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Old 11-08-2010, 01:15 AM   #1
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Default Here goes: Using caramel/specialty malts for base malts?

I'll probably be flamed, and the board traditionalists may end up howling for my blood, but what would happen if, during partial mashing, I decided to use caramel and other specialty malts instead of base malts?

Of course, I'm looking to create a sweet beer with a lot of complexity, and also looking to push the envelope and test the waters.

Any input or ideas? They may not do what base malts will do mash-wise; may not create enough malt sugars. This is also what I'm curious about.

Thanks for the thoughts.

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Old 11-08-2010, 01:20 AM   #2
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You can always use caramel malts for sweetness, color and flavor. You WON'T get fermentable sugars from them, so they won't do as a base malt in a PM or AG.

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Old 11-08-2010, 01:25 AM   #3
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If you did that then you wouldn't be mashing. Simple as that.

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Old 11-08-2010, 01:27 AM   #4
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Yep, mashing requires a base malt that has some diastatic power to create fermentable sugars, caramel/crystal malts have none.

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Old 11-08-2010, 01:54 AM   #5
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Thanks, all. Wasn't sure if the specialties-for-base malts was even a possibility, but now I know. 'Twas worth a query, though.

Cheers,
Nige

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Old 11-08-2010, 02:09 AM   #6
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Now, there are "specialty" malts that DO have enough diastatic power to convert the starches to sugar - think, Munich and Vienna. Nothing keeps you from using those malts as your base malt. Those won't necessarily create sweetness, but they'll bring out other malt characters you may find desirable.

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Old 11-08-2010, 03:44 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Yooper_Brew View Post
You can always use caramel malts for sweetness, color and flavor. You WON'T get fermentable sugars from them, so they won't do as a base malt in a PM or AG.
Would it work if you added amylase enzyme powder?
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Old 11-08-2010, 09:12 AM   #8
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The starches in caramel/crystal malts have already been converted to sugar in the "stewing" process (that' what it's called) done by the maltster. They are essentially mashed in the husk. Then they are toasted to bring out color and flavor. Most of the sugars are unfermentable.

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Stop using so much caramel malt. Your beer will thank you.
(yes, Carapils is a caramel malt...so is Special B)

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Old 11-08-2010, 01:11 PM   #9
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Why can't you just add some 2 or 6 Row in with the specialty malts to get some diastatic power and steep at 150 for 30 minutes.

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Old 11-08-2010, 01:16 PM   #10
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Because specialty malts have all of their sugars converted already. There are no starches (or a very small amount) to convert during a mash and pretty much all you're doing during a steep is dissolving their sugars into the hot water. There is no need for a mash with most specialty grains (like crystal malts), just a steep.

Amylase powder would essentially do a similar function to adding some basemalt, but as I stated above, it ain't gonna do nothin'.

Also, I wouldn't consider vienna and munich as specialty grains. But maybe that's just me.

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