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Featured Maltster: Simpsons Malt
Of all of the maltsters that we'll be featuring in this series, Simpsons is the one that is the most familiar to us. We've used a wide range of Simpsons malts, especially their crystal malts, in our dark beers over the years, so it made sense to start this series with a beer using their line. Volume 1 is a pretty straight shooter as far a barleywine recipe design goes: two classic base malts, two mid-to-dark crystal malts, and some amplifying highly kilned Aromatic to round things out. Simpsons Aromatic is a great malt-- it's one of those ~20L malts that plays in the same sandbox as some darker American Munichs, Biscuit, and Victory. I half-jokingly call these types of grains 'malty malts' because their purpose is to be a malt that helps increase, well, the perception of malt. Using a good grip of Aromatic here allows us to build up some baseline malt intensity without sending fermentability sky high. It also allows us to keep the potential fermentability down without having to bomb the beer full of too much crystal malt. Not to knock C-malts-- we have too many people hating on those malts these days! Crystal Medium gives some clean classic caramel and toffee sweetness, and DRC, which is about 115 deg Lovibond, adds in some more burnt sugar and dark fruit notes. Many 'extra dark crystal' malts veer up to the 150+ deg L range, which means that they often bring some roast attributes along with them. In my mind, DRC gives you the best of a much darker crystal malt without any of that undesirable roast. In reality, we could probably use Simpsons Dark Crystal 95L here as well in lieu of the DRC. We use the 95L in a lot of our barrel-aged stout recipes, and it would be interesting to see how a Simpsons version of LIFE would taste with it. Perhaps that will be what we do for Volume 7...