
Recipe: Cornucopia Cream Ale
Brewer: Chad Ward
Style: Cream Ale
TYPE: Partial Mash
Taste: (0.0)

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Batch Size: 5.00 gal
Boil Size: 3.80 gal
Estimated OG: 1.058 SG
Estimated Color: 5.7 SRM
Estimated IBU: 12.4 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 65.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amount Item
2.30 lb Extra Light Dry Extract (3.0 SRM)
3.00 lb Pale Malt (6 Row) US (2.0 SRM)
3.00 lb Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)
1.00 lb Corn, Flaked (1.0 SRM)
0.50 lb Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM)
0.50 lb Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM)
1.00 oz Hallertauer Hersbrucker [3.50 %] (60 min)
0.50 oz Saaz [3.50 %] (10 min)
0.50 oz Saaz [3.50 %] (5 min) (Aroma Hop-Steep)
1 Pkgs Kolsch Yeast (Wyeast Labs #2565)


Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 8.00 lb
----------------------------
Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
75 min Mash In Add 10.00 qt of water at 164.7 F 150.0 F
I did the partial mash in a 48qt cooler using a sparge bag. The HBS folks suggested the 6-row as a way of ensuring decent conversion efficiency, and I'm pretty sure I hit my estimated 65%. Mash temp was about 152f and dropped to about 150f over the course of the mash. Mashing with a grain bag is a pain in the ass but I got more wort than I had anticipated. I ended up using two pots. One had 3.5 to 4 gallons of higher gravity wort. The second had about 2 gallons of lower (1.012 -1.014) gravity wort.

Over the course of the 60 minute boil the larger pot boiled down to just over 3 gallons. The second reduced by half to about 1 gallon. I added the extra-light DME to the larger pot with about 10 minutes left in the boil -- specifically so it didn't caramelize and darken the color of the beer. I ended up topping off with 1 gallon of spring water. The wort was a dark straw color (5-6 SRM) -- just about what Yooper's recipe and Beersmith predicted. I pitched a 2L starter of Wyeast 2565 Kolsh yeast and let it ferment in the primary for 2 weeks.

I racked the beer to a 2ndary a couple of days ago. It was very cloudy but about the right color. Now that the yeast has started dropping out, it looks closer to 8-9 SRM. According to Beersmith, this is as dark as it is possible to get beer using these ingredients. Where did I screw up?

Thanks,
Chad
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Old 10-31-2007, 02:47 PM   #2
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First off, it's always dark in the carboy.
Second, *ME is always darker than all grain.

If you want to make it lighter, don't put the DME in until the last 10 minutes of the boil.

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Old 10-31-2007, 02:47 PM   #3
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Can't always trust the computer programs. Although, it's usually the other way around for me. The computer says its gonna be darker than it actually is. FYI, from what I hear, you don't really need 6 row with today's malts.

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Old 10-31-2007, 02:53 PM   #4
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Cheese is right- it's always darker looking in the carboy when the yeast starts to drop out. If you want, pull out a sample for a sg, and look at in the a glass. I bet it'll be lighter than you think. It might not be as light as you want, though, just because the DME does tend to be darker than AG.

How does it taste, though?

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Old 10-31-2007, 03:36 PM   #5
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Good call, folks. Thank you. It is much darker in the carboy than in the hydrometer flask.


As for the taste? Well, it may be too early to tell. I think I like it enough to brew it again, but I'd increase both the bittering and flavoring hops a bit. The citrusy note that I really enjoyed earlier has disappeared. I did add about an ounce of diced ginger to the 2ndary to get a little more bite, and it seems to be the dominant flavor at the moment. I may dry hop it to get more hop flavor and aroma. I'm also thinking of increasing the standard carbonation level slightly when I bottle it -- maybe 5oz of priming sugar rather than 4. What do you think?

I appreciate the hand holding.

Chad

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Old 10-31-2007, 03:50 PM   #6
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I'd use 5 oz. of priming sugar anyway, I think that's closer to the recommended 3/4 cup than 4 oz. is. You can probably even raise it to 6 oz. or so, it would probably be good for that style.

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