Brew Colour And The Lovibond Scale

Original Lovibond Scale

What is it, and why does it matter? These are the questions I first asked when learning about brewing at home. It does matter a great deal if you want to know how to pick your grains for the shade and flavour of brew you are trying to create.

Joseph Lovibond started the Tintometer foundation in Salisbury England in 1885 to assist him in his brewing business. Lovibond is still in business today and known around the world for setting colour standards for everything from water to beer and the list goes on. 

When looking for the colour of each grain and/or resulting brew it represents, you may see it represented as just an L or “Degrees Lovibond,” on our website in the product descriptions. The values begin at 1 and go to 40+.

The Tintometer created by Lovibond depended on a persons vision. Since this method was not accurate enough for craft brewers, a more scientific method was developed using the spectrophotometer. Standard Reference Method (SRM) resulted from the use of the spectrophotometer. The Lovibond and the SRM scales are almost identical, but the methods of obtaining the colour are different. Most of us as home brewers, do not have a lab equipped with scientific equipment, so the best option is to choose according to the scale using your vision. If you are brewing for the first time, we have created a copy of the Lovibond scale to make an approximate estimate of what colour to choose for the brew you desire to make.

While this chart shows the original scale used for determining the finished colour of your beer depending on the grains you used, other colour charts available that use different methods to determine colour. 

On our website we have entered the Lovibond information that was obtained from the producers websites, so yes, you will notice that this chart will not work for many of our posted grains.