Beer Color Laboratories
Now part of George Ringler and Company - Brewing
There is a lot more to the Color of Beer than you Think!
Welcome to a Website Dedicated to "Beer Color"

This website will always be a work in progress!

Beer Colorimeter at the Museum of American History!




WST  Insert text
WST - Wallet Sized Transparent Beer Color Guide

WST – Wallet Sized Transparent Beer Color Guide


Thank you for purchasing the Beer Color Laboratories credit card sized beer color guide. This is a small representation of the Beer Color Laboratories Beer Color Reference guide -the BCLBCR. Valued because of its size - this guide can be place in you wallet or purse and be readily available. While not as accurate or as versatile as the larger model, the WST you can get a general idea of the color of a sample of beer as represented by the Standard Reference Method, or SRM. It is most accurate with a sample of 1/2” - 1" of depth, but a general representation of beer color can even be done by viewing a greater depth of sample. Samples that have color values between the swatches will have to be estimated.

One of the first characteristics of a beer that you notice will be the beers color.  Many things can affect the color of beer. Some items that affect beer color ingredients are the – malt type, water chemistry, brewing times and aging. The type of malt used in the beer making is the primary source of color in beer. Malted barley and the way it is dried, kilned, roasted and aged all affect its color. Many things also affect the way you see you beer colors. Some of these are - quality and type of lighting-Illumination, background, depth and size of sample and also of importance is the individual differences in light and color perception. Each evaluator can actually see these colors differently - you should keep in mind that there are many possible sources of error in this kind of evaluation.

Many characteristics of a beer are examined when judging or evaluating beer. Judges usually evaluate the aroma, appearance, flavor, mouthfeel and the overall impression of a beer. Within the category of appearance the judge looks at clarity, the head and the actual overall color of the beer – i.e. straw, yellow, gold, amber, copper, brown black etc. Usually the judge wants to see if the color is appropriate for the style of the beer. Many colors are present in your beer sample. One fault of beer color measurements such as the SRM is that these measurements are basically a measurement of a beers lightness and darkness and not of the colors or hues present in the beer.

What is SRM-? Brewery scientists wanted something related to color that could be measured in the laboratory. Over fifty years ago the Standard Reference Method, SRM was developed and adopted by the American Society of Brewing Chemists to grade beer color. Basically a 1” sample is exposed to a single wavelength of blue light at 430 nm and by its absorption the SRM value is determined. This color of light works well with yellow-brown liquids but this type of measurement has some problems. Many beers of different perceived colors will have the same SRM value. Obviously not all beers have the same color and while this method suggests a difference in light or darkness they do not suggest a beers its true color.  

When examining a beer sample the viewer is using their experience and the environment to suggest color and depth. Since the sample is composed of many compounds that add to or give the beer its color – different combination of these compounds can provide the differences in the color.  This lends to a different problem as each individual perceives these colors, their depth and hues and combinations differently.” you may perceive the color and SRM differently, than the person under the same conditions sitting next to you. Your “Amber Ale” may be another’s “gold” or copper!

Please remember that a beer’s color is only one characteristic of the beer. While it is interesting to study and enjoy this one characteristic of a beers profile, the drinker should attempt to study and enjoy all the other characteristic and aspects and appreciate the whole brew.


Enjoy the Beer - BCL