Do crystal malts get further converted in the mash? - Home Brew Forums
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Old 07-15-2011, 11:41 PM   #1
Apr 2010
Kyogle, Border Ranges, New South Wales, Australia
Posts: 18

Something I've not been able to find a definitive answer to:

We add Crystal and Cara- malts such as medium crystal, carapils (carafoam) etc, not just for the flavour but to add body and foaming etc. During their production, these grains have been "mashed in the husk" and their starches converted to sugars of various complexities. So I guess there would be a fair amount of dextrins and longer chain non-fermentable sugars in there.

Say you add a fair amount of Carapils (one example) to a mash but mash low, e.g. 146° F - at that temperature we are well into Beta Amylase territory. Would this enzyme attack the long chain sugars from this malt and break them down into stuff like maltose etc?

This being the case then would it be preferable to add crystals at mashout (way out of the B Amylase zone) to preserve body and dextrins?

I've found it a bit hard to get my head around Palmer's chainsaw and lawnmower analogies

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Old 07-16-2011, 12:12 AM   #2
Apr 2011
, Iceland
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This I got to follow

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Old 07-16-2011, 01:03 AM   #3
JimTheHick's Avatar
Jul 2011
Iowa city, Iowa
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Funny, I was just reading Palmer whilst on the throne. He says that the process of making crystal malt leaves complex sugars that are not convertible/fermentable. they taste sweet/carmely (I.e. Not in need of conversion from a starch) to us but neither the "chainsaw", "hedge trimmer" or yeasties can metabolize them. Kilning the crystal develops complex branching pattens capable of escaping. Are these sugars calorie free to us? Probably not...

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Old 07-16-2011, 03:17 AM   #4
Mar 2010
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It is my understanding that the darker crystals do not have any sugars that require mashing, but the mashing process is more efficient in extracting/rinsing the sugars out of the grains. If you mash, you can get 30 points out of a pound (80% efficiency), but with steeping it would be more typically 20 points. These sugars are mostly unfermentable.

The lighter crystals (10L) have both sugars that can be steeped, and some that need to be mashed. The starches/sugars that need to be mashed are fermentable.

No, they are not calorie free!

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Old 07-16-2011, 03:23 AM   #5
Jul 2009
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you get some sugars out of crystal malt, just not as much as from pale malt or maris otter. mostly what they are for is a malty flavor
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Old 07-16-2011, 04:49 AM   #6
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Aug 2006
Whitehouse Station, NJ
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This is a good question and I only understand it at a high level. The unfermentable sugar structure in cara malts is dextrine which is an oddly shaped coupling of a couple glucose molecules that neither b or a-amylase can cleave apart. The enzymes that can do it are the limit-dextrinase but the temp range is 130-140 with denaturing happening over 150F. In other words, as long as you mash around 154F, the dextrines will stay intact.
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