The SRM beer colour scale can be used to define and identify particular beer styles. The large scale swatches on this page illustrate all the colours of the scale.
SRM stands for Standard Reference Method and is one of the main ways of measuring beer colour.
It is generally determined in laboratories using a spectrophotometer, so as a home brewer you will usually be dealing with approximations.
However, colour is an important part of each beer style and something that you should consider as you begin developing your own recipes.
SRM Colour Chart
At the end of the page, after the swatches, there is more information about beer colour and the SRM scale.
These are the colours of SRM 1 – 30 in order:
After SRM 30 the difference between colours is neglible on a computer screen, and to a certain extent in reality. The SRM values over 30 continue to get darker, although to all intents and purposes they can be thought of as black.
Although the last five or six colours here may look similar, I promise they are different!
The colours were taken from an SRM to RGB converter, no longer available online. Inevitably the swatches do not completely match reality, not least because the computer images cannot convey the transparency and layered colours that are part of a decent pint of beer.
But they do give an indication of the wide range of beer colours, from light yellow lagers to black imperial stouts.
SRM and Beer Styles
SRM is one of the target statistics used by the BJCP in their style guide, a common starting place for brewers designing recipes.
If you know the SRM colour range of your target style you can begin to choose malt, the key factor in beer colour, in an informed way.
I’ve put together a beer colour chart which describes each beer style in terms of target colour range, useful if you’re interested in exploring beer colours further.