From the HBD Archive
From: Mike Fertsch <FERTSCH@adc1.RAY.COM>
Subject: Re: Color computing
Date: 1989-09-15 13:30:00 GMT

Pete Soper posted a good article regarding calculation of wort and
beer color in yesterday's Digest. I too, use a spreadsheet to
predict color (among other things), but am much less careful than
Pete. Even so, I've got a few comments to make.

> First, wort darkens while you are making and boiling it. The amount
> of darkening can vary over a broad range.
Very true - I've tried to standardise on my boiling techniques (one
hour - no more, no less) so that I get consistient results.

> The very dark malts can produce color contributions that are hard to
> predict. The way you grind, steep and sparge them makes a big
> difference in the amount of color contributed.
Again, very true. I've noticed a big effect in the length of the
mash. Long mashes extract a lot more color than short mashes. I've
standardised on one hour (no more, no less) mashes. Sparge time and
temperature makes a big difference too, but I have not come up with a
standard sparging technique.

The big problem (as I see it) is getting correct Lovibond numbers for
grains. I've noticed a big variation in color in many malts. Crystal
can vary from 20 to 100! I've never pushed the issue with my homebrew
shop proprietor, but are these numbers usually available from
suppliers? The numbers in the literature are averages and might not be
the same as the actual grains used.

Another big problem is with regard to extracts. I use some extract in
almost all my batches. For a Lovibond-based color prediction scheme
to work, we need to come up with equivalent Lovibond ratings for
extracts. The only way I can think of doing this is to make a batch,
measure its color, and work backwards to get the equivalent Lovibond
rating of the extract. Does anyone have any experience with this?

Mike Fertsch

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