Crystal Malt Flavour, Overpowering

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Well, I have never been a fan of the darker crystal malts and now I know why.
I used 8 % 145 ebc crystal in a courage directors bitter clone (CloneBrews). I have just cracked the keg, poured my first 1/2 pint, Great color, horrible caramel flavour.

The flavour is quite strong and pronounced even after 1 month in cc, what a dispointment. :(

Hope it will mellow out in time, for those interested here's the recipe

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 38.00 L
Boil Size: 48.92 L
Estimated OG: 1.048 SG
Estimated Color: 18.5 EBC
Estimated IBU: 32.6 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amount Item Type % or IBU
7.60 kg Pale Ale Malt (3.9 EBC) Grain 88.9 %
0.70 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt (145.0 EBC) Grain 8.2 %
40.00 gm Target [10.00%] (60 min) Hops 27.2 IBU
15.00 gm Goldings, East Kent [5.60%] (15 min) Hops 2.6 IBU
15.00 gm Hallertauer Mittelfrueh [4.00%] (15 min) Hops 2.0 IBU
55.00 gm Goldings, East Kent [5.60%] (1 min) Hops 0.8 IBU
14.00 gm Goldings, East Kent [5.60%] (Dry Hop 3 daHops -
2.00 items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 min) Misc
0.25 kg Cane (Beet) Sugar (0.0 EBC) Sugar 2.9 %
1 Pkgs Dry English Ale (White Labs #WLP007) [StarYeast-Ale

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 8.30 kg
Name Description Step Temp Step Time
Mash In Add 21.63 L of water at 74.0 C 65.6 C 75 min
Hi Andrew,
The specification according to Ray Daniels in English commercial bitters for crystal addition is 6% and in the second round competition recipes the crystal addition averages 8% so your addition should not be too high.
Are you sure you achieved full attenuation from that yeast?
I usually add about 5% crystal to my bitters and use Nottingham ale yeast and dont have any caramel/sweet taste.
Just a thought

In fact, according to the info the brewery supplied to CAMRA,
Directors is 84% pale, 6% crystal, 10% sugar and some black malt (to adjust colour).
33 IBU. 28 EBC. OG 1046.
Target pellets for bitterness, Styrian Goldings and Hallertau for aroma.
Dry hopped with hop oil.

Typicaly, Brit. crystal is 75 EBC. So you added an equivalent of 16% British crystal.

Clone Brews is a great book for holding open doors, raising the height of your computer monitor, swatting mosquitos etc. Not for much else.
I know what you mean about overpowering crystal. i used to use heaps when brewing with extract beacsue everyone said crystal would give it that AG like taste- what a load of bs, beer was horribly sweet and caramel - now i know that i don't even like that charector in my beers at all - i like hoppy, malty, fruity, chocolate and other roast flovours but not bloody caramel !


beer is good
Hi Andrew
I know what you are tasting
I use very little crystal in beers now and if I do I only use German Crystal.
I am now right into Carahell. It gives the Caramal flavour without being overpowering and it is light in colour.
I you add 250 grams in a batch, the small sweetness will come through, but will never be overpowering.
Try the Weyermann Crystal malts in English Ales you will be suprised.
I have always found the Australian crystal a little harsh if you have anything over 350 grams.
If you can get your hands on some real English crystal you may find a differance
Hope this helps

A crystal at 75 EBC would a Caramalt. The "standard" English Crystal as used in bitters and IPAs is around 140 to 150 EBC AND you would never use more than 3 to 5 %. The rest of the malt profile comes from the Ale Malt. 8% is just going to be far too strong for a well attenuated ale especially if sugar has been used.

Opps, yes, serves me right for not double checking - I hate conversions from L to EBC and back.
Most English bitters do have a noticable crystal caramel note. In Directors it's just about the only decent flavour present. I'm not saying your recipe has produced a good clone of Directors, but if you don't like caramel in your beer you're trying to clone the wrong beer.
Thanks for all the comments guys, Ray I have used the german crstals in a few beers and I would agree they are a much smother and gentle grain.

Dicko, my attenuation was great fg 1.010 (probably too low) and I think that is part of my problem.

Bradmcm, I think your right about Clone Brews this is the third recipe I have used and I have to say that all of the results were dissapointing, the beers where tasty and drinkable but definately not a clone of the commercial product by a long shot.
Most would know my opinion on crystal, great but expensive chook food. However, if wanting a tad of color I might add some cararoma, little goes a long way, colorwise.

Otherwise, why not buy a kilo pale whole from the HBS, toast in your oven and use that in place of crystal? Try it, yum! (Jovial Monk is happy to grind any pale grain you buy there, even after you have taken it home and toasted it)

Jovial onk

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