Brewing Tips


Founded in 1981 by Avid Homebrewers

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Crystal vs Caramel malt

Mike Reintz

There was an interesting article in Brew Your Own back in October of 2013 regarding Crystal Malt versus Caramel Malt. I shared these highlights with the homebrew shop staff at 3 Stars, but I think BURPers will find it interesting as well! The actual article is 7 pages long, but here’s a bulleted summary:

1. For all intents and purposes, Crystal and Caramel Malt mean the same thing.
2. Crystal Malt is specifically the English version where the malt is Roasted at low temperatures in the presence of moisture.
3. Caramel Malt can be either Roasted or Kilned. Roasting and Kilning are not the same thing though. Therefore, all Crystal Malt is Caramel Malt, but not all Caramel Malt is Crystal Malt.
4. Briess, one of the major U.S. malt houses, does in fact Roast their Caramel Malts, so those are interchangeable when a recipe specifically calls for Crystal Malt (matching for color of course).
5. When Roasting, 90%+ of the grain is crystallized. When Kilning, only about 50% is, and the remaining portion is more like a traditional highly kilned malt (such as Munich or Vienna).
6. Weyermann, for example, makes CaraMunich and CaraVienna malt by creating Kilned Caramel Malts–half ends up being Crystal Malt and the other half is Munich or Vienna (depending on temperatures).
7. Briess doesn’t do any Kilning for their Caramel varieties. Their CaraMunich 60L, for example, is actually just a blend of Caramel 60L and regular Munich Malt. Likewise, their CaraVienne 20L is a blend of Caramel 20L and Vienna Malt.
8. Based on all that, if you’re looking for a Lovibond rating of CaraMunich or CaraVienne that you can’t find, just do a 50/50 blend of Caramel Malt and Munich/Vienna. For example, CaraMunich 40L = 50% Caramel 40L + 50% Munich. CaraVienne 80L = 50% Caramel 80L + 50% Vienna.

An Introduction to Carbonating Beers

By Robert Stevens 4/2013

Carbonating beer is one of the final steps in the brewing process and is an important flavor component in beer. It adds effervescence and life to beer. We can taste the Carbon Dioxide that carbonates beer as sourness, The carbonation contributes to perceived “fullness” or “body” and enhances foaming potential of beer. The Carbon Dioxide bubbles enhance the aroma of beers. Carbon Dioxide also plays an important role in extending the shelf life of beer. There are two ways to create and control the amount of carbonation in beer, bottle conditioning and force carbonation. Either unfiltered wort or filtered wort that has been reseeded with yeast can be used to bottle condition or naturally carbonate beer. A variety of sugars, additional wort, or malt extract can be added to the beer and then placed in a sealed bottle to “referment.” As CO2 is created by the yeast, it is adsorbed into the beer. Last month, Scott Burns described his procedures for sanitizing and getting bottles ready for bottle conditioning. There are a number web sites that provide detailed steps for naturally carbonating beer. Several of these sites are:, and To complicate matters, not all beer styles taste good at the same carbonation level. The amount of carbonation in beer is measured in volume of carbon dioxide per volume of beer. Milds – for example – taste better at about 1.64 volumes while wheat flavors of a Wiezen taste best at a volume of around 2.5. There are a number of calculators to assist you in determining how much sugar is needed to bottle condition different beer styles including Force carbonating beers requires a kegging system to infuse carbon dioxide under pressure. The temperature and amount of pressure to the beer play important roles in determining CO2 concentrations in the finished beer. The lower the temperature of the beer, the easier the beer can absorb Carbon Dioxide. The procedures for force carbonating beers can be found at and When force carbonating beers, achieving the proper concentration of Carbon dioxide or volume for a beer style can be accomplished by creating equilibrium in between the amount of pressure being applied to the beer and ability of the beer to absorb the carbon dioxide. Fortunately, there are web sites like and that calculate a beer’s final Co2 volume based on the pressure (PSI) and temperature.

Mel Thompson uses a PSI gauge attached to a corny keg fitting , to check the pressure of his real ales to assure that the pressure doesn’t exceed 10#. If the pressure starts to creep up above 10#, he de-gasses the keg to the appropriate pressure. During the secondary conditioning, he checks the pressure daily.

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