Some friends and I wanted to try to recreate the brew dog Vagabond Pale Ale from their diy dog catalog. The grain bill looks as follows

  • Pale Ale 3.38kg 7.43lb
  • Caramalt 0.5kg 1.1lb
  • Crystal 150 0.19kg 0.41lb

My question is, when a recipe simply states "caramalt", which one should you use, cara-pils, cara-vienna, or cara-someother?

I read this page to try to clarify things, but that only helped confirm that they are all similar. Is there a way to know which one might be a better candidate for the beer style?

  • It can be very confusing indeed, there are many, but are different: carared, carahell, carabelge, caramunich, carafa, caraaroma, carafoam, etc.
    – Philippe
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 13:04

2 Answers 2


All the "Cara" malts are malted for proteins and unfermentable sugars, to add head retention and body. (Dextrin malts)

Usually Cara malts will be matched with the base malt.

In your case carapils, carafoam would interchange with little flavor difference, since "caramalt" is basically crystal-20 with protein malting. Using carapils or other light cara malt will be a slight drop in final SRM color is all.

The recipe uses c-150 for the color which is a strong color addition. Using a simular Cara malt won't effect color too much, and could be made up with slightly more c-150 in the grist. Litterally only about 1/2 oz more as an estimate.

A lot of souces will say Cara malts are the same as Crystal or Caramel malts. They are not the same. http://blog.brewingwithbriess.com/understanding-carapils/

Update: Seems I'm catching a little neg vibe on this post. Let me clairify. All "Cara*" malts are brand names. There's a reason they are protected. The malting and kilning process is different than caramel, crystal, and roasted malts. In short Cara malts have sacharification terminated earlier before kilning than the other mentioned malts. So that some of the endosperm is left unconverted. This is why they add more body and foam than other kilned malts. As a side point. Many don't realize that all the benifiets of Cara malts can be nulified in a mash and they are best to be steeped, also if you mash properly you don't even need Cara malts as you can get the same results from base malts.

  • So you're saying the caramalt linked in Frank P Combs answer is comparable with carapils and carfoam and in my case any of the three would do?
    – flooose
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 8:18
  • @flooose Yes, they will work fine. Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 12:35
  • 1
    Although they are part of the "Caramel Malt" family, there are small differences that can change the result a bit. Check the description before making a decision: weyermann.de/usa/…
    – Philippe
    Commented Jun 29, 2017 at 13:32
  • Yes, these lighter-colored caramel malts are 'comparable' in the recipe in question, but not necessarily in general (i.e. substituting Carapils for Caramalt in this recipe would be fine, but changing out Carapils for Caramalt in something like a Bavarian helles would not be ideal, unless you had no other choice). Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 14:52

Caramalt is its own thing:



It typically comes in around 15°L, so any crystal/caramel malt in that range should make a fine substitute.

  • Some companies might call it "CARA 20". I know Thomas Fawcett (UK) produces caramalt as well.
    – Philippe
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 13:06
  • So the recipe basically calls for two different types of crystal/caramel malts, the darker one that's explicitly listed as Crystal Malt and the lighter one that's listed as caramalt?
    – flooose
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 13:36
  • 2
    Pretty much. As Philippe commented on your OP, all crystal/caramel malts are distinct, flavor-wise. So while you could replace the two crystal malts in the recipe with one intermediate-color crystal malt, you'd in no way be guaranteed to get the same result since each would lend its own particular characteristics. Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 16:33

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