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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > My beers always turn out darker
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:39 PM   #1
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Default My beers always turn out darker

So far 3 APAs, 2 IPAs, and 1 Belgian Red that I have brewed have turned out darker than the recipe has indicated it would.

My first thought was mash/sparge temps. If I had a thermometer that was not reading correctly I might be over-heating my mash and extracting tannins. Thermometer calibration to freezing and boiling water shows only .5 to 1 degree deviation to the high side.

My next thought was water chemistry. My tap water is off a municipal well and I have used a water report to settle on a 50/50 mix of RO/Tap with a little added Lactic acid to bring my mash pH into a good 5.3-5.4 zone. The likelyhood that I need to add brewers salts or gypsum has crossed my mind, but for all intents and purposes this mix should be adequate for an "average" water profile.

From here I am not sure where else to look for my problem. My APAs look like brown ale, my IPAs look like Porters, and my Belgian Red looked almost black.

Does anyone have any other suggestions or ideas on where this extra color is coming from?

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Old 01-16-2013, 05:02 PM   #2
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Do you use any extract in the boil? Ray Daniels wrote a good bit on this in "Designing Great Beers"

Here is a link:
Designing Great Beers

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Old 01-16-2013, 05:42 PM   #3
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Are these kit recipes? Personally designed ones? This sounds like a big discrepancy. How strong is your boil? Any chance you're scorching the wort and adding color that way.

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Old 01-16-2013, 05:47 PM   #4
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I'm assuming these beers are all past the primary stage? They appear a lot darker than they actually are while in primary.

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Old 01-16-2013, 06:36 PM   #5
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These are all-grain brews, no extract.

I usually follow other's recipe's to a T unless I need to sub an ingredient my LHBS does not carry but always make sure to keep to the recipe's SRM and Lovibond measurements per ingredient.

I always get a rolling boil, and have never seen any charred or dark wort on the bottom of my kettle.

The color I am referencing is always color in a glass. I always use the same Sam Adams pint glass to drink all my homebrews.

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Old 01-17-2013, 02:27 AM   #6
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Too vigorous of a boil will create too many Maillard reactions which contribute to darker color beers. Try backing of the boil so it is just a steady rolling boil, not too crazy.

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Old 01-17-2013, 02:31 AM   #7
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Electric?

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Old 01-17-2013, 02:31 AM   #8
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i have this same problem alot of the time. next brew will be in a bigger pot. more surface area will help getting a better boil i think.

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Old 01-17-2013, 05:56 AM   #9
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I boil in a 30 gallon stainless kettle, natural gas burner.

I will back off the heat and just keep a rolling boil for the next brew and see if that makes any difference.

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Old 01-17-2013, 06:21 AM   #10
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If you up your grain bill across the board to account for lower efficiency you may be adding too much of the non fermetable or low fermentable grains. IE the steeping grains. If you have lower mash efficiency you might try to add just a higher percentage of base malt and less of the color malts.

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