Author Topic: Munich as substitute for caramel malt  (Read 1120 times)

Offline goose

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 830
Re: Munich as substitute for caramel malt
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2020, 05:20:44 PM »
I normally use 86% Pale or Pale Ale, 9% Munich or Vienna, and 5% C malt.

I have seen folks say the C malt is too sweet. I don’t see it but that’s just me. I do have a Pale Ale in the docket with 91% Pale Ale and 9% Munich which comes in at 5.9 SRM which is plenty dark for a ‘to style’ Pale Ale but I’ve not brewed it yet. I look forward to seeing how it works out.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

What I've found is that for my personal tastes, and APA/AIPA with Munich but no caramel/crystal turns out too dry.  I feel like caramel/crystal is a hallmark of the style and needs to be in there.  It simply needs to be used properly.  This is all subjective.

Agree with both of you.  I don't find that caramel/crystal malts add any sweetness to an APA/AIPA.  If it did, I would have been told by my wife who does not like sweetness in a beer and can detect it instantly  I get more raisin and plum flavors from the darker crystal malts which are way more subdued with the lighter ones.  And I agree that caramel/crystal malts are the hallmark for the APA/AIPA styles. I use around 5% or so 20L crystal in my Amarillo IPA.

As a side bar the Red's For What Ales You beer (Imperial Red IPA) that I posted a picture of yesterday has 60, 80, and 120 crystal malts in it.  The IBU's balance the crystal malt flavors in the beer.  It turned out great.

But it's your even hand that makes the balance.  I'm sure if you added 15%, you would be told by your wife (in no uncertain terms) that the beer is too sweet.   :)

Without question I've had beers that were near undrinkable to me because of the copious amounts of Crystal.  Everyone has their own personal balance I suppose, but I rarely go above 5% C in any beer, save a Porter.

And I think you've nailed the description for the darker crystals, especially C120, which I like a lot.

It's all about how you balance the crystal malt.  I have a couple recipes that use 15-18% crystal, but hops, grist and water chemistry combine to balance the beer.
Red's For What Ales you has 5% each of 60, 80, and 120L  crystal malts.  But I agree that water chemistry, other malts and the hops in the beer, and as Megary said "an even hand" will balance it all out.

Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk

Goose Steingass
Wooster, OH
Society of Akron Area Zymurgists (SAAZ)
Wayne County Brew Club
Mansfield Brew Club
BJCP Certified
AHA Governing Committee Member

Online tommymorris

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2699
Re: Munich as substitute for caramel malt
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2020, 05:55:31 PM »
It's totally subjective and dependent on your tastes.  Personally, I don't find it an appropriate sub.  If you're getting too much sweetness from caramel malt, I'd say yiur recipe isn't properly designed.
I actually don’t find my pale ales with caramel to be too sweet. I just wanted to try out the substitute, since I saw it suggested and was intrigued. I am just looking for some guidance.

Online tommymorris

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2699
Re: Munich as substitute for caramel malt
« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2020, 06:04:06 PM »
Which Crystal? There are Big differences C-10 to C-120. I find CaraMunich to have its own 'German' character.

Which Munich malt? Weyermann Type 1 at 6L, or Avangaud Dark at 40 EBC (14.7 L).
If your asking in regards to the original post the question was light Munich (like your type 1) for C-60 where the C-60 was at 8% in the original recipe.

Online hopfenundmalz

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 9912
  • Milford, MI
Re: Munich as substitute for caramel malt
« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2020, 06:36:35 PM »
Which Crystal? There are Big differences C-10 to C-120. I find CaraMunich to have its own 'German' character.

Which Munich malt? Weyermann Type 1 at 6L, or Avangaud Dark at 40 EBC (14.7 L).
If your asking in regards to the original post the question was light Munich (like your type 1) for C-60 where the C-60 was at 8% in the original recipe.

I lost the plot, eh?

Well, there are some German beers I brew using 30% Munich 1. It gives it a malty flavor, not sweet to me.

I've been playing with Rauchbier, smoking my own Pils and Munich 1. 50/50 with 6 oz. CaraMunich 2, 5 oz Midnight wheat was too rich for a 5 gallon batch, not quite as quafable as Schlenkerla.

10 gallon batch 60/40 Pils/Munich, 6 oz CaraMunich, 5 oz Midnight Wheat (fogged off that it should have been 10) was a little too far the other way. This second one reminds me of Spezial.

I need to dial in my smoking technique also, to get intensity repeatable.

Hope this is more helpful.

Jeff Rankert
AHA Lifetime Member
BJCP National
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline erockrph

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6516
  • Chepachet, RI
    • The Hop WHisperer
Re: Munich as substitute for caramel malt
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2020, 01:44:47 AM »
To me, the spectrum of Crystal malts (very generally) goes from honey to toffee to caramel to raisin/fig, while Munich malts have a spectrum that is more like progressively darker bread crusts, with Aromatic malt being the darkest end on that spectrum. You can certainly try substituting some Munich for Cara-malts in a recipe, but the result will likely be much different.

Also, add me to the camp that doesn't find that Caramel malts make sweet beer. I have a funny feeling that this is an old brewing myth that dates back to when a lot more brewers were using extract, and possibly poorer quality yeast. Yes, C-malts have flavors that are reminiscent of sweet things, and that would be accentuated in an underattenuated beer, but they themselves don't add much sweetness directly.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline Silver_Is_Money

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 163
Re: Munich as substitute for caramel malt
« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2020, 10:40:43 AM »
To me, the spectrum of Crystal malts (very generally) goes from honey to toffee to caramel to raisin/fig, while Munich malts have a spectrum that is more like progressively darker bread crusts, with Aromatic malt being the darkest end on that spectrum. You can certainly try substituting some Munich for Cara-malts in a recipe, but the result will likely be much different.

Also, add me to the camp that doesn't find that Caramel malts make sweet beer. I have a funny feeling that this is an old brewing myth that dates back to when a lot more brewers were using extract, and possibly poorer quality yeast. Yes, C-malts have flavors that are reminiscent of sweet things, and that would be accentuated in an underattenuated beer, but they themselves don't add much sweetness directly.

I believe this to be the best assessment of the two malt styles I've ever seen.  Thanks for posting it!

Offline dannyjed

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1245
  • Toledo, OH
Re: Munich as substitute for caramel malt
« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2020, 04:36:57 PM »
To me, the spectrum of Crystal malts (very generally) goes from honey to toffee to caramel to raisin/fig, while Munich malts have a spectrum that is more like progressively darker bread crusts, with Aromatic malt being the darkest end on that spectrum. You can certainly try substituting some Munich for Cara-malts in a recipe, but the result will likely be much different.

Also, add me to the camp that doesn't find that Caramel malts make sweet beer. I have a funny feeling that this is an old brewing myth that dates back to when a lot more brewers were using extract, and possibly poorer quality yeast. Yes, C-malts have flavors that are reminiscent of sweet things, and that would be accentuated in an underattenuated beer, but they themselves don't add much sweetness directly.
Very well stated! I completely agree.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Dan Chisholm

Offline Megary

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 329
Re: Munich as substitute for caramel malt
« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2020, 05:05:16 PM »
To me, the spectrum of Crystal malts (very generally) goes from honey to toffee to caramel to raisin/fig, while Munich malts have a spectrum that is more like progressively darker bread crusts, with Aromatic malt being the darkest end on that spectrum. You can certainly try substituting some Munich for Cara-malts in a recipe, but the result will likely be much different.

Also, add me to the camp that doesn't find that Caramel malts make sweet beer. I have a funny feeling that this is an old brewing myth that dates back to when a lot more brewers were using extract, and possibly poorer quality yeast. Yes, C-malts have flavors that are reminiscent of sweet things, and that would be accentuated in an underattenuated beer, but they themselves don't add much sweetness directly.

I don't necessarily disagree, but to the beer drinker, is there really a difference?

I honestly don't know whether it's just a perception of sweetness from the derived C-Malt flavors or actual sweetness from the crystallized sugars, but I think it is pretty easy to overuse (misuse) Crystal Malts.  My theory is that it gets used too much as a color aid as opposed to using it for flavor/body purposes.  Gotta get that SRM to 12, hmm, I think a pound of C60 oughta do it...

Anyway, to the OP, I think Munich is a great way to add drinkability and a bit of bready, soft pretzel maltiness to balance/replace the lip-sticking sweetness of crystal.  How much is all relative.

Offline erockrph

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6516
  • Chepachet, RI
    • The Hop WHisperer
Re: Munich as substitute for caramel malt
« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2020, 09:37:09 PM »
To me, the spectrum of Crystal malts (very generally) goes from honey to toffee to caramel to raisin/fig, while Munich malts have a spectrum that is more like progressively darker bread crusts, with Aromatic malt being the darkest end on that spectrum. You can certainly try substituting some Munich for Cara-malts in a recipe, but the result will likely be much different.

Also, add me to the camp that doesn't find that Caramel malts make sweet beer. I have a funny feeling that this is an old brewing myth that dates back to when a lot more brewers were using extract, and possibly poorer quality yeast. Yes, C-malts have flavors that are reminiscent of sweet things, and that would be accentuated in an underattenuated beer, but they themselves don't add much sweetness directly.

I don't necessarily disagree, but to the beer drinker, is there really a difference?

I honestly don't know whether it's just a perception of sweetness from the derived C-Malt flavors or actual sweetness from the crystallized sugars, but I think it is pretty easy to overuse (misuse) Crystal Malts.  My theory is that it gets used too much as a color aid as opposed to using it for flavor/body purposes.  Gotta get that SRM to 12, hmm, I think a pound of C60 oughta do it...
To me, there is a difference. It may be a bit subtle for some, but I certainly notice it. It's like the ester/phenol profile that you get from hefe and Belgian strains. Banana, cloves, vanilla, etc. are all "sweet" flavors, but the beers themselves (done properly) are crisp, dry, and invite the drinker to take another sip. To me, a cloying sweetness is an attenuation problem. A well-attenuated beer with a fair amount of crystal malt doesn't taste any sweeter to me than a well-attenuated hefeweizen/dubbel/etc.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline pete b

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3350
  • Barre, Ma
Re: Munich as substitute for caramel malt
« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2020, 12:05:58 AM »
To me, the spectrum of Crystal malts (very generally) goes from honey to toffee to caramel to raisin/fig, while Munich malts have a spectrum that is more like progressively darker bread crusts, with Aromatic malt being the darkest end on that spectrum. You can certainly try substituting some Munich for Cara-malts in a recipe, but the result will likely be much different.

Also, add me to the camp that doesn't find that Caramel malts make sweet beer. I have a funny feeling that this is an old brewing myth that dates back to when a lot more brewers were using extract, and possibly poorer quality yeast. Yes, C-malts have flavors that are reminiscent of sweet things, and that would be accentuated in an underattenuated beer, but they themselves don't add much sweetness directly.

I don't necessarily disagree, but to the beer drinker, is there really a difference?

I honestly don't know whether it's just a perception of sweetness from the derived C-Malt flavors or actual sweetness from the crystallized sugars, but I think it is pretty easy to overuse (misuse) Crystal Malts.  My theory is that it gets used too much as a color aid as opposed to using it for flavor/body purposes.  Gotta get that SRM to 12, hmm, I think a pound of C60 oughta do it...
To me, there is a difference. It may be a bit subtle for some, but I certainly notice it. It's like the ester/phenol profile that you get from hefe and Belgian strains. Banana, cloves, vanilla, etc. are all "sweet" flavors, but the beers themselves (done properly) are crisp, dry, and invite the drinker to take another sip. To me, a cloying sweetness is an attenuation problem. A well-attenuated beer with a fair amount of crystal malt doesn't taste any sweeter to me than a well-attenuated hefeweizen/dubbel/etc.
But isn’t there a correlation between crystal malt and attenuation? I thought that the killing process and I presume maillaird reactions result in crystal malt producing more unfermentable sugars and therefore higher final gravity/ lower attenuation than base malts. I detect sweetness from crystal malt at times, sometimes welcome, sometimes not.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Online tommymorris

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2699
Munich as substitute for caramel malt
« Reply #25 on: August 13, 2020, 12:14:42 AM »
I normally use 86% Pale or Pale Ale, 9% Munich or Vienna, and 5% C malt.

I have seen folks say the C malt is too sweet. I don’t see it but that’s just me. I do have a Pale Ale in the docket with 91% Pale Ale and 9% Munich which comes in at 5.9 SRM which is plenty dark for a ‘to style’ Pale Ale but I’ve not brewed it yet. I look forward to seeing how it works out.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
I am going to try your ratios for an upcoming APA.

I made a Vienna lager recently that was 95% and 5% Caramunich I. Kind of a crazy recipe. It was quite malty. Part of this idea of replacing caramel malt with Munich or Vienna comes from that beer. To me there was some overlap in that beer and beers with 5-10% caramel (C60) malt (of course the Vienna Lager had 5% Caramunich so there’s that). But it was more dry. I don’t want a pale ale with 95% Vienna but I am intrigued by say a 25% Vienna pale ale or maybe a 25% Munich I pale ale. I am not sure what I would get but I am curious.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2020, 12:37:06 PM by tommymorris »

Offline erockrph

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6516
  • Chepachet, RI
    • The Hop WHisperer
Re: Munich as substitute for caramel malt
« Reply #26 on: August 13, 2020, 03:59:00 AM »
To me, the spectrum of Crystal malts (very generally) goes from honey to toffee to caramel to raisin/fig, while Munich malts have a spectrum that is more like progressively darker bread crusts, with Aromatic malt being the darkest end on that spectrum. You can certainly try substituting some Munich for Cara-malts in a recipe, but the result will likely be much different.

Also, add me to the camp that doesn't find that Caramel malts make sweet beer. I have a funny feeling that this is an old brewing myth that dates back to when a lot more brewers were using extract, and possibly poorer quality yeast. Yes, C-malts have flavors that are reminiscent of sweet things, and that would be accentuated in an underattenuated beer, but they themselves don't add much sweetness directly.

I don't necessarily disagree, but to the beer drinker, is there really a difference?

I honestly don't know whether it's just a perception of sweetness from the derived C-Malt flavors or actual sweetness from the crystallized sugars, but I think it is pretty easy to overuse (misuse) Crystal Malts.  My theory is that it gets used too much as a color aid as opposed to using it for flavor/body purposes.  Gotta get that SRM to 12, hmm, I think a pound of C60 oughta do it...
To me, there is a difference. It may be a bit subtle for some, but I certainly notice it. It's like the ester/phenol profile that you get from hefe and Belgian strains. Banana, cloves, vanilla, etc. are all "sweet" flavors, but the beers themselves (done properly) are crisp, dry, and invite the drinker to take another sip. To me, a cloying sweetness is an attenuation problem. A well-attenuated beer with a fair amount of crystal malt doesn't taste any sweeter to me than a well-attenuated hefeweizen/dubbel/etc.
But isn’t there a correlation between crystal malt and attenuation? I thought that the killing process and I presume maillaird reactions result in crystal malt producing more unfermentable sugars and therefore higher final gravity/ lower attenuation than base malts. I detect sweetness from crystal malt at times, sometimes welcome, sometimes not.
I don't have the source in front of me, but I've seen some tests showing that Crystal malts were nearly as fermentable as base malts when mashed, but when steeped without base malt they actually left unconverted starches behind. This would explain the apparent underattenuation when used as a steeping grain in extract brews.

Also, even if Crystal malt was only half as fermentable as base malt, at a usage rate of 10% or so that would only lead to maybe 2 or 3 extra points of FG in a typical brew. I don't know if most beer drinkers would be able to detect that.

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk

Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline pete b

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3350
  • Barre, Ma
Re: Munich as substitute for caramel malt
« Reply #27 on: August 13, 2020, 11:10:28 AM »
To me, the spectrum of Crystal malts (very generally) goes from honey to toffee to caramel to raisin/fig, while Munich malts have a spectrum that is more like progressively darker bread crusts, with Aromatic malt being the darkest end on that spectrum. You can certainly try substituting some Munich for Cara-malts in a recipe, but the result will likely be much different.

Also, add me to the camp that doesn't find that Caramel malts make sweet beer. I have a funny feeling that this is an old brewing myth that dates back to when a lot more brewers were using extract, and possibly poorer quality yeast. Yes, C-malts have flavors that are reminiscent of sweet things, and that would be accentuated in an underattenuated beer, but they themselves don't add much sweetness directly.

I don't necessarily disagree, but to the beer drinker, is there really a difference?

I honestly don't know whether it's just a perception of sweetness from the derived C-Malt flavors or actual sweetness from the crystallized sugars, but I think it is pretty easy to overuse (misuse) Crystal Malts.  My theory is that it gets used too much as a color aid as opposed to using it for flavor/body purposes.  Gotta get that SRM to 12, hmm, I think a pound of C60 oughta do it...
To me, there is a difference. It may be a bit subtle for some, but I certainly notice it. It's like the ester/phenol profile that you get from hefe and Belgian strains. Banana, cloves, vanilla, etc. are all "sweet" flavors, but the beers themselves (done properly) are crisp, dry, and invite the drinker to take another sip. To me, a cloying sweetness is an attenuation problem. A well-attenuated beer with a fair amount of crystal malt doesn't taste any sweeter to me than a well-attenuated hefeweizen/dubbel/etc.
But isn’t there a correlation between crystal malt and attenuation? I thought that the killing process and I presume maillaird reactions result in crystal malt producing more unfermentable sugars and therefore higher final gravity/ lower attenuation than base malts. I detect sweetness from crystal malt at times, sometimes welcome, sometimes not.
I don't have the source in front of me, but I've seen some tests showing that Crystal malts were nearly as fermentable as base malts when mashed, but when steeped without base malt they actually left unconverted starches behind. This would explain the apparent underattenuation when used as a steeping grain in extract brews.

Also, even if Crystal malt was only half as fermentable as base malt, at a usage rate of 10% or so that would only lead to maybe 2 or 3 extra points of FG in a typical brew. I don't know if most beer drinkers would be able to detect that.

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
Like so many things with taste it’s probably a variety of factors that cause me to perceive sweetness in crystal malt, perhaps including an association of the flavors and aromas produced in the killing process being associated with sweetness, whether it be carmel/toffee or dried fruit. It’s not a bad thing, another tool in the toolbox.
That being said my go to grist for an apa or ipa is 80% pale malt and 20% Munich.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline Megary

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 329
Re: Munich as substitute for caramel malt
« Reply #28 on: August 13, 2020, 03:28:47 PM »
There's a great article from the May/June 2013 Zymurgy by Agatha Feltus called Nanomashing: Investigating Specialty Grains on a Small Scale.
It seems so obvious, but before I read it, it had never occurred to me to make mini-steeps of grains and compare them both side by side and in combinations. I've since done it with my dark/roasty grains and some of my base malts.  Amazing what you can learn from doing this.  Very interesting read if anyone gets the time. 

Anyway, she compared the run of crystal malts from light to dark and used the tasting notes to formulate a recipe for a dark mild. 
Her notes on the C-malts ran from Sweet ---> slight caramel --> intense caramel --> toffee --> prune/toffee --> raisiny.  The sweetness decreased as the malt got darker at which point she noted no sweetness at all from Simpsons Extra Dark Crystal (150)

So to the OP, a little experiment like this might be a great way to take the guesswork out of the whole thing.

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 22902
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • Dennybrew
Re: Munich as substitute for caramel malt
« Reply #29 on: August 13, 2020, 03:37:01 PM »
There's a great article from the May/June 2013 Zymurgy by Agatha Feltus called Nanomashing: Investigating Specialty Grains on a Small Scale.
It seems so obvious, but before I read it, it had never occurred to me to make mini-steeps of grains and compare them both side by side and in combinations. I've since done it with my dark/roasty grains and some of my base malts.  Amazing what you can learn from doing this.  Very interesting read if anyone gets the time. 

Anyway, she compared the run of crystal malts from light to dark and used the tasting notes to formulate a recipe for a dark mild. 
Her notes on the C-malts ran from Sweet ---> slight caramel --> intense caramel --> toffee --> prune/toffee --> raisiny.  The sweetness decreased as the malt got darker at which point she noted no sweetness at all from Simpsons Extra Dark Crystal (150)

So to the OP, a little experiment like this might be a great way to take the guesswork out of the whole thing.

I've been advocating and talking about that for 15 years.  Wrote about it in our first book.  The thing to keep in mind is that fermentation changes those flavors.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell