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Old 01-15-2013, 09:24 PM   #1
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Default Staying Within SRM Specs

I often make honey wheat beers, and have been using 1/2 lb of honey malt per 5-5.5 gal batch, which usually puts me near the edge of the proper SRM. I don't get the honey taste I am after though, and will be using 2 lbs of honey malt next time. This will no doubt take me over that edge. I don't care a whole lot, but I do try to create my beers within their specs.

How do you guys work around such things as this?

The honey blonde I am brewing right now for a 4.5 gal batch has an SRM of 8* using 1 1/2 lbs of honey malt. A blonde should be no more than 6*.

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...tasting a beer at 1 week, and again at 2....that to me just means there 2 less beers that are actually tasting good and are ready at the end.
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:13 PM   #2
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Add the honey in at the very end of the boil. (for possibly less color due to caramelization) You could also prime the bottles with honey, instead of corn sugar.

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Old 01-16-2013, 12:47 PM   #3
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How are you measuring SRM color? This is how I do it:
http://woodlandbrew.blogspot.com/2012/10/how-to-make-your-own-srm-tester.html

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Old 01-16-2013, 01:03 PM   #4
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Add the honey in at the very end of the boil. (for possibly less color due to caramelization) You could also prime the bottles with honey, instead of corn sugar.
This also applies to extract. For your recipes that use honey (but you want to stop using it), you will want to maintain the dryness that you get from the honey, substitute other adjuncts such as rice syrup solids.

There are other things you can do:
  • Filter your beer
  • Use extra-light extract
  • Use colorless adjuncts
  • Purchase a reference color card - don't print it yourself because your colors are likely calibrated differently
  • Identify a standard glass for measuring color, find the glass that darkens the beer the least. Always use that. Always keep it clean.
  • If you use LME, use the freshest extract. It gets darker as it ages.
  • Compare your beer color to MGD, Coors Extra Gold, Heineken, or Stella. It's safe to assume that these macrobrewers get the color right consitently.
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:00 PM   #5
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I see that I forgot to mention that I'm concerned with the use of honey malt as it adds a bit of color. It's 25*L IIRC.

I measure the SRM by the Hopville brew calculator.

I generally add honey after a week of fermentation, but with the beer I brewed yesterday I added it at flameout, but put it back on the heat for about 5 mins or so as some of the honey touched the outside of the jar, which wasn't sanitized. I'm not sure if it helped, and I didn't measure the temp.

Unless I'm trying to combat higher IBU's I generally use 1-2 lbs of DME for the boil and add the bulk at flameout to help keep the color from getting darker.

I usually have used pilsen LME (2*L) and/or Bavarian wheat DME (3*L), as well as light DME (?*L), but I'll be trying ultralight LME, which can vary from 4-9*L or so.

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...tasting a beer at 1 week, and again at 2....that to me just means there 2 less beers that are actually tasting good and are ready at the end.
"Anyway on the wall was this sign. People who drink light beer don't really like beer. They just like to piss a lot."

"Were I to leave where else would I go? Your words of life and of truth You hold." - Third Day
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:28 PM   #6
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Because malt extracts are heated to be condensed it's almost impossible to make them as light as is possible starting from malted barley. You might consider BIAB instead of using malt extracts. Also, like was said, LME gets dark as it ages, so you may consider switching to all DME.

Here's my simple BIAB rig:
http://woodlandbrew.blogspot.com/2012/09/biab.html

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Old 01-17-2013, 12:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rodwha View Post
I generally add honey after a week of fermentation, but with the beer I brewed yesterday I added it at flameout, but put it back on the heat for about 5 mins or so as some of the honey touched the outside of the jar, which wasn't sanitized. I'm not sure if it helped, and I didn't measure the temp.

Unless I'm trying to combat higher IBU's I generally use 1-2 lbs of DME for the boil and add the bulk at flameout to help keep the color from getting darker.

I usually have used pilsen LME (2*L) and/or Bavarian wheat DME (3*L), as well as light DME (?*L), but I'll be trying ultralight LME, which can vary from 4-9*L or so.
The honey will pasteurize within seconds of adding it to the wort. It taks about 15-30 seconds to pasteurize at ~175F. The honey itself may already be pasteurized. For future reference, your risk is low when you add a relatively small portion of the mass at flameout.

If you can't go all-grain, you can try doing a partial mash brew. Other than that, you're doing a lot of stuff that I would try. I think you're learning first-hand that it can be difficult to get a very light color.
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:30 PM   #8
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"I think you're learning first-hand that it can be difficult to get a very light color."

Indeed!
I began by boiling all of the extract and finding my beers much darker, which led me to adding the bulk at flameout. But working with honey malt in very light styled beers seems impossible. Even were I to mash grains for a lighter appearance, I think just adding the heavy amount of honey malt grains will interrupt the attempt at staying within specs. I assume it's a losing battle.

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...tasting a beer at 1 week, and again at 2....that to me just means there 2 less beers that are actually tasting good and are ready at the end.
"Anyway on the wall was this sign. People who drink light beer don't really like beer. They just like to piss a lot."

"Were I to leave where else would I go? Your words of life and of truth You hold." - Third Day
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:58 PM   #9
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For a beer like that, I've added 1/4lb of honey malt and 1/2lb honey and have been satisfied with the result. I'm not strict on color, though. Here's my wheat beer. From the looks, it seemed light enough that I wasn't concerned.

EDIT: The actual FG was more like 1.008.

Honey Badger Wheat Ale

Brew Method: Partial Mash
Style Name: American Wheat or Rye Beer
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 5.5 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 3 gallons
Efficiency: 75% (brew house)

STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.052
Final Gravity: 1.014
ABV (standard): 4.87%
IBU (tinseth): 16.73
SRM (morey): 4.19

FERMENTABLES:
2 lb - American - Wheat
3 lb - Dry Malt Extract - Wheat
3 lb - American - Pale 2-Row
0.25 lb - Canadian - Honey Malt
0.5 lb - Honey

HOPS:
1.2 oz - Willamette for 60 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil (AA 5)
0.3 oz - Willamette for 1 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil (AA 5)
0.3 oz - Centennial for 15 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil (AA 7.8)

MASH STEPS:
1) Infusion, Temp: 150 F, Time: 90 min, Amount: 6.25 qt

YEAST:
Fermentis / Safale - Safale - American Ale Yeast US-05

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Old 01-17-2013, 04:12 PM   #10
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I've been after something similar to Blue Moon's honey wheat, as well as a homebrew honey wheat I had at a festival. Mine have been nothing remotely close to them, and I've used 1/2 lb of honey malt and up to 1 1/2 lbs of honey. The honey was added either at flameout or after a week of fermentation, as well as used for priming.

I was recently advised to greatly up the honey malts to 2 lbs. I just brewed a honey blonde using 1 1/2 lbs of honey malt and 1 lb of honey at flameout. I may use honey for priming too, though I'm not sure as it's a raw, and I read that in raw honey could be wild yeast.

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...tasting a beer at 1 week, and again at 2....that to me just means there 2 less beers that are actually tasting good and are ready at the end.
"Anyway on the wall was this sign. People who drink light beer don't really like beer. They just like to piss a lot."

"Were I to leave where else would I go? Your words of life and of truth You hold." - Third Day
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