Off Color Brewing

Extra Fancy

Internet home of Off Color Brewing in Chicago, Illinois.

We brew beer. Sometimes we do other stuff, but not as well.

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Hey! Hey! Here! I got it! Here! In my mouth!

Yes, Hops. Very nice. So proud.

Throw it!

No, we have to write something about Le Woof.

I can pronounce that one!

Yup. You’re very smart. Remember what’s in it?


Funny. You’ve running that joke a bit into the ground though. No, we used that malt you always laugh at.

Which one?!


Ha! The bags say Weiner malt!

Yup, for your hot dog friends. But the Vienna is what gives Biére de garde its orange hue and that toasty aroma. There’s some Munich in there too which helps. Adds more of a raisin, caramel, slight chocolate sort of thing. Munich adds more red tones to beer which helps the orange scale of the Vienna pop.

What’s the difference between the two?!

Well, technically they’re both High Kiln malts. This means when they’re dried after malting, the air used to dry them is heated for the majority of the time, unlike when you’re making lighter colored base malts like pils or pale where simple air movement is used to dry the malt and heat is only applied at the very end. 

So they make them faster and the malt is cheaper so you can buy me more bones?!

Nice try. But no. It takes about twice as long. There’s heat which helps but the sheer volume of air is much less. Because it’s a moist, hot environment it starts the Maillard reaction which develops color and aroma. Same thing as happens with toast.

Can I have some toast?!

No. Munich is kilned at a higher temperature than Vienna so it gets more Maillard reaction which gives it the darker color and deeper, more developed flavors. That dark fruit character. 

Wait! If they’re wet and hot when don’t they start to become Crystal malts?!

That is actually a really good question. How the hell do you know that?

You don’t know what I do during doggy day care!

True. Well, Crystal malts are what are called Stewed malts. Remember High Kiln malts apply heat air during the drying process? With Stewed malts the moisture is much higher and they heat the malt directly without air movement. In effect they’re doing exactly what we’re doing during the mashing process but to a lesser degree and inside the malt kernel itself. Then they start pushing air through the malt to cool and dry it. How hot and long before they do so is what makes darker or lighter Crystal malts. And we measure that by degree of color change expressed in degree Lovibond. That’s what that L means.

I like mash!

I know. But it gives you terrible gas so you’re not allowed to eat it

I’m still going to as soon as you stop looking!

Oh, we’re well aware. 

So that’s all the malts?! Can we play now?!

Soon, little dog. There’s one more family. Roasted malts. Those, as far as beer is concerned, are relatively recent in development. They take, usually, dried base malts and roast them in a big drum that rotates while intense heat is applied to the outside. Same thing as a coffee roaster and that’s where we start to develop those same flavors. You can just toast the malts in a roaster and we get malts such as Biscuit. They have the same Lovibond of Vienna but because they get that color through toasting while dry the flavor is substantially different. The more roasted the malts get the darker and more roasty they become. From chocolate to coffee to the almost burnt character of Black Patent.

Ahh! Black Patent! Named because the guy who invented the drum roaster patented the machine!


I have black fur! We just know these sorts of things!

Ok dog. You win. And you’ve been very patient. Here lemme throw that frisbee for you.

I’m gonna get it! I’m gonna get it! Wait! HEY!! YOU JUST PRETENDED TO THROW THE FRISBEE!! 



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