The Sweet and Savory Benefits of Crystal Malt

Crystal is a type of malt that is widely used in the industry to add sweetness and color to beers. It is created by roasting malted barley or wheat at a high temperature. The roasting process caramelizes the sugars in the grain, giving the malt its characteristic sweet flavor and color.

Crystal malts come in a range of colors, from light to dark. The lighter varieties, such as Crystal 10 and Crystal 20, are often used in lighter beers like pale ales and lagers. These malts provide a subtle sweetness and a light golden color to the .

The darker varieties of crystal malt, such as Crystal 60 and Crystal 120, are used in darker beers like stouts and porters. These malts provide a deeper, richer sweetness and a darker color to the beer. They can also add notes of toffee, caramel, and raisins to the beer's flavor profile.

Crystal malt can be used in both extract and all-grain brewing. In extract brewing, the malt is steeped in hot to extract its sugars and flavors. In all-grain brewing, the malt is mashed with oher grains to create a wort that is then fermented into beer.

Crystal malt is often used in conjunction with other malts and grains to create a complex flavor profile in the beer. For example, it may be combined with roasted malts to create a chocolatey flavor in a , or with wheat malt to create a smooth, creamy mouthfeel in a wheat beer.

Crystal Wheat malt is a variation of crystal malt that is made from roasted wheat instead of barley. It provides a similar sweetness and color to the beer, but with a slightly different flavor profile. It is often used in wheat beers to enhance foam retention and add a caramel character to the beer.

Crystal malt is an essential ingredient in many types of beer. Its sweetness and color make it a versatile malt that can be used in a variety of brewing styles. Whether you're brewing a light or a dark stout, crystal malt can help you achieve the flavor and color you're looking for in your beer.

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The Role of Crystal Malt in Beer

Crystal malt is an essential ingredient in the brewing process that plays a significant role in the flavor, color, and body of beer. It is a type of specialty malt that is produced by steeping malted barley in water, allowing it to germinate, and then drying it in a kiln.

When crystal malt is used in beer, it adds sweetness, complexity, and depth of flavor to the finished product. The high concentration of unfermentable sugars and complex carbohydrates in crystal malt provide a rich, caramel-like sweetness that balances the bitterness of and gives the beer a smooth, full-bodied mouthfeel.

In addition to flavor, crystal malt is also responsible for the color of beer. The longer the crystal malt is kilned, the darker it becomes, which in turn affects the color of the beer. Lighter-colored crystal malts, such as Crystal 10 and Crystal 20, produce beers that are golden to amber in color, while darker crystal malts, such as Crystal 40 and Crystal 60, produce beers that are reddish-brown to dark brown in color.

Crystal malt can be used in both extract and all-grain brewing methods, and it is typically added to the mash or steeped in hot water befre being added to the wort. The amount of crystal malt used in a recipe will depend on the desired flavor, color, and body of the beer.

Crystal malt is a versatile and important ingredient in brewing that adds sweetness, complexity, and color to beer, making it a favorite among brewers and beer lovers alike.

Beers That Use Crystal Malt

Crystal malt is a popular ingredient that is used in the brewing process of many types of beers. However, the amount of crystal malt used may vary depending on the style of beer being brewed.

Lagers, such as Oktoberfests or Vienna lagers, may contain up to 15 percent crystal malt. This is because crystal malt adds a subtle sweetness and caramel flavor to the beer, which complements the smoothness of lagers.

Darker ales, such as porters and stouts, may also contain crystal malt along with more darkly roasted grains. The crystal malt adds complexity to the beer's flavor profile, providing a balance btween the bitterness of the roasted grains and the sweetness of the crystal malt.

Crystal malt is commonly used in the brewing process of lagers, porters, and stouts. Its unique flavor and sweetness make it a popular ingredient among brewers who want to create a well-balanced beer.

Are Caramel and Crystal Malts the Same?

Caramel and crystal malt are often used interchangeably in the malting industry, but technically, they are not the same. Crystal malt is a type of caramel malt that is produced by heating the malted barley to a specific temperature and then holding it there until the desired color and flavor are achieved. Caramel malt, on the other hand, is produced by using a dfferent process where the grains are kilned at a higher temperature and then roasted until they reach the desired color and flavor. While both types of malt contribute sweetness, body, and color to beer, crystal malt tends to be lighter in color and flavor, while caramel malt is darker and more complex. Nevertheless, the terms are often used interchangeably in the industry and can be used to refer to either type of malt.

Is Crystal Malt a Type of Wheat?

Crystal malt can be made from wheat in addition to barley. Crystal Wheat malt, specifically, is made from premium golden wheat from the Pacific Northwest and is roasted to give a caramel character and enhance foam retention. So, while not all crystal malt is made from wheat, Crystal Wheat malt is a type of crystal malt that is made from wheat.


Crystal malt is an essential ingredient in brewing that adds sweetness, color, and complexity to beers of all styles. Its steepable nature makes it easy to use for both extract and all-grain brewing, and the range of colors and flavors available allows brewers to customize their recipes to their liking. Whether used in lagers or ales, crystal malt can enhance the overall flavor and appearance of the finished product. With its versatility and wide availability, crystal malt is a must-have for any brewer looking to create delicious and unique beers.

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Thomas Ashford

Thomas Ashford is a highly educated brewer with years of experience in the industry. He has a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry and a Master Degree in Brewing Science. He is also BJCP Certified Beer Judge. Tom has worked hard to become one of the most experienced brewers in the industry. He has experience monitoring brewhouse and cellaring operations, coordinating brewhouse projects, and optimizing brewery operations for maximum efficiency. He is also familiar mixology and an experienced sommelier. Tom is an expert organizer of beer festivals, wine tastings, and brewery tours.