Once you have selected your base malt you can add specialty malts in smaller quantities to add complex layers to your beer.
Most craft brewers use specialty malts to achieve a complexity of flavour and body that you don’t usually get with the more generic, mass-produced beers. There’s no reason if you’re a home brewer that you can’t also try adding specialty malts to give unique characteristics to your beer.
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Broadly speaking, you get the necessary fermentables from your base malt (which makes up the majority of your grain bill), so specialty malts are added to achieve a certain colour, to add complex notes to the flavour, increase shelf-life and enhance foam retention.
Pretty much all the colour in beer comes from the malt, so adding a dark specialty malt to a paler base malt will significantly darken your beer. Specialty malts are often more intensely flavoured and aromatic, so you generally only need a small amount to achieve a deep colour or intense flavour.
Specialty malts use special kilning, smoking or roasting methods that bring out the flavours of the grain with a richness and that can add sweet, bitter, toffee, toasty, smoky or ‘bready’ accents, depending on the malt type.
For example, Chocolate malt is essential for stouts and porters. Crystal or caramel malts (malted in a way that makes the sugars in the grain caramelise) add sweetness, increase foam retention and enhance the colour and aroma.
Although most brewing malts (including specialty malts) are made from barley, there are other malted grains available for brewing, such as wheat, rye and oat malts, as well as unmalted grain adjuncts.
You can buy specialty malts in customised quantities from Cryermalt, or we can blend a selection of base and specialty malts into a bulk bag.
Contact the team at Cryermalt today for help selecting and purchasing the right malt for your needs, or to enquire about opening an account with us.