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Carmel vs Crystal

I was at my LHBS to buy a pound of Carmel 20L for my Friday Viking Ale brewing and since he didn’t have that, he told me to use Crystal 20L. He said there’s no difference. Really?

Right, just different companies’ terminology.

Cool, thanks!

Yes and no,

They are pretty much the same thing although depending on retailer you may see the following:
A. Most if not all imported British Crystal is 2 row kilned to 20L.
B. Most if not all domestic Caramel can be 2 or 6 row kilned to 20L.
EX: Briess 6 row 20L ... alt20L.pdf

Briess 2 row 30L ... alt30L.pdf

If you look to their site they dont make a 2 row version of 20L and vice versa 30L is only 2row etc…although their many other lovibond caramels are made with both types.
I still use both hand in hand if the LHBS is out of British crystal (which is real rare as I shop NB’s St Paul storefront) as it may be hard to find out what domestic caramel your local LHBS is stocking, they might swear its the 2 row when in fact for price they buy 6 row. In most cases though I err towards the crystal as I know I’m dealing with 2 row.

The only diff is a slight bit more extract with the 2row caramel/crystal (not enough to really matter at the amounts used)
A higher protein and tannin content that can make a difference if you’re using an unreal s**t-ton of 6 row caramel and/ or you have very alkaline sparge water. Either then can lead to higher rates of astringency or haze problems down line. But this is of course the techie side of an answer.

So the real answer is your better off with the crystal 20L anyway :mrgreen:

Thanks, ITs. I appreciate it. I now feel comfortable using it.

I agree that no one company’s stuff is identical to another’s. My favorite is British crystal, it just seems to have more flavor than Breiss.

[quote=“tom sawyer”] My favorite is British crystal, it just seems to have more flavor than Breiss.[/quote]Same here. I use Simpson’s medium crystal (50-60° L) in most of my APAs and IPAs, I’ve also made some tasty pales using caramunich III.

[quote=“ITsPossible”]Yes and no,

They are pretty much the same thing although depending on retailer you may see the following:
A. Most if not all imported British Crystal is 2 row kilned to 20L.
B. Most if not all domestic Caramel can be 2 or 6 row kilned to 20L.
EX: Briess 6 row 20L ... alt20L.pdf

Briess 2 row 30L ... alt30L.pdf


I think you’re generalizing based on Briess malts. Other maltsters almost always use 2 row.

Yeah, well… from now on, I’m ordering my malt online. I’m done buying it locally.

You’re right I am generalizing on Briess but also from De clerk and Briggs that make mention on this topic back in the 50’s and 70’s that makes me lean towards other domestics being both 2 & mostly 6 row from way back and imagine it is still this way to this day. Although I am not certain this is true regarding others than Briess. This is why I can base the comment I made from the obvious facts laid out above. How can you begrudge that? I can understand if my statement was completely baseless.

We know from the British maltsters that they are using 2 row varieties. But we have little documentation to steer us to the right information regarding the various others. Whereas I quoted the source being Briess so my rational is sound at this time in that the above context is truth.

Okay so I just happen to look at a couple lot sheets I have Denny. Not looking for trouble! LOL. I thought it was about time this matter was brought to light and more info generated about the topic and by all means pile on any info available to either affirm or deny my claim.
I overlooked the fact that all Cargills caramels are strictly 6 row ( Robust & Tradition) except for a 2 row cara 60L made from Harrington.
Dingemans is all two row (Prestige)

Great western, which I use often for specialty malts, is all 2 row. It looks like Rahr is also, except for a 6 row base malt. And no offense, but info from the 50s-70s probably isn’t too relevant these days.

No offense taken, but you have two large companies showing 2 row and I have shown 2 large ones using 6 row so the topic is still valid. And the great majority of works by De clerk and Briggs is still relevant to this day. Have you read the works by these authors? Before you dismiss it as too old to be relevant as a guarantee everything you have learned EXCEPT for the Denny method! LOL came from the likes of these two authors along with FIX etc…as they are some of the important originators of brewing science and/ or the modernization of brewing in the twentieth century there is no two ways about that discussion.

Show me anything Charlie P Or John P, Dave Miller, Noonan etc… the list goes on that are “modern” and you will find most of their footnotes refer to these three authors a great percentage of the time.

Paul, dont misunderstand my meaning here I could have just said apples to apples and been done with it as has been said in the past but I felt today was a good day to open a can of worms.

That being said in most cases the difference between a 2 or 6 row(caramel not base) is negligible unless you use inordinate amounts in the grist. If your process is sound for 2 row, you will have no issue with six row caramel/specialty malts. Although it never hurts to acidify your sparge water if you have high alkalinity no matter your sparge method if using known 6 row specialty. I have used the Briess 6 row caramel and it does make a fine beer. But if I have an informed choice and have a known two row producer to choose from yes I will select it first.

Edit* It just dawned on me that you/ others may be extract brewing with specialty grains and in that case as long as you steep well under 170f you should also have no tangible difference.

Which is why the can of worms to get the ball rolling on mass information regarding domestic producers.

Denny, where in the heck did you find Rahr stuff, I have emailed and called them on this topic in the past and got no response. Is it web based that I overlooked? It seemed they didn’t have much of any data the last I checked.

I buy Rahr malt locally at my homebrew shop. And I’ll point out that while the theory in those books my still be valid, there have been huge changes in terms of ingredients even in the 15 years I’ve been brewing. Even the knowledge has changed, though. 15 years ago no one did yeast starters, for instance.

Yes supplies in general have expanded and gotten better than we ever had as I have also been in the hobby for about the same. 7 years extract and now 7 years all grain. And I can certainly say the freshness of extracts is leaps and bounds what it used to be and we had a whole what 20 hops back then( if we were lucky–You on the other hand were in the seat of hop heaven out there…lucky bugger.) and now we have 100’s to choose from and people still complain. But what made me open this can of worms was I always knew Briess had 2 & 6 row cara and recently picked up De clerk again from my library to reference some lingering questions I had and it brought up the topic of domestic grain/ majority being 6 row base with adjuncts in his day referring to commercial lagers in the states, but he also made mention to widespread 6 row specialty and I thought I wonder how many companies are truly using just 6 row for cara other than Briess still to this day. Thus the worms.

Ahhh…got it. I think the answer is “fewer than in the past, but more than one”. OK?

I do appreciate your knowledge on those two others. It does help to round out the topic at hand today.
Bottom line now that the topic is on the table if anybody has any other knowledge of domestic cara/ specialty malts not mentioned the knowledge would be grand to have.

This one was interesting as it is European, here is the quote from Franco-Belges via Country malt:
“All of MFB’s base malts are made from highly modified premium two-row French spring or winter barley and wheat. Caramelized and roasted malts are made from six-row barley or wheat”

Not at all. I like a good can of worms opened from time to time, and I really like your posts.

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