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Old 08-25-2010, 02:02 PM   #1
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Default Beer Color Question

While I hate to consider myself a "beginner", I probably am in comparison to 95% of the experience on this site (that's what makes this place so great!). AND this question probably confirms my classification, so here goes.....

Why is it that all of my brews come out way darker than the "calculators" and recipes technically say they should? My brews are mainly extract with some grains at this point. My last brew is supposed to be somewhere around a 5 to 6 on the color scale but inside my fermenter, it is way closer to a 20 right now. While I can see it will clear some, I can't imagine it getting anywhere near the "gold" color it is supposed to be.

What might I be doing wrong?

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Old 08-25-2010, 02:05 PM   #2
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Scorching the extract?


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Old 08-25-2010, 02:12 PM   #3
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Scorching the extract?

Well, I thought about that in the past and I have made attempts to prevent that. I now make certain that the fire is off when I add it to the water/tea and I add it slowly while stirring constantly. Maybe I am unaware as to how it may get scorched. Should I be doing something else?
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Old 08-25-2010, 02:12 PM   #4
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We're all beginners at something, so don't worry about being new. I still learn everyday around here- that's why I stick around.

I'd have to guess at the reasons it's darker than you'd expect, but I'm guessing it's simply because extract tends to darken. Even the lightest extract is a bit darker than an AG mash. There are some things you can do to minimize the darkening. One is to add the majority of the extract at flame out. It'll still dissolve, and sanitize, but it'll keep it from darkening too much. Also, use the lightest and freshest extract you can find. I would say that it would be very difficult to make a beer with an SRM of 5 with extract, even adding the extract late.

The beer WILL look darker in the carboy than in the glass, though. When you take a hydrometer reading, hold the test jar up and you'll see it's much lighter than in the carboy. It's probably no where near a 20 SRM, if you meant for it to be a 5 or 6.

The calculators don't seem to be very accurate in judging color, even for my AG batches. Sure, they take the "20L" and "80L" in ingredients and calculate the color, but it seems like it's only close at best.
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