hist-brewing: a little more on caramel/crystal malts

"Jay Hersh aka Dr. Beer®" drbeer at doctorbeer.com
Thu Sep 18 07:08:54 PDT 1997


>The grains of an ordinary malt are sprouted and then kilned 
>dry--something we are all familiar with.  The grains of a crystal malt 
>are sprouted, then they are STEAM kilned, and brought to mashing 
>temperature at a very high humidity--and held there.  This pre-mashes 
>these malts, which is why they can be simply steeped and don't actually 
>need mashing at home.  They are then kilned dry.  Resultant beers have 
>different flavor characteristics than those made from undevenly-kilned 
>normal malts.  Crystal malt is not interchangeable with dark malt.
>

good description.  Just wanted to add one or two points.  Different base
malts are steeped at different germination times and temperatures.  This
makes the one of the difference between British pale, American pale,
Pilsner, Munich and Vienna type malts.  The other difference is drying time
and temperature as well as the actual barley cultivar.

With the various caramel/crystal (crystal is really a brand name) malts
these base malts are mashed in the husk in sealed drums which retain the
moisture as indicated above.  Then they are dried as appropriate for that
style, i.e. Pilsner, pale, Vienna, Munich, etc..  This makes malts known as
Cara-..., carapils, caravienne, etc..  Sometimes these are just referred to
as crystal with a color rating in degrees Lovibond.

Hope this helps people better understand use of these specialty malts.


                          Jay  Hersh
                        aka  Dr. Beer (BJCP Master Judge, manager of the Modern
                         Brewer in Cambridge MA, etc.)

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