thanks. Is there a basic guideline for base malt vs other? A percent that lets know you are in the ballpark? Suppose it might vary by style too? Or is it just experience?
Dropping the 20L and cara takes the calculation to closer to 5.5 abv which seems more appropriate. Maybe that should have been a clue? Wouldn't mind getting it a little darker color somehow either.
More thoughts are still very welcome but it's on the schedule for next weekend ready or not.
There are no rules per se only typical ranges and personal preferences. The 9 or 10% would probably be my preference but since you are purposely are trying to get lots of Carmel you might bump the crystal to 15%. That would likely get your color in the right zone too. The reason I suggested all 80l is based on someone else's post earlier which I believe to be true that 80l has the most Carmel flavor. Its important when building recipes to avoid adding more ingredients if they don't have a specific purpose. In this case you want a Carmel bomb so why not just use the crystal with the most Carmel flavor? You can actually taste the malts to see if this is true. Chew them up good so you taste the sugars and start with the more lightly kilned malts or it will be hard to evaluate the light ones.
Derek brought up candi syrup. Its true that you could get some more Carmel flavor out of that or caramelized sugar added at the end of primary but there is a trade off. While the unfermentable sugars in crystal malt create a fuller mouth feel, sugar, which is fully fermentable, thins it out. My guess is a fuller body will increase the perception of Carmel. I'm not sure if there is a sweet spot (see what I did there? ) where a little caramelized sugar would add flavor without drying out the beer too much. I also wonder if heavily caramelizing sugar reduces its fermentability.
This seems like a beer you might need to brew a few to dial in, changing a variable each time. That's the fun of home brewing...and all that beer!