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Caramel, Crystal and Cara Malts

by Alberta Rager
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Caramel, Crystal and Cara Malts

We had a great turn out for this presentation at our monthly Customer Appreciation in February when we discussed Cara/Crystal/Caramel malts.

Cara/Crystal/Caramel malts are produced in either a roaster or a kiln and are made with green malt.  Green malt is barley that has been germinated but has not yet been kilned.  As green malt the moisture content of the barley is quite high.  When placed in a sealed drum, and heat is applied, the starch in the kernel is converted into sugar, much in the same way this occurs in the mash tun with pale malt.  The high moisture starch conversion process is referred to as the "stewing" phase.  The level of stewing can vary from maltsters to maltsters.  After the stewing process, the malt is kilned or roasted.  During this process the sugar is caramelized giving it a "glassy" endosperm as opposed to the "mealy" endosperm of pale malt.

The terms Crystal, Cara and Caramel malts are used interchangeably.  As a general rule the lightest of these malts are intended to add body and fullness with little additional flavor.  As the lovibond increases so does the contribution of caramel sweetness along with those extra dextrins.  These malts contain no enzymes and my be steeped rather than mashed to extract their color and flavor.

When choosing the correct Cara/Crystal/Caramel malt to produce that perfect brew, choose based on the lovibond rating.  Different maltsters will assign unique names to their cara/crystal/caramel malts.  And the names continue to change.  So for best results, choose by lovibond rather than country of origin or a name.  The chart below shows the different names assigned to these malts by various maltsters.

Lovibond
Color

Castle, Belgium

Crisp, UK

Simpson, UK

Weyermann, Germany

 

 

 

 

CaraFoam 1.7-2.4L

5L

 

 

 

 

 

Cara Blond 7.2-8.8L

 

 

 

10L

 

 

 

CaraHell 8.1-11.8L

 

 

Cara Malt 15, 13-20L

 

 

20L

Cara Ruby 16.7-21.9

 

 

CaraRed 15.6-19.3L

 

 

 

 

 

30L

 

 

 

CaraAmber 23-30.6L

 

 

 

Caramalt 30-37L

CaraMunich I 30-38L

40L

 

 

 

 

45L

Cara Gold 41.9-49.5L

Crystal 45, 40-50L

 

CaraMunich II 42-49L

 

 

 

 

 

60L

Crystal 55.2-58.9L

Crystal 77, 70-80L

Crystal 50-60L

CaraMunich III53-61L

 

 

 

 

 

75L

 

 

Crystal 70-80L

 

 

 

 

 

 

90L

 

 

 

 

120L

Special B 95-132.5L

Crystal 120,110-130L

 

CaraAroma 113-151L

 

 

 

 

 

160L

 

 

Crystal 155-165L

 

Lovibond
Color

Pauls, UK

Briess, US

Thomas Fawcett, UK

Franco-Belges, France

 

 

 

 

 

5L

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10L

 

Caramel 10, 10-14L

Cara Malt 9-11L

Caramel Pilsen 8-12L

 

 

 

 

 

20L

 

Caramel 20, 20-25L

Crystal 20-27L

Caramel Vienna19-23L

 

 

 

 

 

30L

 

Caramel 30, 25-35L

 

Caramel Amber 30-38L

 

 

 

 

 

40L

 

Caramel 40, 35-45L

 

Caramel Munich38-42L

 

 

 

 

 

45L

Crystal 35-55L

 

Crystal I 42-48L

 

 

 

 

 

 

60L

Crystal 55-60L

Caramel 60, 55-65L

Crystal II 62-68L

Caramel Munich55-65L

 

 

 

 

 

75L

Crystal 65-90L

Caramel 80, 78-85L

 

 

 

 

 

Dk Crystal I 83-90L

Caramel Munich75-85L

90L

 

Caramel 90, 88-94L

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

120L

 

Caramel 120, 105-125L

Dk Crystal II 118-124L

Caramel Munich118-130L

 

Crystal 120-150L

Extra Special 125-136L

 

 

160L

 

 

 

 

 

This article was published on Wednesday May 13, 2009.
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