The Factors That Determine The Colour of Beer
When it comes to food and beverages, colors play a
significant role when it comes to capturing the appetite of people. Brighter colors
in cooking, especially during meal presentations, make the food both pleasing
and more appetizing. Color can also indicate important information about food. An
example would be the redness of the steak to indicate its toughness. The colors
of pasta sauce are important as well as it tells us what kind of ingredients
has been used.
In the same way, beer colors can give you a lot of
information about beer and perhaps, to distinguish one from another. When it
comes to beer, it can be lighter or darker and even come in a spectrum of
colors. These colors are determined by factors connecting to the manufacturing process
of the beer.
The Chemistry Behind Beer Color
There are two main chemical
processes involved when it comes to beer making and its influence on the
color of the beer – from yellow to black. The first is called Maillard
reactions. This happens when the grains are heated, and the amino acids in them
start linking with the sugar components. Aside from the creation of various
aromas and flavors, it is also associated with the “browning” of the
beer, which is very similar to cooking toast or steaks.
The second process is called caramelization or breaking down
the sugar components in the grains. This happens at temperatures of 220°F and
higher. Baking the sugar apart affects the color and flavor of the beer. In
addition in some recipes, roasted or chocolate malts are added which gives the
beer a darker color and a signature burnt taste.
The Effect of Time on Beer Colors
Aside from the chemical reactions that occur during the
manufacturing process, another critical factor that affects the color of beers
As time passes and the beer ages, the suspended particles in the beer float
down to the bottom, making the beer darker in color. The passage of time also
makes the beer taste less bitter, and the flavor of the malts used is said to
be more emphasized. However, one danger of storing beer for a long time is
risking oxidation. Similar to bananas and peeled potatoes that have been
exposed in the air for long, unpleasant flavors may be developed in the beer.
What Does The Color Of The Beer Tell Us?
The color of the beer, as mentioned above, is a result of
the processes that it has undergone through however they can only inform the
drinker about the probabilities when it comes to the taste
of the beer. Lighter-colored beers that appear golden is expected to have
flavors resembling grains like bread, biscuits, and light toast. Amber or
copper-colored beer, the middle of the spectrum, can have more toffee-like or
caramel flavors while the darkest colored beers which appear black or dark
brown have coffee or cocoa flavors. However, colors are not a conclusive
determiner of flavor. For example, adding chocolate malt could darken the beer
but does not necessarily affect its taste. In addition, it is also a misnomer
to rely on the color of the beer to determine its alcohol level. In fact, some
double-digit beers have light colors, while dark brown beers can be relatively