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-   -   Blonde ale turned black in secondary (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/blonde-ale-turned-black-secondary-371041/)

guitar_sean 11-30-2012 05:57 PM

Blonde ale turned black in secondary
So I'm still new to homebrewing (this is my third batch) and I've been doing extract kits for simplicity. I started a Brewer's Best Imperial Blonde Ale kit before I went on vacation for Thanksgiving. I brewed it and let it in the primary for 6 days. It was time to leave before it was ready to bottle so I racked it to the secondary to finish out while I was gone. I came back after about 3 weeks to find my beer had gone from a gold-ish color to almost black while it was in the secondary. I sanitized everything, capped the secondary with an airlock, the fermenter was in a dark, temperature stable area the whole time and I can't figure out what happened.

I'm going to take a hydrometer reading and taste test, guidance from my local homebrew supplier). He said it sounds like it may have been oxidized somehow, but was unsure. He said he'd never seen beer oxidize like that, just wine. Does anybody have any ideas what the issue might be and how I could prevent it in the future?

Thanks, Sean

jsv1204 11-30-2012 05:58 PM

Wow... No idea!

Revvy 11-30-2012 06:02 PM

Are you sure it just doesn't LOOK black because of the optics in a secondary, where because of the shape of a vessel our beer looks much darker than it really is? Have you actually pulled a sample and looked at IT?

Obligatory science explanation done in small print: ;)


In addition to reflecting light, many surfaces also refract light: rather than bouncing off the surface, some of the incident ray travels through the surface, but at a new angle. We are able to see through glass and water because much of the light striking these substances is refracted and passes right through them.
Light passing from one substance into another will almost always reflect partially, so there is still an incident ray and a reflected ray, and they both have the same angle to the normal. However, there is also a third ray, the refracted ray, which lies in the same plane as the incident and reflected rays. The angle of the refracted ray will not be the same as the angle of the incident and reflected rays. As a result, objects that we see in a different medium—a straw in a glass of water, for instance—appear distorted because the light bends when it passes from one medium to another.


The phenomenon of refraction results from light traveling at different speeds in different media. The “speed of light” constant c is really the speed of light in a vacuum: when light passes through matter, it slows down. If light travels through a substance with velocity v, then that substance has an index of refraction of n = c/v. Because light always travels slower through matter than through a vacuum, v is always less than or equal to c, so . For transparent materials, typical values of n are quite low: = 1.0, = 1.3, and = 1.6. Because it is the presence of matter that slows down light, denser materials generally have higher indices of refraction.
A light ray passing from a less dense medium into a denser medium will be refracted toward the normal, and a light ray passing from a denser medium into a less dense medium will be refracted away from the normal. For example, water is denser than air, so the light traveling out of water toward our eyes is refracted away from the normal. When we look at a straw in a glass of water, we see the straw where it would be if the light had traveled in a straight line.


Given a ray traveling from a medium with index of refraction into a medium with index of refraction , Snell’s Law governs the relationship between the angle of incidence and the angle of refraction:


Crap-all if I understand it all, but it looks cool! :)

somedudefromguam 11-30-2012 06:05 PM

Ya I think Revvy is right. I notice my brew gets darker as the yeast drops out of suspension.

progmac 11-30-2012 06:17 PM

probably algae

CKing 11-30-2012 06:19 PM

New style category!

Cascadian Blonde Ale?

guitar_sean 11-30-2012 07:36 PM

I haven't had a chance to pull a sample yet, will be doing that tonight. I thought about the size and shape causing it to appear darker than it is, we'll see tonight. Also, the sediment is much darker than what I've seen in my first two batches, as well as when this one was in the primary. We'll see what tonight brings, if it tastes alright, I'll bottle it. If it sucks, I'll pour it out and investigate the issue further...it just freaked me out to see it like that, not at all what I was expecting to see.

BBL_Brewer 11-30-2012 07:43 PM

I was thining the same thing. Probably looks darker than it really is. Pulling a sample will tell the real story.

JuiceyJay 11-30-2012 07:48 PM

New name: midnight blonde?

Revvy 11-30-2012 11:46 PM


Originally Posted by JuiceyJay (Post 4636961)
New name: midnight blonde?


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