Color & Body

December 26, 2019




Copied with permission from and


When it comes to color, life of a beer brewer is very simple. Most malt catalogs have the color-coding mentioned on their packs (CoA- Certificate of Analysis). A simple mathematics with a weighted average of the color of its constituents is all it takes to predict the color of the beer. It can be expressed in SRM (Standard Reference Method), Degrees Lovibond or EBC (European Brewing Convention). There are minor technical differences between the three reporting convention. However, a color card or a photo based mobile app can predict the darkness of the beer to a great accuracy. Higher the number, the darker the beer is.


Sometimes improper mashing, charring of the grain (kettle caramalization) can alter the color too. Certain fruits, herbs and coco powder can also impart color and needs to be accounted for. But apart from these, a simple weighted average using an excel file based model is all it takes to predict the color.


Wine makers need to be much more vigilant. The red color comes primarily from the tannins. Tweaking the contact duration with the grape skin is the traditional way to infuse colors. However, fruits are difficult to standardize. Each fruit harvest would have different levels of sunshine, different soil and humidity conditions and will produce variations. Furthermore, colors like purple and deep red are susceptible to changes in pH. Oxidation and oak tannins can also alter the color. It is best to keep some Calcium carbonate (CaCO3 removes oxalic acid and neutralizes acidity) to increase the pH and some acid blend (mixture of tartaric, citric and malic acids) to reduce the pH. Conducting a few tests using a basic titration is sufficient, followed by standardizing the pH and total titratable acidity for the rest of the batch.


When it comes to body of the brew, the tables turn. The body in wines come primarily from the fruit. Adding more fruit pulp (using little or no water) is the simplest way to add more body. Wines made from packaged juices or concentrates have too little pulp and should be avoided. Adding raisins is another hack, being made from dried grapes, they can help improve the mouthfeel. Essentially desiccated grapes and fruits increase the fruit mass content per liter of beverage making it less watery. In white wines especially champagne lactose improves the mouthfeel and residual sweetness (reducing any harshness if any too.)


Beers get their body primarily from the unfermentable sugars. Adding specialty malts (like crystal), and high temperature mashing can help increase the body. While adding amylase enzymes, corn, rice and honey/ sugars to the mash will thin out the beers. English style ales/ stouts have a heavy body while American style beers and lagers are very thin. So there is no global standard on how much dissolved solids should be there in a sample of beers and wines.


Beware of micro-filtration and excessive use of fining agents. They can strip the beverages of the body and make them too watery.

Please reload

Recent Posts

January 29, 2020

Please reload


Please reload


Please reload