Caramel Colors for Beer & Spirits

Sethness liquid Caramel Colors and Class I Caramelized Sugar Syrups are used in a variety of alcoholic beverage applications including:

  • Beer
  • Cider
  • Malted Beverages
  • Whiskey
  • Cognac
  • Brandy
  • Rum
  • Tequila
  • Liqueurs

Caramel Color in Beer, Cider and Malted Beverages

Clarity is a critical component in most beers, with the exception of wheat beers and IPAs which have a characteristic haze. For those beers which are supposed to be clear, haze issues can be a result of many reasons, such as improper filtration, incomplete fermentation, or incompatibility of ingredients. A typical beer contains 91% water, 4.6% carbohydrate in the form of maltose and dextrose, 0.5% protein, 0.2% mineral salts, 3.6% alcohol by weight and the balance comprised of trace vitamins and flavor compounds.

Brewing grains (corn, rice, barley, wheat) used for producing dark and sweet beers can vary in protein content and carbohydrate content from harvest to harvest. Caramel Colors are often used to standardize the final beer color and to compensate for the variation in the consistency of the malt color as produced by the manufactures.

Sethness recommends using positively-charged Class III Caramel Colors for beer standardization. The use of Class III Caramel Colors avoids the negative interaction of the cereal proteins, which can cause a precipitate to form. The fermentation of the protein is responsible for the body and produces the foamy head. The use of Sethness Class III Caramel Colors helps maintain the proper cereal fermentation products to control the desired color.

Caramel Colors are often utilized in beer production to generate cost savings, as less expensive malted barley can be used. Caramel Colors can be added at either the wort stage or the finished stage in order to increase/darken the overall color of the final product.

Sethness Caramelized Sugar Syrups are commonly used to impart sweet to burnt notes in numerous beers and ciders, while also providing some light colors.

Caramel Color in Spirits/Liqueurs

Hue and alcohol solubility play a primary role in choosing the correct Sethness Caramel Color for spirits and liqueurs. Red-toned Caramel Colors (RT80, SB121) are often used in rums, while yellow-toned Caramel Colors (YT25, YT90) are utilized in whiskeys, brandies and tequilas. Because of their strong, dark color, Class IV Caramel Colors are often used in flavored tequilas. Sethness Caramelized Sugar Syrups provide the benefit of contributing a sweet flavor profile and color to spirits and liqueurs. Sethness Class I and Class II Caramel Colors provide excellent alcohol solubility up to 80% alcohol (160 proof).

Please contact the Sethness technical team for more specific application guidance.