What Is It?
Caramalts are used to give colour and flavour to pale ales and lager beers but should be used with care to avoid making the beer too dark or giving it too cloying a flavour. They also change the oxidation-reduction state of a beer, and can, therefore, improve the stability of a beer by preventing the formation of oxidised (cardboard) flavours. Essentially Caramalt and Crystal malt are the same malts and are available in light, medium, and dark versions. Medium Caramalt imparts a heavier flavour and more colour, so should be used carefully.
Caramel malts and Crystal malts are essentially similar products. Basically, the two original grains have merged/overlapped. Some maltsters just prefer one brand name over the other. Crystal Malt was originally similar to Crystal 40L used in the UK for styles like bitters and are usually fully converted. Caramel Malts were originally coined for a softer grain and often had rye or wheat with a pronounced caramel flavour and were less sweet. Originally the darker range (like 80L and above) were often partially converted. However, they are now practically used interchangeably. Both are usually partially to fully converted so can be steeped. So you can assume crystal=(cara)mel unless the maltster says different.
What Are The Scales Used?
"Degrees Lovibond" or "°L" scale is a measure of the colour of beer. The determination of the degrees Lovibond takes place by comparing the colour of the substance to a series of amber to brown glass slides. The scale was devised by Joseph Williams Lovibond. The Standard Reference Method (SRM) and European Brewery Convention (EBC) methods have largely replaced it, with the SRM giving results approximately equal to the °L.
The Standard Reference Method or SRM is a system modern brewers use to measure the colour intensity of a beer or wort. The EBC convention also measures beer and wort colour, as well as quantifying turbidity (also known as haze) in beer. EBC (European Brewing Convention) is used to indicate colour in malts (and beers). The lower the EBC is, the lighter is the malt (thus kilned for a shorter time). EBC and SRM/°L scales and conversions are available online and usually provide colour swatches to indicate the colour depth that you are likely to achieve from specific malts. Most craft brewers measure the colour of the grain using EBC (European Brewing Convention). The higher the EBC the darker the malt. Other countries may prefer Lovibond (L) or the Standard Reference Method (SRM). There are currently two colour scales in common use: SRM in the US, and EBC in Europe. The SRM (Standard Research Method) scale is based on an older degrees Lovibond scale and for all practical purposes, SRM and degree Lovibond are identical. So to convert SRM to EBC simply multiply by 2. e.g. 4 SRM = 8 EBC. The formula for converting Lovibond to EBC is EBC=(2*Lovibond)-1.2
Why Use Dark Rock Malts And Hops?
The Dark Rock Brewing team are passionate about producing the best quality beers. Their mission is to help you to "Master your Craft" and brew the best craft beers possible. There is no reason why home-produced ales cannot be just as good as commercial equivalents. The key to success is having a wide selection of the best quality and freshest ingredients possible. Dark Rock ingredients are not just great value, they are of the highest quality and always supplied fresh. The team strive to source the best malts, and constantly innovate and experiment with new styles and products. Dark Rock also markets top-quality all-grain and partial--mash kits which receive fabulous reviews. They are experienced commercial brewers and supply craft micro-breweries and nano-breweries with equipment and ingredients. They also provide training and business development consultancy to scale-up breweries. This experience is channelled into equipping the home craft brewer with the "tools to compete". Use Dark Rock products and you can't go wrong.