My beer was too dark!

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

CanuckBrewing

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
21
Reaction score
1
Location
Toronto
Boil Volume 6.50 gallons
Boil Time 60 minutes
Batch Size 5.30 gallons
Yeast California Ale (75% app. attenuation)
Primary Fermentation plastic 7 days
Secondary Fermentation plastic 14 days


7.75 American Two-row Pale
1.75 Crystal 10L
0.50 Flaked Wheat

Hops

0.75 oz. Goldings 60 min
0.50 oz. Goldings 15 min
1.00 oz. Tettnanger 2 min

So this is the recipe i used to make an attempt at a blonde ale. I left it in the primary for about a week, then switched it over to a secondary for about another, then bottled it. When i poured the beer out after about a week in the bottle, it looked nothing like a blonde as still had the appearance of almost an amber ale. What could be the reasoning behind this? It also had an unidentifiable off flavour. Could it be that my beer was just too young? Or is it the result of a screw up somewhere in my process?
I know its pretty hard to judge without seeing step by step what i did from start to finish.
 
OP
C

CanuckBrewing

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
21
Reaction score
1
Location
Toronto
Upon further searching here is the process.

1) Add 3.5 gallons of water at 160F. The resulting temperature in the mash tun should reach 150F, stir well and let rest for 60 minutes.
2) Crush malt and add to mash tun (cooler).
3) Drain into boil kettle, recycling the first few quarts to improve clarity.
4) Heat 4.5 gallons of water to 170F. Add to mash tun, stir, let rest for 10 minutes.
5) Drain into boil kettle, recycling the first few quarts to improve clarity. Collect to boil volume.
6) Discard the spent grain and take sample of wort, cool to 70F, and take hydrometer reading
7) Bring kettle to rolling boil. Boil for 90 minutes. Add 0.75oz goldings to pot at 60 minutes. With 20 minutes left, insert wort cooler into pot to sanitize and leave in until the end.
8) Add 0.50 goldings with 15 minutes left in boil, add 1 whirlfloc tablet at this time
9) Add 1 oz. tettnanger hops with 1 minute left.
10) Turn on wort cooler and bring temp down to 50F.
11) Pour wort into fermenter and add enough water to bring level to 5 gallons (splashing is ok)
12) Pitch yeast cold and well-aerated wort (70F) and stir with sanitized spoon
13) Secure sanitized lid to the ferment, and place sanitized airlock with sanitizing solution into the lid. Shake or rock sealed fermenter for 5 minutes.
14) Keep in primary fermenter @ 70-75F (9-15 celsius) for 1 week
15) Transfer to carboy and ferment for another 1-2 weeks to clarify
16) Clean and sanitize all bottles and lids
17) Boil 8 oz. of water and 1 cup of corn sugar for 10 minutes, and stir until dissolved. Add to sanitized bottling bucket
18) Siphon beer from carboy to bottling bucket. Avoid excessive splashing during transfer and leave behind sediment. Stir sugar solution to mix it with beer
19) Fill bottles, cap them.
 

BioBeing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2009
Messages
1,508
Reaction score
10
Location
Memphis, TN
1) Add 3.5 gallons of water at 160F. The resulting temperature in the mash tun should reach 150F, stir well and let rest for 60 minutes.
2) Crush malt and add to mash tun (cooler).
pssst - wrong way round ;)


14) Keep in primary fermenter @ 70-75F (9-15 celsius) for 1 week
pssst... 70F = 21C; 75F = 24C. Seems a bit high, but not overly so. Might give some ester flavour, but not dark colour (I assume?).

I got nothing - sorry :(
 

Blender

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2006
Messages
3,106
Reaction score
10
Location
Santa Cruz, CA.
You grain bill tells me it should be quite light although I have never used quite that amount of Crystal malt. It is hard to tell you if it is to dark when we cannot see it.:)
Maybe the 90 minute boil darkened a bit.
 

lamarguy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2008
Messages
1,652
Reaction score
33
Location
Austin, TX
When i poured the beer out after about a week in the bottle, it looked nothing like a blonde as still had the appearance of almost an amber ale. What could be the reasoning behind this?
It could be your water is high in bicarbonates, which results in more color extracted from the grain husks. There are a lot of factors, including wort caramelization, grain crush, mash time, water profile, yeast, etc. Making a light color beer is a challenge for most people the first time they attempt it, so your experience is normal.

It also had an unidentifiable off flavour. Could it be that my beer was just too young? Or is it the result of a screw up somewhere in my process?

11) Pour wort into fermenter and add enough water to bring level to 5 gallons (splashing is ok)

14) Keep in primary fermenter @ 70-75F (9-15 celsius) for 1 week
In #11, was the water sterile? In #14, is that the ambient air temperature or the temperature of the fermenting wort? Depending on your answers, either one one of these conditions (non-sterile water and high fermentation temp) can cause off flavors.

Depending on the off flavor, it may or may not mellow out with time.
 

WBC

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2007
Messages
2,164
Reaction score
10
Location
La Puente, CA
Anything that touches the boiled and cooled wort must be sterile. This would include the water you added. If not sterile water the beer could be infected.

Beer looks darker in the carboy or pail. In the glass it will appear lighter.

Always ferment at the yeasts recommended temperature range. Stay at the lower end and you will have less esters in the beer which is a much cleaner tasting beer.
 

Spoke

Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2009
Messages
14
Reaction score
0
Location
Calgary, AB
Well, 'too dark' is pretty subjective, any chance you can upload a picture?

That being said it's fairly hard to determine why your beer is so dark. You did use pretty large amount of crystal.
Any chance your crystal wasn't 10L and was a darker variety?
Your instructions have some inconsistencies...but I don't know if many of them wold cause your problem.
 
Top