Author Topic: Extract brewing - ways to add color without sweetness  (Read 6992 times)

Offline erockrph

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Extract brewing - ways to add color without sweetness
« on: May 22, 2012, 11:23:44 AM »
So I've hit a point where time and logistic constraints are keeping me from making the jump to all-grain, but there are a few issues with extract brewing that are keeping me from getting the results I'm looking for. One of them is how to get color in my beer without overdoing the crystal malt. I generally use light DME plus steeping grains to get what I'm looking for, but for some recipes that just doesn't get me what I'm after.

For example, I just bottled an IPA that was close, but still doesn't quite enough color for what I was shooting for. The problem is that the recipe already has more crystal malt than I'd like. I'd like to cut the amount of crystal malt in the recipe without sacrificing color. I don't really want to use a darker crystal malt, since I don't think that will give me the flavor I'm looking for. I don't think I want to use something like Carafa or debittered black malt either. If I was an all-grain brewer, I would probably sub out some of the base malt with something like Munich. I hate to use a darker DME, since I don't know what it really in it and I don't want to be adding any more less fermentable sugars.

Here are some thoughts I had. Any feedback would be appreciated:

-Steep something like Victory in place of some of the crystal. I know I wouldn't be converting much, but I'm looking more for color here (and I wouldn't mind some toasty flavors)

-Sinamar - never used it before, but maybe this is an option

-Replace some of the DME with Munich LME. I don't generally like using LME because I generally brew on short notice and hate to be sitting on a bottle of this for a couple of months. Still, from what I understand, Munich extract is usually just a blend of pale/pilsner/2-row with Munich (and no crystal added). This may be an option for me.

Any other suggestions? Feedback? Thanks in advance.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline Wesbrau

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Re: Extract brewing - ways to add color without sweetness
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2012, 11:31:56 AM »
Small amounts of carafa, roast barley, or black patent can give a boost to the color without much contribution to flavor.  I'd go with the darkest one you can get, probably carafa special III, and use just enough to get the color you want.  The flavor impact should be less than using crystal to get the same color, and it definitely will not add the sweetness you're getting from the crystal.  There also are the new Blackprinz and Midnight Wheat malts available, but I haven't tried those.
Wes

Offline denny

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Re: Extract brewing - ways to add color without sweetness
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2012, 11:42:27 AM »
Sinamar is a great way to get color without flavor if that's what you're looking for.  Munich extract wouldn't be a bad thing to explore, either.
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Offline rjharper

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Re: Extract brewing - ways to add color without sweetness
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2012, 11:49:37 AM »
Adding 1oz of roast barley to the steep can give a really nice red hue without affecting flavour too much (esp in an IPA)

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Extract brewing - ways to add color without sweetness
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2012, 12:18:03 PM »
I agree, an ounce of really dark malt like black patent or roasted barley can darken a beer quite a bit without adding noticeable flavor.  I would go that route.  Cold steep it overnight and then add the liquid during the boil.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline denny

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Re: Extract brewing - ways to add color without sweetness
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2012, 12:58:02 PM »
I agree, an ounce of really dark malt like black patent or roasted barley can darken a beer quite a bit without adding noticeable flavor.  I would go that route.  Cold steep it overnight and then add the liquid during the boil.

Or just use Sinamar...;)
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Extract brewing - ways to add color without sweetness
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2012, 01:13:05 PM »
I agree, an ounce of really dark malt like black patent or roasted barley can darken a beer quite a bit without adding noticeable flavor.  I would go that route.  Cold steep it overnight and then add the liquid during the boil.

Or just use Sinamar...;)
Sure, if you want.  Although the malt is probably 10x cheaper. :)
Tom Schmidlin

Offline denny

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Re: Extract brewing - ways to add color without sweetness
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2012, 01:33:11 PM »
I agree, an ounce of really dark malt like black patent or roasted barley can darken a beer quite a bit without adding noticeable flavor.  I would go that route.  Cold steep it overnight and then add the liquid during the boil.

Or just use Sinamar...;)
Sure, if you want.  Although the malt is probably 10x cheaper. :)

The malt itself, without a doubt.  My time...priceless!  ;) 
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Extract brewing - ways to add color without sweetness
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2012, 02:10:23 PM »
The malt itself, without a doubt.  My time...priceless!  ;) 
Then quit work ;D
Tom Schmidlin

Offline denny

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Re: Extract brewing - ways to add color without sweetness
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2012, 02:25:43 PM »
The malt itself, without a doubt.  My time...priceless!  ;) 
Then quit work ;D

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Offline erockrph

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Re: Extract brewing - ways to add color without sweetness
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2012, 05:46:10 AM »
If I go the cold steep route, is there a way to calculate an approximate SRM contribution that's somewhat reliable? I'm thinking I would use my brewing software to calculate how much grain I need to get 1-gallon of 50 SRM solution, then this will give me an additional 10 SRM in my 5-gallon batch. Does SRM scale in a linear way like that? Do you get the full SRM contribution from an overnight cold steep? I at least want to get in the right ballpark so if I'm shooting for a copper-amber color I can get there somewhat reliably.

Also, if I'm just using it for a cold steep, do I need the grains to be crushed? If I go this route, I was thinking of just getting like half a pound of uncrushed Carafa III just for this purpose.

As far as LME goes, how long can I store it and still have it be reasonably fresh? I'd say I could end up going 2-3 months between when I can buy it and when I can use it. Is that too long if I know it's pretty fresh when I got it?
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline denny

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Re: Extract brewing - ways to add color without sweetness
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2012, 09:38:25 AM »
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline bboy9000

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Re: Extract brewing - ways to add color without sweetness
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2012, 12:45:57 PM »
I've had luck with CaraMunich, CaraVienna(similar to CaraRed) and CaraAroma as steeping grains for Red Ales and APA's.  Not sure how much sweetness these added though.
Brian
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Offline gmac

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Re: Extract brewing - ways to add color without sweetness
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2012, 12:53:17 PM »
I did the cold steep but in an effort to get lots of colour, I buzzed about a tbsp of black patent in a coffee grinder.  Don't do this.  Just crack I guess.  Had a hard time getting it filtered and there was a definite taste.
Personally, I prefer just a sprinkle of black patent (about a tsp or two, unmilled whole kernel) on the mash when I start my runnings.  By the time I'm done sparging I've pretty much always got the colour I wanted.