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Old 08-12-2010, 02:46 PM   #1
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Default Color of Ales - brewing technique for lightness

What are factors that will keep my ales from all looking about the same orangey/brown color?

I'm an extract brewer, and the extract seems nice and light in the bag/bottle, and then turns dark in the kettle.

Pale/light colored wheat beer desired.

steve

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Old 08-12-2010, 02:56 PM   #2
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When you boil your liquid extracts, they tend to caramelize a tad and darken as a result. Especially if not mixed properly and allowed to burn on the bottom of the brewpot.

If you want lighter color, you may want to search the forums for late extract additions...where you add a large portion of the extract at the end of the boil rather than all at the beginning. This will help to lighten your beers, since less caramelization. But...it will also theoretically make your beers a little hoppier due to increased hop utilization (although some argue whether your average brewer ccould tell the difference or not).

Just my 2 cents.

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Old 08-12-2010, 02:56 PM   #3
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If you add the extract at flame out, or with only 5 minutes left in the boil if you don't want to add it at flame out, the extract won't have a chance to darken. That's the only way I can think of to keep the colors (and the maillard reactions) light.

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Old 08-12-2010, 02:57 PM   #4
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From what I hear, extracts tend to be darker than AG brews. You'll not likely get a pale/light color from an extract. Just something in the chemistry, I guess.

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Old 08-12-2010, 02:59 PM   #5
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with extract, make sure you aren't caramelizing the wort by overboiling, as that adds some color.

Use the lightest DME you can find. Preferably, use Pilsen malt extract or whichever is labeled as extra "light." I've heard pilsen extract has a lovibond of 2, which is plenty low for your purposes.

This may seem obvious but...Don't use any crystal steeping grains.

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Old 08-12-2010, 03:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JetSmooth View Post
From what I hear, extracts tend to be darker than AG brews. You'll not likely get a pale/light color from an extract. Just something in the chemistry, I guess.
Not something "in the chemistry", it is due to and correct by the reasons posted above you. You can brew light extract beers using late extract addition and using Dry extract vs liquid.
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Old 08-12-2010, 04:23 PM   #7
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This is one of the challenges of brewing light colored extract beers. Remember the extract is already boiled wort so it has some colour, boiling it more will add to that colour. Use the lightest DME you can get and as Yooper said add it at the end of the boil.

GT

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Old 08-12-2010, 05:00 PM   #8
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FWIW - adding extract late in the boil will impact color minimally. Both Maillard reactions and caramelization don't happen much (if at all) during a normal boil - conditions are not correct for either of these to occur as caramelization and Maillard reactions require temperatures that cannot be reached when water is present (the boiling point of water limits the cooking temperature to 212°F or less). Caramelization starts around 310°F, Maillard reactions even higher (also see below). Some darkening may occur if the extract is scorched on the bottom of the kettle where direct contact with the metal could result in high enough temps for the browning reactions. However, this can be minimized. Extract is darker than the equivalent grains to begin with however, so you need to adjust for that.

Maillard reaction (from Wikipedia - emphasis added)- "High temperature, low moisture levels, and alkaline conditions all promote the Maillard reaction.[3] Low moisture levels are necessary mainly because water boils into steam at 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius), whereas the Maillard reaction happens noticeably around 310 degrees Fahrenheit (155 degrees Celsius): By the time something is in fact browning, all the water is vaporized."

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Old 08-12-2010, 05:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IrregularPulse View Post
Not something "in the chemistry", it is due to and correct by the reasons posted above you. You can brew light extract beers using late extract addition and using Dry extract vs liquid.
In my defense, that is chemistry.
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Old 08-12-2010, 07:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLem View Post
Maillard reaction (from Wikipedia - emphasis added)- "High temperature, low moisture levels, and alkaline conditions all promote the Maillard reaction.[3] Low moisture levels are necessary mainly because water boils into steam at 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius), whereas the Maillard reaction happens noticeably around 310 degrees Fahrenheit (155 degrees Celsius): By the time something is in fact browning, all the water is vaporized."
I imagine if you don't stir well you can have some extract sink to the bottom and allow a heat transfer that is in the range to get those reactions. But short of that I agree. Extra-light DME is your best bet. I have never had an LME beer come out close to an AG pils even using all late-addition, fresh Pils LME.
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