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03/31/11 10:02 AM  
Bugs darken beer?
This is something I have wondered for a while. Do bacteria or wild yeasts cause beer to darken in color? It seems this is what I have observed in some beers but perhaps it is something else that causes it?

I have had a few beers that started out very pale to gold and ended up amber to orangish. My very first sour (a happy accident) went from about 8 srm to I dunno, maybe 12-13 srm. The latest instance that has me wondering is a saison (mentioned in "bottle conditioning a portion of a batch" thread. The first half bottled is gold to amber the second suspected infected half is more like light brown. Same wort to begin with.

Anyone have any information on this phenomena? I don't seem to recall ever coming across any information about this reading about wild beers. Maybe it is something other than bugs and just a coincidence?

03/31/11 11:08 AM  
Re: Bugs darken beer?
pH changes as generated by bugs byproducts could impact wort color along with exposure to oxygen by extended aging.


03/31/11 05:59 PM  
Re: Bugs darken beer?
My guess is it's mostly age/oxidation. I recently blended up a gueuze from 3 batches. 1, 2 and 3 years old. And although all three were pretty light, as they got older each got slightly darker than the last, to the point where you could visually tell the difference between the 3. Of course, the darkest one was still only 5 or 6 SRM, with the lightest being probably 3. But still...
04/01/11 12:19 PM  
Re: Bugs darken beer?
I wonder if that could be some bazaar adaption of the maillard effect? You'd have amino acids, sugars, and I understand O2 is a factor. It is supposed to be increased in an alkaline environment.
04/01/11 07:43 PM  
Re: Bugs darken beer?
I see no reason why they wouldn't. It has been reported on several occasions that yeast affect beer color. Take the same wort and ferment it with different yeasts and the colors will be different.
Al B
04/01/11 08:37 PM  
Re: Bugs darken beer?
My hunch would be oxidation - which gives maltier, darker characteristics as the beer ages.
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