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AnthonyC

Why do all of my IPA's turn out so dark??

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This is a conundrum for me!  I go to the local breweries and when I try their IPA's they're always a nice light color, but whenever I brew an IPA it always turns out dark or amber at best. When I made my Juniper Berry IPA (2g) I used grains and LME with the lowest lovibond.  Is this going to come out "dark" as well?

3.3lbs of light pilsen

.5lb 2-row

.5lb oats

.25 caramel 10L

.5oz Chinook 60min

.25oz Chinook 20min, .75oz Mosaic

.75oz Athanum 5mins

.5oz Dried Juniper Berries 5mins

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How are you boiling your hops? Are you using the whole 3.3 lbs of DME in the boil, or are you only using some of it for the hop boil and adding the rest later?

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FWIW, I've had better luck with DME (than LME) in keeping the color on the lighter end for pale ales. As Josh is suggesting, you can also add just a portion of your "E" for the hop boil and the remainder later.

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The boil for your hops really only needs to be around 1.036 or so for proper hop utilization (use refractometer to test this, if you have one, or buy one from us ;) ). Since the grains added at least 10 points to the gravity, you will only need about 1/2 lb of malt extract for your boil. The rest should be added at the end of the boil.

 

When you add all of the malt extract, it boils for an hour, which causes the Maillard effect on the malt. This is the chemical reaction that causes the browning in cooked foods. It will also caramelize some of the sugars rendering the beer sweeter than it should be, and the beer will be darker than it should be. Also, be sure the DME you're getting is fresh. While DME has a long shelf life, the fresher it is, the lighter it will be when brewed.

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Should've specified that the 3.3 was of LME and not dme.  I use it all for the entire 60 minutes (LME).  The hops I add to the already boiling LME at the 60,20,5 intervals.  No caramelization in the bottom of the pot.  I stand there & stir almost the entire time.  

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10 minutes ago, MRB Josh R said:

The boil for your hops really only needs to be around 1.036 or so for proper hop utilization (use refractometer to test this, if you have one, or buy one from us ;) ). Since the grains added at least 10 points to the gravity, you will only need about 1/2 lb of malt extract for your boil. The rest should be added at the end of the boil.

 

When you add all of the malt extract, it boils for an hour, which causes the Maillard effect on the malt. This is the chemical reaction that causes the browning in cooked foods. It will also caramelize some of the sugars rendering the beer sweeter than it should be, and the beer will be darker than it should be. Also, be sure the DME you're getting is fresh. While DME has a long shelf life, the fresher it is, the lighter it will be when brewed.

Can't believe that I haven't heard of this sooner.  Damn!!  I think you've solved my problem.  Thank you, Josh!

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10 minutes ago, AnthonyC said:

Should've specified that the 3.3 was of LME and not dme.  I use it all for the entire 60 minutes (LME).  The hops I add to the already boiling LME at the 60,20,5 intervals.  No caramelization in the bottom of the pot.  I stand there & stir almost the entire time.  

 

Just because you're stirring doesn't mean the Maillard reaction isn't happening. The malt is still getting 60 minutes contact time in boiling water. Just use no more than 1 lb of LME for the boil and add the rest at the end. Also, try using DME in the future for comparison. Because it has less water content, it's less likely to oxidize and darken over time. It will still darken, but not as fast as LME will.

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4 hours ago, RickBeer said:

I solved the problem, drink with my eyes closed.

Or like I tell my customers "if the color bothers you use a stein" :lol: 

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like josh mentioned...  you don't need to boil the whole lot of malt with the hops.  if using lme, you can use just enough to get a grav of 1.04 ish  then add the rest of the lme toward the last 10 mins of the boil. (late addition)

 

color is like beer head... neither is all that important compared to taste.  think of it like food. a dish could look like a hot mess but if it tastes great i'd still enjoy it. id drink plaid beer , puke colored beer, brown, green, blue with polka dots beer...  if it has alcohol in it and didn't taste like sewer water... sign me up.

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4 hours ago, zorak1066 said:

like josh mentioned...  you don't need to boil the whole lot of malt with the hops.  if using lme, you can use just enough to get a grav of 1.04 ish  then add the rest of the lme toward the last 10 mins of the boil. (late addition)

 

color is like beer head... neither is all that important compared to taste.  think of it like food. a dish could look like a hot mess but if it tastes great i'd still enjoy it. id drink plaid beer , puke colored beer, brown, green, blue with polka dots beer...  if it has alcohol in it and didn't taste like sewer water... sign me up.

Honestly Zorak, the color doesn't matter a whole lot to me either.  The reason for getting it lighter was twofold for me:

1. For the people who see the color and right away say, "I don't like dark beers."

2.  Getting the color lighter was becoming so frustrating for me that I HAD TO get to the bottom of it.  

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15 hours ago, RickBeer said:

I solved the problem, drink with my eyes closed.

 

While I said this tongue in cheek, I actually meant it.

 

My process follows recipes from my LHBS, which happens to be Adventures in Homebrewing.  Their extract recipes have you start with 2.5 gallons of water, do your steep, then come to boil, remove from heat, add all the LME, come to a boil, then proceed with hop additions.

 

I do it slightly different after having a scorching experience where I poured the LME into the pot and the bottom was so hot it scorched, so the entire batch (7 pounds of LME) had to be tossed.

 

I do my steep.  I then add all my LME (6 - 8.4 pounds), stirring it in (keep in mind the pot has been "off flame" but on the burner for 30 minutes so it is not hot on the bottom).  I then bring it to a boil (takes about 20 minutes on my stove), then I do my hop additions.

 

Were I to try and add most of my LME at 10 or so minutes from the end of the boil, I'd have to deal with 1) possible scorching, 2) the boil ending and taking a while to come back, messing up my timing and 3) adding craziness into the end of the boil.  I choose to not do that, my process works fine for me.  I don't care about the color, and if it's a tad sweeter that's fine.

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7 hours ago, RickBeer said:

 

While I said this tongue in cheek, I actually meant it.

 

My process follows recipes from my LHBS, which happens to be Adventures in Homebrewing.  Their extract recipes have you start with 2.5 gallons of water, do your steep, then come to boil, remove from heat, add all the LME, come to a boil, then proceed with hop additions.

 

I do it slightly different after having a scorching experience where I poured the LME into the pot and the bottom was so hot it scorched, so the entire batch (7 pounds of LME) had to be tossed.

 

I do my steep.  I then add all my LME (6 - 8.4 pounds), stirring it in (keep in mind the pot has been "off flame" but on the burner for 30 minutes so it is not hot on the bottom).  I then bring it to a boil (takes about 20 minutes on my stove), then I do my hop additions.

 

Were I to try and add most of my LME at 10 or so minutes from the end of the boil, I'd have to deal with 1) possible scorching, 2) the boil ending and taking a while to come back, messing up my timing and 3) adding craziness into the end of the boil.  I choose to not do that, my process works fine for me.  I don't care about the color, and if it's a tad sweeter that's fine.

I have to admit Rick that even though you're a dry-humor-sarcastic-son-of-a-bitch, I love your insight  (occasionally INCITE) and I DO look forward to your comments! :)

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19 minutes ago, RickBeer said:

I resent your attack on my mother sir. 

You're a good man!.... of course that could be the beer talking. ;)

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I would think that RickBeer is more facetious than sarcastic (but I am a NY Giants and NY Yankees fan, and rarely watch college football, so nobody respects my opinion anyway). If I closed my eyes while drinking to avoid looking at the color of my beer, when I opened my eyes my friends would have stolen the TV, rearranged the furniture, the fridge would be empty and the dog replaced by a cat.

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9 hours ago, RickBeer said:

Or the dry humor sarcasm. 

Rick's happy only bcuz his Wolverines are knocking on the AP's door for #1!

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8 hours ago, Brian N. said:

I would think that RickBeer is more facetious than sarcastic (but I am a NY Giants and NY Yankees fan, and rarely watch college football, so nobody respects my opinion anyway). If I closed my eyes while drinking to avoid looking at the color of my beer, when I opened my eyes my friends would have stolen the TV, rearranged the furniture, the fridge would be empty and the dog replaced by a cat.

I am not a fan of any college sports, so I'm with you on that one.  I'm also a BIG fan(atic) of the Yankees, Giants, Jets, Rangers, and Knicks.

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2 hours ago, HoppySmile! said:

Rick's happy only bcuz his Wolverines are knocking on the AP's door for #1!

Wolverine is knocking on Associate Professor Xavier's door for some urine?

That was to back up my previous point @Brian N.

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10 minutes ago, Big Sarge said:

How are we suddenly talking about sports and no one mentions the game last night?

If it didn't happen in/to NY, it didn't happen at all.

Rantings from a disgruntled NY sports fan.

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On ‎11‎/‎3‎/‎2016 at 5:06 AM, Big Sarge said:

How are we suddenly talking about sports and no one mentions the game last night?

what game???

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42 minutes ago, HoppySmile! said:

what game???

Baseball. 

You guys are starting to worry me...

:unsure: :lol:

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Really looking forward to doing a side by side comparison of the two Juniper Berry IPA's.  The ingredients & hop schedules were identical.  The only difference was the (suggested) LME schedule:  1 had all the LME in for 60mins & the other had a split 1/3 of it for 60 & the other 2/3 for the final 5.  At bottling the split looked much lighter.  Keeping my fingers crossed.

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