Author Topic: S. cerevisiae, why do you hate Crystal malts?  (Read 5328 times)

Offline yso191

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S. cerevisiae, why do you hate Crystal malts?
« on: September 13, 2014, 04:05:33 AM »
I've noticed your tag line several times, and I'm just curious.  Knowing you the bit that I do, I'm sure you have a reason, and I'd like to learn what it is. 

I posted the question as a thread rather than message you because I anticipate that I'll learn something, and if that's the case other may as well.  Thanks in advance.
Steve
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Re: S. cerevisiae, why do you hate Crystal malts?
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2014, 07:12:48 PM »
I am sorry to disappoint you, but it's a personal preference.  Crystal malt screams "artificially flavored" to my taste buds.  It's the craft beer equivalent of using caramel coloring in American Dark Lager.


Offline majorvices

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Re: S. cerevisiae, why do you hate Crystal malts?
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2014, 07:19:20 PM »
Well, that was a disappointing answer given your propensity to extrapolate. ;)

I don't hate crystal malts but I do think they are over used by American craft brewers (home and commercial).
« Last Edit: September 13, 2014, 07:23:19 PM by majorvices »

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Re: S. cerevisiae, why do you hate Crystal malts?
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2014, 07:32:13 PM »
FWIW, I've switched to 2-row crystal malts exclusively, and I think it makes a big difference.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: S. cerevisiae, why do you hate Crystal malts?
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2014, 07:34:21 PM »
FWIW, I've switched to 2-row crystal malts exclusively, and I think it makes a big difference.

Extrapolation, please.

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Re: S. cerevisiae, why do you hate Crystal malts?
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2014, 07:41:14 PM »
Keith you and I have been around for a while, so we know why crystal malt is overused in craft and home brewing; namely, the lack of quality extract and base malts in the early days of the movement (i.e., the amateur brewers of yesteryear are the craft brewers of today). Back in the bad old days, crystal malt was used to doctor less than fresh extract and to add flavor to the major base malt that was available to amateur brewers; namely, American 2-row, which, in my humble opinion, is the Melba toast/tofu of the 2-row world.  Somehow, that work around morphed into standard practice after the base malts that amateur and early craft brewers were attempting to simulate became available.


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Re: S. cerevisiae, why do you hate Crystal malts?
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2014, 08:11:18 PM »
Crystal malt is simply a tool in the toolbox.  I use whatever amount of whatever malt I need to get the results I want.  I don't throw away a perfectly good hammer just because I have a screwdriver that can be used to drive nails.
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Offline narcout

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Re: S. cerevisiae, why do you hate Crystal malts?
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2014, 08:19:01 PM »
I brew a lot of Belgian style ales without crystal malt, and they usually come out really well.  However, I like a decent charge  of British medium and/or dark crystal in my bitters, APAs and IPAs (though it's definitely against trend in IPA brewing right now).

I'll get sick of either one if I brew or drink too much of it, but I prefer IPAs in the vein of SN Celebration to Stone IPA. 

The British stuff tastes a lot better to me than the Briess caramel malts (I stopped using those a couple of years ago).
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Re: S. cerevisiae, why do you hate Crystal malts?
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2014, 09:18:50 PM »
FWIW, I've switched to 2-row crystal malts exclusively, and I think it makes a big difference.
Extrapolation, please.

I guess the simplest explanation would be that with less husk material, it's a little harder to overdo it with a 2-row malt. Or maybe the precursor sugars are different, and so are the actual Maillard products.

A lot of it probably comes down to getting a less consistent (and more complex) product from a smaller maltster. A Briess or Cargill or GW 60L crystal, for example, gives off what I think of a cloying, overpowering caramel flavor when used in quantity. But I regularly use 5-8% UK crystal malt that's labeled the same color, but is really more of a spectrum.
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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: S. cerevisiae, why do you hate Crystal malts?
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2014, 11:43:31 PM »
I use 15% of crystal in one of my recipe. You would never known. Depends how you use it and what it is used for.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: S. cerevisiae, why do you hate Crystal malts?
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2014, 12:48:40 AM »
I'm not a crystal hater, but I am a 'crystal limiter'. I too started brewing back when healthy amounts of crystal were put into nearly everything. And I agree that it probably covered a multitude of sins, in terms of the quality of some of the ingredients. I usually limit it to no more than 8%, less for IPAs (~ 5-6%).         
  I find that (for my tastes) using 25-40+% Munich accomplishes for me what I always wanted from crystal, ie., malty richness without the 'caramelly' sweetness. I do like crystal in American amber, as well as porters and stouts. And I agree it is a tool to keep in the toolbox. But gotta say, these 'over-crystal malted' AIPAs and IIPAs are killing me - I can hardly buy a new IPA without first hearing a positive review from a friend. Excess caramel sweetness and American hops are a combo that I'm disliking more and more.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2014, 03:21:14 AM by HoosierBrew »
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Offline yso191

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Re: S. cerevisiae, why do you hate Crystal malts?
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2014, 12:58:17 AM »
This is the conversation I was hoping for.  I have heard smattering comments about the overuse of crystal malts for some time, and was curious. 

I have yet to taste a beer that I thought was too sweet, but I have a sweet tooth for sure.  Often what makes any recipe pop for me is adding either sugar or salt.  Doubtless I am a typical American conditioned to lots of both... and I'm OK with that until the Doc says I'm not.

My latest IPA had 9.2% Crystal 30 and I like it.  Perhaps when my palate gets more educated I'll start agreeing.  When Denny was in town I asked him to evaluate a couple of beers.  He tasted this IPA and didn't mention too much crystal... but he is a very nice guy.
Steve
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: S. cerevisiae, why do you hate Crystal malts?
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2014, 01:07:20 AM »
This is the conversation I was hoping for.  I have heard smattering comments about the overuse of crystal malts for some time, and was curious. 

I have yet to taste a beer that I thought was too sweet, but I have a sweet tooth for sure.  Often what makes any recipe pop for me is adding either sugar or salt.  Doubtless I am a typical American conditioned to lots of both... and I'm OK with that until the Doc says I'm not.

My latest IPA had 9.2% Crystal 30 and I like it.  Perhaps when my palate gets more educated I'll start agreeing.  When Denny was in town I asked him to evaluate a couple of beers.  He tasted this IPA and didn't mention too much crystal... but he is a very nice guy.

That's cool he got to try a couple! The best part is that nobody is right or wrong here - I love that we can all trade info, debate (or whatever) and still make our beer just the way we want. I like to gather all the info I can about other peoples methods, even if it doesn't change mine.
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Offline yso191

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Re: S. cerevisiae, why do you hate Crystal malts?
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2014, 03:17:14 AM »
Exactly, Jon.  I love this forum for that reason.

My palate has changed a lot since I've been homebrewing, I'm sure it will continue, so it's possible that I'll come to prefer less crystal.  But the other side of this conversation is that I don't make beer just for me.  I want everyone to enjoy it.
Steve
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Offline dannyjed

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Re: S. cerevisiae, why do you hate Crystal malts?
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2014, 12:45:59 PM »
I don't hate crystal malts at all. I use them in many of my beers to get the flavor and body that I want. I remember the brewers from Founders talking at NHC and they said that they use a lot of crystal in their all day IPA (session IPA). They said that the amount of crystal that they use goes against every thing that you read on the internet. Even though I don't care too much for that beer, it doesn't taste too sweet or artifical to me. Anyway, today I'm not using any crystal in a Belgian Pale Ale.
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