Dye-ing Beer

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by jmcnamara, Oct 13, 2017.

  1. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    I recently brewed a carrot ale, and i was a bit disappointed at the lack of orange color.

    I tried to search via google for any pointers, but all i found was how to dye a crappy light lager green for St Patty's day.

    I was wondering if anyone else has used any additives to color their beer, other than malts. I'd like to avoid food coloring if I could, but that might mean I'll get some additional flavors thrown into the mix (for instance, i think beet juice or something similar would add a lot of color, but it's also adding fermentables and potentially flavor)

    any thoughts?
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    If you haven't carbonated it, any food-safe orange dye would work or even a combination of red and yellow. You're right about the beet juice, adding fermentables (mostly sucrose). Maybe find some carrot juice but you already lost the carotene (the orange pigment) in the initial fermentation. Beet juice is the wrong color. So I think we're back to food coloring - bench test it to get the right proportions of red and yellow dye then scale up to the entire recipe.
     
  3. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Probably just a few drops of red will give you a decent result. Yellow tends to be very hard to see in something that's already got some gold/amber color. You can definitely dye it. One of our club brewers decided to try to make a "black" IPA for a competition by adding some food coloring. It came out bright purple...we laughed our asses off! :D:D
     
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  4. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    i know there's dye to fall back on, but I kind of see it as cheating in a way. Similar to using fruit extracts (although i'm slowly coming around to the thought of trying them)

    And what about other colors, not just orange? Any good juices or other things to use? (i may not eat them, but i know beets are in no way orange, looks like i skipped a sentence or two when typing out my original question, dang small screen :))
     
  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Did you try carrot powder? I don't know if the color is stable during fermentation. I can find a reasonable yellow - use turmeric - and red - paprika - but both would likely provide a flavor you don't want. I'm thinking dye is the way to go....
     
  6. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    ive never even heard of carrot powder, i'll have to see if it's easily available around here

    you're right, i may have to just bite the bullet on this one
     
  7. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Anatto is a natural dye that gives a very red/orange color. In the easiest-to-find form, Achiote powder, it would impart a slightly bitter flavor, but not nearly as much as tumeric or paprika.

    Just steep some Cara-Red, ferment it out in a quart-size starter batch and add it to the beer.
     
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  8. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Didn't think about annatto. Good choice.
     

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