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Old 01-15-2010, 08:32 PM   #1
Finchy
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Default Question about crystal malt

Just starting out and learning fast, but i have a question and figured this was the place to ask.........

I am looking for clarification on Crystal malts. What does the "55° L" mean?? I notice different numbers following the "° L" (like 55, 60, 120 etc)part in different recipes. My local supply shop stocks minimal ingredients and i'm curious how crucial the differences are. Any help/advice/direction is GREATLY appreciated!

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Old 01-15-2010, 08:39 PM   #2
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l = lovibond. It's a rating of the color. Higher numbers = darker malts. Darker malts are more highly kilned and the extra roasting changes the flavor.

crystal 40 may taste like toffee
crystal 60 may taste like caramel
crystal 120 may taste like raisins

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Old 01-15-2010, 08:40 PM   #3
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Nice...I had asked the same question in a new thead I just created in the last hour. However I am still waiting for approval from a mod

Fortunately I had many other questions in my post so it'll still be relevant when it shows up!

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Old 01-15-2010, 08:41 PM   #4
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The "L" stands for Lovibond Units, a measure of the color of the malt. The higher the number, the darker it will be.

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Old 01-15-2010, 09:13 PM   #5
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FANTASTIC!! Thanks so much for the quick reply!!

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Old 01-16-2010, 12:12 AM   #6
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As others have said, the L is a color-rating, but the Lovibond rating alone won't tell you all of the characteristics of the grain, unless it's all within the same variety.

For example, moving from Caramel/Crystal 10L to 20L, 30L... up to 120L will increase not only its color but also the degree of caramel and fruit aromas/flavors. Basically the caramel flavor gets more and more fuller until about 60L, then to an increasing dried fruit flavor as it approaches 120L.

However, I just bought some Special Roast - 50L, which had a toasted biscuit aroma, way unlike the aroma from a Caramel/Crystal 40L or 60L.

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Old 01-16-2010, 01:13 PM   #7
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Don't confuse caramels with toasted malts. Caramels have an additional processing step with results in complex sugars being formed, then they get kilned.

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Old 01-16-2010, 06:31 PM   #8
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Also, the little circle above the number is for degrees, just like in temperature, so if you want to read out 55° L, you would say "55 degrees Lovibond".

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