Revealed: Where Beers Get Their Color

Different colors of beer

Paint and beer have a few similarities. A paint sprayer from www.PaintSprayerMag is similar to a beer from a high-quality brand like Heineken. Paint installed in a paint gun is also similar to beer in a bottle. As a result, the same as paint, beers also have their hues.

Brewed beer is the result of the teamwork of hops, water, yeast, and malted grain. The last one is responsible for the color of your favorite beer, just as a pigment is accountable for the color of your favorite paint. Simply put, the beer color you see is malted barley that experienced chemical reactions.

Maillard Reaction

Malt barley beer
Malt barley

The chemical reaction I was talking about earlier is called the Maillard Reaction, named after the French scientist named Louis Camille Maillard (1878-1936). The chemical reaction occurs between amino acids and decreasing sugars which gives browned food its unique flavor. It’s the reaction that happens whenever you toast bread, roast a marshmallow, or brew beer. The malted barley undergoes the Maillard Reaction and produces black patent malt and chocolate malt. Malt is too powerful that even a little amount of darker malt can make your beer darker.


However, the caramelization also plays a part. It is a reaction that takes place when you heat up sugar to a boil until it breaks down on its own. If the sugar is boiled longer, the beer becomes darker. Of course, this will also affect the taste of the beer, making it buttery.

Contrary to popular belief, the beer’s color has nothing to do with the alcohol volume. If book lovers go by the saying, “Never judge a book by its cover,” then beer lovers should live by the saying, “Never judge the alcohol content of beer by its color.”

Standard Reference Method

Different colors of beerThis system, abbreviated as SRM, is a measurement technique which recognizes the intensity of the beer’s color. Different styles of beer have different colors. To make it easier, just remember that the higher the SRM number, the darker the beer. Darker beers also taste toastier or more coffee-like than lighter ones.

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San Juan Brewing is a blog dedicated to beer, coffee, tea and everything in between. It is about finding and experiencing the best brews locally and around the world. This blog features destinations, top finds, random discoveries, and festivals. You will also find tips, recommendations, and resources to make each sip of your favorite brew a unique and enjoyable experience.

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