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Brewing in the Dark

Hi all, I’m working on a recipe for a partial mash, lower-alcohol CDA/Black IPA/whateveryouwannacallit.

For the dark malt profile, I was hoping to pick brains as to people’s opinions of said malts - I’ve read of folks using Black Pattent, Special B, Chocolate Malt, Carrafa 2 and/or Carafa 3, Midnight Wheat or some combination of the above.

(NOTE: my base extract will probably be Pale LME or Pilsen Light DME, in case that influences suggestions about which dark malt to use)

From folks who have made a dark, hoppy beer - what are your opinions / suggestions?

Cheers & Gratitude

You’re going to want a clean fermenting yeast like 1056 or 001, but I’m always a fan of jumping to 007 for a slight English flavor in all beers colored. Go very easy on your dark malts (especially black patent if you’re feeling crazy enough to use it). My personal favorite is midnight wheat here. As far as your extracts go I’d say shy away from the pilsen only because you are going to be looking for a little more flavor than that would offer. I’d also recommend a little (3-5%) crystal 75 or higher.

Carafa II or III Special (dehusked). This imparts the color without as much of the roasty flavor.

Hoppenheimer, we are on the same page - I have WL 001 as my yeast of choice for this one (whatever “this one” ends up being)

Glad that you point out the need to increase malt profile in a beer like this one. Pilsen has been my go-to recently for hoppy Pales, so I was just carrying along in that same groove, thanks for jostling me out of it!

Rodwha – in your experience, do Carafa II & Carafa III impart at least a somewhat roasty flavor along with the dark color? I’m hoping for some degree of that flavor profile. On a scale of 1 - 5, with 1 being not roasty, 5 being WAY roasty, what would you say…?

Sorry. Just got back in town.
It seems as though it may have. This was first Cascadian, and it was what I was told to use that wouldn’t impart much roastiness. But mine is more roasty than my first CDA, though I’ve tried a couple recently and found them more roasty than mine, like a stout. I wanted mostly color in mine. It’s good, but its more roasty than I intended.

I used (5.5 gal):
3/4 lb crystal 60
3/4 lb carafe II special
1/2 lb special roast

Midnight wheat is great in cascadian dark ales.

The special roast might have accentuated the roasty character. I’d go with carafa special, or the midnight wheat is a good suggestion.

[quote=“muddywater_grant”]Midnight wheat is great in cascadian dark ales.

I brewed an IPA on the 27th. Today I put 8 ounces of midnight wheat in a quart of water to cold steep until tomorrow when I plan to rack a gallon to a seperate carboy and add the midnight wheat juice to it. If it doesn’t work I’ll only be out a gallon.

Awesome, thanks all - Midnight Wheat is indeed on the grain ledger. I’m curious, anyone try Midnight Wheat and Carafa together? How would you say that they do / do not compliment one another?
I’m considering giving it a shot.
Cheers, peers


I think midnight wheat and carafa special 3 are about the same darkness and both really dark. So i don’t know that I’d say they compliment each other. The midnight wheat brings a little of what wheat normally brings, namely some body and head retention, but its so roasted that even this is minimal. I’d personally just use one of the other.

Thanks everyone for sharing your knowledge - in the end, I went with Carafa II and the results are great so far. Looking forward to trying out Midnight Wheat the next time around for a comparison.


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