Homebrewers Association
Homebrewers Association
Homebrew Recipes

Velveteen Caramel

The beer styles that we are familiar with in modern day have, of course, evolved for many years. A few years ago, Alastair Kocho-Williams wrote a piece in Zymurgy magazine about how Soviet beer styles evolved from four standardized Soviet beer groups in 1927 to many styles encompassing dark ales, dark lagers, “black” beers, “caramel” beers, and much more. This beer was taken from the Soviet-style karamelnoe (“caramel,” which would be renamed later as barkhatnoe, meaning “velvet”), which was a low-alcohol beer that was was brewed quickly, sometimes with Lactobacillus as well as yeast, and pasteurized so that it finished with a sweet flavor, syrupy aftertaste, and malty aroma. This style survived the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45, and some still survive to this day.

This recipe was originally featured in “Beer in the USSR” by Alastair Kocho-Williams in the March/April 2012 issue of Zymurgy.

Velveteen Caramel | Specialty Beer


  • For 5 gallons (19 L)
    • 7.0 lb. (3.18 kg) Pilsner malt
    • 0.75 lb. (340 g) chocolate malt
    • 0.75 lb. (340 g) caramel malt 140°L
    • 1.0 lb. (450 g) demerara sugar
    • 1.8 oz. (51 g) Sinamar®
    • 1.5 oz. (42 g) any noble hops, 3% a.a. (60 min.)
    • White Labs WLP004 Irish Ale (for clean version)
    • White Labs WLP360 Berliner Weisse Blend or Wyeast 3191 Berliner Weisse for lactic version


    • Original Gravity: 1.053
    • Final Gravity: 1.030
    • IBU: 14
    • SRM: 29


    Mash at 156°F (69°C). Ferment at 68°F (20°C) for 2–3 days. Alternatively, ferment with yeast for clean version with a Lactobacillus culture added. Allow to ferment to a gravity of 1.030. Crash cool, centrifuge, or pasteurize to stop or inhibit further fermentation.

    Extract Version:

    Substitute 4.85 lb. (2.2 kg) Pilsner malt extract for the Pilsner malt. Steep remaining grains.

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