Measure the Colour of Malt, Yeast and Hops

    Colour Grading of Malt


Malt, hops, yeast and water are the foundations of any good beer. Beer is associated with a light golden colour which it gets from the Malt and Grains that are added. If the brewing process starts with malt that is off-colour, the final beverage will look an unexpected shade of gold. It is important to control the colour of the Malt before brewing to be able to predict the colour of the final product.

The first beer grading colour scale was invented in the 1800s and it graded beer from the light gold lager, to the golden amber IPA to the dark and creamy stout. Each of these beers require different raw materials and a different process to end with a product that tastes and appears as expected. Should the colour of a light lager suddenly change to a cloudy amber, consumers will immediately suspect degradation in quality or worse, contamination.

The colour of beer also directly influences taste, lighter beers are seen as crisp and easy to drink, while the darker stouts taste bitter and intense. By using a colour scale, you can create a relationship between colour and taste.

The largest breweries as well as the boutique craft makers all need to control the colour of their product to ensure quality and consistency. Craft beer makers may start to develop their brew to be associated with a particular appearance which needs to be consistenly produced.

Arcane colour slides that were first created no longer match the needs of mass producers or the craft breweries as all need to be producing beer that fits onto one scale. By grading the colour of malt, you can easily and confidently predict the colour of the beer you wish to brew.

Colour measurement can assist those in the Malt, Yeast, Hops or Beer industry in the following ways:

  • Measure the colour of raw materials like malt, yeast and hops
  • Source the correct malt to create a certain coloured beer
  • Sort malt according to it’s quality and colour
  • Develop a colour scale to grade malt
  • Control the colour during the brewing process
  • Measure the colour of final brewed products to ensure quality control