[quote=“Barley Water”]Ok so I have a question for you guys. Frankly, I really don’t spend a whole bunch of time worrying about the color as long as I am in the right ballpark but; do you not get alot of dried fruit flavors and also possibly some roast aspects when using dark crystal malt and/or Special B? Perhaps I should be asking how much of that stuff can you add to a batch before you start seriously affecting the flavor of the beer? Also, I always thought that if you wanted a red beer just a touch (meaning maybe an ounce or two in a 5 gallon batch) of roast barley would get you there avoiding any of the afore mentioned issues.
I make a fair number of German type lagers and if I want them dark, I just add a bit of the dehusked carafa malt, works great. I would have to say though, you tend to get brown with that stuff as versus red (but in a Munich Dunkel or a Dunkel Bock that is exactly what I want). Generally speaking (and especially with lagers) I am looking to dry out the beer as much as possible so I am very wary of adding a bunch of crystal type malts to the grist. Maybe I’m just an old fart but seems like the older I get, the less I want “sweet beer”, dry and malty however really works really well for me.[/quote]
Some people say that they pick up a dried-fruit or raisiny flavor from darker crystals like this. There are times when I pick it up but it’s not really a huge part of the grain bill and I suppose it could depend on what you do with hops and how much character you get from the yeast you use. When I was an all-grain newbie, I tried to get a red beer with roasted barley, crystals, carared, etc. and I got ‘amber’, not ‘red’. My take on it is that Special B is the grain with the most red in it. Also, I don’t care for super-roasty flavors so the idea of getting ‘red’ with crystal malt appealed to me too. I have used only Special B and excluded the C120 and that will give you red as well, but not as dark. The C120 makes the beer darker and the Special B turns it red. Special B is a very dark grain and I believe that it comes in various °L ratings with 140 being pretty common. Cheers.