OK, here's an even stranger thing. I re-checked the color of the 2nd batch a day later, and now it looks normal, e.g., a nice amber color.
I assure you I am not crazy! After cooking the 2nd batch, I noticed the jar(which came with the kit) had some residue on the inside of it, so I poured the solution into a clean mason jar. I then took the remainder of the 1st batch and poured it into a second mason jar to compare.
At that time, as stated earlier, the second batch had no "amber" color at all, more of slight greyish tint to it. Now, a day later, using the same comparisons,...the 2nd batch looks amber.