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.