Creating the perfect beer is truly a craft. Both beer connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike often know exactly what they’re looking for in a beer and, just as importantly, what they’re not looking for. As such, breweries must take great care in creating beers that not only taste delicious but are appealing to the eye.
Each ingredient added to a beer will change its color slightly. As grains are by far the largest percentage, it is understood that they have the most impact on your final beer’s color. Most grains in their unmalted and unroasted form would impart just a pale yellow color to the beer. As grains are roasted at higher temperatures for longer times, the color they add darkens considerably.
There are a few different methods that are used to measure the color of beer such as, SRM, EBC, Lovibond and MCU.
The system used to characterize beer color has its origins in the late 1800’s. The original lovibond system was created by J.W. Lovibond in 1883, and used colored slides that were compared to the beer color to determine approximate value.
For decades, beer was compared to colored glass standards to determine the Lovibond color, and we still use the term “Degrees Lovibond” extensively today to describe the color of grains.
Today there are a few different methods that are used to measure the color of beer such as, the Standard Reference Method (SRM) color system, the European Brewing Convention (EBC), Malt Color Units (MCU), and still in use, the Lovibond Scale.