Author Topic: Crystal Sweetness  (Read 432 times)

Offline yso191

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Crystal Sweetness
« on: June 04, 2014, 12:27:01 PM »
Here is something I don't understand but am confident ya'll can bring me up to speed.  How does Crystal Malt make a beer sweet to the taste?

The problem I'm having is understanding that unfermentable starches don't taste sweet, but maltose does.  However, maltose is fermentable, and therefore wouldn't be in the finished beer to make it taste sweet.

What am I missing?
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Re: Crystal Sweetness
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2014, 01:02:57 PM »
I have wondered this myself. The sugars in crystal malt are not uncoverted starch. They essentially went through a mash in whole kernal form before being dried and kilned. There is a perception that sugars from crystal malt are unfermentable across the board but I suspect (and have read accounts that support my suspicions) that it is somewhat fermentable. However the stewing temps used in making the crystal malt are quiet high (>160) which makes it pretty high in dextrins which taste somewhat sweet but are unfermentable by normal brewers yeast. I also suspect that when a person tastes caramel flavors their brain automatically kicks on the 'sweet' message even if there is not a lot of actual sweetness there.

I've often thought about 'mashing say 2 lb of crystal malt in a gallon of water and fermenting it to see what happens.
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Offline blatz

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Re: Crystal Sweetness
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2014, 01:22:34 PM »
I've often thought about 'mashing say 2 lb of crystal malt in a gallon of water and fermenting it to see what happens.

that would be cool if nothing else than to isolate the flavor you get from it.  I'm never really 100% sure what is contributed from the caramel malts and what is just interaction of the other ingredients.
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Online Jimmy K

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Re: Crystal Sweetness
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2014, 01:29:31 PM »
Not sure this really answers the question, but Breiss wrote a lengthy article about crystal and caramel malts on the blog in March. Interesting info on how it's produced and flavor.
 
http://www.brewingwithbriess.com/blog/is-it-crystal-or-caramel-malt/
 
And apparently there is a different between crystal and caramel. Crystal malt is completely converted (it looks like a glassy sugar crystal inside). Caramel malt goes through a similar process, but conversion isn't complete, so it's still somewhat starchy.
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Offline yso191

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Re: Crystal Sweetness
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2014, 02:10:07 PM »
Great article!  Thanks.  If I read it right, the issue is carmelization.  I think I was assuming that caramel malts were that in name only based on the resulting flavor.  But the article says the sugars are actually carmelized, Which means a sugar combined to another sugar.  With that bit of info, I can easily see how it becomes non-fermentable and sweet.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2014, 02:12:06 PM by yso191 »
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Offline Kinetic

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Re: Crystal Sweetness
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2014, 04:13:36 PM »
One caramel malt that doesn't have as much sweetness as other malts of the same color is Weyerman CaraRed.  Don't know if it's a Crystal or Caramel malt.  Life was easier when I thought they were synonymous. 

It has more aroma than the same color Breiss caramel malt and less sweetness.  I like CaraRed a lot.               

Offline erockrph

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Re: Crystal Sweetness
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2014, 06:52:17 PM »
One caramel malt that doesn't have as much sweetness as other malts of the same color is Weyerman CaraRed.  Don't know if it's a Crystal or Caramel malt.  Life was easier when I thought they were synonymous. 

It has more aroma than the same color Breiss caramel malt and less sweetness.  I like CaraRed a lot.             

I like it a lot as a steeping grain for when I'm doing a "quick" extract IPA. Adds some rich maltiness & complexity without sweetness.
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Offline Kinetic

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Re: Crystal Sweetness
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2014, 01:04:05 PM »
From what I have noticed, Breiss 20-40 caramel tastes the most caramely and provides the most sweetness.  British 20-40 caramel tastes and smells more like toffee with less sweetness than Breiss.  Weyerman 20-40 caramel is the least sweet and most malty and aromatic of the bunch.  YMMV.