What does the prefix CARA- mean?

I keep seeing it over and over again, what is it? Cara-amber, cara-munich.
It seems to be a specialty grain but what’s the difference between Cara munich and munich?

Cara means Caramel. Most Caramel/Crystal malts are made from pale malt. In the case of CaraMunich, they use Munich instead of pale malt. Same story for CaraPils, CaraAmber, and CaraVienne AFAIK.


And just to add, crystal malts have been converted then dried. So the contents of the kernels is mostly sugar, not starch. They have a glassy look and are harder than malt.

And to be even more specific, I believe that “Cara” is Weyermann’s registered trademark for its crystal malts. Crystal malt or caramel malt are the generic terms.

so they’re basically more sugary version of whatever the base grain is?

Yeah. Grains grow in a field, then are put through a malting process before it is shipped to wholesalers/consumers. The grains can be malted in different ways, to give different characteristics/flavors. If it is malted in such a way that the starches are not converted to sugars, then those are considered “base grains”. They need to be converted to sugars by the brewer by mashing them. If the grains are converted during the malting process, then those are considered “crystal malts” (aka caramel malts or the Weyermann-trademarked cara malts), then those don’t need to be converted/mashed, but can simply be steeped.