Why did my beer turn out darker than it should have?

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TrojanAnteater

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My IPA was calculated to be around 7 SRM (a nice golden), via tastybrew.com recipe calculator.

Here was the recipe and stats:

Theoretical OG 1.066, Target FG 1.013 (FG measured = 1.012-1.013)
Boil Volume 4.5 gallons, Final Volume 3.5 gallons (estimate)

2.0 lbs Light Dry Malt Extract (30.8%)
4.0 lbs Alexander's Pale Malt Extract Syrup (61.5%)
0.5 lbs Crystal 40L (7.7)

I just opened a bottle that has been bottle priming for 7 days (just to check on the flavor and FG), and this thing is pretty dark- a hazy dark burnt orange, (the cloudiness of it might make it appear almost brown in the glass). It looks like an SRM of maybe 10 or 11 to me. Basically like the color of Pale Liquid Malt Extract.

Using the light malts that I did, I don't get how I got this dark of a beer. It did indeed look much darker than any Pale Ale/IPA I've made before while in the carboy, yet it still had about the same % of crystal 40 (if not a tad less) as all the others i've made in 5 gallon batches. When I was siphoning to bottling bucket it really looked like a nice clear golden though (this was the first time I had crash cooled a beer... I thought it had worked... but apparently doesn't have appeared to). I know its hard to tell when siphoning cause that's such a thin layer of beer going through it will look lighter.

Could I have burnt the malt during boiling and turn it darker??? is that even possible? Is the Dry Malt Extract a problem here? This was the most % of this dry malt extract I've ever used, and I thought I heard somewhere that it tends to make a beer darker than the syrup, even though it's "Pale dry malt extract"

Other than that, the beer tastes pretty good, maybe not as dry as my liking (I still need to get the FG, plus it hasn't finished carbonating).

Any input is appreciated.
 

Professor Frink

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I'm guessing you caramelized your liquid malt extract making it darker. At what point during the boil did you add the liquid extract? You may want to try doing a late addition in the future.
 

Soulive

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You definitely could have burnt (or caramelized) some of the extract, which would have darkened the color. You can't really be sure with extracts though. If you want more accurate colors, look into late extract additions...
 

Duckfoot

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+1 on the above mentioned advice... I ran into a similar situation with my hefe kit that turned out almost as dark as my amber ale... When I did my pumpkin ale, I wait til the last 15-20 minutes for the extract addition and it came out very purdy..
 
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TrojanAnteater

TrojanAnteater

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Kinda thought that might be it guys. I just bought a new turkey fryer and use the burner. It still seems like it takes a long time for my boil to get to a rolling boil (maybe 45 minutes or so?), and I boil the malt extract the entire time. I'm going to start experimenting with late extract additions.

Thanks
 

MoRoToRiUm

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Did you add it before it started boiling? I always wait until I have a real good rolling boil going before I add my extract; Just curious (I'm brewing mostly darker beers so I can't say I've had this issue, but was going to do a special brew for my father who likes lighter beers).
 

Grinder12000

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I believe you will ALWAYS be a little darker when using extract. It's double boiled and you will get caramelized. One thing you should do is only use 1/3 of your extract for the entire boil and add the last 2/3 at 10 minutes.

Don't experiment with late additions - just do it- it's the correct way to do it if you are concerned about color.
 

Revvy

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Extract beers by nature are darker that their all grain counterparts, it's inherent in the creation of the extract itself, especially liquid.

And the SRM's for recipes are USUALLY based on the allgrain recipes, or by the mathematical calculation of brewing software and MAY NOT reflect the actual extract beer.

Also some things to consider..If you are trying to gauge color in your carboy or looking down into your bucket it will appear darker than when you look at it in your glass, after it's been carbed and conditioned (that will change the appearance of the beer in a big way.)

Some ways to mitigate the color deficienes of extract beers,

Formulate your recipes using dry malt extract, and base it on the lightest DME possible, and get the rest of the color and flavors from the steeping drains. I base my extract w/ grain and partial mash recipes on Extralight DME.

Use the Late Extract Addition. Add only approximately 2-3 pounds of your extract in the beginning of the boil to isomerize the alpha acids of the hops, and add the remaining bulk of the extract in the last 15 minutes to steralize it. This keeps the extract from further carmelizing during the boil and darkening further.

Consider doing partial mashes. Get the majority of your fermentables from grain (look up countertop partial mashing) then bulk up the recipe inthe last 15-20 minutes with DME. This is really important if you are brewing lower SRM beers like cream ales...With stouts it doesn't really matter.

Hope this helps!

:mug:
 

Whiskey

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I've been adding my DME at around 15-20 minutes or so. This will help a lot with the SRM, it will not be as light as a AG batch but it will be quite a bit lighter then bioling the DME for the whole 60 minutes.
 

farrout

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so when you guys are adding your extract at the last 20 min or so, does that mean you are boiling your 60 min hop additions in just water?
 

Revvy

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so when you guys are adding your extract at the last 20 min or so, does that mean you are boiling your 60 min hop additions in just water?
I believe I answered it in my post...
Revvy said:
Use the Late Extract Addition. Add only approximately 2-3 pounds of your extract in the beginning of the boil to isomerize the alpha acids of the hops, and add the remaining bulk of the extract in the last 15 minutes to steralize it. This keeps the extract from further carmelizing during the boil and darkening further.
 

Whiskey

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I also adjust my recipes to use a few (2-3) pounds of steeping/mini mash grains. Then I use 1 pound of DME for the full 60. I haven't had an issue with hops utilization.
 

bmckee56

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I have a Belgian Wit on Tap right now that is quite a bit darker than it is supposed to be. I added my LME and DME when the directions stated to and if I read the comments above correctly, the directions for the kit are wrong. Why do the kit manufacturers not clearly state when to add these ingredients.

My Continental Pilsner is also a bit darker than I would have liked. I will try the suggested modifications to my next kit and see how they work. Thanks for all the good tips and suggestions provided.

Salute! :mug:
 

hcarter

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I have a Belgian Wit on Tap right now that is quite a bit darker than it is supposed to be. I added my LME and DME when the directions stated to and if I read the comments above correctly, the directions for the kit are wrong. Why do the kit manufacturers not clearly state when to add these ingredients.

My Continental Pilsner is also a bit darker than I would have liked. I will try the suggested modifications to my next kit and see how they work. Thanks for all the good tips and suggestions provided.

Salute! :mug:
I don't know that I would say the kit directions are wrong per se. Rather, I think that they try to make the directions as easy as possible so that people will have reasonable success and continue to buy their kits. I think if I was a kit manufacturer, I would sacrifice a little color for repeatability. Same with wine kits, most directions say top up with water, most people don't.:D
 

Revvy

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I don't know that I would say the kit directions are wrong per se. Rather, I think that they try to make the directions as easy as possible so that people will have reasonable success and continue to buy their kits. I think if I was a kit manufacturer, I would sacrifice a little color for repeatability. Same with wine kits, most directions say top up with water, most people don't.:D
I agree....It's not that the instructions are wrong...it is just that the late extract addition is just a better way to do it...The kits are about ease of use, more so than anything else.

There is a saying in the hobby, "ask 10 different brewers a question and you'll get 12 difference answers." Dumping all the extract in the water is fine...it will still make drinkable beer....but doing this step just makes the beer a little better...
 

PWalk

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I have a Belgian Wit on Tap right now that is quite a bit darker than it is supposed to be. I added my LME and DME when the directions stated to and if I read the comments above correctly, the directions for the kit are wrong.
I'm guessing you added both of them right after getting your first boil following your steeping. Early on in my brewing I found like the others here have said that adding your LME later in the boil really aids in the overall beer at the end. My first Belgian Wit came out looking like it should be an IPA with a deep orange color. The next batch upon advice of adding malt later in the boil produced a beer closer in color to what I was looking for.
 

bmckee56

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Yeah! I added as directed in the included instructions. I will attempt the late addition as suggested and check the differences. I like the Belgian Wit as it is, it's just that the color is much darker than expected.

Thanks again.

Salute! :mug:
 

hopsalot

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I burned some extract once when doing an IPA and by the end it definitely did not live up to its style in the color department.
 

homebrewer_99

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I have a Belgian Wit on Tap right now that is quite a bit darker than it is supposed to be. I added my LME and DME when the directions stated to and if I read the comments above correctly, the directions for the kit are wrong. Why do the kit manufacturers not clearly state when to add these ingredients.

My Continental Pilsner is also a bit darker than I would have liked. I will try the suggested modifications to my next kit and see how they work. Thanks for all the good tips and suggestions provided.

Salute! :mug:
Most directions are generic...your techniques may differ...:D
 

dsmithpdx

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Another question about late extract additions: if using LME, do you turn off your burner before adding your late addition, or just keep the boil going and stir like crazy so as to not scorch the malt on the bottom?

Thanks,
Doug
 
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