Ask Mr. Wizard

“Cara” malts?


Bill Wible • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania asks,

Could you please explain Carapils to me? What does this brand-name malt do in a mash, and how does it work? One of my homebrewing pals and I had a recent disagreement about this. He seems to believe Carapils works by leaving behind unconverted starches that the yeast cannot ferment, leading to greater body, mouthfeel and foam stability. I remember reading from various sources that starches are bad in beer, because yeast can’t eat them but bacteria can, and so this leads to infections. I believe there should be no starches in finished beer and that starch is not what contributes to improved body, mouthfeel and foam.

Carapils is also called “dextrin malt.” I know there are also other “cara” malts, such as cara-Munich, cara-Vienne and carastan. Can you sort out this whole cara-issue? Thanks for your sagely advice, Sir Wizard. It is always much appreciated.

Caramel, cara or crystal malts are synonymous terms describing a large family of malts that are made by changing the kilning process. All malts are kiln-dried to arrest germination. To make caramel
Response by Ashton Lewis.