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What the color of craft beer tells you

Views: 0     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-04-12      Origin: Site

Where the color of beer comes from

There are several different factors that can affect the color of a beer. The biggest problem has to do with the concentration of malt in the batch. As the beer is heated, the malt is oxidized, giving off a brown color. The temperature and duration of heating go a long way in determining the final shade of yellow, red or brown.

Of course, since the aesthetics of craft beer are almost as important as the taste, it's no surprise that brewers look for a certain color. It could be a matter of personal preference, market expectations or even seasonal changes. For example, a beer with a chocolate note may have a darker profile, while another beer with a citrus note will usually be brighter.

To this end, some brewers may apply artificial colors to the batch.


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Darker Beer is Not Necessarily Heavier

As a rule of thumb, lighter beers tend to be crisp and less-filling, while darker beers are thought of as being rich, heavy, and featuring both higher calorie counts and per-volume alcohol contents. The craft beer lovers should remember that these profiles aren’t written in stone. But, they can be good guidelines when trying and evaluating new beers, or pairing a craft beer with a specific type of dish.

Most craft beer fans will already know the broad differences between Pilsner’s, lagers, and darker brews. What’s interesting, however, is that our minds tend to make these associations without much conscious effort. That can lead to false assumptions that don’t necessarily hold up.

To understand why, we have to understand that darker beer is not necessarily heavier than light beer. For a deeper look at why, check out this article that goes deeper into the myth of dark, heavy beer, along with a better look at the molten oxidation process. Our eyes and experiences can sometimes play tricks on us – just because a beer is dark doesn’t mean it has to taste or feel that way.

Generally speaking, darker beers are going to have a stronger, more distinct profile. But, to judge a beer by its colour is to miss the chance to fully appreciate the subtleties of a good brew.

You Take the First Sip With Your Eyes

One thing that often gets overlooked when enjoying a fine craft beer is that the first sip you take is with your eyes. That is, you see the beer and anticipate its flavour before you have ever actually tasted it. In fact, it would be fair to say that your tongue actually gets the third chance to experience it, since sight and smell come first… but that’s a different subject for a different day.

The reason this matters so much is because it influences our expectations. If we anticipate a dark, bitter brew that’s going to pair well with a slice of chocolate cake, how do we react when we get something light and springy in return? Are we disappointed, or delightfully surprised?

The answer can depend on a lot of different things, of course, but there perhaps two things to appreciate and consider. The first is that it’s a good idea to ask questions, read labels, and generally be curious about the beers you want to try. Not only will you learn some interesting things along the way, but you’ll also have an easier time choosing which bottles are pints to sample.

The second is that we should never judge a beer just by its colour. All beers are beautiful, and we can gain some insight into their taste from looking at them. But, the shade of gold, red, or brown you see might not tell you the whole story.

Maybe that’s for the best. Sampling craft beers – like anything in life – is a lot more fun when you don’t always know what’s coming at you next!

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