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4 Factors That Affect Beer Color

Views: 13     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-07-22      Origin: Site

Beer color is one of the first things you notice when pouring this beverage into a glass. If you order a beer in a bar, you will expect it to have a particular shade. For example, a pilsner should be pale gold, while ale is always dark brown.

Although many roughly classify beer as a light or dark drink, it can have dozens of colors, depending on ingredients and style. Thus, the beer color chart is a broad term and encompasses many nuances, often described by numerical values.

Factors Affecting Beer Color

Precisely determined grains ratio has a significant impact on beer color, but it also affects beer’s flavor. It is almost a rule that light beers have a softer, crisper, and more refreshing taste than dark ones, which come with a fuller, bitterer, and more intense aroma.

If the brewer decides to add brew extracts of fruit, coffee, or caramel, these ingredients will change the original brew shade. However, different brewing phases also influence the final product’s tone.

1. Roasting

Once you soak the grain in water and it germinates, you will get a malt that is further prepared for fermentation by roasting. The more you roast malt, the beer will have a darker color. It is as simple as that. The roasting duration and the temperature you use determine the exact shade of brew.

2. Mashing

Then, you should add malted barley to hot water during the mashing process. That way, you will create fermentable sugars, which yeast turns into alcohol later. The mash color will depend on the PH values of the water. The higher the PH, the darker the beer will be.

Plus, some brewers keep the water warm at the same intensity while others fluctuate it. You can see the difference in beer limpidity and its color clearness at the end of brewing.

3. Cooling

In the next stage, it is necessary to extract the liquid from mashed malt to get a wort. Cool it quickly and remove the remaining malt particles from it before fermentation starts. The intensity of the temperature difference in the cooling phase will significantly affect the beer color and clarity.

4. Fermentation And Filtering

Brewers use different yeast varieties to create alcohol by reacting with sugars in the wort. Fermentation temperature, yeast type, and filtering refinement will influence the final beer color the most. On the other hand, you can find unfiltered beers on the market with fuzzier and duller colors than filtered ones.

Standard Beer Colors On SRM Scale
ColorSRM Value
Pale Straw



Pale Gold


Deep Gold

Pale Amber


Medium Amber

Deep Amber





Ruby Brown24
Deep Brown30

Beer Color By Styles

As I have already mentioned, different beer styles have some shade of specific color by default. The so-called blondie beers, citrus combinations, pilsners, and sour beers have light SRM shades with values between 2 and 11.

They are followed by Amber ales, IPA, and some lagers that reach a numerical value of 20. After this value, dark beers begin.

In general, porters and stouts have different shades of brown, red, and dark brown, and they are on the SRM scale at values of 20 to 40. However, imperial stouts are among the darkest, 40+ SRM beers.

In most cases, beer color can tell you a lot about its taste before you even sip it. Dark shaded beers tend to have a more complex flavor, and they often leave a strong aftertaste in your mouth, including a coffee, caramel, and malty aroma.

Contrary, light beers are more comfortable to drink, more refreshing, and you don’t need to be a beer connoisseur to enjoy them. However, dark beer admirers consider their taste too mild and bland.

That is the reason many breweries enhance their light beers with fruity, flowery, or citrus aromas. In some cases, you will get a slice of lemon or lime next or in your bottle of light beer, mostly because of its neutral flavor.

Beer Styles Color

Beer type

SRM value

2 to 7

Belgian strong ale

4 to 7
Vienna lager

7 to 14

American pale ale

6 to 14
Imperial pale ale

5 to 11

Amber ale

11 to 18
English brown ale

12 to 22


20 to 40
Imperial stout

50 to 80


There are many different beer colors, ranging from pale, almost colorless, to dark black. Brewers most often use SRM or EBC scales to identify the exact brew shade.

You can predict the color and taste of a particular beer by its style. However, there are also differences in tone, depending on the recipe and brand.

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