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Understanding Grains

Well I am the proud owner of about 250 lbs of grain that I bought on Saturday. I planned to get 4 bags of base grains and then just order the supplemental grains as needed per recipe.

However, the Supply store was self serve and rather that asking stupid questions, I was able to get a few lbs here and there of stuff I know I would use.

Now the question, there are obviously different brands of base grains and specialty grains. And different places seem to call grains by different names. For example, it seems that Crystal 40, 60 80 etc is the same thing as Caramel 40, 60, 80?

What is the best source to get a better understanding of the options and differences? Is Pale Chocolate the same thing as English Pale Chocolate? If a recipe call for a certain brand of 2 Row (Rahr) and you end up with another brand, do you have to adjust?

Yes Crystal and Caramel are the same thing, just different names.

Dont worry about brand names, although many people have a preference it is really not that big of a deal.

Not sure about the pale vs english pale but I would guess they are essentially the same but the english obviously is roasted from english malt vs american. Pale chocolate is some very cool stuff, not as dark as regular chocolate and a slightly different flavor a bit more roasty/nutty than super chocolatey.

I use this site when I feel like exploring malts

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Malts_Chart

Awesome link! Thanks.

Congrats on the 250lb, thats a good start. As for your questions, you can ask questions here and get good info. For instance, I think British crystals have much more flavor/character than the American counterparts. And its hard to beat Maris Otter as a pale ale malt. Best Malz makes a really fine pils malt that many people here love.

The best answers come from trying the different products for yourself though. This coming year I’m trying to focus on domestic base malts just to see for myself what the differences are. I don’t know that it matters that you do side by side comparisons, just use a product and decide if it makes good beer.

+1 ipa!!

Also I use this one from BYO. Choose the style and it lists grains commonly associated with that style.

I also check out all the recipes I can find to see what people are brewing with and in what proportions.

http://byo.com/resources/grains

Oops, not beer style. Grain style.

D’oh!!!

[quote=“karithna”]+1 ipa!!

Also I use this one from BYO. Choose the style and it lists grains commonly associated with that style.

I also check out all the recipes I can find to see what people are brewing with and in what proportions.

http://byo.com/resources/grains[/quote]

Thanks,

in looking at this chart, what is the difference between Pale Ale Malt and 2 Row?

Pale ale malt is 2 row malt that is kilned slightly longer than generic 2 row pale malt. This gives the pale ale malt a darker color (2.5 - 4*L) and a bit more flavor than pale malt.

[quote=“karithna”]+1 ipa!!

Also I use this one from BYO. Choose the style and it lists grains commonly associated with that style.
[/quote]

[quote=“karithna”]Oops, not beer style. Grain style.
D’oh!!![/quote]

Awww man, I thought it would be cool to be able to choose a style and see what malt types are common for the style. THAt would be a great recipe building resource.

I was confused on that one. It’s their hop chart that goes by beer style. They have a few good resources.

I don’t worry much about the specifics other than color for most cara or crystal malts, but I will say that if you really want to understand the differences between, for instance, a particular English malt vs its US counterpart, I think you need to do at least one of the following two things:

  1. Get the actual malt analysis data that will give you specifics about diastatic power, protein (S/T protein is an important one), and other important parameters.
  2. Brew test batches where you swap out one product for another, and when you compare the results, use a good “blind” methodology that will ensure that your expectations don’t affect your perception.
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