Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => Ingredients => Topic started by: gmac on February 16, 2011, 05:19:43 PM

Title: Crystal vs Cara vs Caramel Malts
Post by: gmac on February 16, 2011, 05:19:43 PM
I'm still working on a grain bill and I'm looking over the items available from my supplier and I see a few products that appear to be pretty similar and I'm curious what the differences are and what the contribute to a brew.

Crystal Malt - I think I know this one fairly well and what it brings (body, colour, flavour)
Cara  - I see this a lot on my supplies site with various suffix's.  Cara-pils, Cara-amber.  Is this a trade mark of a particular maltster?  What does it bring?
Caramel Malt - I thought this was another name for Crystal but am I wrong?  Probably.

Just exploring my options.
Thanks
Graham
Title: Re: Crystal vs Cara vs Caramel Malts
Post by: idbrew on February 16, 2011, 05:47:33 PM
These all mean basically the same thing - that the malt's kernel has been at least partly converted to sugar during malting and then roasted to get different levels of caramelization

The malts themselves can be pretty different depending on how exactly they're made -  though all will usually add some body, color and caramel flavor
Title: Re: Crystal vs Cara vs Caramel Malts
Post by: Hokerer on February 16, 2011, 06:04:59 PM
Yep, Crystal, Cara, and Caramel are all synonyms.
Title: Re: Crystal vs Cara vs Caramel Malts
Post by: theDarkSide on February 16, 2011, 06:31:13 PM
From 2000 but still relevant:

http://www.byo.com/stories/wizard/article/section/121-mr-wizard/1619-what-is-carapils-and-what-are-those-other-qcaraq-malts
Title: Re: Crystal vs Cara vs Caramel Malts
Post by: alikocho on February 16, 2011, 06:45:46 PM
Yep, Crystal, Cara, and Caramel are all synonyms.

That was what I always assumed, but I'm not sure that's the case in the UK and Europe. Crystal Malt is what we call Caramel Malt over here, but Caramalt does seem to be something subtly different.
Title: Re: Crystal vs Cara vs Caramel Malts
Post by: jaybeerman on February 16, 2011, 07:41:31 PM
They're synonymous in that the stewing process is used to make them all.  For people new to beer-making it should be noted that, a whole buttload of different flavors can be had from the different types.  cheers, j
Title: Re: Crystal vs Cara vs Caramel Malts
Post by: gmac on February 16, 2011, 09:28:17 PM
, a whole buttload of different flavors can be had from the different types.

Thanks for not getting too technical on me :)

OK, i'll just go with crystal 40.  Appreciate the clarification.
Title: Re: Crystal vs Cara vs Caramel Malts
Post by: jaybeerman on February 16, 2011, 11:22:05 PM
Thanks for not getting too technical on me :)

OK, i'll just go with crystal 40.  Appreciate the clarification.

No prob  :)  Read up on the grain descriptions on the major brew supply sites.  Or experiment on your own; after you make the brew with c40 then make the same recipe with Carastan which would be close to 40 degrees lovibond (32-40) depending on the maltster.  You may find that it has more toffee character than the standard c40.  Same thing with c60 and CaraMunich, you may find that the CaraMunich provides a fruitier, more complex, character than the c60 (there are now multiple lovibond versions of CaraMunich, each with different character).  Special B is another crystal type that claims to have a different character than the other similar lovibond crystal malts.
Just in case you didn't know this already, Carapils or any crystal type malt that has a lovibond around 10 will provide dextrins and no noticeable flavor.  Cheers, j
Title: Re: Crystal vs Cara vs Caramel Malts
Post by: abraxas on February 16, 2011, 11:31:56 PM
One thing I have never fully understood is how the dextrins are locked-in for Crystal malts to seemingly be immune to mashing with regard to adding body to a beer (similarly sweetness).  Are the dextrins modified in such a way that beta amalyse doesn't effect them during the mash?  

Or to put it another way, are Maillard reaction products of maltose/maltodextrin similar to the parent in some qualities (sweetness and body) but different enough to be unusable by the yeast/ amalyse enzymes?
Title: Re: Crystal vs Cara vs Caramel Malts
Post by: idbrew on February 17, 2011, 01:14:25 AM
One thing I have never fully understood is how the dextrins are locked-in for Crystal malts to seemingly be immune to mashing with regard to adding body to a beer (similarly sweetness).  Are the dextrins modified in such a way that beta amalyse doesn't effect them during the mash?  

Or to put it another way, are Maillard reaction products of maltose/maltodextrin similar to the parent in some qualities (sweetness and body) but different enough to be unusable by the yeast/ amalyse enzymes?
I remember reading something about the first part somewhere (something Kai posted maybe?) - I think it was that beta amylase has trouble with mid-sized dextrins - so they tend to stick around through the mash (I hope I'm not making this up here)
Title: Re: Crystal vs Cara vs Caramel Malts
Post by: jibblett on February 17, 2011, 02:00:13 AM
what a great forum!
Title: Re: Crystal vs Cara vs Caramel Malts
Post by: a10t2 on February 17, 2011, 03:39:18 AM
One thing I have never fully understood is how the dextrins are locked-in for Crystal malts to seemingly be immune to mashing with regard to adding body to a beer (similarly sweetness).

Is that actually generally accepted to be true? Intuitively, it doesn't make sense to me.