What are specialty grains?
Specialty grains are added to impart specific and desirable character to a beer. Color, malt sweetness, and aroma are but a few of these characteristics, which can be controlled and "dialed in" to suit the individual taste for a specific style of beer.
Specialty grains differ from grains used as foundation or "base malt" in that they do not produce an appreciable quantity of fermentable sugars. What they do produce is a dextrinous, unfermentable sugar that directly contributes to the body of the beer. Specialty grains are types like chocolate, black, medium crystal, honey, and carafa malts. There are many others, but this is a partial list. These are in contrast to base malts, which are usually very light in color but contain a lot of fermentable sugar. Such varieties are: 2-row, 6-row, Maris Otter, and Golden Promise. If you are making one of our extract kits, the base malt is already included in the extract.
Trying different grains will definitely give your beer a different taste. So, if you really like one of our kits, but want to make a slight change, try adding a different grain to your next batch.
How long will specialty grains keep?
When cracked grains are exposed to air, oxidation will occur. This will diminish the original aromatic and flavor character of the grains over time.
Cracked grains are best used within two weeks of cracking. Although they will degrade with time, cracked grains can still be used several months after cracking if stored in a dry, air-tight container. Similarly, if the grains are still solid and have not been cracked, they can be stored in this way for up to a year.