Dextrine Malt vs. Carapils - Home Brew Forums

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Old 01-08-2008, 06:09 PM   #1
Jul 2006
Columbus, OH
Posts: 164
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Hey guys,

I was wondering what the difference is between Dextrine Malt and Carapils. I'm pretty sure both are for adding body and head retention. However, Dextrine is only 1.5 lovibond, while Carapils is 20.

Dextrine is a nice choice because it doesn't add much color.


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Old 01-08-2008, 06:40 PM   #2
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Oct 2007
Someplace, Nebraska
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Cara-Pils, Dextrine malt, and Cara-Foam are all supposed to be approximately the same thing.

Here's some info from:

Carapils is produced by Briess in Chilton, Wisconsin and is a very pale crystal malt. Other maltsters make similar products and sometimes use names like
dextrin, dextrin or cara-pils to describe their products.
A dextrin is an unfermentable carbohydrate chain that is not large enough to be considered starch because it does not turn iodine black in the iodine reaction. This can be confusing because dextrins don't have much to do with why these malts react the way they do! Cara-Vienne and Cara-Munich are darker in color than these lightly colored caramel malts.

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Old 01-08-2008, 06:56 PM   #3

Yep, it's all the same anymore. Dextrine malt is just the generic term. You still see it used, particualry in older recipes. Kinda like you still see Klages malt used, even though it isn't around much anymore and other, more modified 2-row malts are now available.

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Old 01-08-2008, 10:45 PM   #4
Jul 2007
Edmonton, Alberta
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OK I still don't get it:

<<Mr. Wizard replies: Caramel, cara or crystal malts are synonymous terms describing a large family of malts that are made by changing the kilning process.>>

So Light Crystal is the same as Cara-Pils?
Or Cara-Pils is like but not identical to Crystal malt?

Can you substitute one for the other?
What difference do they impart?

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Old 01-08-2008, 11:22 PM   #5
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Jun 2006
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No, you're misreading that. Crystal and caramel are the same thing, just called caramel malt by the British maltsters and crystal by the US maltsters. Cara malt is also basically the same thing, done by the Crisp malt company. These malts impart color and flavor to your brew. The darker the color, the more intense the flavor, even a raisin-y flavor when you get up to 120L or so.

For example, cara malt 15-20L = crystal 20L= caramel 20L (more or less) depending on who manufactured it.

Carapils is NOT the same thing. Briess (US) makes Carapils which is generically called "dextrine malt". Also, it is sometimes called carafoam when made by Weyermann (Germany). This is used for head retention, and imparts no color or flavor. (Or at least very, very little)

I think I got that all right- someone smarter please check my facts!
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Old 01-09-2008, 12:21 AM   #6
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Sep 2005
Cheshire, England
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There are many malts that do the same job, they are just branded versions from different maltsters.


So Light Crystal is the same as Cara-Pils?
Are different.

Crystal adds colour, sweetness and body.
Cara pils adds little colour or flavour but aids head retenion.
Have a beer on me.

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Old 01-09-2008, 03:33 AM   #7
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Jun 2007
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Haven't I read that too much Dextrine Malt can cause an almost cloying sweetness?

or am i confusing it with another type of malt? I'm still trying to commit these, plus hops, to memory
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Old 01-09-2008, 09:53 AM   #8
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Jun 2007
Tuross Head, Australia
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Dextrine malt more likely to add body rather than flavour. It's not quite fermentable so stays in the beer. But it can mean that malt that does ferment will not fully ferment out if you use the DM to excess. Hence the cloying flavour.
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Old 01-09-2008, 07:15 PM   #9
Dr Malt
Aug 2005
Pacific Northwest
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Let me summarize and add to the correct information given here on the various malts in question.

As Yooper Brew says, "dextrine malt" is a generic term for malts that increase final gravity, body and foam stability in beer. This is supposely done through the malts having a higher dextrine content which is questionable. Two examples of this are CaraPils, a Briess product and Carafoam, a Weyermann product. These malts are designed to add little flavor and color to the finished beer and mainly affect body and foam stability.

"Caramel malt" and "Crystal malt" are two terms that are often uses to refer to malts of higher color ( greater than 10 L) where the sugars have been caramelized. The British are more likely to use the term "crystal" as they produce carmelized malts that have a crystalline endosperm in the finished malt. To get this uniform crystalline endosperm, the carmelized malt must be produced in a roaster where the malt is moistened, stewed and then roasted and dried to get true carmelization and crytallinity. However, some "carmel" malts are made on a kiln by moistening the malt and attempting to get carmelization at high kiln temperatures. The problem with the kiln versus the roaster, the kiln has more air movement at high heat and only a small portion of the malt crystalizes. Most of the kernels of kilned carmel malts have a meally endosperms, like Munich malt. There is nothing wrong with this except it has a slightly different flavor from crystalline caramel malts made in a roaster.

So, even though the term "cara" is used in both "Carafoam" and "CaraPils", these dextrine malts should not be confused with caramel malts. Why have the maltsters used the term "Cara" in these products? It could be they use a roaster in producing these malts without the carmelization process, but I can not confirm this.

I hope this helps!!

Dr Malt

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Old 02-02-2008, 11:08 PM   #10
Aug 2006
Delmar NY
Posts: 255
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Fortunately I have 2 LHBSs within 15 minutes, so one of them will usually have what I am looking for, but one of them does not carry Crystal 10L. Haus Pale Ale calls for 10L - will 20L make a difference, or is there some substitute to keep it light?
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