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Do all Crystal malts taste relatively the same

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JulienHuxley
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beers 4319 º places 347 º 06:46 Fri 10/12/2012

Hi folks,

More questions for your vast brewing experience. I would like to brew a porter for my next batch. I would like it to be fairly dry, moderately low ABV (5.5-6%) and relatively light bodied, aka Iím not looking for a renamed imperial stout, just a roasty beer I can enjoy in more or less large amounts

I plan on using a bit of chocolate with roasted barley and black patent for color and roasty/chocolate flavors (I was thinking maybe 8-4-4 oz respectively) and then I came to the issue of using Crystal. I donít want too much body from crystal, yet it appears that if I donít use any my beer would be too thin and the dark malts would make it too harsh. I donít have any dark Crystal on hand, but I do have some 10L I use in small quantities in my IPAs. So, in your opinion, is using crystal for porter necessary? If so, how much? Would Crystal 10L do the trick or are there reasons to go to a darker crystal other than color?

Thanks for the help!

Cheers!

 
ALLOVATE
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beers 2654 º places 99 º 07:04 Fri 10/12/2012

Whilst Crystal malts add a lasting sweetness to the brew and therefore a different mouthfeel as to a highly attenuous wort, it is not the only way or means of gaining a fuller mouthfeel. Darker Crystal malts may aid your porter but if it is ídryí you are after then go for fermentable grains. Brown and Chocolate malts are the key and are also available in differing degrees of lovibond. Wheat, oats and a little flaked barley aid body and mouthfeel. Black patent is in itself a show stopper of smoky harshly bitter flavours so use sparingly. Hops are also key; aim for Goldings, Spelt or Fuggles - a long boil is good to, but the key is balance!

 
t0rin0
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beers 72 º places 1508 º 07:05 Fri 10/12/2012

I cant comment on crystal 10 but the 60L is sweet, caramelly, and red whereas 120L is fruity/plummy and black (kind of like Special B). I can only imagine that youíll get different flavors from something as light as 10L than you would with a darker crystal.

 
HornyDevil
07:14 Fri 10/12/2012

Is it necessary? I wouldnít say necessary, but I do think that crystal will provide an appropriate juxtaposition to the roast of the highly kilned malts that you plan on using. Personally, I would use a medium to dark crystal for your porter. Somewhere between 75L and 120L. It has some sweetness, but it also has other complementary flavors like toffee and dark caramel. I would also use some type of carafa instead of the black patent. Thatís just personal preference, but I like the clean flavor profile of the carafa alot more.

 
Unclerudy
beers 12 º places 3 º 07:22 Fri 10/12/2012

Carafa is a debittered black malt, meant to add color, but add any roast flavor. I like Carafa IV, but Carafa II is good too, depending on how much color you want to add. A half ounce will add a lot, so use sparingly.

 
robrules
places 1 º 07:56 Fri 10/12/2012

10L crystal is going to taste differently than 60L than 120L - many resources on the internet that describe them.



Also there is differences between crystal malt manufacturers. Personally I prefer english maltsters versions over breiss - which I find have a harsh burnt sugar flavor in the 60L+ range.



When I make porter it is the kitchen sink variety looking for depth and range of dark malt flavor - which crystal and other character malts help provide. I use base malt, munich, crystal, oats, and 3 types of roasted malt (chocolate, black patent, carafa). I canít stand the one trick, thin roast pony porters.

 
Unclerudy
beers 12 º places 3 º 08:30 Fri 10/12/2012

Also a good idea to get depth of flavor from crystal is to use different kinds. If a recipe calls for 1 lb of 120, use 1/3 each of 60, 120, and 180. That way you still get the color you are shooting for, but then you get the flavors of all three different malts. The only drawback on doing this is that if you only wanted a specific flavor from a specific crystal, you will get less. But most people would not want to do that knowingly.

 
HornyDevil
08:41 Fri 10/12/2012

Originally posted by robrules
When I make porter it is the kitchen sink variety looking for depth and range of dark malt flavor - which crystal and other character malts help provide. I use base malt, munich, crystal, oats, and 3 types of roasted malt (chocolate, black patent, carafa).


I subscribe to that thinking as well, without the bp, of course.

Originally posted by robrules
I canít stand the one trick, thin roast pony porters.


Agreed.

Founderís and Duck Rabbit are two that come to mind that all porters should strive to emulate.

 
JulienHuxley
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beers 4319 º places 347 º 09:41 Fri 10/12/2012

Alright, thanks for the advice everyone.

Here is my tentative recipe:
5.0 gal batch, 90 min boil

8 lbs Thomas Fawcett Pearl
1 lb Crystal 60 L
8 oz Crystal 80 L
8 oz Chocolate
4 oz Roasted Barley
2 oz Black Patent

Mash at 153 for 60min. Batch sparge

90 min boil
1.5 oz Fuggles 6.7% AA 60 mins
1.5 oz Fuggles 6.7% AA 5 mins
1 oz Northern Brewer 10% AA 1 minute
12 oz Molasses flameout.

Yeast: Wyeast 1968 London ESB

 
Unclerudy
beers 12 º places 3 º 09:52 Fri 10/12/2012

I would break up the crystal 60 into 40, 60, 80 to get some more complexity out of it.

 
JulienHuxley
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beers 4319 º places 347 º 09:55 Fri 10/12/2012

Sounds good, Iíll do that

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