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Old 11-04-2008, 01:51 AM   #1
TrojanAnteater
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Default Why did my beer turn out darker than it should have?

My IPA was calculated to be around 7 SRM (a nice golden), via tastybrew.com recipe calculator.

Here was the recipe and stats:

Theoretical OG 1.066, Target FG 1.013 (FG measured = 1.012-1.013)
Boil Volume 4.5 gallons, Final Volume 3.5 gallons (estimate)

2.0 lbs Light Dry Malt Extract (30.8%)
4.0 lbs Alexander's Pale Malt Extract Syrup (61.5%)
0.5 lbs Crystal 40L (7.7)

I just opened a bottle that has been bottle priming for 7 days (just to check on the flavor and FG), and this thing is pretty dark- a hazy dark burnt orange, (the cloudiness of it might make it appear almost brown in the glass). It looks like an SRM of maybe 10 or 11 to me. Basically like the color of Pale Liquid Malt Extract.

Using the light malts that I did, I don't get how I got this dark of a beer. It did indeed look much darker than any Pale Ale/IPA I've made before while in the carboy, yet it still had about the same % of crystal 40 (if not a tad less) as all the others i've made in 5 gallon batches. When I was siphoning to bottling bucket it really looked like a nice clear golden though (this was the first time I had crash cooled a beer... I thought it had worked... but apparently doesn't have appeared to). I know its hard to tell when siphoning cause that's such a thin layer of beer going through it will look lighter.

Could I have burnt the malt during boiling and turn it darker??? is that even possible? Is the Dry Malt Extract a problem here? This was the most % of this dry malt extract I've ever used, and I thought I heard somewhere that it tends to make a beer darker than the syrup, even though it's "Pale dry malt extract"

Other than that, the beer tastes pretty good, maybe not as dry as my liking (I still need to get the FG, plus it hasn't finished carbonating).

Any input is appreciated.

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Old 11-04-2008, 01:53 AM   #2
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I'm guessing you caramelized your liquid malt extract making it darker. At what point during the boil did you add the liquid extract? You may want to try doing a late addition in the future.

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Old 11-04-2008, 01:55 AM   #3
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You definitely could have burnt (or caramelized) some of the extract, which would have darkened the color. You can't really be sure with extracts though. If you want more accurate colors, look into late extract additions...

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Old 11-04-2008, 02:05 AM   #4
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+1 on the above mentioned advice... I ran into a similar situation with my hefe kit that turned out almost as dark as my amber ale... When I did my pumpkin ale, I wait til the last 15-20 minutes for the extract addition and it came out very purdy..

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Old 11-04-2008, 02:15 AM   #5
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Kinda thought that might be it guys. I just bought a new turkey fryer and use the burner. It still seems like it takes a long time for my boil to get to a rolling boil (maybe 45 minutes or so?), and I boil the malt extract the entire time. I'm going to start experimenting with late extract additions.

Thanks

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Old 11-04-2008, 09:25 AM   #6
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Did you add it before it started boiling? I always wait until I have a real good rolling boil going before I add my extract; Just curious (I'm brewing mostly darker beers so I can't say I've had this issue, but was going to do a special brew for my father who likes lighter beers).

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Old 11-04-2008, 11:12 AM   #7
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I believe you will ALWAYS be a little darker when using extract. It's double boiled and you will get caramelized. One thing you should do is only use 1/3 of your extract for the entire boil and add the last 2/3 at 10 minutes.

Don't experiment with late additions - just do it- it's the correct way to do it if you are concerned about color.

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Old 11-04-2008, 11:49 AM   #8
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Extract beers by nature are darker that their all grain counterparts, it's inherent in the creation of the extract itself, especially liquid.

And the SRM's for recipes are USUALLY based on the allgrain recipes, or by the mathematical calculation of brewing software and MAY NOT reflect the actual extract beer.

Also some things to consider..If you are trying to gauge color in your carboy or looking down into your bucket it will appear darker than when you look at it in your glass, after it's been carbed and conditioned (that will change the appearance of the beer in a big way.)

Some ways to mitigate the color deficienes of extract beers,

Formulate your recipes using dry malt extract, and base it on the lightest DME possible, and get the rest of the color and flavors from the steeping drains. I base my extract w/ grain and partial mash recipes on Extralight DME.

Use the Late Extract Addition. Add only approximately 2-3 pounds of your extract in the beginning of the boil to isomerize the alpha acids of the hops, and add the remaining bulk of the extract in the last 15 minutes to steralize it. This keeps the extract from further carmelizing during the boil and darkening further.

Consider doing partial mashes. Get the majority of your fermentables from grain (look up countertop partial mashing) then bulk up the recipe inthe last 15-20 minutes with DME. This is really important if you are brewing lower SRM beers like cream ales...With stouts it doesn't really matter.

Hope this helps!

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Old 11-04-2008, 12:59 PM   #9
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LME is always darker. I do not recommend it - EVER!!

I do all Late Addition brews. Usually DME and some steeping grains.

My colors are as light as beers you purchase.

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Old 11-04-2008, 01:26 PM   #10
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I've been adding my DME at around 15-20 minutes or so. This will help a lot with the SRM, it will not be as light as a AG batch but it will be quite a bit lighter then bioling the DME for the whole 60 minutes.

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