I'm planning on making a pumpkin ale out of a brown ale mini-mash recipe. I'd also like to get a hint of caramel in there so I was thinking about adding some sort of unrefined sugar. Does anyone have a recommendation on what type would work best? I'm leaning towards turbinado but would love suggestions. Perhaps the biggest question is how much I should use. I want to be able to taste it, but not dry it out. How do I figure out the right amount? Is there anything I should do to adjust the base recipe or just not worry about it?

  • 3
    If you want caramel flavor without dryness, I'd go with Crystal malt (maybe in the 40-80L range) instead of sugar.
    – GHP
    Sep 15, 2014 at 12:39
  • Good point! Perhaps caramel isn't quite the right word for what I want though. Toffee, perhaps? I'm relatively new to all of this and don't know what kinds of flavors different malts will get you, but I don't recall ever having a beer that I would describe as having caramel flavor that's also exactly what I'm after.
    – donkey
    Sep 15, 2014 at 16:35
  • I hunted around for a while for an ingredient to give me "toffee" flavor, but ultimately couldn't find the right one. Some folks say Carastan (an English crystal malt) can deliver that flavor. Also, you could try an alcohol-based toffee flavor extract.
    – GHP
    Sep 15, 2014 at 17:01

2 Answers 2


In combination with crystal 60 I have found a little molasses goes pretty far at getting a more toffee like presence in browns and porters. For 5 gallons I'd say 1/3rd to 1/2 cup. But your palate is different than mine.

For a different perspective, I make a sweet potato beer that uses a heavy hand of Special B to create that raisin like sweetness. Just another thing to consider.


I'm seconding @brewchez on use of Special B for toffee flavour. Melanoiden malt would also be handy. Another thing to try is first runnings caramelisation.

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