What is Malt?

Malt is one of the raw materials utilised by brewers in the production of beer

Barley (or other cereal grains such as wheat and oats) is turned into malt by allowing the grain to germinate under controlled environmental conditions, and then hot air-dried to develop the characteristic flavour and colour.

There are three main stages of the malting process: Steeping, Germination, and Kilning.

How is malt used in beer?

Beer can be brewed from a range of cereals, but from the 17th century onwards, beers were brewed from malted barley, predominantly in Europe. With the expansion of trade and the discovery of the New World, making beer from malted barley spread across the globe.

Malt brings many things to beer most notably

Lighter malts can be used in the production of brews such as lagers and pale ales and typically bring bready, biscuity, or crisper flavours whilst darker malts can in turn be used to create darker coloured beers with flavours profiles ranging from sweeter chocolate and toffee to more savoury roasted coffee notes, which can be seen in styles such as porters and stouts.

Starch contained within malted barley also plays a vital role. It is converted into fermentable sugars in the brewing process.  Malted barley also contains enzymes, proteins, vitamins & minerals too.

So, whilst hops may have a tendency to steal the show, Malt is equally as complex and vital in the production of beer.

Content provided by Barrett Burston

The Barrett Burston Malting Process

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