Pilsner is too dark!

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Active Member
Jan 17, 2009
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About 5 weeks ago a brewed a partial mash pilsner recipe, which has now been in a secondary carboy for 2 weeks. It looks way too dark to me!
I've been searching the forum for answers to my questions about this but haven't found the right search terms. I'm sure that the topic has been discussed before but I'll need to ask unless someone can point me to the relevant topics:

-- My method is to steep a "teabag" of grains in about 2.5 gallons of 160 degree water for 45-60 minutes. After that, I rinse about a gallon of hot water through the bag (in the future I plan to steep it in a separate fresh pot of water) into the pot. Then I add my malt extract (usually about 6 pounds of LME, in this case I think that it was Munton's "extra light") and bring to a boil, adding hops according to the recipe. The boil takes 60 minutes. Then I chill the pot and add it (usually about 3 gallons) to 2 gallons of cold water in the carboy. The brews turn out well, they just seem too dark for what I'm aiming for.

-- My questions regard two aspect of my technique:
1. Is the long boil time for the LME "darkening" the color of the beer?
2. Does the fact that I'm only boiling the ingredients in 3/5 of the water make a difference for the color of the final result?

The funny thing about this pils is that it looked dark but not outrageously dark until this last week in the secondary. However, it has clarified and I plan to bottle it soon. I'm sure that it will taste fine (samples during hydrometer readings have been tasty) but in the long run, I'd like to be able to brew a "straw-colored" pils, so please let me know what I could do to improve this aspect.


Well-Known Member
Dec 27, 2006
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Santa Clarita
When you boil LME pretty much all "light" beers will be that color. For a bit of a lighter color, you need to use DME and do the late addition method. Do a search, there are tons of links about it.


Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
HBT Supporter
Dec 11, 2007
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"Detroitish" Michigan
Extrac beers are often darker, BUT it is important to realise too that beers in glass carboys ALWAYS look darker than they really are, due to refraction and the thickness of the walls...Don't worry, it will look different when it is in your glass. We see this question a lot...

Obligatory science explanation done in small print :D :
In addition to reflecting light, many surfaces also refract light: rather than bouncing off the surface, some of the incident ray travels through the surface, but at a new angle. We are able to see through glass and water because much of the light striking these substances is refracted and passes right through them.
Light passing from one substance into another will almost always reflect partially, so there is still an incident ray and a reflected ray, and they both have the same angle to the normal. However, there is also a third ray, the refracted ray, which lies in the same plane as the incident and reflected rays. The angle of the refracted ray will not be the same as the angle of the incident and reflected rays. As a result, objects that we see in a different medium—a straw in a glass of water, for instance—appear distorted because the light bends when it passes from one medium to another.


The phenomenon of refraction results from light traveling at different speeds in different media. The “speed of light” constant c is really the speed of light in a vacuum: when light passes through matter, it slows down. If light travels through a substance with velocity v, then that substance has an index of refraction of n = c/v. Because light always travels slower through matter than through a vacuum, v is always less than or equal to c, so . For transparent materials, typical values of n are quite low: = 1.0, = 1.3, and = 1.6. Because it is the presence of matter that slows down light, denser materials generally have higher indices of refraction.
A light ray passing from a less dense medium into a denser medium will be refracted toward the normal, and a light ray passing from a denser medium into a less dense medium will be refracted away from the normal. For example, water is denser than air, so the light traveling out of water toward our eyes is refracted away from the normal. When we look at a straw in a glass of water, we see the straw where it would be if the light had traveled in a straight line.


Given a ray traveling from a medium with index of refraction into a medium with index of refraction , Snell’s Law governs the relationship between the angle of incidence and the angle of refraction:


Crap-all if I understand it all, but it looks cool! ANd that's why your beer looks darker....It will look different onces it's carbed and conditioned and in your glass...so relax!