Author Topic: What the heck is a 'medium' crystal??  (Read 347 times)

Offline MTBrewer

  • BeerSmith Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 47
  • Without beer, how would Americans exist?
What the heck is a 'medium' crystal??
« on: December 06, 2018, 02:44:07 PM »
I was looking at some recipes the other day on another site - I think it was a Porter, and it called for an amount of 'medium' crystal. I chose 60L because it was in the middle (medium? or median?) - the thing is I've seen a few recipes that say such things as light, dark, mild, and semi-dark crystal malts (I think there are probably a few more words that are used to describe a particular crystal malt that someone uses, but how difficult is it to just look at the bag or the reciept where you bought it  and see what Lovabond Crystal malt you've used? Inquiring minds want to know!
Dell E6400 Win7 Pro/Debian Linux
Dell D610 Win7 Pro/antiX Linux

Offline dtapke

  • BeerSmith Master Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 63
Re: What the heck is a 'medium' crystal??
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2018, 03:27:25 PM »
sometimes I tend to be a giant smart-butt

http://bfy.tw/LEG8


i've also included a screenshot of the malt in beersmith for ya. make sure you've added simpsons malts and you'll have it too!
« Last Edit: December 06, 2018, 03:30:33 PM by dtapke »
32g eHERMS
Drinking: Milk Stout, E-Hop Candy Jr.
Primary: Nothing
Secondary: Tripel
Next Brew: Dopplebock

Offline BOB357

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 325
  • Beer is my bucket list!
Re: What the heck is a 'medium' crystal??
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2018, 03:36:55 PM »
For the most part, references to light, medium, dark, etc. crystal malts refer to British crystal malts. The color ranges may differ from maltster to maltster.
Bob

Offline brewfun

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 2117
  • STAND BACK! I'm going to try Science!
Re: What the heck is a 'medium' crystal??
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2018, 04:46:43 PM »
Short answer: find a crystal malt you like the aroma and flavor of, use that.

There are more "medium" cara & crystal malts than just Simpson's. It can even vary WITHIN a maltster!  :o

Bairds Medium Caramalt ~35
Bairds Medium Crystal Malt ~75

Thomas Fawcett has Crystal I & II, followed up by "Dark Crystal" I & II.

Then there's a whole 'nuther swamp of "light" and "dark" Munich malts to navigate.

dtapke, that reference may be a little dated. Every year, Simpsons does several tweaks and introduces new products. I'm not sure the BeerSmith database is updated that often.

As of this post Simpson names and average color:
Caramalt: ~15
Premium English Caramalt (Maris Otter) ~22
Crystal Light ~40
Crystal T-50 (made especially for the US market) ~50
Heritage Crystal (Maris Otter) ~65
Crystal Medium ~65
Crystal Medium Dark ~75
Crystal Dark ~100
Double Roast Crystal (DRC) ~115
Crystal Extra Dark ~180
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

Offline dtapke

  • BeerSmith Master Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 63
Re: What the heck is a 'medium' crystal??
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2018, 08:09:04 PM »
Brewfun, I generally update the lovibond, diastatic power, protein, etc when adding malts to my inventory. I doubt I've used Simpsons Medium Crystal in years... Its infrequent I brew to the style in which it would be best used.
32g eHERMS
Drinking: Milk Stout, E-Hop Candy Jr.
Primary: Nothing
Secondary: Tripel
Next Brew: Dopplebock

Offline merfizle

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 428
Re: What the heck is a 'medium' crystal??
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2018, 05:55:37 AM »
I love Fawcett medium crystal. It's about 63 SRM.

One more tidbit; crystal malt isn't he same as caramel malt.

Cheers,

Mark
Primary: Lambic base for solera barrel
Kegged: Bavarian Weissbier, N. English brown, Roggenbier

Offline Kevin58

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 201
  • I make beer. Not a style.
Re: What the heck is a 'medium' crystal??
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2018, 09:59:46 AM »
I love Fawcett medium crystal. It's about 63 SRM.

One more tidbit; crystal malt isn't he same as caramel malt.

Cheers,

Mark

Actually they can be the same but not always the same. Here is something I bookmarked from Briess a couple of years ago...
http://blog.brewingwithbriess.com/is-it-crystal-or-caramel-malt/
« Last Edit: December 07, 2018, 10:04:22 AM by Kevin58 »
If you?re stressing over homebrewing, you?re doing something wrong.
- Denny Conn

Offline merfizle

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 428
Re: What the heck is a 'medium' crystal??
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2018, 06:10:23 AM »
I've seen that article, and it's a good one so thanks for sharing that. In said article, I use this to determine if it's caramel vs crystal malt.

Caramel malt is applied to both kiln and roaster produced caramel malts, but the term crystal malt is normally reserved for caramel malts produced in a roaster.

Cheers,

Mark
Primary: Lambic base for solera barrel
Kegged: Bavarian Weissbier, N. English brown, Roggenbier

Offline brewfun

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 2117
  • STAND BACK! I'm going to try Science!
Re: What the heck is a 'medium' crystal??
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2018, 08:38:30 AM »
Why do we need to define it as just one thing? I think the flavor differences are a matter of intent, not technology.

Neither the Malting Association of Great Britain nor the Craft Malting Association of the US defines a difference between crystal and caramel malts.

Somewhere this past year, my 30th homebrewer anniversary passed. In all that time, I've never found a reliable way too define between crystal or caramel malts, though it's been a debate the whole time. If the maltster says caramel, so be it.

Making the distinction only between kilning and roasting is hugely limiting. It's sometimes defined by process, other times it's all about temperature and moisture. Briess kilns in large flat batch halls where moisture can easily escape the grain. Their original kiln was installed in 1901 and is still in use, though highly modified. It hearkens an era of floor drying, where hot spots would cause some malt to darken to amber.

"Roasting" generally means drum roasting, which gained notariety as the way to make black patent malt. Well, if a lot of heat makes dark colors, why not a bit less heat for lighter malt? Enter chocolate and brown malts.

Since kilns are a closed environment, why not play with limiting the escape of moisture, or even injecting steam or water during the process? Helloooooo Munich and caramel malts!

A frying pan doesn't define just one way to cook. The ingredients, plus technique, plus creativity make all the difference. If the equipment was the defining thing, then specialty malts would all be the same, and that wouldn't be any fun. Maltsters are incredibly talented and creative.

Cry/Cara malts aren't even very old. Like most of the world beer styles we revere, they're a product of the late 19th century and part of brewers rapidly adopting new technology. They didn't emerge in popularity or become a tradition until the mid 20th century.
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

Offline dtapke

  • BeerSmith Master Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 63
Re: What the heck is a 'medium' crystal??
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2018, 08:40:14 AM »
It's also nice to know, all Crystal is Caramel, and also, that Crystal has a "shine"/glossy look to it. Great article, I'm lucky to be close to briess, great maltster for sure.
32g eHERMS
Drinking: Milk Stout, E-Hop Candy Jr.
Primary: Nothing
Secondary: Tripel
Next Brew: Dopplebock

Offline MTBrewer

  • BeerSmith Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 47
  • Without beer, how would Americans exist?
Re: What the heck is a 'medium' crystal??
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2018, 10:17:33 AM »
the thing is I've seen a few recipes that say such things as light, dark, mild, and semi-dark crystal malts (I think there are probably a few more words that are used to describe a particular crystal malt that someone uses, but how difficult is it to just look at the bag or the receipt where you bought it  and see what Lovibond Crystal malt you've used? Inquiring minds want to know!

Thanks all for the comments - actually, I was just ranting, becuz it seems that many of the recipes I'm seeing are getting too devoid of information - (boil times, mash times, fermentation times & temps, etc., and I, for one am NOT clairvoyant!

I guess, from all the responses I got, I should have just asked the person who posted the recipe, which maltster the grains came from so I could contact the maltster for the Lovibond (j/k)! But then, as some have pointed out, even the maltsters mix it up too, as far as 'medium, dark, etc.!

Actually, just in case some might think I am not appreciative of those comments, I did appreciate them and thanks to you all for going to the trouble to answer me.
MTBrewer
Dell E6400 Win7 Pro/Debian Linux
Dell D610 Win7 Pro/antiX Linux

Offline brewfun

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 2117
  • STAND BACK! I'm going to try Science!
Re: What the heck is a 'medium' crystal??
« Reply #11 on: Yesterday at 07:23:34 AM »
I was just ranting, becuz it seems that many of the recipes I'm seeing are getting too devoid of information - (boil times, mash times, fermentation times & temps, etc., and I, for one am NOT clairvoyant!

I can see that frustration. I just need the scantest information for a recipe: Style, Grain %, Total IBU, Hops list, target abv %. Obviously, more detail is better for cloning, but it isn't necessary to get into the ballpark.

After that, it's simply some "standard" processes: 1 hour mash (temperature dictated by abv%), 1 hour boil, appropriate yeast used at the center of it's ranges. The boil gets lengthened if the first hop charge won't provide the target IBU, or the gravity won't provide an OG to get to the target abv %.

I don't sweat stuff like the water profile or exact hop additions or exact yeast being in the recipe because I can infer a lot of the processes from the style. I can derive the volume from the OG needed for abv % on my system. Color sorts itself by grain %. Between the style goals, hops list and total IBU, I can create a respectable hop profile.

I can get a detailed recipe from a 3 Michelin star chef, but it'll still turn out different in my kitchen.

I've been the "pro"part of several pro-am brews. I taste the beer, look over the recipe and make some judgments on how it'll scale. Mostly, I rely on talking and collaborating with the brewer and how their beer tastes.

One saison had been through hell because the brewer left for vacation and came back to 90oF beer and sticky residue from massive blowoff. He then chilled it to 70, added new yeast and then left for another vacation, coming home to again very warm beer. Total time, almost 6 months. That wasn't reproducible on a pro scale and timeline! We ended up making a double batch and using one yeast, where the first portion was allowed to free rise ferment for 5 days (it got to 90!), then the second wort was added and we kept it around 72 for 2 days, then let it up to 78 and just let the yeast settle on its own. The whole beer was packaged at 30 days. The result was excellent, very close in side-by side tasting, making the brewer very happy and winning some awards.
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

 

modification