Can you explain the difference between a crystal malt and a caramel malt
Can you explain the difference between a crystal malt and a caramel malt. I know from experience that crystal malts are harder (like glass inside), and caramel malts are softer. Is this difference caused by special or different production methods?
Crystal vs. Caramel Malts
The terms crystal and caramel are used interchangeably - it depends upon the supplier. I think what you are really asking is what is the difference between caramel (in the generic sense) malts that are either hard and crunchy or soft and mealy? Caramel malts that are heated at high moisture during kilning or roasting result in the hard type. Starch is converted to sugar just like in a lauter tun. At high temps. the sugar is caramelized. If heat is applied at lower moisture the color is developed but the endosperm remains mealy. Each contributes their own flavor. Glassy caramels have more intense caramel flavors, and meally products are more toasty/malty. They both contribute a red/burgundy color.