Author Topic: beers too dark  (Read 3471 times)

Offline homoeccentricus

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beers too dark
« on: December 16, 2014, 02:31:14 PM »
OK Lords of Zythos, I'm pretty sure this dead horse has been beaten to death many times, but I'm still going to ask. Why are my beers (full grain) systematically too dark? Been home-brewing for over a year now, always small batches - 4 to 12 liters. Now using insulated inox mash & boil pots. Have been neglecting pH so far.

What's the #1 proven simple cause & simple fix?
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: beers too dark
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2014, 02:38:53 PM »
Could well be pH. as I understand it too high a pH (or rather too high alkalinity) will not only extract more tannins from husk material in the grain but more color too.

Does it seem too dark coming out of the mash? or the boil? could also be hot spots on your kettle, or oxidation.

or recipe I suppose. Unless you've brewed a 100% pils beer and still had it come out too dark.
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Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: beers too dark
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2014, 02:42:17 PM »
+1 and longer boil times producing more concentrated wort can lead to darker than expected results... presuming all grain here.


« Last Edit: December 16, 2014, 02:43:53 PM by wort-h.o.g. »
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: beers too dark
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2014, 03:08:06 PM »
One of my recent brews was Denny's Rye IPA, and it's a LOT darker. Maybe 15-20 points EBC.

And the beer before that was supposed to be called Barely Red IPA. I had to rename it to Hardly Barely Red IPA, because that one, too, was too dark :-(

How much darker can a beer become because of pH issues, or hot spots? I do have two of those in my kettle, but they have been there for quite a while, they did not appear recently.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2014, 03:21:49 PM by homoeccentricus »
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Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: beers too dark
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2014, 03:11:51 PM »
so do you think then your pre boil wort is much darker than expected, or the post boil wort?
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
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Mead                 
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Ger'merican Blonde
Amber Ale
Next:
Ger Pils
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Offline YooperBrew

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Re: beers too dark
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2014, 03:33:42 PM »
One of my recent brews was Denny's Rye IPA, and it's a LOT darker. Maybe 15-20 points EBC.

And the beer before that was supposed to be called Barely Red IPA. I had to rename it to Hardly Barely Red IPA, because that one, too, was too dark :-(

How much darker can a beer become because of pH issues, or hot spots? I do have two of those in my kettle, but they have been there for quite a while, they did not appear recently.

What is your boil size, and your final batch size?  In other words, how much do you boil off and how strong is your boil, and how long?  It sounds like the darkening is more likely due to maillard reactions.

Offline denny

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Re: beers too dark
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2014, 04:24:53 PM »
OK Lords of Zythos, I'm pretty sure this dead horse has been beaten to death many times, but I'm still going to ask. Why are my beers (full grain) systematically too dark? Been home-brewing for over a year now, always small batches - 4 to 12 liters. Now using insulated inox mash & boil pots. Have been neglecting pH so far.

What's the #1 proven simple cause & simple fix?

How dark?  How do you know they're too dark?  We need some more specifics in order to guess.  If they're quite a bit too dark it's hard to imagine pinning it on pH.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: beers too dark
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2014, 05:30:08 PM »
One of my recent brews was Denny's Rye IPA, and it's a LOT darker. Maybe 15-20 points EBC.

And the beer before that was supposed to be called Barely Red IPA. I had to rename it to Hardly Barely Red IPA, because that one, too, was too dark :-(

How much darker can a beer become because of pH issues, or hot spots? I do have two of those in my kettle, but they have been there for quite a while, they did not appear recently.

What is your boil size, and your final batch size?  In other words, how much do you boil off and how strong is your boil, and how long?  It sounds like the darkening is more likely due to maillard reactions.
+1 - this seems the most likely choice given the info we've heard so far. I'd ratchet back the heat on your burner so that it's just enough to maintain a rolling boil.
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Offline HobsonDrake

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Re: beers too dark
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2014, 06:14:15 PM »

How dark?  How do you know they're too dark?  We need some more specifics in order to guess.  If they're quite a bit too dark it's hard to imagine pinning it on pH.

That was my first question. How dark and compared to what? Can you get a commercial brew of something and put it next to your brew and post a photo. The commercial is for color "balance" in case your photo is to dark or light. 
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: beers too dark
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2014, 12:25:14 PM »
I boil on my kitchen gas stove, no propane burner. The volume boiled off is always a lot less than what Beersmith says, so I don't think that that would be the problem.

Yesterday I came home very late, and decided to drink one of my homebrews, Denny's rye IPA actually. I usually pour my beers in a Duvel-like tulip glass, but this time I took a Hoegaarden  hexagonal glass. I also was careful to leave the bottom 1 cm in the bottle, and, lo and behold, the color of the beer was much lighter.

The lees I can understand, but the glass? Or does my beer look different from bottle to bottle? Or am I crazy?
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Offline jeffy

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Re: beers too dark
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2014, 12:37:37 PM »
I boil on my kitchen gas stove, no propane burner. The volume boiled off is always a lot less than what Beersmith says, so I don't think that that would be the problem.

Yesterday I came home very late, and decided to drink one of my homebrews, Denny's rye IPA actually. I usually pour my beers in a Duvel-like tulip glass, but this time I took a Hoegaarden  hexagonal glass. I also was careful to leave the bottom 1 cm in the bottle, and, lo and behold, the color of the beer was much lighter.

The lees I can understand, but the glass? Or does my beer look different from bottle to bottle? Or am I crazy?
My Duvel glass is much wider than my Hoegaarden glass, so the beer would appear lighter as less light passes through it.  Try it in a Koelsch Stange next.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: beers too dark
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2014, 12:47:54 PM »
Or does my beer look different from bottle to bottle?


As long as you're leaving the same amount of yeast sediment in the bottom of every bottle - no, the beer in each bottle would look the same.  Glasses of different size and geometry can definitely change the appearance of the beer ,though. The bottom, fatter part of a Duvel glass would make the beer appear darker than the same beer in a pilsner 'flute' type glass, for example. No worries.
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: beers too dark
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2014, 02:12:46 PM »

My Duvel glass is much wider than my Hoegaarden glass, so the beer would appear lighter as less light passes through it.  Try it in a Koelsch Stange next.

Lighter in a Duvel glass than in a Hoegaarden glass? Surely you mean the opposite?
Frank P.

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Offline jeffy

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Re: beers too dark
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2014, 04:00:03 PM »

My Duvel glass is much wider than my Hoegaarden glass, so the beer would appear lighter as less light passes through it.  Try it in a Koelsch Stange next.

Lighter in a Duvel glass than in a Hoegaarden glass? Surely you mean the opposite?
I didn't mean to imply that.  Sorry.
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