Probably we used not enough of the carared, but what we can do? Is it possible to use a dark fruit extract(sour, not sweet) to correct the color in the end? And what will be the effect on taste?

2 Answers 2


Fruit is not the best color agent here - the flavor will be out of character in an Irish Red.

You get the red color from a little roast barley. Take a handful of lightly crushed roasted barley (or two handfulls of whole) and let them stand in half a pint of cold water for half an hour to an hour. Strain the water, which will now be black, boil, then add it to your wort/beer. You don't need to chill - it will cool instantly on contact with the beer.

The barley will give a red color to the beer (and a very slight touch of dryness in the finish, which is welcome in an Irish Red.)

Depending upon the SRM of your roast barley, you may need to do this more than once. A handful is possibly less than you need - but you can always add more to add more color after a first try, but it's not so easy take it away!

  • Thanks a lot, but one more question: to what quantity of wort you refer to when using 2 handfuls of barley? It's a carboy of 50 liters?
    – Hans
    Commented May 13, 2013 at 17:39
  • I was thinking of the standrd 5 gallons/20l, since you didn't state otherwise. For 50l I would use 2.5x the quantity. To be sure, you could also measure the volume of liquid after straining, and then add a proportional amount of this to a pint, to check for colour.
    – mdma
    Commented May 13, 2013 at 20:08

I would go with some Sinamar. Its a product from Weyermann made entirely of Black Malt and will add color to the beer without any additional flavor.


Sinamar® natural beer coloring was patented by the Weyermann Company in Germany in 1902, and is a gluten free natural mashed coloring derived from debittered Carafa Special 11 black malt. It will help you create a dark beer with very little roast character. It is used in breweries in 67 countries today, and used to darken Dunkelweizens, Schwarzbiers, Bockbiers, Dunkel Lagers, Altbiers, Stouts, Porters, Red Ales, Brown Ales, and even Scotch Ales. If you are a beer drinker with any experience, you have consumed a beer colored with Sinamar.

Sinamar is currently popular with craft brewers in the United States making dark IPA styles, as it imparts natural malt darkness without most of the roast and bitter dark malt flavor components. Use 1 fluid ounce in 5 gallons of wort (add while cooling at the end of the boil) to add 5 SRM of color. 5 SRM is the difference between a pale blond beer and a dark golden beer. To turn a pale golden beer dark brown or almost black, add 3 to 4 ounces of Sinamar to 5 gallons.

You can drink a drop of two of this stuff straight from the bottle to verify that it does not posses much flavor at all. It would be ideal to darken up a Red Ale instantly. You should add a few drops at a time to the carboy until you get the correct color you want.

Remember, the beer is a little darker in the carboy than in the bottle, BUT you need to make sure your yeast has cleared. If not, your beer will look lighter in the carboy, as the yeast reflect light.

  • Thanks a lot for this advice. In respect of the quantities you name and in order to add the adequate quantity of Sinamar you refer to 1 ounce = 28,35 grams and 1 gallon = 3.785 liter?
    – Hans
    Commented May 13, 2013 at 17:36
  • Today, after 10 days, the color is more and more turning red without any intervention. And we didn't do anything. Of course it's our first Red but we didnot expect this to happen.
    – Hans
    Commented May 22, 2013 at 17:03
  • Yeah, this is probably a case of suspended yeast making the red beer look lighter and orange because the yeast reflect some light back to you.
    – GHP
    Commented May 22, 2013 at 17:07
  • My question is: Is this a normal procedure? Anyone knows about this? We might say that the fermenting process itself needs more time to produce the color, which indicates that we probably used the sufficient quantity of malt.
    – Hans
    Commented May 22, 2013 at 17:07
  • 1
    In other words: wait and see, and don't kaizen it if it ain't broken.
    – Hans
    Commented May 22, 2013 at 17:12

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