Special B

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Extract Potential (P/P/G) 1.030
Color 110-180 L
Requires Mashing? No
Max in Batch 10%
Grain in the fields

Special B refers to a type of dark, flavorful crystal malt traditionally malted in Belgium. In small amounts, it gives a unique flavor to the finished beer that is often compared to raisins or dried fruit.


Brewing with Special B

General brewing information

This malt is always dark, but the color and flavor vary more than most other malt styles; most of the commonly available varieties are in the 110-160 L range, but it may be even darker. Don't depend on homebrew software to calculate the color of your beer correctly, since it may be expecting a much darker malt than you are actually using; some older sources assume Special B will be over 200 or even up to 300 L.

While some sources still claim that Special B must be mashed, it is a crystal malt and can be steeped with an extract batch without adding significant protein to the beer.

Beer styles

Special B gives a unique flavor to dark Belgian Abbey beer styles, especially Trappists. However, used in small amounts, it can also give a pleasantly complex richness to brown ale, mild ale, or any other relatively dark, malt-focused beer.

Commercial malt analyses

This section contains information on commercially available malts, derived from the malting companies' malt analysis sheets. No commercial maltster reports the C/F difference or CGDB of their Special B, but other sources report it as 1.5% C/F difference.