carapils malt guide

Carapils Malt Guide: A Top-Performing Dextrin Malt

Carapils Malt is a lightly kilned Pilsner Malt and is the top-performing malt in the dextrin-malt sector. Using an innovative proprietary process, it is produced exclusively by the Briess Malt and Ingredient Company. Our Carapils malt guide will explore how this unique dextrin-style malt greatly enhances head retention by adding resistant dextrins, non-starch polysaccharides, proteins, and other essential substances to the wort and beer.

Carapils Malt also dramatically improves body, mouthfeel, and foam levels without altering the color or flavor of the beer. Carapils Malt is typically used in the production of Lager and Pilsner-style beers that contain low levels of hop aromas, tastes, and bitterness.

Pros and Cons of Carapils Malt

Pros

  • Top-performing malt in the dextrin-malt sector
  • Increases head retention
  • Enhances mouthfeel
  • Improves body
  • Continuously increases the levels of foam

Cons

Carapils Malt offers no flavoring, aromatic, or coloring qualities

The History of Carapils Malt

Carapils Malt is proudly produced by the Briess Malt and Ingredient Company and was created way back in 1876. The European Malt Company opened its doors in Czechoslovakia and has been producing premium specialty malts such as caramel and dextrin malts ever since.

Carapils malt takes its name from melted and thoroughly crystallized sugars (caramel) and a blonde lager beer style (Pilsner), first brewed in 1842 in the iconic Czech City of Pilsen. Carapils malt is a greatly modified pale malt synonymous with authentic quality Pilsner and Lager style beers.

What does it taste like?

Carapils Malt is a crystal malt, and its primary function is to enhance head retention to light Lagers (Pilsners) that contain low levels of hop aromas, tastes, and bitterness. Carapils Malt is gently kilned and therefore doesn’t release any additional tastes. T

here are a few malt aficionados out there that believe this premium malt adds soft notes of nuts or a nutty flavor to the beer, but I just don’t get it.

What does Kilning mean?

Kilning is a wonderful process whereby germinated barley is gently dried to create the malty characteristics essential to produce refreshing and thirst-quenching beer. Pale malt makes up the majority of malt used in most commercial beers, and it is slowly kilned at low temperatures to preserve the integrity of the enzymes. Bypassing heated air through the grain bed, Kilning allows for regulated extraction of unwanted moisture from the grain.

What does it smell like?

Carapils Malt is unique and certainly falls into the Specialty Malts category. This malt was created to enhance head retention and mouthfeel without altering the color or flavor of the beer.

Additionally, this fine malt does not affect the smell and aromas of the brew. It offers no flavoring, coloring, or aromatic qualities.

What does it look like?

Carapils Malt looks fresh and nutritious and can best be described as freshly toasted all-natural grain. Each all-natural grain is oblong with lovely colors of light to medium brown.

What is Carapils Malt used for?

Carapils Malt features a crafted design and falls into the dextrin malts category. This premium malt has been designed to greatly enhance head retention, mouthfeel and improve the body of Lager and Pilsner-style beers.

It achieves this by adding resistant dextrins, non-starch polysaccharides, proteins, and other essential substances to the wort and beer. To show a positive effect, Carapils Malt should be used at around 2%-3%.

How much Carapils Malt should you use?

This often comes down to the style of beer that you are brewing. When using Carapils malt to brew a Lager or Pilsner style beer, I recommend that you should use it at a level of 5% or less of your entire all-grain malt bill.

If you happen to be experimenting with a Session IPA and are looking to simulate a higher gravity beer, then Carapils Malt can be used at a much higher level.

Carapils Malt Substitutes

Below are three quality malt substitutes for Carapils Malt:

  • Light Munich: Light Munich Malt is also commonly known as Weyermann Munich Type 1 malt. It is a lovely kilned lager-style malt that is made from premium all-natural two-row spring barley, grown and sourced in Germany. Light Munich Malt creates wonderful and robust malt qualities such as an enhanced smooth mouthfeel, full-body, and a beautiful amber glow. It offers a delectable flavor of rich malt and lovely aromas of fresh bread, pure honey, and creamy caramel.
  • Malted Wheat: Malted Wheat is produced by soaking the grains in water until the germination process begins. Once the germination process has begun, the grain is immediately removed from the water and dried using heated air. The drying process (also referred to as “malting”) instantaneously halts the germination process. The Malting Process assists in developing essential enzymes that are required to effectively modify the all-natural grains’ starches in different types of sugars. These include higher sugars called maltodextrins, and conventional sugars such as trisaccharide maltose, disaccharide maltose, and monosaccharide glucose.
  • Sub Base Malt:  Sub Base Malt is a wonderful malt that has been exposed to sufficient levels of Diastatic power and subsequently has experienced enough enzymatic activity. This activity is vital to ensure that starch conversion occurs during the mashing process. The remaining portion of the mash may be made up of adjuncts, unmalted grains, and specialty malts. These specialty malts, unmalted grains, and adjuncts traditionally aren’t equipped with enough enzymes to convert their starches to sugars during the mashing process.

Popular beer styles that use Carapils Malt in the brewing process

Below are four popular beer styles that use Carapils Malt in the brewing process:

  • Blonde Ale: Blonde Ale is also commonly known as “Golden Ale” and was first developed in North America in the mid-1970s. It was created to supply the mass market of faithful American beer lovers who had grown accustomed to American-style beers. An American Blonde Ale is a light-bodied Ale that displays the perfect balance between hops and rich malt. Upfront, you get rich notes of freshly baked cookies and pale malt sweetness. Moderate levels of spice and fruit follow these tastes and aromas. The finish is rewarding and thirst-quenching with low levels of hop bitterness. American Blonde Ale is easy-drinking and offers an ABV of between 3.8%-5.5%.
  • Lager: Lager-Style Beer has been around for centuries and was first brewed in the 1400s. Historical accounts suggest that this recipe was perfected by Bavarian monks who were looking to quench their thirst during the hot summer months. The lager-style beer delivers a taste that is clean, crisp, and smooth. It is milder and lighter, with fresh tastes of yeast and malt. Lagers don’t deliver fruity tastes and aromas you would find in Ales or pale Ales, but overall offers a sweet and refreshing experience. Lager-style beers typically offer an ABV of between 4.5%-5.5%.
  • Pilsner: A Pilsner is a Light Lager that was first created in the mid-1800s in Pilsen, Czech Republic. Pilsners are notorious for being refreshing and thirst-quenching and are ideal for hot summer days. Hop levels are higher than Lager-style beers but lower than traditional pale Ale. Pilsner beer is full-bodied and offers exquisite notes of malt and creamy caramel. The finish is slightly bitter, refreshing, and rewarding. Pilsner beer is easy-drinking and offers an ABV of 4.5%-5%.
  • Session IPA: The Session IPA was created in 2012 by the Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A Session IPA is an Indian Pale Ale that is bursting with fresh hop tastes and aromas. Unlike conventional IPA’s, this brew contains low levels of alcohol. This allows beer lovers to drink more beer for longer periods and subsequently increase their beer drinking “session.” Session IPA (and other low alcohol beers) are made with fewer grains and malts. The result is a wonderful beer with intense tastes and aromas of powerful American hops, with a finish that is smooth and bitter. Session IPAs keep you wanting more and offer an ABV of 4%.

Popular commercial beer brands that use Carapils and other types of malt when producing their beloved brew

Below are six quality commercial brands that only use Carapils and other types of quality malts when producing their beloved brew:

Everyday Cara Pils

Everyday Cara Pils is a wonderful Pilsner from the Colruyt Group in Belgium. This classic European Pilsner offers a neutral aroma with soft undertones of sweet malt and fresh yeast. The finish is rewarding, smooth, and bitter. Everyday Cara Pils is an easy-drinking Pilsner with an ABV of 4.4%.

Orval Trappist Beer

Orval Trappist Beer

Orval Trappist beer is a unique, delicious, and drinkable Ale created by the Orval Brewing Company in Belgium. This remarkable Ale is made from liquid candy, two-row spring barley, and pure spring water. For additional flavors, it is top-fermented and dry-hopped.

Upfront, you get lovely notes of rich malt and fresh juicy fruits complemented by light earthy undertones of pepper and natural herbs. Orval Trappist Beer delivers a finish that is memorable and rewarding, with moderate levels of hop bitterness. This highly sought-after Ale offers an ABV of 6.9%.

Live Oak Pilz

Live Oak Pilz

Live Oak Pilz is a classic Bohemian-style beer produced by the Live Oak Brewing Company in Texas, United States. This crisp golden Pilsner offers fresh hop characters with earthy notes of grass and spice.

Live Oak Pilz is easy-drinking and typical of a classic Bohemian-style Pilsner. There are moderate levels of hop bitterness and a finish that is silky smooth and thirst-quenching. Live Oak Pilz offers an ABV of 4.7%.

Rain Czech Pilsner

Rain Czech Pilsner

Rain Czech Pilsner is a world-class Pilsner produced by the Rascals Brewing Company in Dublin, Ireland. This traditional style Czech Pilsner is made with Carapils and Lager malts and offers exquisite tastes and aromas of floral and earth.

Bold hop qualities from the Saaz and Kazbek hops ensure a tasty, bitter, and refreshing finish. Rain Czech Pilsner is a “must drink” beer and offers an ABV of 5%.

Scenic Route

Scenic Route

Scenic Route is a New-England Hazy IPA made by the Redline Brewhouse in Ontario, Canada. This fine Canadian IPA bursts with rich, fruity flavors and aromas of juicy mango, fresh oranges, and citrus zest.

There are light undertones of sweet malt, but the hop characters dominate this fine IPA. It delivers a smooth and bitter finish that keeps you wanting more. Scenic Route New-England Hazy IPA offers an ABV of 7.0%.

Champagne Velvet

Champagne Velvet

Champagne Velvet is a classic American Pilsner proudly made by the Upland Brewing Company in Indiana. This adjunct Pilsner is expertly brewed using Carapils malt and corn.

There is a subtle sweetness from both the malt and the corn, which is nicely balanced by low levels of fresh hop bitterness. This Pilsner is a great indication as to how local beers tasted before prohibition and offers an ABV of 5.2%.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: What does Carapils Malt taste like?

Answer: Carapils Malt is gently kilned at low temperatures. The temperatures are so low that no tastes or aromas are emitted. Once malt sugars are heated and caramelized, they change their molecular structure or makeup and become un-fermentable and glassy. If this process occurs at higher kilning temperatures, the color will be darker, and you will encounter unmissable tastes of freshly crushed and toasted nuts. This nutty flavor is a direct result of toasted or roasted malt at higher temperatures.

Question: Does Carapils Malt help with head retention?

Answer: Yes, this is the primary function of Carapils Malt. It greatly enhances head retention by adding body-building compounds, non-starch polysaccharides, proteins, and dextrins into the wort and beer. Carapils Malt also improves the levels of foam in the beer, adds body, and enhances mouthfeel.

Question: Does Carapils Malt need to be mashed?

Answer: Yes, Carapils Malt must be steeped or mashed. This iconic malt needs to be mashed or at least partially mashed as this process activates the malt enzymes. Once the malt enzymes have been activated, they immediately begin to convert the grain starch into much-needed fermentable sugars.

Question: What is a good substitute for Carapils Malt?

Answer: Carapils Malt is highly prized and sought after, but there are three quality alternative malts should you be running low on stock. Light Munich Malt, Malted Wheat, and Sub Base Malt are all premium malts that can be used in place of Carapils Malt. Some enthusiasts believe that these may be better than many Carapils and Carafoam malts.

Question: Are Carapils fermentable?

Answer: Carapils Malt has been purposely designed to enhance all types of beer styles, including Light Lagers or Pilsners. Carapils Malt is non-fermentable which is ideal for balancing the flavor and body of darker beers. Carapils Malt has the full glassiness of caramel malt and can be used with or without additional specialty malts.

Question: Who makes Carapils Malt?

Answer: Carapils Malt is widely considered to be one of the most popular and common dextrin malts on the planet. It is produced by the Briess Malt and Ingredient Company and has been designed to greatly enhance both mouthfeel and head retention without changing the color or taste of the beer. The Briess Malt and Ingredient Company first started producing this fine malt and numerous other types of specialty malts in Czechoslovakia in 1876.

Question: What is the difference between Carapils and Carafoam Malt?

Answer: There are a few subtle differences between Carapils and Carafoam Malt. Weyerman Carafoam (how it is known outside the United States) is under-modified, high in protein, and is similar to chit malt. Additionally, it has high levels of starch, which can also be converted into fermentable sugars in the brewing process. These high levels of starch result in a malt that is not ideal for steeping but it can be used as 40% of the entire grit.

Conclusion

Carapils Malt is a lightly kilned Pilsner Malt produced by the Briess Malt and Ingredients Company. It is the top-performing malt in the dextrin-malt sector and is expertly made using a unique and innovative proprietary process.

Carapils Malt has been designed to greatly enhance head retention by adding resistant dextrins, non-starch polysaccharides, proteins, and essential substances to the wort and beer.

It also improves body, mouthfeel, and levels of foam without altering the color or flavor of the beer. Carapils Malt is typically used to produce Lager and Pilsner-style beers that contain low levels of hop tastes, aromas, and bitterness.

Carapils is a fantastic malt, and it makes sense why it is the top-performing malt in the dextrin-malt sector. Many brewers aren’t complimentary of the malt, and numerous leave it out of their recipe completely.

Sure, it doesn’t add any flavors or aromas, but that’s not what it was initially designed for. If you enjoy a beer with great head retention, excellent body, sublime mouthfeel, and high levels of foam, then this is a great malt for you.

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