Quantcast

Getting color in light beers

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

seanppp

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2013
Messages
344
Reaction score
12
I have some IPA recipes that are extremely light (3.5 SRM) in color and I'd like to bring them up to ~5.5-6 SRM or so without affecting the flavor. According to Beersmith I can do this with 1/2 of Carafa Special III but I'm afraid this'll give the beer a gray tinge rather than a slightly deeper red. Anybody have experience with this?
 

JKaranka

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2012
Messages
2,333
Reaction score
340
Location
Cardiff
Carafa, black malt, a small amount of dark invert sugar, brewer's caramel, they'd all do it without adding too much body or too much flavour. If you absolutely want no flavour addition go for brewer's caramel, it's tasteless at such a small concentration.
 

JonM

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Messages
9,320
Reaction score
4,151
Location
Milwaukee
In my favorite IPA recipe, I have 13 lbs of grain. It's mostly two- row, but there's a couple pounds of Vienna and a 1/2 pound of c-20. The color comes out right in the 7 SRM range. If you leave out a little of the c-20, then you're in the 5-6 range.
 

Hopper5000

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2011
Messages
1,282
Reaction score
94
Location
Oakland
You could try putting an ounce or two of roasted barley in there which will give it a darker color.
 
OP
S

seanppp

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2013
Messages
344
Reaction score
12
Will a bit of dark malt make it look gray though?
 

JKaranka

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2012
Messages
2,333
Reaction score
340
Location
Cardiff
Shouldn't make it grey, it should pretty much follow to gold, amber and reddish copper depending on how much you add.
 
OP
S

seanppp

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2013
Messages
344
Reaction score
12
Why not use Carafa Special? It has the same color value as roasted barley or black malt but the extra assurance of minimal/no flavor contribution.
 

Hopper5000

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2011
Messages
1,282
Reaction score
94
Location
Oakland
I don't think an ounce or two of RB will impart any flavor that would be noticeable in an IPA. OP, yes you could use carafa special as well. You really have a lot of options to add color.
 

Peruvian802

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2012
Messages
1,877
Reaction score
575
Location
Green Mountains
Jamil recommended carafa special in BYO a while back.

My experience is that even a few ounces of RB will give you a roasty/smokey flavor.
 

fiveohmike

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2014
Messages
146
Reaction score
17
Location
Hayward
How about moving the boil from 60 to 90 minutes. When I did this I noticed my Otter malt IPA's came a few points darker/redder
 

Xpertskir

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Messages
2,222
Reaction score
463
Location
Morgantown
Close your eyes when you drink it, you won't notice the color.


Beers are the color they are, I'm perplexed as to why you want them to be darker.

If there is a flavor you are after in your grist that you are currently missing then I understand that.
 

ajdelange

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Aug 5, 2010
Messages
11,959
Reaction score
2,722
Location
McLean/Ogden
I have some IPA recipes that are extremely light (3.5 SRM) in color and I'd like to bring them up to ~5.5-6 SRM or so without affecting the flavor. According to Beersmith I can do this with 1/2 of Carafa Special III but I'm afraid this'll give the beer a gray tinge rather than a slightly deeper red. Anybody have experience with this?
You have recipes that predict 3.5 SRM but as a home brewer you have never produced a beer this light. It is almost impossible. That said you don't really care what the numbers are, you would like the beer to look darker.

As it turns out all beer color is essentially the same and comes from a fictitious 'beer color factor' whose concentration determines the color of the beer (Kriek etc aside). To increase color all you need to do is add more beer color factor. As it is the same color (has the same spectral absorption characteristics) as the beer color factor already in your beer adding more of it will not change the spectral color characteristics of your beer. The perceived color will change, obviously, as the concentration of beer color factor increases. As BCF concentration(SRM) goes up the beer becomes darker and its hue describes a clockwise loop, starting at the origin Lab space a*-b* coordinates ranging fom white (SRM 0 - no BCF) through green-yellow, yellow, orange, amber, red, deep red, deeper red and finally back to the origin. The SRM number is proportional to the concentration of beer color factor so all you need to do to get more SRM is add more beer color factor. Several methods for doing this have been suggested e.g. add some malt which has more factor, enhance the existing concentration by longer boil (heat produces it and boiling away water concentrates it).

One method, and probably the simplest, is to buy it in a bottle. The product is called Sinamar and Williams carries it. Just add enough Sinamar to get the color you want. Caramel also has it so you can melt/burn some sugar on the stove to produce a caramel with color deep as you want it and then add as much as you need. This, of course, adds caramel flavor. Sinamar does not.
 

ajdelange

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Aug 5, 2010
Messages
11,959
Reaction score
2,722
Location
McLean/Ogden
Beers are the color they are, I'm perplexed as to why you want them to be darker.
Because what you taste depends very much on the color (unless you are blind and close your eyes whenever you drink beer). I heard Charlie Bamforth mention this in a Webinar the day before I was due to attend a party at which I knew several of the area's beer illuminati were likely to be present. My 'contribution' was two growlers of a not particularly great Vienna one of which was dosed with Sinamar and other of which wasn't. I presented sample of these in identical clear goblets to several people and asked them to contrast and compare (saying they were the same beer brewed in two different ways but not saying anything else). I got just what you'd expect from almost everyone. The darker one was maltier, sweeter, richer, had more hops aroma etc. Someone's S.O. very apologetically said that her boyfriend knew a lot about beer but that she didn't and she just couldn't taste any difference.

When the truth was revealed some of these Grand Panjundrums of the BJCP were not amused. One guy is still not speaking to me (AFAIK) and I was not invited to his annual 'Inventory Reduction Party'. What we must endure for science!
 

JKaranka

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2012
Messages
2,333
Reaction score
340
Location
Cardiff
By the way, British brewer's caramel is a lot darker than anything you might be able to make at home. For example, Sinamar is around 3100 Lovibond while brewer's caramel is around 13000 Lovibond. You need literally drops of the stuff for 5 US gallons for a tad of colour and at that concentration it doesn't give any flavour.
 
OP
S

seanppp

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2013
Messages
344
Reaction score
12
You have recipes that predict 3.5 SRM but as a home brewer you have never produced a beer this light. It is almost impossible. That said you don't really care what the numbers are, you would like the beer to look darker.

As it turns out all beer color is essentially the same and comes from a fictitious 'beer color factor' whose concentration determines the color of the beer (Kriek etc aside). To increase color all you need to do is add more beer color factor. As it is the same color (has the same spectral absorption characteristics) as the beer color factor already in your beer adding more of it will not change the spectral color characteristics of your beer. The perceived color will change, obviously, as the concentration of beer color factor increases. As BCF concentration(SRM) goes up the beer becomes darker and its hue describes a clockwise loop, starting at the origin Lab space a*-b* coordinates ranging fom white (SRM 0 - no BCF) through green-yellow, yellow, orange, amber, red, deep red, deeper red and finally back to the origin. The SRM number is proportional to the concentration of beer color factor so all you need to do to get more SRM is add more beer color factor. Several methods for doing this have been suggested e.g. add some malt which has more factor, enhance the existing concentration by longer boil (heat produces it and boiling away water concentrates it).

One method, and probably the simplest, is to buy it in a bottle. The product is called Sinamar and Williams carries it. Just add enough Sinamar to get the color you want. Caramel also has it so you can melt/burn some sugar on the stove to produce a caramel with color deep as you want it and then add as much as you need. This, of course, adds caramel flavor. Sinamar does not.
ajdelange, thank you! This is exactly the type of answer I was looking for! Very interesting that all beer is the same color, just different shades of that color. I will try to find some Sinamar. I loved your story about the Vienna lagers too. Very funny and not at all surprising!
 
Top