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Old 08-24-2010, 01:39 AM   #1
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Default Deciding what crystal malts to stock

Once again, I need some direction on semi-bulk orders.

I have all the specialty grains narrowed down (but suggestions still welcome), same with the base malts, but I am stuck on the crystals.

Since I havn't brewed much, I dont have the experience necesary to determine what grains I should keep on hand. I am trying to figure out which crystals I want to order. I am going to order a pound or two of 120L, but am having trouble with the lower lovibonds.

Most of the recipes I have seen call for either 40 or 60 so I think I may get 3-5 #s of those.

But on other threads I see people stock up on 10, 20, or 80L malts as well and I am not sure if I need those. What styles call for these or what general uses do these fufill?

I want to have a lot of different beer styles (particularly cream ales, fat tire or dead guy types and IPAs) covered by my stock so what are some other good grains to have on hand?

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Old 08-24-2010, 01:53 AM   #2
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In my opinion, ONE light colored crystal is fine. Carapils, 10L, 20L. I don't think you need more than one of those. Those are great when you want a carmel type sweetness, or in the case of carapils, head retention.

Either 40L or 60L would do for many APAs, even some English styles.

I'd stock one darker one, like 80L.

My favorite amber recipes have a mix of lower lovibond crystal and higher, like 10L and 80L or 20L and 60L. It gives a certain complexity that is lacking with a single crystal.

Right now, I have:

20L
40L
60L
80L
120L
Special B

I don't use special B that much, so I have very little. But I have 20 pounds of 40L, I believe!

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Old 08-24-2010, 02:22 AM   #3
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Thanks for the response! Part of my problem is that I don't know what kind of recipes the 10, 20, carapils, or 80 are used for. Your response helped cleared that up!

I brew 5 gallon batches so would 5#'s 40L, 5#'s 60L, 2-3#'s 20L and 2-3#'s 80L sound like good figures? Or should I go 10 or more of the 40 and 60 L?

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Old 08-24-2010, 02:32 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Germelli1 View Post
Thanks for the response! Part of my problem is that I don't know what kind of recipes the 10, 20, carapils, or 80 are used for. Your response helped cleared that up!

I brew 5 gallon batches so would 5#'s 40L, 5#'s 60L, 2-3#'s 20L and 2-3#'s 80L sound like good figures? Or should I go 10 or more of the 40 and 60 L?
It depends on what you're planning to brew. check out some of the recipes that you think you'd like to do, and plan accordingly.

I would probably go with 10 pounds of 20L, and 10 pounds of 60L, if I was only buying two kinds. But that's because I'm all about IPAs and APAs, and can get by with those. I like a bit of variety, but you can certainly make just about anything (except dark styles) with those specialty grains.

If you're going to make mostly stouts, you'd definitely want roasted barley and crystal 80L. If you're going to make American ambers, 40L and 80L are great. For "light" crystal, 10L or 20L is fine. I use 20L in my house pale ale, with a smidgeon of 40L. My steam beer uses 60L, but you can squeek by with 40L if you want.

The differences in crystal are pretty subtle in small changes- not a huge difference between 10L and 20L, but there are some differences. The lower the number, in general the more caramelly sweet it is. As you get darker, you'll start getting more toffee and even raisiny characteristics. 10L is sweet and "bright" almost like candy, while 120L is raisiny, almost burnt sugar.

I plan my brews/recipes in advance so I buy in advance, too.
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Old 08-24-2010, 02:36 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
It depends on what you're planning to brew. check out some of the recipes that you think you'd like to do, and plan accordingly.

I would probably go with 10 pounds of 20L, and 10 pounds of 60L, if I was only buying two kinds. But that's because I'm all about IPAs and APAs, and can get by with those. I like a bit of variety, but you can certainly make just about anything (except dark styles) with those specialty grains.

If you're going to make mostly stouts, you'd definitely want roasted barley and crystal 80L. If you're going to make American ambers, 40L and 80L are great. For "light" crystal, 10L or 20L is fine. I use 20L in my house pale ale, with a smidgeon of 40L. My steam beer uses 60L, but you can squeek by with 40L if you want.

The differences in crystal are pretty subtle in small changes- not a huge difference between 10L and 20L, but there are some differences. The lower the number, in general the more caramelly sweet it is. As you get darker, you'll start getting more toffee and even raisiny characteristics. 10L is sweet and "bright" almost like candy, while 120L is raisiny, almost burnt sugar.

I plan my brews/recipes in advance so I buy in advance, too.
I have my next 5 batches planned out on a spreadsheet so I can see all the ingredients I need. To give you an idea of the beers I like I am making a caramel cream ale, dead guy clone(I think your recipe if i'm not mistaken), fat tire clone (for the girlfriend, I've never had it), Sierra Nevada Tumbler Clone (brown ale) and a Breakfast stout clone.

I'm sure more recipes with jump in and out of that lineup, but my goal is to have grains stocked to make those as well as many things in between.

Thanks a ton for the help Yooper!
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Old 08-24-2010, 04:14 AM   #6
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I really suggest planning out some structured brews... have the key ingredients that you like for your standards on... at that point i keep two extra batch ingredients around...

soooo....

I`ll keep the basic ingredients for 2 batches of my 3 favourites.
I will also keep 3-6 lbs of a variety of the rest of the grains i `may`use.
Spend some money on a good extraction packer... or vacuum packer whatever you call it...

I will actually package my favourite recipes all together so they get dumped directly into the hopper... then i have everything else in 5 or 1 lbs groups... my favourite way of seeing what i `may`use is to pick out 30 ya 30 recipes you want to try and break the grain use down in percentages and buy in those percentages...

OOOOOk... so i`m a banker and a little crazy but thats what i do and i`m always prepped for one hell of a multiple brew day... ENJOY!!!

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Old 08-24-2010, 04:21 AM   #7
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by the way make sure to date every package of grain they last a long time but better then leaving some maris otter for 3 years in the bottom of the fridge!

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Old 08-24-2010, 04:54 AM   #8
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Thanks for the suggestions! I have kinda planned it out, but other than base grains, nothing really uses the same ones. I do have it set up so I can keep washing then reusing my pacman culture.

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Old 08-25-2010, 12:45 AM   #9
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I've pretty much settled on just keeping lots of C60 around, for my IPAs.

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Old 08-25-2010, 11:43 AM   #10
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FWIW: I usually keep Carafoam (2L), 20L, 80L, and 120L on-hand and instead of 40L/60L I keep Caramunich II (45L) on-hand. And generally speaking the darker it is the less I use. But I prob use less crystal than someone like Yooper just because I brew less APAs/IPAs.

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