Late in 2014, we introduced our customers to a variety of products from maltsters we don’t normally carry including: Thomas Fawcett, Bairds, Best Malz, and several others. Since that sale, we’ve continued getting requests for some of these malts, and I’ll be highlighting one new malt each week over the next month or so, to help you get to know them a little better!
First up is Bairds Carastan. At it’s core, Carastan is a British Crystal malt, at 30-40° Lovibond. You can use it in your recipes up to 20% of the malt bill, and expect to get caramel/toffee flavors, along with a slight character reminiscent of toasted bread. Bairds Carastan is going to differ slightly from your American crystal malts in that it will contribute a deeper flavor than you might expect. That’s pretty typical of the British crystals, and why I like them so much! Bairds Carastan can be used to add both flavor and color to many recipes, including (but not limited to): English Pale Ales, Mild Ales, and Brown Ales.
The dominant flavor profiles that come across are caramel, toffee, and bready; that just screams ESB to me. I would use Carastan at a rate of about 10% of the total grain bill, along with a good, UK pale malt like Maris Otter. If you need to darken it up a bit, an ounce or two of UK black malt will do. Bitter it to about 40 IBUs with your favorite British hop, and add a bit more at the end of the boil for aroma. White Labs English Ale Yeast or Wyeast London ESB would be a good choice for fermentation.