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Old 05-31-2010, 07:17 PM   #1
eaglehoo
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Default Why are all my beers too dark?

I'm a partial mash brewer, and cannot for the life of me figure out why most of my brews finish darker than I plan. I just competed a Tripel and IPA, and both of their critiques labeled them too dark for the style (I can't argue). My Irish red is basically an Irish brown. I already add most of my extract late in the boil to avoid carmelization, use pilsen extract and clear brewing sugars when my recipes call for them. I have even begun using lower lovibond crystal malts, without results.

The only thing I can think of is that I usually add the bulk of my LME at about 20 min, and one of my Tripel reviews suggested 10 minutes instead. Will that really make that much difference? Suggestions please! Thanks.



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Old 05-31-2010, 07:47 PM   #2
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Are you doing full boils? This would be my only other recommendation.



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Old 05-31-2010, 08:37 PM   #3
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LME? Try switching to DME. LME will typically give you a darker beer than DME
As theguy suggested, boil as large a volume as you can.
After that, you could try doing your late addition at or near flameout.

I too do my second addition at about 20 minutes - before I put the IC in the boil for 15 minutes to sanitize. My beers have been coming in pretty much where I want them to. I recently did a pale ale that was dead-on, color-wise, next to SNPA. Last brew was a BMC type that was nice and light. Got a partial mash European lager in secondary right now that looks like it might actually come out a bit lighter than planned. I use DME by the way. I do think I prefer LME as far as ease of use: DME can be a pain to dissolve and it sticks to everything! But in the end, at least for me, I think the results are better with DME.

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Old 05-31-2010, 09:03 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theguy10 View Post
Are you doing full boils? This would be my only other recommendation.
Second the full boil. I've done partial boils and they do tend to be a little darker than what is described in the kit. Although with you going with a late addition for you extract this should help make up for it. With my late additions I have been able to get great light colored beers.
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Old 05-31-2010, 11:16 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by eaglehoo View Post
The only thing I can think of is that I usually add the bulk of my LME at about 20 min, and one of my Tripel reviews suggested 10 minutes instead. Will that really make that much difference? Suggestions please! Thanks.
There's really no reason to boil your extract at all. I've always done my late additions at flame out.
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Old 05-31-2010, 11:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisS68 View Post
LME? Try switching to DME. LME will typically give you a darker beer than DME
As theguy suggested, boil as large a volume as you can.
After that, you could try doing your late addition at or near flameout.

I too do my second addition at about 20 minutes - before I put the IC in the boil for 15 minutes to sanitize. My beers have been coming in pretty much where I want them to. I recently did a pale ale that was dead-on, color-wise, next to SNPA. Last brew was a BMC type that was nice and light. Got a partial mash European lager in secondary right now that looks like it might actually come out a bit lighter than planned. I use DME by the way. I do think I prefer LME as far as ease of use: DME can be a pain to dissolve and it sticks to everything! But in the end, at least for me, I think the results are better with DME.
+1 LME always makes a beer that is darker in color. Try using DME your next brew and the lighter color will surprise you.
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Old 06-01-2010, 04:08 AM   #7
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I can't second chris 68's comment 'cause sawdustguy beat me to it. I agree with just about everything chris says. I use strictly DME for my sugar bill when partial mashing or extract brewing. This winter i bought a light DME 55# bag from northern brewer. It was a pain in the ass to use. I measured it in several vacuum sealed bags. it got every where in my kitchen and made a big sticky mess. Also the DME sticks to a lot when brewing and can clump up in the biol kettle when adding a lot. However, i find theat if i want a clear golden beer there is nothing i want to use other than light, extra light, or pilsen DME. Even then i do a late additting whti 1/2 my DME. half goes in at start of boils the other half goes in around half hour to 40 minutes of boil time.

FYI, the reason for this is that LME is really just concentrated wort. The process for making LME AND DME is slightly different. DME is air dried by spraying into a vessel and the extract falls as fine dried particle. With LME the company basically makes wort and boils it down until it reaches 20 % water. THe air drying process perserves color through storage. LME does not, infact storage life is the main reason color degrades in LME. IF you are using a LME in a can, it could be sitting on a shelf for a long time. Buy your LME from a locla supplier who turns inventory OFTEN. Bries did a radio program about this issue a whil back. This paragraph is what i remember from that broadcast


Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisS68 View Post
LME? Try switching to DME. LME will typically give you a darker beer than DME
As theguy suggested, boil as large a volume as you can.
After that, you could try doing your late addition at or near flameout.

I too do my second addition at about 20 minutes - before I put the IC in the boil for 15 minutes to sanitize. My beers have been coming in pretty much where I want them to. I recently did a pale ale that was dead-on, color-wise, next to SNPA. Last brew was a BMC type that was nice and light. Got a partial mash European lager in secondary right now that looks like it might actually come out a bit lighter than planned. I use DME by the way. I do think I prefer LME as far as ease of use: DME can be a pain to dissolve and it sticks to everything! But in the end, at least for me, I think the results are better with DME.
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Old 06-01-2010, 04:10 AM   #8
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in short if color is important and you can deal with teh stickyness and mess of DME use DME only. Thats what i do. Like you i am picky about my beer and to mee color is important.



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