There’ll be days in which you want to brew but lack the ingredients. This was my case the day after Christmas 2012 and decided to give making my own Crystal malt at home so I could brew. I originally documented my process over at reddit, but feel it’d be invaluable to have on the blog as project. Time from start to finish will be 4 hours or so. Thankfully you can step away for fairly significant chunks of time during the early steps of the process, later on during the roast you’ll want to constantly supervise. At the end of this post you’ll find my recipe to my Aramis Pale Ale that was made with this homemade Crystal malt. It’s a English style Pale Ale made with Aramis, a French hop that has tons of noble flavor with a touch of lemon.
What is Crystal Malt?
Crystal Malt, also known as Caramel Malt, is a brewing ingredient used to give beer flavor and colors. It’s barley that has already had it’s starches converted to Maltose. Since the Crystal Malt is roasted after conversion some of the sugars are crystalized/caramalized rendering them unfermentable, that’s why using too much can leave your beer cloyingly sweet. The flavors that Crystal Malt lend to your beer vary greatly and are significant in the flavor profile of your final product, however one must maintain balance of the beer through proper recipe formulation.
If the malt’s starch has been converted we know the grain has been mashed, and that’s what we will do! After we mash the grain, we’ll dry it out followed by roasting in the oven to the desired color. Before you begin you’ll need a Stock Pot, Spoon, Scale, and a Few Cookie Sheets.
Mash to Convert
Mash Out to End Conversion
Drying the Grain
After Drying, It’s time to Roast
Roasting the Malt
Roast Longer for More Color and Flavor
The final product after resting for a few weeks is very similar to their commercial examples. I feel the homemade malt has a bit more of a nutty/toasty flavor to it than the commercial examples. This could also come from it being extremely fresh. With that said, it takes a lot of time for little return. Crystal malt is cheap enough that I’ll continue buying it unless in a pinch. If you are in a pinch, it’s simple to do it just takes time.
10# Pale Ale Malt
.5# Crystal 40-60 (homemade)
.5# Crystal 80-120 (homemade)
1.5oz Willamette 4.6% @ 60
.5oz Willamette 4.6% @20
.5oz Willamette 4.6% @10
1.0oz Willamette 4.6% @ 0
Mash @ 153F for 60 minutes. Ferment 60-63F for 10 days, cold crash and keg. Drinkable @ 3 weeks, good at week 5.