Author Topic: In Defense of Crystal (Caramel) Malt  (Read 1902 times)

Offline majorvices

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Re: In Defense of Crystal (Caramel) Malt
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2021, 03:43:12 PM »
I think the adversity to crystal malt came about as a reaction to early homebrew recipes where every beer had crystal malt in it and often not with a gentle hand.

That is because most early recipes were extract-based and the easiest way to get fresh malt flavor into an extract beer is via steeping crystal malt.  When many amateur brewers moved to all-grain they just converted their early recipes from extract to all-grain. These recipes were shared with other less experienced brewers.  Most of the beers that I have made have contained between 4 and 10% of some kind of crystal or cara malt.  My standard ale grist in the nineties was 91% base/4.5% torrified wheat/4.5% crystal or cara malt. The only things that changed were the yeast culture and the hops.

Yep

Offline reverseapachemaster

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« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2021, 04:48:15 AM »
I think the adversity to crystal malt came about as a reaction to early homebrew recipes where every beer had crystal malt in it and often not with a gentle hand.

I remember even into the very early 2010s people were adding crystal malt to everything because the assumption was every recipe needed it. Around the same time commercial breweries were starting to dry out their beers. I remember that shift of IPAs reducing and then eliminating crystal malt followed by replacing some of the pale malt with pils malt. (Then haze showed up.) That was when I really saw homebrewers getting aggressive about chopping out crystal malt with the same sort of belief that crystal malt is always bad. I think that was when we decided amber ales were canceled forever.

I'm personally a fan of keeping my beers dry and always have been but I think crystal/cara malts have their place, especially in darker beers. In small amounts the darker crystal malts can round out the flavors in red/amber/brown beers. But my preferences are not universally right, just right for me. If you like crystal malt in your beer you shouldn't let people dictate what you enjoy drinking or brewing just because it's a more common opinion. The great thing about homebrewing is you can brew and drink whatever you like no matter what commercial breweries are pumping out.
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Offline fredthecat

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Re: In Defense of Crystal (Caramel) Malt
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2021, 08:40:28 PM »
i think everyone has the idea here, but

i like my bitters with dark crystal and i couldnt imagine them without (ive never had timothy taylors ok, please dont bring that up.)


Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: In Defense of Crystal (Caramel) Malt
« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2021, 09:16:18 PM »
i think everyone has the idea here, but

i like my bitters with dark crystal and i couldnt imagine them without (ive never had timothy taylors ok, please dont bring that up.)



I used to think that, too, but then I tried to replicate "the ale that shall not be named" and decided that crystal malt was not a necessity.  Golden Promise can be nicely nuanced.  There is nothing wrong with Crystal, just use an even handed approach as I see it or try your bitters with some Biscuit or Munich and see if you like those alternatives...I have also used flaked maize from time to time for a different flavor profile.  Cheers!
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Offline skyler

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Re: In Defense of Crystal (Caramel) Malt
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2021, 03:31:06 PM »
Bitter is a broad style and British yeast strains vary widely in attenuation, so I consider crystal malt optional. I don't really care for Munich or Biscuit malt in a bitter unless maybe I was trying to brew one with domestic 2-row as a base malt, for some reason. I also think the British Golden Ale style somewhat replaces the "no crystal bitter" substyle, FWIW, and usually call my beer a "British Golden Ale" or "British Summer Ale" if I am brewing it with 100% base malt (or similar) and dry hopping it.

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: In Defense of Crystal (Caramel) Malt
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2021, 05:02:44 PM »
Gordon Strong's take on the "Owner who Rents":

https://byo.com/recipe/timothy-taylor-brewery-landlord-clone/

I agree the style is broad and open to just about anything one wants in terms of added specialty malts (believe it or not, even biscuit, or munich or flaked maize).  Cheers!
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Offline MagicRat

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Re: In Defense of Crystal (Caramel) Malt
« Reply #21 on: March 28, 2021, 05:23:28 PM »
I like crystal malt a lot, regardless of this recent trend against it, but with 2 caveats:

1. I never go over 10% (except in a California Common - this is a caveat to the caveat) and

2. I never use anything higher than C-60 - when you get to 90+, I experience the flavor as raisin, plum, etc., which I don’t care for.

Offline erockrph

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Re: In Defense of Crystal (Caramel) Malt
« Reply #22 on: March 28, 2021, 06:01:28 PM »
I like crystal malt a lot, regardless of this recent trend against it, but with 2 caveats:

1. I never go over 10% (except in a California Common - this is a caveat to the caveat) and

2. I never use anything higher than C-60 - when you get to 90+, I experience the flavor as raisin, plum, etc., which I don’t care for.
The darker you go, the less you need. The 10% rule of thumb holds pretty well up to 60L, but beyond that the flavor intensity goes up kinda quickly and you generally need far less.

Personally, I really enjoy that figgy character from Special B/DRC/Extra Dark UK Crystal, but 5% or less is more than enough.

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Offline Homebrew_kev

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Re: In Defense of Crystal (Caramel) Malt
« Reply #23 on: April 22, 2021, 01:39:01 AM »
I am lucky enough to have a local maltser that has an amazing crystal 60. Breiss, for all the good they do, can not match Sugar Creeks c-60. The fresher the better.

I am never using Breiss Crystal 60 ever again.

Offline Saccharomyces

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Re: In Defense of Crystal (Caramel) Malt
« Reply #24 on: April 22, 2021, 02:41:48 AM »
I am never using Breiss Crystal 60 ever again.

I am never using Briess anything again. :)   

Offline denny

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Re: In Defense of Crystal (Caramel) Malt
« Reply #25 on: April 22, 2021, 02:18:47 PM »
I am never using Breiss Crystal 60 ever again.

I am never using Briess anything again. :)

The Briess organic C60 is pretty good.  I use it frequently when I need C60.
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: In Defense of Crystal (Caramel) Malt
« Reply #26 on: April 23, 2021, 12:45:22 PM »
I am lucky enough to have a local maltser that has an amazing crystal 60. Breiss, for all the good they do, can not match Sugar Creeks c-60. The fresher the better.

I am never using Breiss Crystal 60 ever again.
I have plans to try their C60.  The only thing holding me back is Great Fermentation doesn’t have free shipping.

Lately, I have been using Great Western C40, 60, and 75 from MoreBeer

I just picked up some more Mecca Grade C44 along with some Pelton from Northern Brewer to accompany the Vanora I have on hand in preparation for my Big Brew recipe.



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Offline denny

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Re: In Defense of Crystal (Caramel) Malt
« Reply #27 on: April 23, 2021, 02:52:42 PM »
I am lucky enough to have a local maltser that has an amazing crystal 60. Breiss, for all the good they do, can not match Sugar Creeks c-60. The fresher the better.

I am never using Breiss Crystal 60 ever again.
I have plans to try their C60.  The only thing holding me back is Great Fermentation doesn’t have free shipping.

Lately, I have been using Great Western C40, 60, and 75 from MoreBeer

I just picked up some more Mecca Grade C44 along with some Pelton from Northern Brewer to accompany the Vanora I have on hand in preparation for my Big Brew recipe.



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If you're referring to MG Opal, it's not a crystal malt.
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Offline BrewBama

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In Defense of Crystal (Caramel) Malt
« Reply #28 on: April 23, 2021, 03:07:20 PM »
True, but I use it like one with pretty good results.

Edit: except I use MG Opal44 in the mash whereas as crystal I don’t. I was riding around on the tractor (aka mowing) and thought I should clarify.

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« Last Edit: April 23, 2021, 07:33:54 PM by BrewBama »
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Offline denny

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Re: In Defense of Crystal (Caramel) Malt
« Reply #29 on: April 23, 2021, 03:41:49 PM »
True, but I use it like one with pretty good results.



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Absolutely. So do I.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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