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Old 02-25-2009, 12:52 AM   #1
Dansthename
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Default Wheat Color

I just finished an extact Belgium Wheat Beer hoping it would turn out a little like Blue Moon. It is currently in the primary fermenter, but the color is pretty dark almost as dark as the Brown Ale I have in my secondary. What do you guys think? Will the beer clear up to be a much lighter beer like Blue Moon?

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Old 02-25-2009, 01:17 AM   #2
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Welcome to HBT!

The difference between the wheat beer you made and Blue Moon is that Blue Moon is made with all grains so they have better control over what color their beer is because they use grain. Your beer will look much darker in the carboy and will clear but probably not as much as a light all grain beer.

It's a little harder to get a light color using extract because you are using malt that has already been boiled once (during processing). The additional boil time you add darkens it a bit. You can get lighter colored beer by using extra light dry malt and using late extract addition. Are you familiar with late extract additions?

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Old 02-25-2009, 01:49 AM   #3
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No I am not familiar with late extract additions. Can you explain? I have not used dry malt extract yet. How do you use the dry extract?

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Old 02-25-2009, 02:36 AM   #4
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Welcome! Dry extract is pretty similar to liquid extract. Liquid extract usually comes in 3.3 lb cans. The dry stuff matches at 3 lb. For most batches I use dry because it's supposed to be less likely to degrade in flavor as it ages. Most manufacturers release their extracts in both forms. So when I'm formulating a recipe that involves, say, 6.6 lb of briess gold liquid malt extract (LME) and the store is out, I'll just sub in 6 lb briess gold dry malt extract (DME). They're the exact same thing recipe-wise. They're also used the same. The advantages of DME is that it ages better on the shelf. The advantages of LME is that it is slightly cheaper and is easier to stir in.

A late extract addition involves adding a portion (usually half, some say all of it though) ofyour extract near the end of the 60 minute boil. So you start your boil, add your 60 minute hops and half your extract. Then 15 minutes before the boil ends, add the other half of the extract. This will still sanitize your extract but prevent scorching.

Please don't let this darkness factor discourage you. I have noticed the difference in color between extract and all grain batches. But don't allow this color difference to make you think it has a significant effect on the flavor... some of my favorite extract recipes are cream ales which are very light in color and stand to lose from any roasted flavors. The color darkening is barely noticeable and the magnitude of color change doesn't reflect the magnitude of a 'darker flavor' if there even is one.

I hope this helps, and please don't sweat it. Even the hardened experts here brew extract recipes often and I think that is a testament to the quality of beer possible with extract batches. So don't sweat it, and happy brewing!

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Old 02-25-2009, 03:00 AM   #5
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What Dougan said! He is correct on all accounts. I hope I didn't give you the impression that your beer wasn't going to be good because of the color. Nothing could be farther from the truth! The darker color of extract is just an aestetic thing that many brewing are not expecting when making a wheat or a pale.

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Old 02-25-2009, 03:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dougan View Post
The advantages of DME is that it ages better on the shelf. The advantages of LME is that it is slightly cheaper and is easier to stir in.
I actually find DME easier to work with compared to either heating the LME can or waiting forever for it to pour.

Quote:
A late extract addition involves adding a portion (usually half, some say all of it though) ofyour extract near the end of the 60 minute boil. So you start your boil, add your 60 minute hops and half your extract. Then 15 minutes before the boil ends, add the other half of the extract. This will still sanitize your extract but prevent scorching.
It should slightly increase hops utilization, too, right? If so, you might want to tweak slightly for that.

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Please don't let this darkness factor discourage you.
+1 on this, even if it's a bit darker it should still taste fine!
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Old 02-25-2009, 03:42 AM   #7
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I actually find DME easier to work with compared to either heating the LME can or waiting forever for it to pour.
Just a simple trick... with LME you can ladle in some of your boil into the container and pour it back into your wort. With plastic containers, you can even dunk the whole thing into your pot and then repour. As long as you're doing this no later than the last 15 minutes, any bacteria on the container will still be boiled out. Just be careful not to burn yourself.
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Old 02-25-2009, 02:02 PM   #8
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Don't forget to turn off the heat when adding your extract. With LME you can scorch the stuff when it falls to the bottom of the kettle before it's stirred up.

I also prefer DME for ease of use and storage and for lighter beers.

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Old 02-25-2009, 04:39 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone. I am very new to brewing and this wheat is only my second brew. Everything looks really great at this time. In a lot of these threads people keep saying "stop worrying so much" well that is a hard thing to do. It's kind of like having a child. You brew it and then watch it grow. I'm like a mother who can't stop worring about her children. Bottling my first batch this weekend!!!

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Old 02-25-2009, 05:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dansthename View Post
Thanks everyone. I am very new to brewing and this wheat is only my second brew. Everything looks really great at this time. In a lot of these threads people keep saying "stop worrying so much" well that is a hard thing to do. It's kind of like having a child. You brew it and then watch it grow. I'm like a mother who can't stop worring about her children. Bottling my first batch this weekend!!!
If you getting nervous about your first couple batches of beer makes you like the mother who can't stop worrying about her children, that must make me Nadia Suleman. *impatiently counts fermentors bubbling away*

Let us know how that first batch tastes!
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