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Experimenting with a recipe for a Scottish ale, from extract. On brew day, my color was just a little lighter than I anticipated. The color darkened slightly during a very active fermentation. (It blew the air lock once.) As fermentation slowed, and even more now that it's in my secondary, the color is considerably darker. Is it normal for the brew to darken significantly during or after fermentation?

Steeping grains:

  • 1 lb medium crystal (60L)
  • .5 lb "crisp brown"
  • .375 lb pale chocolate
  • .125 lb peated malt

Fermentables:

  • 7 lb Light DME
  • 1.5 lb light brown sugar

Hops:

  • 1.5 ounces East Kent Goldings (5.8) - 60 minutes
  • .5 ounces Fuggles (4.2) - 10 minutes

Yeast: Wyeast Scottish Ale #1728 (two smack packs)

Thanks!

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the light color you saw at brewday, was that before or after you pitched the yeast? –  mdma Sep 21 '13 at 2:11
    
is this darker in a glass, darker in a raking tube or darker in the fermenter? –  dax Sep 21 '13 at 13:17
    
Beer in a carboy also looks a tad darker than it will in the glass, so keep that in mind as well. –  Graham Sep 24 '13 at 12:29
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1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Particulates are dropping out. When they are in suspension, they make the wort appear lighter. As they drop out, the beer takes on its normal color.

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I've heard different yeast strains can affect beer color as well to some degree, but I don't know specifics. –  mdma Sep 21 '13 at 17:43
    
I think only because some are less flocculant and will take longer to drop. But I've never used a yeast that actually changed a beer's color other than that, and I can't think of how they could. –  Denny Conn Sep 21 '13 at 18:00
    
I agree - it was just a passing comment about something I vaguely remember reading, someone said that different yeast strains affect flavor, gravity and color. Your answer nails it - particulates are the main cause. –  mdma Sep 21 '13 at 19:12
    
Could the particulates dropping out cause a BIG difference in color? I was hoping for an SRM (morey) of around 19, but looks closer to a 35 (based on my extremely limited experience.) –  NDthunder Sep 22 '13 at 20:51
    
Yes, it can make a big difference. –  Denny Conn Sep 22 '13 at 20:59
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