What Determines the Color of Beer?


Did you know all beer is red? We don’t perceive all beer as red, of course, but deep down in its molecules, it is. Since all beer is red, what determines the color of beer?

Grain is by far the strongest coloring agent in beer, and grains are colored by melanin, a rust-red pigment that drives the color of beer. But what about Pale Ales and Imperial Stouts, you say? Some beers don’t appear red at all. As with most questions about beer, the answer involves chemistry – in fact, a number of factors can affect color, and we’ll take a closer look at all of them. We’ll also examine what beer color can (and can’t) cue us to expect in terms of flavor, as well as how beer color is measured and described.

The Chemistry of Color

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