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Author Topic: How to make beer the color of Erik the Red's hair  (Read 1856 times)

Offline Richard

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How to make beer the color of Erik the Red's hair
« on: November 18, 2018, 07:53:10 pm »
I would like to make a beer using Viking malts and Omega's Norwegian yeast, and I would like it to have the orange color of Erik the Red's hair. I haven't used Viking malts so I don't know their color contributions. What combination should I use to get the classic color of red hair? I was thinking:

10 lb 80%  Viking Pale Ale Malt (3.0 SRM)
1 lb     8%  Viking Red Ale Malt (40.6 SRM)
1 lb     8%  Viking Vienna Malt (4.3 SRM)
8 oz    4%  Viking Caramel Pale Malt (5.1) SRM

8.5 SRM net

I am not sure about the balance between Red and Vienna, or whether Light or Dark Munich would be better, or if the Golden Ale malt would mix better with the Red to produce what I want. If anyone has experience with these malts, please help.

If all else fails, I can purchase some of each of the malts and do some very small scale color tests.
Original Gravity - that would be Newton's

Offline goose

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Re: How to make beer the color of Erik the Red's hair
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2018, 07:54:24 am »
Just for grins, I put this recipe (using your SRM numbers) for domestic malts in BeerSmith and came up with a color of 8.6 SRM which is a light tan in color.  You probably want to get the color up to around maybe 11-12 SRM to get more orange in the beer with maybe some darker crystal malts. 

I am sure others will weigh in on this as well with maybe some better suggestions.
Goose Steingass
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Offline Robert

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Re: How to make beer the color of Erik the Red's hair
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2018, 09:09:04 am »
Goose, I think it's important not to confuse color intensity or saturation (all that SRM tells you) with hue.  I think 8.6 is fine to suggest bright red hair lit by the sun  (sorry to get poetic.)  The thing to research is which malts fall where on the color spectrum in their contributions.   Some malts the same color L or SRM will lend a more yellow,  or red, or brown hue.  Different manufacturers of the same type will vary.   I think anything too roasted is to be avoided, but then a tiny bit might give just the right touch.   I don't have specific recommendations, just this approach.   Richard, if any reviews of various malt reference specific color contributions in terms of hue, that's what I'd focus on, and just dial in the depth as SRM as a last fine adjustment.  And malt teas just might be the most illuminating thing.  And you know you sound completely crazy, right?  I like it.
Rob Stein
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Offline Richard

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Re: How to make beer the color of Erik the Red's hair
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2018, 10:14:08 am »
Robert, thanks for the support. I am a physicist and all my beers have physics themes and names. I used Erik the Red because lots of people have heard of him, but I am actually making this beer to honor Tycho Brahe, a Danish astronomer from the 1500s. He is not nearly so well-known as Erik, but going by the painting depicted on his Wikipedia site (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tycho_Brahe ) he had the same red hair.
Original Gravity - that would be Newton's

Offline jeffy

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Re: How to make beer the color of Erik the Red's hair
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2018, 12:22:49 pm »
I just did a little search of the forum for red x malt and found a photo of a beer using that.  Look for “red x in a pale ale” and go down to reply #11.  Is that what you are looking for?
https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=23007.msg293874#msg293874

edited to insert the link
« Last Edit: November 19, 2018, 02:07:12 pm by jeffy »
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline goose

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Re: How to make beer the color of Erik the Red's hair
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2018, 01:49:55 pm »
Goose, I think it's important not to confuse color intensity or saturation (all that SRM tells you) with hue.  I think 8.6 is fine to suggest bright red hair lit by the sun  (sorry to get poetic.)  The thing to research is which malts fall where on the color spectrum in their contributions.   Some malts the same color L or SRM will lend a more yellow,  or red, or brown hue.  Different manufacturers of the same type will vary.   I think anything too roasted is to be avoided, but then a tiny bit might give just the right touch.   I don't have specific recommendations, just this approach.   Richard, if any reviews of various malt reference specific color contributions in terms of hue, that's what I'd focus on, and just dial in the depth as SRM as a last fine adjustment.  And malt teas just might be the most illuminating thing.  And you know you sound completely crazy, right?  I like it.

Agreed with the malt tea approach, Rob.  I have done this as well and know what i posted was just a guess here.  It just looked a bit light on the color wheel to me.  Input appreciated. Nuff said.

Richard, KUDOS to you for making a beer to honor Tycho Brahe!  I did some astronomy for a while and he was one of my favorites to read about!
Goose Steingass
Wooster, OH
Society of Akron Area Zymurgists (SAAZ)
Wayne County Brew Club
Mansfield Brew Club
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Offline Richard

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Re: How to make beer the color of Erik the Red's hair
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2018, 05:59:26 pm »
I just did a little search of the forum for red x malt and found a photo of a beer using that.  Look for “red x in a pale ale” and go down to reply #11.  Is that what you are looking for?
https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=23007.msg293874#msg293874

edited to insert the link

Thanks, jeffy. That looks just like the color I am looking for. If I knew how Red X compared to Viking Red then I would be all set. I can look into that.
Original Gravity - that would be Newton's

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: How to make beer the color of Erik the Red's hair
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2018, 08:31:37 pm »
I have a friend who uses Red X in an award winning Vienna Lager.  I can attest to it being a nice rich malt.
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Offline yso191

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Re: How to make beer the color of Erik the Red's hair
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2018, 09:08:45 pm »
Robert, thanks for the support. I am a physicist and all my beers have physics themes and names. I used Erik the Red because lots of people have heard of him, but I am actually making this beer to honor Tycho Brahe, a Danish astronomer from the 1500s. He is not nearly so well-known as Erik, but going by the painting depicted on his Wikipedia site (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tycho_Brahe ) he had the same red hair.

Brass nose beer!
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Offline Squidlik

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Re: How to make beer the color of Erik the Red's hair
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2019, 11:48:58 am »
I have had excellent results with Red X malt. Beautiful ruby color. I ran out of red x & used cara amber & 1 ounce of black malt, but the beer came out almost brown/muddy. I'll stick with red x from now on.

Offline Richard

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Re: How to make beer the color of Erik the Red's hair
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2019, 03:19:39 pm »
Well, as it turns out Tycho Brahe had a gigantic mustache that was more on the yellowish end of red:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tycho_Brahe

I was able to get a beer that was pretty close to that color using about 10% Viking Red Ale malt. Increasing it a bit would probably also be OK, but I was happy with the results. The Hornindal Kveik yeast was also impressive, giving some nice pineapple flavor.
Original Gravity - that would be Newton's