Steeping Specialty Grains
As was discussed in the previous chapter, there are basically two kinds of malts: those that need to be mashed and those that don't. Mashing is the hot water soaking process that provides the right conditions for the enzymes to convert the grain starches into fermentable sugars. Specialty malts like caramel and roasted malts do not need to be mashed. These malts have undergone a special kilning process in which the starches are converted to sugars by heat right inside the hull. As a result, these malts contain more complex sugars, some of which do not ferment, leaving a pleasant caramel-like sweetness. Caramel malts are available in different lovibond ratings (color), each having a different degree of fermentability and characteristic sweetness. Roasted malts have had their sugars charred by roasting at high temperatures, giving them a deep red/brown or black color.