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Why is my SRM too dark?

 
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vaxfixr



Joined: 15 Feb 2015
Posts: 6
Location: Maryland


PostLink    Posted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 4:58 pm    Post subject: Why is my SRM too dark? Reply with quote


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folks, Ive been doing all grain with an all electric setup using 15G kegs, but otherwise its the same as Kal's. I use the recipes herein, and some others, with varying degrees of success. The beer is ALWAYS several shades darker than the SRM profile, and usually tastes 'off' as well. By 'off', it sometimes has a metallic taste (I've thrown at least 20 G out due to this), most of the time it tastes heavier, sweeter, and richer. These beers are still very drinkable, and friends very much like them, but I'm not satisfied. I've considered such things as particulants going into the keg from carboy, so I now run through a 5 and 1 micron filtration system first, I've considered unwanted oxygen, so I purge EVERYTHING when going from carboy through filter and into keg, and for dry hopping as well. I feel like the darker color is related to this heavy,sweet,rich flavor, but don't know where to look at this point. I was at Stone last week, and talked to the brewer and he suggested two things: 1. your color is related to grain, and with your system, you might need less of the darker grains, or 2. try filtering as you come out of whirlpool, reduce/remove more of the trub and proteins.... So I've built a hopback and will try that next time, for both flavor and as a filter. What are your thoughts, folks?
Thanks!

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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10725
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, Belgian IPA, Red IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Wit, English Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle


PostLink    Posted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you sure you're using the grain you think you are?

ie: If the recipe calls for 40L crystal maybe you're using 120L and not realizing it?

Kal

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vaxfixr



Joined: 15 Feb 2015
Posts: 6
Location: Maryland


PostLink    Posted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the only way that could happen is if the products are mislabeled at the HBS. They are ground together and put into one sack to carry home.
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10725
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, Belgian IPA, Red IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Wit, English Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle


PostLink    Posted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's on possibility. Maybe you're not making the same volume of beer as I list in the recipes and therefore using more grain?

Unfortunately there are many ways that errors could be introduced so it's hard to pinpoint.

Kal

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vaxfixr



Joined: 15 Feb 2015
Posts: 6
Location: Maryland


PostLink    Posted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

so let me ask this question: Should the SRM coming out of Mash be:
A: The same as when whirlpool is complete
B: Lighter than when whirlpool is complete
C: There's no way to tell

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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10725
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, Belgian IPA, Red IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Wit, English Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle


PostLink    Posted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're fly sparging, at the start of the sparge the wort will be concentrated and dark, and will get lighter as you sparge.

Wort probably darkens a bit from pre to post boil because you're removing water.

Kal

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Tungsten



Joined: 06 Dec 2014
Posts: 316
Location: Buffalo, NY


PostLink    Posted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you sure the problems that you mentioned (SRM and metallic taste) are related? They may be, or they may not be.

1. SRM - have you tried a SMASH recipe? If you haven't ruled out the LHBS yet, try ordering some Maris Otter or something from MoreBeer or another reputable online retailer, develop a SMASH recipe (or use more than one hop, that won't matter), and see how that beer comes out color-wise. If it's still off, then it's your equipment.

2. Metallic - (EDIT) AHA! I came across your water profile thread shortly after I posted this reply before. Burton on Trent is a REALLY extreme water profile that pushes most of the ions way over their limits that modern brewers usually recommend. The water can certainly work, but the beers that are made well with this water profile are light, hoppy brews... given your SRM problem, I am wondering if you are trying to brew different beers with this water? If you are brewing anything but a pale ale or IPA or something very similar, it would not surprise me at all that you're getting a ton of astringency with your brews. Check this out, most notably the recommended levels Palmer mentions on the ions: http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-1.html (END EDIT)

In the end, if you're confident in the grain you're getting from the LHBS, I can't help but think this is a cleaning issue - in some fashion or another (or several). I know a lot of people here and over at HBT say not to worry about cleaning too much for anything that's going to be boiled, and that probably works for most... but it's not scientific law, things that aren't appropriately clean can make a huge difference.

Here's a really good read from Brulosophy, which I really enjoy reading (side note: he uses small sample sizes, so I don't always take his conclusions as "law" but a lot of myths are really well challenged if not disproven). http://brulosophy.com/2014/11/13/problem-identification-or-helping-a-buddy-stay-in-the-hobby/
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kal
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Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, Belgian IPA, Red IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Wit, English Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle


PostLink    Posted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm going to ask a dumb question so apologies in advance:

How are you determining the SRM is darker? What are you looking at exactly? Reason I ask is because I do get emails or questions sometimes from new brewers wondering why the beer in their glass carboy looks so dark. It's because there's so much of it. Beer in a big container (like a 5 gallon carboy) will look at lot darker than when in an average 12 oz glass or with what is used to determine SRM.

Link to SRM: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_Reference_Method

To quote:

"Determination of the SRM value involves measuring the attenuation of light of a particular wavelength (430 nm) in passing through 1 cm of the beer..."

So put 1 cm of the beer in question in a glass with a flat bottom and look down to see how dark/light the SRM of the beer actually is.

Kal

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Ozarks Mountain Brew



Joined: 22 May 2013
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Location: The Ozark Mountains of Missouri


PostLink    Posted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

in most cases if you look at the hose on the auto siphon when transferring beer, thats the real color you will end up with in your glass
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vaxfixr



Joined: 15 Feb 2015
Posts: 6
Location: Maryland


PostLink    Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for all the ideas and helpful advice. I've been traveling a lot and haven't had time to check in here. To the original posting, I am comparing a glass of "My Pliny" to a glass of the "real pliny", using the same glasses. so mine is much darker than Vinnie's. like an 8 SRM to 4 SRM or something similar. I believe, through a visit to Greg Koch, that the answer lays in a sparging issue. I have not tried the 'correction' yet, but here's the idea: When I fly sparge, I'm going about it a bit faster than suggested, but two problems are occurring. #1. Greg said to stop sparking when your sparge water hits 2.5 Plato, and to then top off with water to obtain pre-boil quantity. He suspects I'm extracting tannin as I continue to sparge below 2.5. Additionally, he thinks that by topping off with water pre-boil, the SRM will go down. Mind you, these are all guesses based on a one hour conversation, but I wanted to pass it along. Regarding the water profile, I only brew IPA's... that's what I like, and my local brewer at Flying Dog uses Burton, so I've been following that for all IPA's. (note there's an opportunity to experiment here... if I didn't have a real job:) )

Thanks again, everyone

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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10725
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, Belgian IPA, Red IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Wit, English Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle


PostLink    Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tannins do not change the colour (at least not noticeably). Greg's recommendation has to do with tannin extraction which is a completely different issue.

As you near the end of the sparge, and gravity is low, the wort is mostly water anyway. So I don't think stopping and using water instead of wort is going to make any appreciable difference to your SRM.

That said, I'm impressed that you were able to talk to Greg Koch for an hour! Cool!

Kal

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Last edited by kal on Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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vaxfixr



Joined: 15 Feb 2015
Posts: 6
Location: Maryland


PostLink    Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

of course, you're right again...) I didn't mean the tannins changed color, it was a 'guess' on why i might be getting the off flavors I've been experiencing. lots of guessing going on, from nearly 3000 miles away, but i'll try to noodle things out regardless. And sometimes it pays to have low friends in high places:)
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Roadie



Joined: 13 Oct 2013
Posts: 131
Location: Charleston, SC


PostLink    Posted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm guessing that the off flavor is water related. It's easy to find out if that's it or not by changing your water profile and/or water source. We use RO water and add salts to achieve the profile we want. If you do the same perhaps your filters need changing? If not, maybe try filtered water instead of tap for a brew?

When it comes to the SRM of Pliny maybe Vinnie has changed the recipe slightly from the recipe you are using? Also, perhaps you are boiling longer and that is effecting your SRM?
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