We all think Thorny Devil is Australia’s best, favourite Beer, your Australian Craft Beer.

Thorny Devil, one of Australia’s most awarded craft beers, it is available online, at your local bottle shop and in your local craft beer bar, your pub, hotel, club and fine dining restaurant: if not, ask us and we will organise all.

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When brewing beer, everything you use is special, right? While true, specialty malt is a little more special-er. This is the stuff that gives your beer the unique character and flavor you’re looking for in the style you are brewing. If you’re brewing with a partial mash or using extract with a pound or so of grain, the small amount of grain is your specialty malt. It’s what makes a red ale red, a porter dark, and what helps a chocolate stout be chocolatey. Interested? Well, you’re in luck, because I feel like telling you all about specialty malts, so here we go.


No matter how you’re brewing, be it extract or all-grain, if you’re using any grain at all you are using specialty malt. for a five gallon batch of all-grain beer, as little as 1 lb of specialty grain mixed with your 12+ pounds of standard grain can totally change the flavor and overall feel of the finished beer. A common specialty malt is Cara-Pils. This malt, also known as Dextrin malt, generally has a 1.5 Lovibond color and helps in increase body, mouthfeel, and give a nice malty sweetness. Cara-Pils can help with head retention, too. Pretty impressive for only 1 pound of grain, eh?


For example, an IPA that is on my list of beers to brew uses 12 pounds of Maris Otter pale malt and only 1 pound of Cara-Pils. While this is a small ratio of specialty to regular malt, using it will totally change the completed beer.


Another common specialty malt is chocolate malt. This 350 Lovibond grain helps to give your beer a dark, dark color while providing a roasted, chocolate flavor. Looking for a toast, biscuit-like flavor? Then Biscuit, DeWolf Cosyns is the specialty malt for you. at 19.3 Lovibond, it adds a nice amber color with the unique taste.


One of the most common specialty malts is crystal malt. This highly used malt is easy to use with little to no mashing required for extract brewing, and is seen in Lovibonds anywhere from 10 to 120. If you’ve done an extract ale before, you probably used crystal malt.


Scottish Peated Malt is very light at 3 Lovibond, but what it lacks in color, it more than makes up for in smoky flavor. This is commonly used in Scotch Ales and used very sparingly due to the strong peat and smoke flavors it carries.


Most of these malts I’ve listed gain their unique character from the drying, malting, and roasting processes. Different barley can be used for these, but the big differences come from host he grain is handled after being picked. How long it is malted for and to what level it is roasted gives specialty malt this character. For example, Cara-Pils malt is kilned at a lower temperature than crystal malt, which helps Cara-Pils to keep a lower color rating, at 1.5 Lovibond, compared to crystal’s 10 Lovibond.


Whatever specialty malt you use, the important thing here is to realize how important it is to the beer as a whole. This small amount of malt makes all the difference and can make or break a great beer.


Confused as to what Lovibond is? I might have some answers.


Want to know more about malted barley? This post is for you.


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Until next time,






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