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Old 01-15-2009, 02:30 AM   #1
Dec 2008
Madison, Wi
Posts: 25

I have a quick question about crystal malt and then would also like some comments on the recipe I made.
Is there any point in using two different kinds of crystal malts in a brew? And by different malts I mean like using 3/4 pound 40L Crystal malt and 1/4 pound20L or some other combo of differnt colored crystal malts. In the books I have read they say that each L has different flavors.
I am planning on making on American Pale Ale, Extract plus specialty grains tomorrow and here is the recipe I have made up so far.
Target gravity - 1.052
5.5 Pounds Muntons Plain DME
1 Pound specialty malt
1OZ Cascade Hops - Boil
1OZ Liberty - Flavor
1OZ Liberty - Aroma
I guess doing this I have one more question. What other specialty malts work well in a APA other then crystal. And also if you other comments please let me know as this is my first time with out using a kits.
Wild among the willows, like a wolf among the sheep.
Primary - APA
Secondary - Russian Imperial Stout
Bottled - Nothing
Kegged - Nothing

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Old 01-15-2009, 03:41 AM   #2
Dec 2008
Posts: 309

there is good reason for using different crystal malts. As you said, they impart different flavors to your beer. If you go to one of the maltster websites, they will give you definitions on the flavor profiles of the grains. Or you can look at the Beer Making and Home Brewing Supplies | MoreBeer website. I use crystal #60 in my pale ale but I also include some Aromatic because I find that it adds a maltiness that the crystal does not lend. The crystal #60 provides some nice dried fruit and caramel flavors. You should also consider the color impact of the malt that you use.
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Old 01-15-2009, 01:34 PM   #3
Bob's Avatar
Nov 2007
Christiansted, St Croix, USVI, US Virgin Islands
Posts: 3,927
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There is definitely a point to using different Crystal/Caramel malts in a single grist.

Like most things having to do with sugar, with Crystal malts the darker the color, the more concentrated the flavors. It's like the difference between simple syrup and molasses.

The way I approach multiple Crystal malts is lightest=most, darkest=least. Thus, you could use 12 oz of 20L and 4 oz of 120L to make up your pound. This will give a different flavor profile than mbird's full pound of 60L.

As for other malts useful in APA, I agree Aromatic is a good choice. Also investigate Victory and Special Roast from Briess, and Belgian Biscuit. All of these specialty grains enhance the perception of maltiness, though each does so in a different way. Heck, you can also do a lot by toasting a half-pound of 2-row pale malt in your oven!

I recommend purchasing at least three different Crystal malts when you're at LHBS purchasing supplies, as well as some Victory, Aromatic and Special Roast. Yes, you'll be out more money. BUT - carefully stored away from air and moisture, they'll last at least a year. And the point of buying them is to taste them. Not in beer, but by sticking them in your gob and munching. Taste each individually, take notes. Then taste combinations. Continue to take notes. You may find a combination of 20L Crystal, 90L Crystal and Special Roast is Teh Awesum!


Fort Christian Brewpub
St Croix, US Virgin Islands

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Old 01-15-2009, 01:44 PM   #4
CBBaron's Avatar
Feb 2007
Posts: 2,786
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Crystal malts have different flavor profiles so it does make sense to use 2 different varieties, however using 2 light crystals like c-20 and c-40 is not really going to add any complexities. These are too similar to notice much difference. Mixing a C-20 or C-40 with C-09 or C-120 can be beneficial.

Munich, Aromatic, Victory, Special Roast, Special B(another dark crystal) even wheat, all provide something a little different in an APA. However the malt profile for an APA should be fairly light and simple, so don't use more than 2 or 3 different malts.


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Old 01-15-2009, 05:24 PM   #5
May 2007
Cary, NC
Posts: 2,176
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Mixing crystals can be nice, but so can going with a single variety. Its not very often that I use more than one crystal malt in a recipe, especially not an APA.

I agree with the others that if you do decide to use more than 1, pick some that are fairly far apart on the color spectrum, like 40 and 120, or 15 and 80.

My favorite APA grain bill (right now, anyway) is 84% pale malt, 8% Crystal 40, 8% Munich.

Primary/Secondary: #133 Scottish 80/-
Kegged: #132 American Wheat
Planned: IPA, Brown, Pale Ale

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Old 01-15-2009, 06:31 PM   #6
Shawn Hargreaves
Jun 2008
Posts: 344
Liked 5 Times on 4 Posts

Originally Posted by NQ3X View Post
And the point of buying them is to taste them.
You can taste grains without buying, though, as long as your LHBS doesn't mind. Mine seems fine with it as long as I try just one or two grains of whatever I'm interested in. In fact I'd be suspicious of anywhere that doesn't let you taste the grains before buying!

Seconded on small amounts of something like Munich or Biscuit being nice in a pale ale, but with the caveat that you need a partial mash to make proper use of such grains. Unlike crystal, you won't be able to get much out of them just by steeping.

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Old 01-29-2013, 02:57 PM   #7
cluckk's Avatar
Apr 2005
San Antonio, TX
Posts: 1,599
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Go to your LHBS and ask. Mine has no problem with me tasting as much as I want. Of course, I don't overdo it and I buy lots of grain from them. I also, quite often, help other customers who are in the store and have even helped customers decide to make certain purchases. Often, when I am in there the salesperson knows they can take times to fill orders, while I will answer other customer questions, often keeping them in the store until the salesperson can get time to help them. If you are a good customer they will have no problem with you tasting a few grains.
"So you say you just brewed your first batch of beer. Welcome to the obsession." --me, to every first time brewer I ever meet.

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