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Speciality Grain Guide

Amber Malt

Speciality grains are used by brewers to alter the flavour, colour, and aroma of beer. Speciality grains can be used in both extract and all-grain brewing. In an extract brew, the grains are steeped (soaked in hot water) and removed before the extract is added and the wort is boiled. In an all-grain brew the speciality grains are mashed with the rest of the grain bill.

Here’s a quick guide to some of the most popular speciality grains.

Amber Malt

Amber malt is a lightly roasted chocolate malt. It gives the beer a strong biscuity taste with a coffee and chocolate aroma. Amber malt is often used in English browns, milds and old ales. This malt should only make up 20% or less of the mash when used in an All-grain brew.
Colour: 43 EBC

Potential Gravity: 1.035 SG


Black Malt

Black Malt gives the beer a very dark colour, and a dry roasted flavour. Black Malt is commonly used in Porter and Stout style beers. When used in Porters and Stouts, Black Malt is used for flavour as well as colour. When used in lighter beers Black Malt is used mainly for colour.

Colour: 980 EBC
Potential Gravity: 1.025 SG


Caramalt is a very light crystal malt. It has a strong caramel flavour and is sweeter than regular crystal malt. Caramalt is often used to aid head retention and add flavour. We recommend using caramalt as no more than 10% of the grist.

Colour: 20 EBC

Potential Gravity: 1.035 SG

Chocolate Malt

Chocolate Malt is a very dark roasted malt. It is used primarily in Brown Ales, Porters, and some stouts to impart a deep red/brown colour and dark-chocolate flavour.
Colour: 20 EBC

Potential Gravity: 1.035 SG

Crystal Malt

Crystal Malt gives beer a golden amber colour. It is used in many different beer styles and gives beer a toffee and caramel flavour. Crystal malt also gives the beer more body, and improves head retention.
Colour: 120 EBC (Available in different levels of colour)

Potential Gravity: 1.033 – 1.036SG

Crystal Wheat Malt

Crystal Wheat Malt is a wheat malt with a deeper colour and stronger aroma. It is often used in darker wheat beer styles such as Dunkelweizens. Also known as Carawheat.
Colour: 125 EBC

Potential Gravity: 1.035 SG

Flaked Barley

Flaked Barley is used to add body to the beer and aid head retention. It is more commonly used in darker beers, due to the fact that its high protein content causes haze which is undesirable in lighter coloured beers.
Colour: 3 EBC

Potential Gravity: 1.032 SG

Flaked Maize

Flaked Maize is used to raise the specific gravity without adding body to the beer. It produces a better, less harsh taste than simply adding sugar. It is often seen in recipes for Best Bitters and is used to make the beer lighter and more summery.
Colour: 3 EBC

Potential Gravity: 1.035 SG

Roasted Barley

Roasted Barley gives the beer a burnt bitter coffee taste and very dark red to brown colour. It should only be used in small amounts of 10% or less of the total grain bill.
Colour: 1300 EBC

Potential Gravity: 1.025 SG

These are just a few of the many speciality grains used in brewing. Thanks to Barley Bottom Homebrew Supplies for supplying pictures of the different grains. We highly recommend their online store for homebrew ingredients in the

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