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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2004 * April 3, 2004 * Crystal Malt: How much? < Previous Next >

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Arthur DiLello (204.168.97.110)
Posted on Friday, March 26, 2004 - 02:10 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

What effects do varying amounts of crystal malt have on beer quality? For example, if a typical pale ale grain bill calls for 8 ounces of crystal 40L or 60L, what would be the outcome of using 1 lb. of the same? Thanks.
 

Chad Dickinson (12.216.50.42)
Posted on Friday, March 26, 2004 - 02:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The resulting beer would be have a more caramel/sweeter flavor. Color would be enhanced more. I have read however (don't know exactly how true it is) that you don't want to use more than about a half pound per 5 gallons. It was said that using more than a 1/2 pound per 5 gallons led to a slightly more astringent beer due to harsh tannin extraction from the crystal.
 

Beerboy (81.134.87.11)
Posted on Friday, March 26, 2004 - 02:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

There is a lot of debate on amounts of crystal.

Some people say don't use more than 5-10% or you'll end up with a cloying over sweet beer, others say you can use upto 20% with no problems.

One of my favourite real ales is made with 15% and is anything but sweet and cloying. The Crystal adds a great degree of complexity,especially in weaker beers with nutty, caramel, malty rich flavours, sometimes I've even detected smokey flavours as well. I think it is something well worth experimenting with.
 

Pacman (68.51.78.225)
Posted on Friday, March 26, 2004 - 03:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm curious about where you saw that crystal will add astringency to the beer at those amounts...

I've made amberales with 20%+ crystal malt with zero astringency. I'm with beerboy, if the beer is made right with that amount of crystal you will get a great beer with a lot of complexity.
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.129.137)
Posted on Friday, March 26, 2004 - 03:18 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have never heard of crystal/caramel malt increasing astringency. It is true that it exaggerates the sweetness of a beer, but this can be desirable in some cases. I think John Maier, head brewer of Rogue, has never had a crystal malt he didn't like. Some of his beers use up to 30 percent crystal. Not everyone agrees with him, though, and there are those who dislike the Rogue beers.
 

PalerThanAle (65.168.73.62)
Posted on Friday, March 26, 2004 - 03:23 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My Alt recipe (which I swiped from BYO) calls for 20% crystal 60. It is anything but sweet and certainly not astrigent.

PTA
 

Jim O'Conner (64.70.24.171)
Posted on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 06:15 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

WOW...That's surprising about Rogue ales. I find most of the ones I've tried to be so overly hopped that any residual sweetness becomes undetectable to my taste buds.
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.129.137)
Posted on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 03:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Jom, John Maier likes his beers both sweet and hoppy. I think there's quite a bit of residual sweetness behind all the bittering. That's one of the reasons I'm not so fond of Dead Guy Ale.
 

Travis Adams (24.21.204.196)
Posted on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 03:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have been looking at this in my recipes - because all of my all grain beers (now that they are working Hooray!!!!!!!!!1) have turned out cloyingly sweet. Esp. the brown ale with 1.5 lbs crystal malt along with bisquit and special roast etc. I feel the real problem lies in not hopping a beer with this much crystal malt enough - esp flavor and aroma hops. The sweetness kills the hop flavor - and for me, if it doesn't smell like hops it's going to taste too sweet. I think it is a perception thing.
All that being said, I know that scottish ales and ambers ales - which I love - use a high percentage of crystal malt - and often times little hops. I am struggling with this concept - because I honestly feel I have always used too much crystal malt. In an effort to produce a sweeter beer. My real goal was a maltier beer - but I didn't know the difference. As a result, I have always ended up with too much caramel and not enough hops.
I noticed this particularly when comparing my brown ale recipe with Bill's st. chucks. When I worked up a 2 gallon pale ale recipe to test some things I used just pale malt and 1/2 lb crystal 40 - with 2 oz fuggles. The resulting beer was very malty - but is not overly sweet.
Looking back at all the BYO recipes I have brewed - I think there is a serious flaw with the conversion from extract to all grain. I think it is a mistake to just substitute the extract for pale malt and continue as normal - I really think many of these recipes have too much crystal in them. You might want this if you are just steeping - but you don't want this for all grain.
As for Rogue - I have had every single rogue beer that I could find, and I have had very few that are too sweet. I swear John Maier has stock in hops. Nothing wrong with that - if you like hops.
Travis
 

Michael (68.190.114.241)
Posted on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 10:18 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yeah, my last pale ale came out a little sweet to my taste. The good news is that it's pretty hoppy so that it's still drinkable.

While I was a little heavy-handed with the crystal, I think a bigger part of the problem was my digital thermometer--it's definitely running a bit low and I need to calibrate it.

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