Author Topic: Estimating color  (Read 371 times)

Offline goschman

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Estimating color
« on: April 22, 2014, 04:38:29 PM »
I feel like my beers are usually darker than what Beersmith estimates.

I usually look up what the maltster lists as the color range for any particular grain and go with the average of the high and low. I use a lot of Great Western for base malts so maybe that has something to do with it? Maybe I should just use the higher end of the range?

The pic I posted on the pics of recent brews thread has an estimated color of 7.8 SRM which is 'amber' according to BJCP.  I don't have enough experience on this sort of thing but I feel like it is closer to 10 or even higher which would be deep amber/light copper.

I know I shouldn't be that concerned about what the software says my beer's color should be but reasonably accurate estimates would be helpful. Maybe my perception is just way off.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 04:50:21 PM by goschman »
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Offline Steve in TX

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Re: Estimating color
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2014, 05:28:23 PM »
Here is an old article on beer color. It discusses how it is measured and estimated.

http://beersmith.com/blog/2008/04/29/beer-color-understanding-srm-lovibond-and-ebc/

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Estimating color
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2014, 05:30:09 PM »
As a point of reference, the logo for AHA that you see at the top of your screen is roughly 7.8 SRM.  At least on my monitor.  10 SRM is in "light orange to orange" territory, IMHO.  Perhaps "light copper" but it's pretty light for copper.

I am not familiar with the Great Western malts but it's possible they might be darker than average.  Other variables to consider might include: the age of your malts, the vigor of your boil, whether you are doing a concentrated boil, the thickness and shape of the glassware you are using to measure color... along with this, of course your beer will always look a LOT darker in the fermentation bucket or carboy than it does in your glass, so consider whether this is also a factor?  In the other direction, the presence of any yeast haze in your beer will tend to lighten the color of the beer until it settles out.  Hops, of course, will provide a bit of a green tint temporarily.  Lots of variables to think about.
Dave

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Offline goschman

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Re: Estimating color
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2014, 08:27:42 AM »
I have come to the conclusion that at least for this beer, I must have used something other than what was labelled as Great Western Vienna which has a range of 3-4L. I have seen darker vienna malts so maybe it was in fact vienna from a different maltster...
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Offline dkfick

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Re: Estimating color
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2014, 09:02:58 AM »
heh funny... I just posted this in the other thread... But I think BeerSmith estimates low because it doesn't take into account the darkening of the wort from boiling.  Like open a beer and change the boil time to 900 minutes.  No matter what you change the boil time to the BeerSmith estimate doesn't change...
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Offline goschman

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Re: Estimating color
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2014, 09:05:10 AM »
heh funny... I just posted this in the other thread... But I think BeerSmith estimates low because it doesn't take into account the darkening of the wort from boiling.  Like open a beer and change the boil time to 900 minutes.  No matter what you change the boil time to the BeerSmith estimate doesn't change...

Yeah that makes sense. I usually only do a 60 minute boil that is not overly vigorous.
On Tap:                       
American Wheat / XPA#1:Jarrylo-Zythos / Altbier / GoschaLagerBier / American Strong Ale
              
Fermenting: Walter Wit
Up Next: Lime 'n Grass Blonde, Golsch?

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Estimating color
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2014, 09:13:30 AM »
heh funny... I just posted this in the other thread... But I think BeerSmith estimates low because it doesn't take into account the darkening of the wort from boiling.  Like open a beer and change the boil time to 900 minutes.  No matter what you change the boil time to the BeerSmith estimate doesn't change...

+1.  I've noticed that too.
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Offline dkfick

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Re: Estimating color
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2014, 09:52:30 AM »
heh funny... I just posted this in the other thread... But I think BeerSmith estimates low because it doesn't take into account the darkening of the wort from boiling.  Like open a beer and change the boil time to 900 minutes.  No matter what you change the boil time to the BeerSmith estimate doesn't change...

Yeah that makes sense. I usually only do a 60 minute boil that is not overly vigorous.
Yeah but even over a 60 min boil your wort is still going to get darker than it was at the start (partly due to evaporation of water, but there are going to be maillard reactions still taking place while it's boiling.  Just my thoughts on it.  I usually aim for at least 5 SRM lower on my system if I'm trying for a certain color.
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