Malt Varities

In the intricate domain of brewing, malt emerges as a quintessential ingredient that plays an indispensable role in shaping the overall characteristics of the beer, including but not limited to its flavor, hue, and quality. Comprising an assortment of types, each variant of malt contributes unique attributes, thereby altering the resultant beer’s organoleptic properties in a distinct manner.

Malt is essentially germinated cereal grains, often barley, that have been dried through a process called “malting.” This procedure develops the enzymes necessary for the modification of the grain’s starches into fermentable sugars, a vital transformation during the brewing process.

Base malts, for example, are commonly employed for their high enzymatic activity and are largely responsible for producing the fermentable sugars needed in brewing. These malts typically contribute a light color and neutral flavor to the beer.

Specialty malts, on the other hand, offer a diverse range of flavors and colors but have lesser enzymatic activity. Crystal malts, a subtype of specialty malts, are known for imparting caramel notes and a rich amber hue, owing to the kilning process they undergo. Dark malts, such as chocolate or black malts, are used sparingly and give beer its dark color and roasted flavors.

To put it simply, each type of malt serves as an elemental contributor to the multidimensional profile of a beer. The judicious selection and proportioning of these various malt types can facilitate the creation of a beer with a meticulously crafted balance between flavor, color, and quality. Thus, understanding the nuances associated with different types of malt is crucial for anyone invested in the art and science of brewing.

This serves as a reference for the most prevalent types of malts used in brewing. It is important to acknowledge, however, that this guide is not comprehensive. Various malt producers may employ different names for similar and proprietary malt varieties.

Malt Analysis Abbreviations:
ASBC: American Society of Brewing Chemists
IoB: Institute of Brewing
EBC: European Brewery Convention
TN/TP:  Total Nitrogen / Total Protein
SNR/KI/ST Ratio: Soluble Nitrogen Ratio / Kolbach Index /  ST Ration 
DP/DPWK/Lintner: Diastatic Power / DP Windisch-Kolbach / DP Lintner

Base Malts

Base Malt
Base Malt

The art and science of brewing beer are deeply intertwined, and one of the foundational elements that straddle this duality is the base malt. It serves as the bedrock upon which brewers construct a diverse array of flavors, aromas, and even mouthfeel. The base malt’s role in the mash, the mixture of malted grains and water, is of paramount importance. Its functions extend from providing fermentable sugars to offering the enzymes that catalyze the conversion of starches into these sugars, thus driving the brew to its final form: beer. 

The mash represents a critical phase in the brewing process where water interacts with the malted grains to extract sugars, proteins, and other essential components. In the context of the mash, the base malt serves as the main source of fermentable sugars, enzymes, and nitrogenous compounds, which are vital for the fermentative process facilitated by yeast. Depending on the type of beer being brewed, the base malt can constitute between 70% and 100% of the total grain composition.

When it comes to the flavors that the base malt contributes, there is a wide range of variability. In beers such as Bohemian Pilsners, the base malt assumes a dominant role in shaping the taste profile. In these beers, like Pilsner Urquell from the Czech Republic, Moravian Pilsner malt often serves as the base malt. This specific type of malt provides a clean and neutral backdrop that allows the Saaz hops’ characteristic piquant notes to shine. On the other hand, in complex, barrel-aged brews like Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stout, the base malt adopts a more subdued role. While it is an essential ingredient, its flavor characteristics often get overshadowed by the complex interplay between specialty malts, barrel-aging, and other flavoring agents.

One of the most scientifically fascinating aspects of base malt is its enzymatic activity. Enzymes are proteins that speed up chemical reactions. In the case of brewing, the enzymes present in the base malt facilitate the conversion of complex starches into simpler fermentable sugars. This transformation is crucial because yeast cells metabolize these simpler sugars to produce alcohol and carbon dioxide, thereby completing the process of turning the mash into beer. The enzymatic action is not restricted to the starches within the base malt itself but extends to starches in any specialty grains or adjuncts that may be added to the mash.

Different types of base malts bring their own characteristics into the brewing equation. For example, Pale Ale malt has a lighter color and is often used in brewing ales, while Munich malt imparts a richer, malty character and is commonly used in darker lagers. What unites these various types of base malts is their elevated enzyme content, which renders them capable of converting starches into fermentable sugars effectively. This quality underscores their fundamental role in the composition of any beer recipe. Whether it is a crisp lager or a robust stout, the base malt serves as the cornerstone, setting the stage for both the fermentative process and the final sensory experience of the beer.

Pilsner or Pils malt (aka Lager Malt)

Briess Pilsen Malt
Briess Pilsen Malt

Pilsner malt, or Pils malt, is a staple in the world of brewing that provides a unique flavor and aroma profile to the beers it helps create. This malt is treated at a relatively low temperature during its production process, allowing it to retain a high diastatic power. Diastatic power refers to the ability of the malt to convert starches into fermentable sugars, which are essential for the alcohol production during brewing. By maintaining its diastatic power, Pilsner malt can not only convert its own inherent starch but also additional starchy substances like corn and rice into sugar. Beers produced with Pilsner malt are frequently light, crisp, and widely enjoyed on a global scale.

Because of its high diastatic power, Pilsner malt is versatile. It is capable of acting as a base malt, which means it can be the primary malt in a brewing recipe, supplying the majority of fermentable sugars. Additionally, its ability to convert other starchy substances into fermentable sugars allows for the use of adjunct grains like corn or rice in the brewing process. These adjunct grains usually have lower diastatic power and are often included to produce a lighter, more neutral flavor and reduce production costs. With Pilsner malt in the recipe, brewers can be confident that these adjunct grains will be properly converted into fermentable sugars, resulting in a balanced beer.

The characteristics of beers made from Pilsner malt are often described as light and crisp, offering a neutral platform that allows other ingredients, like hops or specialty grains, to shine. However, the term “light” should not be misunderstood as lacking in flavor or complexity. The lightness refers more to the color and mouthfeel, derived from the low kilning temperatures that preserve the natural pale color of the malt. This creates an ideal backdrop against which other flavors can interact and be more perceptible. Thus, the beer can be rich in flavor while maintaining a clean, crisp profile.

The popularity of Pilsner malt extends across a variety of beer styles, but it is most closely associated with Pilsners and lagers. Originating from the Czech city of Pilsen in the 19th century, Pilsner beers have become a global phenomenon. They are characterized by a pale golden color, high carbonation, and a balanced hop bitterness, making them refreshing and easy to drink. The Pilsner style has inspired variations like the German Pils, American Pilsner, and others, showcasing the adaptability and universal appeal of Pilsner malt.

While Pilsner malt’s popularity is widespread, it’s crucial to remember that not all Pilsner malts are created equal. Various malting companies produce Pilsner malts with slight variations in flavor, color, and even diastatic power. Therefore, brewers often experiment with malts from different sources to find the one that aligns best with their vision for the beer.

In malt production, the terms “pilsner malt” and “lager malt” are often used interchangeably or as slight variations of each other. The terminology may reflect the malt’s geographical origin; for example, German producers like Weyermann and Bestmalz typically refer to their product as pilsner malt, while British companies such as Bairds and Thomas Fawcett are more likely to call it lager malt.

Common Brands, Variations: Weyermann Pilsner, Weyermann Bohemian Pilsner, Gladfield Lager Light, Gladfield Pilsner, Malteurop Pilsner, Thomas Fawcett Lager Malt

MOISTURE4.5% max4.5% max4.5% max
EXTRACT308 L°/kg81.5%81.5%
COLOR2.5 – 3.5° EBC2.8 – 4.0° EBC1.5 – 2.0 °L
TN/TP1.50 – 1.75%9.4 –  11.0%9.4 – 11.0%
SNR/KI/ST RATIO33 – 3738 – 4238 – 42
DP/DPWK/LINTNER60 min IoB200 min WK66 min °L

Pale Malt (Two-Row)

Pale Malts
Pale Malts

Pale malt, particularly the North American Two-Row variety, is an indispensable component in the beer-making process, playing a critical role in shaping the final product that’s known for its relatively mild and neutral flavors. This is an advantage when crafting beers where subtlety is key. In a light lager, the aim is often to produce a crisp, clean-tasting beer where the hops and other ingredients can shine. The mildness of the Two-Row pale malt ensures that the malt does not overpower other flavors, providing a balanced and harmonious final product.

Two-Row pale malt offers several advantages to the brewer. One such attribute is its high enzymatic activity. In simpler terms, this malt has enzymes that effectively convert its own starches and those of other grains into fermentable sugars during the mashing process. This is essential for the creation of alcohol and means that a brewer can rely on this malt to drive the fermentation process successfully.

Two-Row pale malt tends to have a high yield, meaning that it produces a significant amount of fermentable sugars. This is not only economically advantageous but also allows for a smoother brewing process with fewer complications. High yields also make this malt type an excellent base malt, around which other specialty malts and ingredients can be added depending on the desired beer style.

While its mildness is often considered an asset, some brewers argue that it lacks the complexity and depth of flavor found in other types of malt, such as the European Pilsner malt. Additionally, the light color may not be suitable for brewing styles that require a darker, more robust appearance and flavor.

However, for its target applications, specifically in the brewing of light lagers, Two-Row pale malt remains a compelling choice. It offers a blend of technical efficiencies, a pleasing color profile, and a level of flavor neutrality that makes it an ideal foundation upon which to build a wide range of beer styles. Although it is extensively used in the brewing of light lagers, its mildness and advantageous brewing properties make it a viable base malt for virtually any style of beer. From Pale Ales to Stouts, the Two-Row serves as a blank canvas, allowing other specialty malts and hops to impart their flavors and aromas. Its high yield and lower protein content make it economical and efficient, offering brewers a way to achieve excellent results without compromising on quality.

Common Brands, Variations: Thomas Fawcett Golden Promise, Bairds Maris Otter, Bairds Pale Ale Malt, Malteurop Pale Malt, Malteurop Mild Ale Malt, Weyermann Pale Malt, Gladfield Pale Malt.

MOISTURE4.0% max4.0% max4.0% max
EXTRACT310 L°/kg82.0%82.0%
COLOR4.0 – 6.0° EBC5.0 – 7.0° EBC2.0 – 3.0 °L
SNR/KI/ST RATIO36 – 4240 – 4540 – 45
DP/DPWK/LINTNER60 min IoB215 min WK65 min °L


Pale Ale Malt

Briess Pale Ale Malt
Briess Pale Ale Malt

Among the different malt varieties, pale ale malt sometimes referred to by its specific cultivar, such as Maris Otter or Golden Promise stands out for its unique characteristics and the specialized treatment it receives during malting.

In the case of specific cultivars like Maris Otter and Golden Promise, the influence of genetics, soil conditions, and cultivation practices cannot be overstated. Maris Otter, for instance, is prized for its rich, biscuity flavor and its exceptional enzymatic potential, which aids in the conversion of starches to fermentable sugars during mashing. Similarly, Golden Promise is cherished for its mild, malty flavor and excellent consistency, making it a favorite among craft brewers. Both cultivars undergo specialized kilning processes that are tailored to bring out their unique flavor attributes. Therefore, the choice of a specific cultivar can dramatically influence the sensory experience of the beer.

These special cultivars of pale ale malt serve as the backbone of numerous iconic British beers. When utilized in brewing, these malts contribute a depth and complexity of flavor that is both engaging and comforting. They act as the canvas upon which other ingredients, such as hops and yeast, can express their attributes, forming a harmonious amalgamation that reflects both tradition and innovation. Moreover, the higher kilning temperatures contribute to a more stable shelf-life for the beer, an attribute particularly valuable for craft brewers who may not have access to industrial-level preservation techniques.

It is worth noting that the appreciation for pale ale malts has transcended British brewing practices. With the globalization of the craft beer industry, these specific malt varieties have found their way into a broad array of beers, from American IPAs to Belgian-style ales. The ability of pale ale malts to offer a nuanced but not overpowering flavor profile makes them incredibly versatile, adaptable to various brewing styles and philosophies.

Pale ale malts, particularly specialized cultivars like Maris Otter and Golden Promise, offer remarkable possibilities in the world of beer brewing. The slightly elevated kilning temperatures serve a dual role: eliminating undesirable flavors while also imparting unique, complex undertones. These malts have become cornerstones in the crafting of British-style ales, providing them with a distinct malt character that is both nuanced and inviting. With their burgeoning use in diverse brewing styles, pale ale malts are not just a tribute to traditional British brewing but a testament to the universal appeal of well-crafted malt. Therefore, understanding the characteristics of these malts provides invaluable insights into the complexity and artistry involved in brewing high-quality beers.

Common Brands, Variations: Thomas Fawcett Golden Promise, Bairds Maris Otter, Bairds Pale Ale Malt, Malteurop Pale Malt, Malteurop Mild Ale Malt, Weyermann Pale Malt, Gladfield Pale Malt


MOISTURE4.5% max4.5% max4.5% max
EXTRACT306 L°/kg80.8%80.8%
COLOR2.5 – 3.5° EBC2.8 – 3.9° EBC1.5 – 1.9 °L
TN/TP1.30 – 1.65%8.0 – 10.0%8.0 – 10.0%
SNR/KI/ST RATIO38 – 4843 – 5443 – 54
DP/DPWK/LINTNER50 min IoB150 min WK55 min °L

Vienna Malt

Vienna Malt
Vienna Malt

Vienna malt occupies a unique position in the world of brewing, acting as a bridge between the lighter pale ale malts and the darker Munich malts. With a rich history dating back to its origins in Vienna, Austria, this malt serves as an essential ingredient in traditional European beers, most notably Vienna Lager, Märzen, and Oktoberfest brews. Over time, its unique characteristics have made it an appealing choice for modern craft beers as well.

Vienna malt is known for imparting a toasted, nutty flavor and an amber to reddish hue to the beer. Its characteristics stem from its unique malting process, which involves exposing barley grains to higher kilning temperatures for a shorter duration than pale malts but lower than what Munich malts endure.

In the case of Vienna malt, the kilning temperatures range between 210°F to 220°F (approximately 99°C to 104°C), higher than those for pale ale malt but lower than for Munich malt. The kilning duration is relatively short, usually less than that for Munich malt, giving Vienna malt a distinct profile. This particular combination of temperature and time results in a malt that has a more complex sugar composition and more Maillard reactions. Vienna malt achieves its trademark toasted, nutty character and amber-reddish hue.

Vienna malt typically has a color range between 3 to 6 Lovibond units, a scale that measures the color intensity of beer and its ingredients. The color range allows brewers to create beers with hues that vary from golden to light amber.

When used as a base malt, Vienna malt produces beers with a full-bodied mouthfeel and a complex flavor profile that is not as intensely malty as that of beers made with Munich malt. The toasted, nutty notes it imparts make it a popular choice for Vienna Lager, a style named after its city of origin that showcases the malt’s attributes. It is also commonly used in Märzen and Oktoberfest beers, traditional German styles brewed for autumn festivities. In these styles, Vienna malt adds depth and complexity, elevating them beyond the straightforward maltiness of beers that use only pale malts.

Moreover, Vienna malt is highly versatile, extending its applications beyond traditional European styles. In the contemporary craft beer scene, brewers use it as a specialty malt to enhance the malt backbone of various beer types, including American Pale Ales, India Pale Ales, and even Stouts. Its complex flavor profile also makes it a perfect pairing for hop-forward beers, as it can balance the bitterness and bring a rounded, malty sweetness to the palate.

Common Brands, Variations: Weyermann Vienna Malt, Gladfield Vienna Malt

MOISTURE4.5% max4.5% max4.5% max
EXTRACT302 L°/kg79.8%79.8%
COLOR5.0 – 9.0° EBC5.5 – 9.9° EBC2.5 – 4.2 °L
TN/TP1.30 – 1.65%8.0 – 10.0%8.0 – 10.0%
SNR/KI/ST RATIO36.0 – 42.040.0 – 46.040.0 – 46.0
DP/DPWK/LINTNER42 min IoB145 min WK50 min °L

Munich Malt (Light)

Briess Munich 20L
Briess Munich 20L

Light Munich Malt serves as one of the quintessential elements in the art and science of brewing beer. This specific type of malt possesses characteristics that contribute not only to the flavor and color of the beer but also to its overall complexity.

One of the most striking characteristics of Light Munich Malt is its flavor profile. It delivers a rich, malty flavor that is often described as “bread-like” or “biscuity.” Unlike darker malts, which can introduce notes of caramel or chocolate, the Light Munich variety tends to provide a more straightforward, less embellished malt character. It acts as the backbone, so to speak, allowing other specialty malts and hops to shine without overpowering them.

In terms of color contribution, Light Munich Malt typically imparts a golden to amber hue. This color range makes it highly versatile and applicable in an array of beer styles, from lighter lagers to robust ales. The coloration is not merely an aesthetic choice; it is an indicator of the Maillard reactions that occur during the malting process.

Brewers often find this malt to be invaluable for achieving specific gravities—essentially, the measure of the density of the wort, which is the unfermented liquid extracted from malted grains. Light Munich Malt offers moderate fermentability, meaning it produces a moderate amount of fermentable sugars. This attribute has a significant impact on the final alcohol content and mouthfeel of the beer. A higher gravity wort will generally result in a beer with a fuller body and higher alcohol content. In contrast, a lower gravity wort typically yields a lighter, less potent beer. Light Munich Malt strikes a balance between these extremes, making it an excellent ingredient for brewers seeking to achieve particular sensory profiles.

It is also worth noting that Light Munich Malt has excellent compatibility with other types of malt. For instance, pairing it with Pilsner malt can enhance the crispness of a lager, while combining it with caramel malts can create a more rounded, fuller-flavored ale. Its balanced attributes make it a linchpin in recipe formulation, allowing for a wide range of creative expressions and nuanced flavors.

Light Munich Malt is more than just another ingredient; it is a key player that enriches the complexity, flavor, and color of beer. Its moderate fermentability, unique flavor profile, and color characteristics make it an adaptable and invaluable asset in both traditional and innovative brewing practices.

Common Brands, Variations: Briess Bonlander Muntons Munich, Fawcett Munich, Weyermann Munich I, Bairds Munich, Simpsons Munich, Bestmalz Munich, Dingemans Munich, Gladfield Munich, Voyager Munich / SM40

MOISTURE6.0% max6.0% max6.0% max
EXTRACT300 L°/kg79.3%79.3%
COLOR15 – 25° EBC17 – 28° EBC6.7 – 11 °L
TN/TP1.40 – 1.85%9.0 – 12.0%9.0 – 12.0%
SNR/KI/ST RATIO36.0 – 42.040.0 – 44.040.0 – 44.0 
DP/DPWK/LINTNER35 min IoB120 min WK 40 min °L

Munich Malt (Dark)

Dark Munich Malt
Dark Munich Malt

Dark Munich Malt has gained increasing attention in the field of brewing science. Originating in Germany, this malt variety has been an essential component in traditional beers like Dunkels, Märzens, and Bocks, but it is also seeing a broader application in a myriad of other beer styles. The malt itself is rich in color, flavor, and aroma, offering a warm, toasty, and somewhat caramel-like profile that can significantly impact the overall character of a beer.

One of the most critical aspects to consider is the color range, typically measured in degrees Lovibond or EBC (European Brewery Convention). Dark Munich usually ranges from 8 to 30 degrees Lovibond, meaning it can significantly influence the beer’s color, depending on the amount used in the grain bill. The grain bill is the total amount and types of grains used in brewing. A more substantial quantity of Dark Munich will not only make the beer darker but also enhance its flavor profile.

While the color is an important aesthetic element, the flavor contribution of Dark Munich is arguably its most celebrated characteristic. The malt provides a toasty backbone that can complement various hop profiles and other malts. Moreover, it is rich in melanoidins, complex organic compounds that impart mouthfeel and fullness to the beer. Mouthfeel is the physical sensations a food or drink produces in the mouth, including texture and viscosity. In essence, Dark Munich serves as a potent tool for adjusting the beer’s body and complexity.

Dark Munich possesses sufficient enzymatic power to convert its own starches and even contribute to the conversion of other grains in the mix. However, this enzymatic power is generally lower than that of lighter malts like Pilsner or Pale Ale malt, and therefore, it’s advisable to use Dark Munich in conjunction with these lighter malts for a more efficient conversion.

Dark Munich can be versatile, but it also comes with considerations that brewers must take into account. For instance, using a high percentage of this malt could result in a beer that is overly malty and lacking in balance. Similarly, the higher kilning process reduces its diastatic power, the ability to convert starches to sugars, making it less effective as a base malt compared to lighter malts. Careful calculations and recipe adjustments are necessary to optimize the benefits that Dark Munich can provide.

Dark Munich is a compelling ingredient in the world of brewing. Its historical roots in German brewing have allowed it to find its place in traditional styles, but its attributes of color, flavor, and enzymatic content make it relevant for modern brewing applications as well.

Common Brands, Variations: Briess Munich 10 Muntons Munich, Fawcett Munich, Weyermann Munich II, Simpsons Munich, Bestmalz Munich Dark, Dingemans Munich MD, Gladfield Munich, Voyager Munich

MOISTURE4.5% max4.5% max4.5% max
EXTRACT295 L°/kg78%78%
COLOR35 – 45° EBC39 – 50° EBC15 – 19 °L
TN/TP%38 – 44%9.0 – 12.0%
SNR/KI/ST RATIO38.0 – 45.040.0 – 48.04.0 – 48.0 
DP/DPWK/LINTNER 40 min IoB 124 min WK 45 min °L

Bonlander Munich Malt

Bonlander Munich Malt
Bonlander Munich Malt

Bonlander Munich Malt is a specialized type of malted barley that plays a significant role in the brewing industry, that is frequently used to introduce complex flavors and rich, amber hues to the beer. This malt is a great addition to porters and brown ales and makes great Oktoberfests and Altbiers.

The production of Bonlander Munich Malt demands precision and expertise from maltsters. The choice of barley variety, moisture content during steeping, and duration of kilning are all variables that need to be meticulously controlled to produce malt of consistent quality. The ability of maltsters to adapt and control these parameters is a testament to the technical ingenuity underlying this craft.

In the case of Bonlander Munich Malt, its production involves a unique kilning process that facilitates Maillard reactions, yielding a malt that is rich in flavor and dark in color. The temperature is maintained at a specific range, often higher than that used for pale malts. The result is a malt that is darker in color and richer in flavor, possessing toasty, biscuity, and sometimes caramel-like attributes. This malt category is specifically designed to enhance the depth, complexity, and mouthfeel of the beer, without contributing excessive sweetness or becoming overly dominant in the flavor profile.

In terms of practical applications, Bonlander Munich Malt is frequently used in ratios ranging from 5% to 20% of the total grist, depending on the beer style and the brewer’s objectives. Lower percentages will offer subtle toasty and malty undertones, while higher percentages will contribute more prominently to the flavor and color of the beer. Brewers often pair Bonlander Munich Malt with other types of malt, such as pale malt or pilsner malt, to achieve a more balanced flavor profile.

It is important to note that while Bonlander Munich Malt is often used in traditional German-style beers such as Munich Dunkels or Märzens, its utility is not confined to these styles. Craft brewers and homebrewers have increasingly begun to utilize this malt in various ale and lager recipes, appreciating its versatility and the layers of complexity it can add to the finished product. That said, its unique characteristics also necessitate caution during the brewing process. An overabundance of Bonlander Munich Malt can overpower other flavors in the beer, making it crucial for brewers to find the right balance.

Common Brands, Variations: Paul’s Mild Ale, Munton Mild Ale, Weyerman Munich Type I (light), Weissheimer Munich, Malteries Franco Belges Sp. Aromatic

MOISTURE3.3% max3.3% max3.3% max
EXTRACT 298 L°/kg78%78%
COLOR12.0 – 15.0 EBC6.5 – 27.5 EBC6.7 – 10.8 °L
TN/TP1.45 – 1.85% 9 – 12%9 – 12%
SNR/KI/ST RATIO33.038.0 38.0
DP/DPWK/LINTNER65 min IoB194 min WK40 min °L



Brumalt, a term commonly associated with the malting process in brewing, is a specialized type of malt that has high levels of glucans and proteins. While this may sound highly technical, one can think of brumalt as the hearty, multi-grain bread of the brewing world. However, despite its complex makeup, brumalt often takes a back seat to other types of malts. In this article, we’ll delve into the complexities of brumalt, highlighting its unique properties, its impact on brewing, and how it adds value to various beer types.

Brumalt  (Honey Malt is Gambrinus Malting’s name for bruhmalt) is subjected to a modified malting process that retains higher levels of soluble nutrients like proteins and glucans, which are carbohydrates. These retained elements make brumalt distinct from traditional malts. Usually, in the malting process, barley grains are soaked in water, germinated, and then dried in kilns to produce malt. The primary aim is to modify the starches into simpler sugars that can be easily converted during the brewing process. Brumalt, however, undergoes a specialized germination phase that allows it to keep higher concentrations of nutrients.

After germination, Brumalt is exposed to elevated temperatures around 122°F (approximately 50°C). It is important to note that this is significantly higher than the temperatures to which other malts are exposed during similar stages. The purpose of this elevated thermal exposure is twofold: first, to deactivate some of the enzymes that were activated during germination, and second, to commence the Maillard reaction, a type of non-enzymatic browning that contributes to flavor and color. Following this, Brumalt is steeped at about 140°F (approximately 60°C), which serves to further modify its properties.

The culmination of the Brumalt production process involves drying and curing at temperatures ranging between 176-194°F (approximately 80-90°C). The precise control of these temperatures and durations is crucial for the eventual characteristics of Brumalt. Unlike other malts, this meticulous approach imbues Brumalt with a unique ability to add a honey-like sweetness to the beer. The sugars in Brumalt are more complex, and its specific attributes offer a shortcut to brewers, especially in the making of particular types of beer like Bock.

The unique characteristics of Brumalt make it highly suitable for specific brewing endeavors. For instance, in brewing Bock, a strong lager originating from Germany, the flavor profile is enriched by the honey-like sweetness and complexity Brumalt brings to the table. The traditional brewing process for Bock often involves boiling the ingredients for an extended period to caramelize the sugars, achieving a deep richness and complexity. However, the inclusion of Brumalt eliminates the need for prolonged boiling, thus saving time and energy without compromising the desired flavor and body.

Common Brands, Variations: Gambrinus Honey Malt, 

MOISTURE5.5% max5.5% max 5.5% max 
EXTRACT 305 L°/kg80%80%
COLOR35 – 55.0 EBC39 – 61 EBC15 – 23 °L
TN/TP1.50 – 2.00% 9 – 13%9 – 13%

Chevalier Malt

Chevallier Malt
Chevallier Malt

While modern barley varieties have gained traction for their optimized yields and reliable performance, there has been a notable resurgence in the interest and application of heritage malts. Among these, Chevallier Malt stands as a beacon, embodying a blend of historical significance, robust flavor profile, and modern quality control.

Chevallier Malt, a heritage barley variety, can trace its origins to the early 19th century. It was first selected in the 1820s and quickly gained prominence as a mainstay of English barley production throughout the 19th century. Over time, the cultivation of Chevallier waned as newer, more yield-efficient varieties took over. However, a renewed interest in heritage grains has led to its revival, facilitated by its reintroduction to commercial production by the Crisp Malting Group.

Chevallier Malt is celebrated for its distinct aroma and flavor, which have been described as ‘a Maris Otter turned up to eleven.’ For those unfamiliar with the terminology, Maris Otter is another type of malt recognized for its rich and balanced malt character. Chevallier offers a warm cracker and biscuit aroma, alongside a full flavor profile that is further accentuated by a rich marmalade character and a long aftertaste. In new make spirit for whisky, Chevallier’s maltiness bursts through, adding complexity and depth.

The pronounced aroma and flavor profile of Chevallier make it ideal for malt-forward ales or for balancing high hop loads. In brewing terminology, ‘malt-forward’ refers to beers that emphasize the flavors originating from the malted barley, as opposed to those from hops or yeast. ‘Hop load,’ on the other hand, refers to the quantity and intensity of hops used in the brewing process, which could otherwise overwhelm the taste if not counterbalanced by a robust malt character.

Chevallier Malt’s robust characteristics make it suitable for a wide range of brewing applications. Whether it is being used in classic British ales, specialized craft beers, or in the production of whisky, the malt adds a layer of complexity and richness that is hard to replicate with modern malt varieties. Particularly in malt-forward ales, Chevallier can bring an unparalleled depth of flavor. Its ability to balance a high hop load also makes it an excellent choice for beers that aim for a harmonious blend of maltiness and hop bitterness.

The return of Chevallier Malt to commercial production is more than just a nod to brewing history; it represents the confluence of tradition and modernity in brewing practices. Its historical significance as the first true malting barley variety, combined with its robust flavor profile and modern quality control, make it an attractive option for contemporary brewers.

Common Brands, Variations: Proprietary Crips Chevalier, Substitutions: Briess Pale Ale, Paul’s Pale Ale, Muntons Pale Ale, Fawcett Maris Otter, Weyerman Pale ale, Bestmalz Pale Ale, Simpsons Pale Ale, Baird Pale Ale

MOISTURE3.5% max3.5% max 3.5% max 
EXTRACT 300 L°/kg80%80%
COLOR5.0-7.0 EBC5.5-7.5 EBC2.5 – 3.3 °L
TN/TP1.80%11.3% 11.3%
SNR/KI/ST RATIO45.050.050.0
DP/DPWK/LINTNER55 min IoB150 min WK60 min °L


Ashburne Mild Malt

Ashburne Mild Malt
Ashburne Mild Malt

Ashburne malt can be used as a base malt or high percentage specialty malt. Briess Malt introduced Ashburne malt originated early in the 1990s specifically formulated for Old Dominion Brewing Co., located in Ashburn, Virginia. The name of the malt was slightly modified, incorporating an additional “e” to become “Ashburne,” before it was eventually made available to the broader brewing community.

Unlike basic malts that serve as the primary source of fermentable sugars, Ashburne malt is generally used in smaller quantities to contribute color, flavor, and complexity to the beer. The malt is known for its moderate kilning temperature, which allows it to maintain a rich, amber hue, typically ranging between 15 to 20 on the Lovibond scale. Additionally, Ashburne malt is rich in fermentable sugars and has an extract yield usually close to that of basic pale malts, making it a highly efficient ingredient in brewing.

When it comes to flavor, Ashburne malt delivers a unique blend of toasted bread, nutty undertones, and a hint of toffee or caramel. These flavors are developed during the malting process through the Maillard reaction, a type of chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars. This reaction is responsible for the browning and flavor development in a variety of foods, including bread and roasted coffee.

The kilning stage is where Ashburne malt truly distinguishes itself. Kilning is essentially a drying process in which germinated barley is exposed to hot air to halt enzymatic activities and to develop flavor and color. The specific temperature and duration of the kilning process for Ashburne malt are tailored to create its characteristic amber hue and rich flavor profile. By controlling these variables, the maltsters ensure that Ashburne malt retains its unique qualities, making it distinct from other specialty malts like Munich or Vienna.

In the realm of brewing, Ashburne malt finds its use primarily as a specialty malt, albeit one that is highly versatile. It can be used in various beer styles, ranging from amber ales and stouts to lagers and even IPAs. Typically, it constitutes between 5% to 15% of the total grain bill. The grain bill refers to the total amount and types of grains used in brewing.

One of the most appealing aspects of using Ashburne malt is its ability to add complexity and depth to the flavor and aroma of the beer without overwhelming its overall profile. For instance, in amber ales, Ashburne malt can complement the malty sweetness and enhance the beer’s body. In stouts, its toasty notes can provide a balancing element to the robust flavors of chocolate and coffee commonly found in such beers.

Common Brands, Variations: Weyerman Vienna, Crisp Vienna, Muntons Mild Ale, Paul’s Mild Malt, Bestmalz Vienna, Gladfield Vienna, Fawcett Mild Ale, Simpsons Vienna 

MOISTURE3.5% max3.5% max 3.5% max 
EXTRACT 304 L°/kg81%81%
COLOR5.3 EBC10.44 EBC2.5 – 4.47
TN/TP  11.7% 11.7%
DP/DPWK/LINTNER60 min IoB210 min WK65 min °L

Caramel or Crystal Malts

Various crystal malts
Various crystal malts

The intricacies of brewing beer often extend into the nuanced choice of ingredients, especially malts. Among malts, two types commonly discussed, and often confused for one another, are crystal malt and caramel malt. These terms are frequently used interchangeably, which has led to widespread ambiguity in understanding their roles, distinctions, and optimal usage in brewing processes. Typically its known as Crystal in the UK, while in the  its called Caramel.

While the terminology might imply interchangeability, subtle differences do exist in how these malts are produced and how they impact the overall profile of the beer. As these malts offer a range of colors and flavors, their proper selection and application can indeed be instrumental for brewers who aim for precision and distinctiveness in their craft.

Crystal or Caramel Malt varieties undergoes unique processes to impart characteristic flavors, colors, and textures to the beer. While the terms “Crystal” and “Caramel” are often used interchangeably, they serve as signposts for a category of malts that bring forth sweetness, body, and an alluring color palette ranging from light ambers to deep browns.

The journey of crystal malt begins with the barley kernel. However, unlike its base malt counterparts, crystal malt embarks on a unique course of treatment, including two critical steps: stewing and kilning. Stewing is akin to a sauna for grains, where they are exposed to moist heat. This activates the enzymes in the grain, which then convert the starches into simpler sugars. Following the stewing process, the malt proceeds to kilning, a heat treatment that solidifies or “crystallizes” these sugars. The sugars undergo Maillard reactions during this step, developing an array of flavors that span the gamut from sweet caramel to toast-like bitterness. It is crucial to note that once these sugars are crystallized, the malt loses its “diastatic power,” meaning it no longer possesses the enzymes to convert starches into sugars. Hence, while it cannot initiate the process of fermentation, it can enrich the beer’s body and flavor profile.

The procedural nuances of making crystal malt demand precision. The initial phase involves a brief drying to eliminate surface moisture. This is followed by sealing the kiln and raising its temperature to the saccharification range, typically between 140-162 degrees Fahrenheit. Saccharification is a technical term for the enzymatic process where complex starches break down into simpler, fermentable sugars. Upon the completion of this step, the malt is subjected to a curing phase, during which it is exposed to dry heat ranging from 248 to 356 degrees Fahrenheit. The exact temperature setting is dictated by the desired color of the malt. Darker malts require higher temperatures, resulting in a broader spectrum of flavors but also higher levels of unfermentable sugars, known as dextrins. These dextrins are complex sugars that contribute to the mouthfeel of the beer, offering a perception of fullness or body without adding sweetness. This adds another layer to the nuanced choreography of brewing, allowing the brewmaster to balance the variables of flavor, color, and body to achieve the desired end product.

The impact of crystal malt on beer is multifaceted. It adds sweetness, yes, but it also contributes to the beer’s body and color. The Maillard reactions that occur during kilning result in the formation of melanoidins, compounds responsible for the rich amber to brown hues of the beer. Moreover, these reactions generate a complex array of flavor compounds that contribute notes of caramel, toffee, and, at times, dark fruits or even chocolate, depending on the kilning temperature. This makes crystal malt an invaluable asset in crafting diverse styles of beer, from light Pale Ales to robust Stouts.

Caramalt, Carapils, Carafoam, & Dextrine Malts (1 - 9°L)

Caramalt (Simpsons)
Caramalt (Simpsons)

Extra Light Crystal malt, colloquially known as Caramalt, is particularly intriguing. Despite its common usage, the specialized role it plays in brewing is not always fully understood. In Extra Light Crystal malt, the raw material often used is two-row barley. The choice of barley is paramount because its protein and enzyme content, as well as its husk attributes, significantly impact the malting process and the resultant malt properties.

The uniqueness of Extra Light Crystal malt starts in its manufacturing process. Because Extra Light Crystal malt is kilned at lower temperatures for shorter periods, it maintains a light color.

On a chemical level, Extra Light Crystal malt is rich in fermentable sugars like maltose, but its distinctive characteristic is its high dextrin content. Dextrins are complex sugars that yeast cannot fully break down during fermentation. While they do not contribute to the sweetness of the beer, they play an important role in enhancing its body and mouthfeel.

Given its high dextrin content, Extra Light Crystal malt is often employed to create beers with a fuller body without significantly darkening the beer’s color. Its low color rating usually ranges from 8 to 20 on the Lovibond scale. This means it can contribute body and mouthfeel without impacting the hue of the beer dramatically. Thus, it is particularly useful in crafting lighter beers like pilsners, lagers, or pale ales, where a dark color is not desired.

Moreover, the presence of these complex sugars provides stability to the beer’s foam. A stable foam is often seen as an indicator of quality, both visually and in terms of mouthfeel. Additionally, the light caramel and malty flavors introduced by Extra Light Crystal malt can complement the hop bitterness, creating a more balanced flavor profile.

It is important to note that the usage of Extra Light Crystal malt requires careful consideration. An excessive amount can result in cloying sweetness or a beer with an overly thick mouthfeel, which could be off-putting. Therefore, the proportion of Extra Light Crystal malt in the grain bill—the list of grains to be used in a particular brew—usually ranges from 1% to 5%.

Extra Light Crystal malt is not suitable for serving as a base malt. Base malts are usually rich in enzymes, and they form the majority of the grain bill, typically 75% to 100%. Since Extra Light Crystal malt lacks these enzymes, it cannot perform the function of converting starches to sugars during the mashing process.

Malt 1 – 9 °LEBCLovibondMoistureExtract
BestMalz Caramel Pils1.4 – 3.41.6 – 3.1 °L4.5%75%
Briess Carpils®1.271.5 °L6.5%75%
Castle Château Cara Blonde®7.4 – 12.26.0 – 9.6 °L8.5%78%
Castle Château Cara Clair®93.94 °L8.5%78%
Crisp Dextrin Malt2.2-3.91.3-1.9 °L7.0%79%
Dingemans Cara 8 (Carapils)7.4 – 11.46.9 – 9.7 °L9.5%75%
Gambrinus Vienna6.0 – 7.45 – 6 °L5.5%81%
Great Western DextraPils1.5 – 1.50.5 – 0.5 °L6.0%73%
Great Western DextraPils0.51.5 °L6.0%70%
Muntons Caramalt 10126.1 °L8.0%80%
Simpsons Dextrin Malt1.3 – 1.61.0 – 1.2 °L7.0%680%
Viking Caramel Pale6.0 – 10.02.81 – 4.317.5%77%
Warminster Caragold10 – 174.3 – 6.98.0%77%
Weyerman CaraHell®20 – 308.1 – 11.8 °L9.0%74%
Weyerman Carapils2.5 – 6.51.9 – 2.5 °L7.0%75%
Weyermann CaraFoam®2.5 – 6.51.4 – 2.9 °L6.5%78%

Pale Light Caramel or Crystal Malt (10-30 °L)

Caramel Malt 20L
Caramel Malt 20L

In the intricate world of brewing, the selection of malts serves as a cornerstone for the final beer’s sensory experience. Among the many types of malts, pale light caramel or crystal malts with a Lovibond range of 10-30, offer a unique dimension of subtlety and complexity. These malts provide a distinct sweetness, color, and mouthfeel to beers, underscoring their multifaceted role in the brewing process.

Pale light malts are not mere byproducts of standard malting practices but are meticulously designed to offer specific qualities. The malting process starts with barley grains, which undergo a sequence of soaking, germination, and kilning. Kilning is the drying process that not only preserves the malt but also influences its color and enzymatic activity. What sets crystal malts apart is an additional roasting phase conducted at lower temperatures. This procedure caramelizes the internal sugars of the malt, transforming its structure into a crystalline form, which imparts a unique set of properties to the final beer.

The crystalline formation has both chemical and sensory implications. Enzymatically, these malts are less active, which means they are resistant to the breakdown processes that occur during mashing. The result is that these malts can retain their innate characteristics, such as sweetness and light coloration, through to the finished beer. The flavors produced are often reminiscent of light honey, and the color leans toward a straw-like hue when these malts are used in isolation. However, their contributions are malleable and can vary when combined with other malts or adjuncts in the brewing recipe.

In terms of comparison, pale light caramel malts are less potent in flavor and color than their darker counterparts. Dark crystal malts, with higher Lovibond values, can infuse a beer with pronounced notes of caramel, toffee, and even dark fruits like raisins. They may also render the final product with a rich amber or brown hue. In contrast, the pale light malts are more restrained, adding delicate sweet notes and light coloration. This makes them particularly suitable for lighter styles of beer such as pilsners, blond ales, and certain wheat beers, where the aim is to enhance complexity without overwhelming the essential flavors of the beer.

A critical aspect of using pale light malts lies in the balance between fermentable and non-fermentable sugars they contribute. Fermentable sugars are those that yeast can convert into alcohol, while non-fermentable sugars remain in the beer, adding to its sweetness and body. Consequently, the proportion of these malts in a recipe, often documented in the malt bill, warrants precise calibration. Excessive quantities can lead to an overpowering sweetness, upsetting the balance and detracting from the beer’s intended flavor profile. Conversely, a judicious inclusion can amplify the beer’s character, bringing a nuanced layer of sweetness and body.

One must not overlook the contribution of pale light malts to the beer’s body and mouthfeel. The term ‘body’ in brewing parlance refers to the thickness and tactile sensation experienced when consuming the beer. It is a measure of how full or rich the beer feels on the palate. Pale light malts contain proteins and dextrins, types of carbohydrates, that lend this fuller mouthfeel to the beer. Dextrins are complex sugars that are not easily fermentable, which allows them to remain in the final product, contributing to the beer’s body.

Overall pale light caramel or crystal malts with a 10-30 Lovibond range offer a unique set of benefits in brewing, from nuanced sweetness and subtle coloration to enhancing the beer’s body and mouthfeel. Their delicacy makes them suitable for lighter beer styles, while their multifaceted characteristics can enrich more complex recipes. The malts are an eloquent testament to the finesse and expertise involved in brewing. They remind us that the art of brewing is a balance between science and sensibility, allowing us to appreciate the subtle complexities that make each beer an individual expression of the brewer’s art.

Malts 10 – 30 °LEBCLovibondMoistureExtract
BestMalz Caramel Amber30.4 – 41.223.0 – 31.0 °L4.5%75%
Bestmalz Caramel® Hell20 – 408.0 – 16.0 °L4.5%75%
Bestmalz Caramel® Aromatic41 – 6016.0 – 23.0 °L4.5%75%
Briess Caramel 1012.7810 °L7.0%77%
Briess Caramel 2026.3320 °L6.0%76%
Briess Caramel 3039.8730 °L5.5%77%
Castle Château Cara Ruby®45 – 5517.4 – 21.2 °L8.0%78%
Castle Château Cara Belgium®30 – 3511.8 – 13.7 °L8.0%76%
Castle Château Cara Honey60 – 8023.1 – 30.5 °L6.5%75%
Crisp Amber Malt30.4 – 46.723 – 35 °L3.2%80%
Crisp Cara 15L12.8 – 26.310.0 – 20.0 °L3.2%76%
Crisp Cara Gold13.0-18.05.4-17.2 °L6.5%74%
Crisp Caramalt25.0-35.09.9-13.7 °L6.0%73.3
Dingemans Cara 20 (Caravienne)25.0 – 35.819.0 – 27.0 °L7.0%70%
Fawcett Caramalt10.1 – 15.58.0 – 12.0 °L7.0%77%
Fawcett Słód Caramalt25.0 – 40.09.94 – 15.567.0%70%
Fawcett Pale Crystal Malt60 – 9020 – 30 °L6.5%70%
Gladfield Light Crystal40 – 7016 – 27 °L4.0%78%
Great Western Caramel Steam4029.0 °L5.0%70%
Great Western Crystal 151510.5 °L7.2%70%
Great Western Crystal 303021.6 °L6.0%70%
Great Western Crystal Wheat4029.0 °L5.0%70%
Muntons Cara Malt 3022 – 4311.1 – 21.8 °L8.0%77%
Patagonia Caramel 15L19.6 – 19.615.0 – 15.0 °L7.0%65%
Patagonia Caramel 25L33.1125 °L7.0%65%
Simpson’s Caramalt15.2 – 21.311.8 – 16.3 °L7.5%71%
Simpson’s Prem. English Caramalt27.4 – 33.520.8 – 25.3 °L3.0%71%
Viking Caramel Malt 3025.0 – 35.09.94 – 13.69 °L7.0%75%
Viking Red Active Malt30.0 – 40.011.81 – 15.56 °L4.5%78%
Viking Caramel Malt 5040.0 – 60.015.56 – 23.06 °L6.0%75%
Viking Cookie / Caramel 10040.0 – 60.115.56 – 23.05 °L6.0%72%
Warminster Caramalt23 – 429.1 – 16.3 °L7.5%77%
Weyerman CaraAmber®60 – 8023.1 – 30.6 °L4.5%77%
Weyerman CaraBelge®30 – 3511.8 – 13.6 °L9.0%77%
Weyerman CaraRed®40 – 6015.5 – 23.1 °L7.5%74%
Weyermann® Abbey Malt®20.9 – 25.016.0 – 19.0 °L4.5%75%

Medium Caramel or Crystal Malt (31-60 °L)

Caramel 40L Malt
Caramel 40L Malt

Medium caramel or crystal malts with a color rating of 40 to 60 Lovibond (L) play a vital role, especially in English and American styles such as milds, porters, stouts, and bitters. These malts are remarkable not only for their role in imbuing beers with delectable sweetness and caramel notes but also for enhancing the body and head retention of the final brew.

Medium crystal malts are the consequence of an intricate and carefully controlled malting process. The journey starts with barley grains that are subjected to soaking, germination, and initial kilning. The kilning process, a form of controlled drying, is the distinguishing step that sets crystal malts apart from regular malts. After initial kilning, these grains undergo additional roasting at specific temperatures. This roasting stage is fundamental in caramelizing the internal sugars, leading to the formation of crystalline structures inside the grain. This crystalline formation is responsible for the malt’s color, flavor, and several other key attributes.

The biochemical implications of this crystalline structure are manifold. It not only adds an alluring sweetness and deep color to the beer but also has several ramifications during the brewing process. Notably, this structure renders the malt less enzymatically active. Enzymes are molecules that catalyze, or speed up, chemical reactions. In brewing, enzymes break down complex starches into simpler fermentable sugars. Because medium crystal malts are less enzymatically active, they preserve their inherent characteristics during the mashing phase—where grains are soaked in hot water to extract fermentable sugars. This enzymatic stability is beneficial for maintaining the malt’s sweetness, body, and other properties, thereby directly affecting the final attributes of the beer.

The sensory profile of medium crystal malts is incredibly inviting. If you were to sample this malt raw, its unmistakable caramel sweetness would be evident, giving you a foretaste of its impact on the beer. This medium caramel malt is a star ingredient in styles like English milds and American porters, where its sweetness harmonizes beautifully with other flavors, adding complexity without overwhelming the palate. Unlike its lighter counterparts, medium caramel/crystal malts offer a more pronounced caramel and toffee note, which brings an inviting warmth and complexity to darker beer styles. This flavor profile makes them particularly well-suited for winter ales, where the caramel notes can resonate with the spices commonly used in such brews.

Yet, the role of medium crystal malts goes beyond flavor and color. They contribute to both fermentable and non-fermentable sugars in the beer. While fermentable sugars are consumed by yeast to produce alcohol and carbon dioxide, non-fermentable sugars remain in the beer, enhancing its sweetness and body. The body of a beer refers to its thickness and mouthfeel—the tactile sensation it provides as it traverses your palate. Medium caramel/crystal malts contain a mix of proteins and complex carbohydrates called dextrins that contribute to this sensation. These substances lend the beer a fuller, more satisfying mouthfeel, making each sip a more immersive experience.

Another vital function of these malts is the improvement of head retention. The head, or foam, of a beer is not merely aesthetic but contributes to the beverage’s overall sensory experience. A stable and creamy head releases aroma compounds that heighten your olfactory senses, priming you for the flavors to come. The proteins and dextrins in medium caramel/crystal malts contribute positively to foam stability, ensuring that the head remains intact for longer periods.

Crafting a well-balanced beer requires the careful orchestration of ingredients, and medium crystal malts demand specific attention in this regard. Their inclusion rate in the malt bill—the list of different malts used in a particular brew—needs meticulous planning. An excess could make the beer too sweet and viscous, overshadowing other flavors and ruining the intended style. Conversely, a modest quantity can elevate the beer, making it not only tastier but also more visually appealing and satisfying to drink.

Malts 31 – 60 °LEBCLovibondMoistureExtract
BestMalz Caramel Munich I41.2 – 50.731.0 – 38.0 °L4.5%75%
BestMalz Caramel Munich II56.1 – 65.642.0 – 49.0 °L4.5%75%
BestMalz Caramel Munich III67.0 – 102.250.0 – 76.0 °L4.5%75%
Briess Caramel – 40L53.440.0 °L5.5%77%
Briess Caramel – 60L80.560.0 °L5.0%77%
Castle Château Cara Gold Nature55.9 – 66.041.8 – 49.3 °L6.0%74%
Castle Château Cara Gold®55.9 – 66.041.8 – 49.3 °L8.0%78%
Crisp Crystal 60L73.7 – 87.355.0 – 65.0 °L3.2%76%
Crisp Crystal 77L94.1 – 107.670.0 – 80.0 °L3.2%76%
Crisp Crystal Light 45L53.4 – 67.040.0 – 50.0 °L3.2%76%
Dingemans Caramunich 4553.4 – 72.440.0 – 54.0 °L5.5%70%
Great Western Crystal 4053.440.0 °L5.3%68%
Great Western Crystal 6080.560.0 °L4.3%68%
Great Western Crystal 75100.875.0 °L4.3%68%
Muntons Muntons Crystal 60L75.1 – 98.156.0 – 73.0 °L6.0%67%
Patagonia Caramel 35L46.735.0 °L7.0%65%
Patagonia Caramel 45L60.245.0 °L7.0%65%
Patagonia Caramel 55L73.755.0 °L7.0%65%
Simpson’s British Crystal67.0 – 80.550.0 – 60.0 °L3.0%65%
Simpson’s English Crystal, 50-60 L67.0 – 80.550.0 – 60.0 °L3.0%65%
Simpson’s Crystal Light48.3 – 57.436.2 – 42.9 °L6.0%69%
Simpson’s Crystal T50®64.3 – 71.048.0 – 53.0 °L5.0%69%
Weyermann CaraMunich® Type 141.2 – 50.731.0 – 38.0 °L6.5%74%
Weyermann CaraMunich® Type 256.1 – 65.642.0 – 49.0 °L6.5%74%
Weyermann CaraMunich® Type 371.0 – 81.253.0 – 60.5 °L6.5%74%
Weyermann CaraRye®76.5 – 102.257.0 – 76.0 °L6.5%74%
Weyermann CaraWheat®56.1 – 71.042.0 – 53.0 °L4.0%74%

Dark Caramel or Crystal Malt (61-90 °L)

Caramel 70L Malt
Caramel 70L Malt

Dark caramel or crystal malts within the 70-90 Lovibond (L) range are indispensable tools in the brewer’s arsenal for crafting complex, flavorful, and deeply colored beers. With their robust hues ranging from amber to almost black and their nuanced flavors that span the spectrum from caramel sweetness to a bitter undertone, these malts are often the backbone of darker beer styles like Porters and Stouts. Understanding the intricate attributes and roles of dark caramel and crystal malts is pivotal for any brewer aiming to create beers with a well-balanced palate, engaging aromas, and eye-catching colors.

Originating from a meticulous malting process, dark caramel and crystal malts are created much like their lighter counterparts. The process starts with typical barley grains that are soaked in water to kickstart germination. Germination activates enzymes that convert the stored starches into fermentable sugars. Kilning, the process of drying the germinated grains, is the critical juncture where crystal malts diverge from standard malts. Post kilning, these grains undergo an additional roasting process at a higher temperature, which not only dries them but also caramelizes the internal sugars. This caramelization process is vital for creating the crystalline structure inside the malt kernel, hence the name “crystal malt.”

In contrast to lighter caramel malts, the higher roasting temperatures in the 70-90 L range result in the development of more complex and intense flavors and aromas. The darker the roast, the more unfermentable sugars and complex carbohydrates are formed. These compounds contribute to both the sweetness and the body of the beer. The bittersweet profile created by these dark caramel malts has the added layer of mild bitterness, which arises due to the advanced stage of caramelization and Maillard reactions that occur during roasting. This unique combination of sweet and bitter notes makes these malts ideal for imparting a multifaceted depth of flavor, characteristic of darker beers.

The higher roasting level also lends itself to a wider array of color possibilities in the final brew. Depending on the proportion of dark caramel malts used, the resultant beer can range from amber to nearly black, often with a reddish tint. The color not only affects the beer’s visual appeal but also psychologically primes the drinker for the rich, complex flavors that follow. The dark hues signal a beer that has more to offer than just a crisp, refreshing gulp; they promise a deeper, more engaging sensory experience.

Aside from their roles in flavor and color, dark caramel malts contribute significantly to the body and mouthfeel of a beer. When we refer to the ‘body’ of a beer, we are discussing its thickness, viscosity, and how it feels as it moves across the palate. A full-bodied beer will have a rich, creamy mouthfeel, which is generally more satisfying and pairs well with the intense flavors found in darker beer styles. The unfermentable sugars and dextrins present in these dark malts are responsible for this fuller body, as they are not easily broken down by yeast during fermentation. Therefore, they remain in the finished beer, creating a thicker, more luxurious mouthfeel.

Moreover, head retention, or the persistence of the foam atop a poured beer, is another area where dark caramel malts shine. The proteins and carbohydrates contribute to the foam’s stability, enriching the beer’s presentation and enhancing its aromatic profile. A stable head is more than just visually pleasing; it serves as a reservoir for the volatile aroma compounds that define a beer’s scent, acting almost like a bouquet in a wine glass.

Given the powerful attributes of dark caramel malts, they must be used judiciously. They are potent agents of change in a brew, and a heavy hand can quickly overwhelm the beer’s balance. Too much can result in a beer that is excessively sweet, cloyingly bitter, or distractingly thick. Hence, the ratio of dark caramel malts in the malt bill, the list of malts used in a particular beer recipe, must be meticulously calculated. Brewers often conduct several test batches to achieve the desired balance of sweetness, bitterness, color, and body.

Malts 61- 90 °LEBCLovibondMoistureExtract
BestMalz Caramel Munich III67.0 – 102.250.0 – 76.0 °L4.5%75%
Briess Caramel – 80L107.680.0 °L4.5%76%
Briess Caramel – 90L121.290.0 °L4.0%75%
Castle Château Cara Terra®85.9 – 111.864.3 – 83.1 °L6.5%74%
Castle Château Cara Café Light®111.8 – 142.383.1 – 105.6 °L4.5%77%
Crisp Crystal 60L73.7 – 87.355.0 – 65.0 °L3.2%76%
Crisp Crystal 77L94.1 – 107.670.0 – 80.0 °L3.2%76%
Dingemans Cara 200100.875 °L5.5%74%
Fawcett Dark Crystal Malt I107.6 – 121.280 – 90 °L4.5%70%
Gladfield Dark Crystal88.6 – 114.466 – 85 °L3.5%78%
Great Western Crystal 60108.280.5 °L5.2%70%
Great Western Crystal 120118.488.0 °L2.3%75%
Great Western Crystal 75100.875.0 °L4.3%75%
Muntons Crystal Malt 150102.576.2 °L7.0%77%
Muntons Muntons Crystal 60L75.1 – 98.156.0 – 73.0 °L6.0%67%
Patagonia Caramel 70L94.170.0 °L6.0%65%
Patagonia Caramel 90L121.290.0 °L5.0%65%
Pauls Deep Diver – Dark Crystal87.2 – 121.265 – 90 °L5.5%75%
Simpson’s Heritage Crystal84.9 – 96.563.2 – 71.8 °L5.0%69%
Simpson’s Crystal, Medium84.9 – 96.563.2 – 71.8 °L5.0%69%
Simpsons Crystal Dark Medium96.8- 114.472.1 – 85.0 °L5.0%69%
Warminster Crystal 80107.680 °L7.5%70%
Weyermann CaraFoam®71.0 – 81.253.0 – 60.5 °L6.5%74%
Weyermann CaraRed®76.5 – 102.257.0 – 76.0 °L6.5%74%

Very Dark Caramel or Crystal Malt (91-225 °L)

Caramel 140L Malt
Caramel 140L Malt

Very Dark Caramel/Crystal Malts, characterized by their deep color ranging from 91 to 225 Lovibond (L), have come to occupy an intriguing niche in the brewing landscape. Not only do they contribute substantial color to the final beer, but they also add nuanced flavors that range from caramel sweetness to somewhat bitter, roasted notes. This family of malts, including but not limited to Caramel 120, Carafa I, Carafa II, and Special B, serves as a powerful tool in a brewer’s arsenal but demands a nuanced understanding for optimal utilization.

Derived from barley, these very dark caramel malts undergo a stringent malting process involving soaking, germination, and kilning. The kilning process for these particular malts is significantly intensified, and often, additional roasting stages are employed to achieve the requisite color and flavor profile. It’s during this intensified kilning and roasting that the malts acquire their deep colors and complex flavors, imbuing them with layers of caramel, bitter, and nutty notes. Specialized malts like Carafa I and II, as well as Special B, are examples of custom-roasted specialty malts that often find application in very specific styles of beer.

The characteristics of these malts are not merely cosmetic; they hold several implications for the brewing process and the final characteristics of the beer. For instance, their intensified kilning renders these malts less enzymatically active, similar to their lighter counterparts. This decreased enzymatic activity means that they retain their inherent flavors during mashing, contributing more directly to the final flavor profile of the beer.

Additionally, the depth of color and flavor complexity these malts offer can border on the overwhelming if not judiciously used. The bitter, roasted flavors, especially, can easily dominate a beer, pushing it toward a bitter, plum-like character that might not be desirable. Therefore, brewers often employ these malts sparingly, usually restricting their usage to between 1/8 and 1/2 pound per 5 gallons of beer. This meticulous calibration allows brewers to achieve the desired flavor enhancements and color deepening without negatively impacting the overall balance of the beer.

Another critical aspect to consider is the variation in the processing of these malts. For instance, Weyermann’s Carafa malts are dehusked to reduce the bitter, off flavors that can sometimes be associated with very dark malts. Dehusking entails removing the husk of the barley grain before the malting process, which helps in minimizing astringent and bitter notes. This shows that the universe of very dark caramel/crystal malts is far from monolithic, offering a spectrum of options tailored to specific brewing needs.

While these very dark caramel and crystal malts are often associated with heavier beer styles like stouts, porters, and some darker Belgian ales, their influence can extend beyond these categories. A small addition in a lighter style of beer can add an unexpected but delightful layer of complexity. However, because these malts can impart intense flavors and colors, their inclusion in lighter beers should be exercised with caution.

Moreover, very dark caramel and crystal malts significantly contribute to the beer’s body and mouthfeel. Much like their lighter counterparts, these malts contain non-fermentable carbohydrates, mainly dextrins, that survive the fermentation process. These dextrins are pivotal in adding body to the beer, making it feel fuller and richer on the palate, enhancing the overall drinking experience. The multifaceted role these malts play in both flavor development and mouthfeel enhancement underscores their importance in the brewing process.

Malts 91 – 225 °LEBCLovibondMoistureExtract
Briess Caramel -120L161.8120.0 °L3.0%75%
Briess Organic Caramel 120L161.8120.0 °L6.0%70%
Castle Château Special Belgium®132.1 – 162.698.1 – 120.6 °L4.5%77%
Castle Château Special Belgium® Nature126.8 – 177.894.2 – 131.8 °L4.0%76%
Crisp Crystal Extra Dark 120L148.2 – 175.3110.0 – 130.0 °L3.2%76%
Dingemans Special B Malt188.9 – 209.2140.0 – 155.0 °L4.5%65%
Great Western Crystal 150150110.2 °L2.8%65%
Patagonia Caramel 110L148.2110.0 °L5.0%65%
Patagonia Caramel 190L256.6190.0 – °L4.0%65%
Patagonia Caramel Especial 140L188.9140.0 °L5.0%65%
Simpson’s Simpson’s DRC®142.3 – 162.6105.6 – 120.6 °L5.0%69%
Simpson’s Crystal, Dark127.0 – 144.994.3 – 107.5 °L5.0%69%
Simpson’s Crystal, Extra Dark202.4 – 222.7150.0 – 165.0 °L5.0%69%
Weyermann CaraAroma®176.7 – 228.2131.0 – 169.0 °L7.8%74%

Roasted Malts

Briess Special Roast Malt
Briess Special Roast Malt

The landscape of brewing is lush with choices that offer myriad pathways to a multitude of flavors, textures, and colors in the final beer. One category that dramatically influences the sensory experience of beer is roasted malts. In this sphere, the options range from pale chocolate and chocolate malt to carafa I, II, and III, and extend to black patent malt, red malt, and stout roast. These are the Ferraris of the malt world, high-octane and impactful, starting at around 200 Lovibond (a measure of color intensity) and racing up to 600 L or more. Given their unique characteristics and capabilities, understanding the nuances of these roasted malts can elevate a brew from merely good to extraordinary.

Roasting is the process where the magic happens. Traditional malting involves soaking barley grains in water to initiate germination, followed by kilning them to halt the process. Roasted malts take it a step further: after kilning, they are roasted at high temperatures, which results in the Maillard reaction and caramelization. The Maillard reaction gives these malts their complex flavor profiles, contributing aromas and flavors ranging from toasty and biscuity to intense chocolate and coffee notes. Caramelization, on the other hand, adds sweetness and body.

Pale chocolate malt, for example, is a lighter form of chocolate malt, roasted at lower temperatures. It provides delicate chocolate and coffee flavors, and is often used in Brown Ales or lighter Stouts where a subtle touch is required. Chocolate malt is darker and brings forth a richer chocolate flavor, ideal for robust Porters and Stouts. Carafa malts, available in types I, II, and III, have a dehusked version that offers the dark color without the intense bitterness that might be undesirable in certain styles like Schwarzbier. Black patent malt is the darkest of all, adding a bitter, roasted flavor and black color, often used sparingly to avoid overwhelming the beer. Red malt provides a reddish hue and toasted flavor, often used in Irish Reds and some Scottish Ales. Stout roast is custom-designed for stouts, with its bold, intense roasted characteristics.

Because of the high roasting temperatures used, these malts have very few fermentable sugars left. For the uninitiated, fermentable sugars are consumed by yeast to produce alcohol. Hence, roasted malts contribute minimally to the beer’s alcohol content. However, this is not necessarily a limitation; it’s more of a unique feature. It allows these malts to be steeped and used even in extract brewing methods, which don’t involve the traditional mashing step to convert starches to fermentable sugars. So, for those who are new to brewing and start with extract kits, roasted malts can be a game-changer in terms of introducing complex flavors and colors to their brews without requiring specialized equipment or techniques.

The influence of roasted malts extends beyond just flavor and color. They also have a pronounced impact on the beer’s body and mouthfeel. Body describes the perception of thickness or viscosity of the beer as it passes over the palate. While these malts don’t contribute significantly to fermentable sugars, their complex, non-fermentable carbohydrates add to the beer’s body, making it fuller and richer. Therefore, their inclusion can result in beers that feel as good as they taste, satisfying not just the taste buds but also the tactile sensors in the mouth.

The possibilities are truly endless when you consider the permutations and combinations of roasted malts that can be used in a single brew. Each variety can significantly alter the beer’s profile, and even small changes in the amount used can produce noticeable differences. That’s why it’s common to see brewers blending multiple types of roasted malts, carefully calculating the ratios to achieve a specific flavor profile, color, and body.

Another layer of complexity is introduced when you consider how roasted malts interact with other ingredients. Hops, yeast, and adjuncts can either amplify or counterbalance the characteristics brought by the malts. For example, the bitterness from certain hops can complement or clash with the roasted flavors. The esters produced by some yeast strains can either muddle the roast notes or add an additional layer of complexity. Therefore, the choice of roasted malts often involves thinking several steps ahead, envisioning how each ingredient will interact with the others in the brew kettle, during fermentation, and ultimately in the glass.

Used wisely, these malts can elevate a beer to a work of art, a sensory experience that lingers in memory long after the last sip has been taken. Cheers to the roasted malts, the unsung heroes that add depth, complexity, and a touch of magic to our beloved brews.

Amber or Biscuit Malt

Amber Malt
Amber Malt

Amber malt, colloquially referred to as biscuit malt, is a traditional British malt originating from winter or spring barley. Historically significant and currently relevant, it serves as a versatile tool in the brewer’s malt arsenal, offering both unique flavors and aesthetic qualities to a wide array of darker ale styles. Among the beers that benefit from its inclusion are porters, stouts, old ales, mild ales, brown ales, and bitters. Not only does amber malt infuse these brews with distinct color and flavor, but it also contributes to the body of the beer, enriching its viscosity and providing a characteristic brownish head.

Previously amber malt was a staple in 19th-century brewing, particularly in porters. In some formulations, it constituted a substantial component of the base malt. However, for a prolonged period, this malt type was elusive, largely disappearing from the marketplace. The reason for this hiatus is multifaceted, encompassing changes in brewing trends and shifts in consumer preferences. However, it has been reinvigorated in recent years, thanks to the resurgence of craft brewing and the demand for traditional ingredients. Specialty maltsters have heeded this call and resumed the production of amber malt.

The flavor imparted by amber malt is deeply rooted in its heating process. The intense heat promotes Maillard reactions—the same chemical reactions responsible for the browned, flavorful crust on baked bread and seared meats. These reactions create a variety of flavor compounds that translate into the toasted, almost nutty undertones found in beers brewed with amber malt.

The influence of amber malt on a beer’s body and mouthfeel is an attribute that should not be overlooked. When grains are kiln-dried, the heat breaks down proteins and complex sugars into simpler forms. However, the additional intense heating of amber malt preserves some of these complex carbohydrates, known as dextrins. These dextrins are not easily fermentable by yeast, meaning they remain in the finished beer, contributing to its body and giving it a fuller mouthfeel. Moreover, these compounds assist in the formation of a stable, brownish foam head, adding not just visual appeal but also a tactile sensation as one sips the brew.

Amber or BiscuitEBCLovibondMoistureExtract
Barrett Burston Amber50 – 8037.4 – 60 °L5.0%75%
Castle Château Biscuit22.8 – 27.917.4-21.2 °L4.4%77%
Crisp Amber30.4 – 46.723 – 35 °L3.20%80
Franco-Belge Roasted Amber20 – 4015 – 30 °L5.0%75%
Pauls Dead Straight – Amber Malt55 – 7525.3 – 34.4 °L5.5%74%
Simpsons Amber27.4 – 36.120.8 – 27.2 °L5.0%69%
Warminster Roasted Amber18.6 – 32.115.5 – 26.9 °L3.0%73%

Brown Malt

Gladfield Brown Malt
Gladfield Brown Malt

Brown malt possesses a unique charm, evoking the essence of traditional British brewing while also finding relevance in contemporary craft beer culture. As a dark, roasted malt, its primary function is to imbue beers with a rich, complex profile. While its hues span the range from amber to nearly black, its flavor contribution is decidedly multifaceted, carrying strong, dark-toasted grain notes accompanied by a tinge of bitter chocolate. When included in a brewer’s grain bill—the list of malts used in a beer recipe—brown malt serves as the linchpin for darker ales, offering them a soulful, robust flavor. Its traditional and most significant applications are found in the brewing of brown ales, porters, and stouts, although its influence extends to dark Belgian styles and old ales as well.

Brown malt traces its lineage to the British Isles, where it has been traditionally used as a base malt. By base malt, we refer to the primary malt component that constitutes the majority of the grain bill, providing not only flavor and color but also the essential fermentable sugars that yeast will convert into alcohol. Its historical presence in the British brewing landscape is significant, with roots extending back to the late 17th century. It was during this period that London brewers coined the term “brown ale,” to describe a beer crafted solely from brown malt and lightly hopped. The formula was simple but iconic, setting the stage for future generations of dark ales.

One of the most distinguishing aspects of brown malt is its capacity to introduce multiple dimensions of flavor into a beer. On one hand, it delivers the dark roasted tones often associated with porters and stouts. On the other, it contributes drier, biscuit-like, and toasty notes that are staples in brown ales. Moreover, it has the unique attribute of lending a certain bitterness to the brew, a quality that adds depth and complexity to the final product.

Brown malt also plays a significant role in shaping the beer’s mouthfeel and overall body. The roasted, caramelized sugars present in brown malt contribute to a fuller, richer texture. Additionally, brown malt influences the head retention and stability, complementing its sensory contributions with an aesthetic touch.

Brown MaltEBCLovibondMoistureExtract
Bairds Brown66.9 – 94.150 – 704.5%77%
Briess Cara®Brown73.755 °L2.2%79%
Crisp Brown80.5 – 94.160 – 70 °L3.0%76.50%
Fawcett Brown69.7 – 87.352 – 65 °L3.0%71.00%
Gladfield Brown121.290 °L5.0%74.0%
Franco-Belge Roasted Coffee221.4 – 233.6164 – 173 °L5.0%75%
Patagonia Coffee 230L310.8230 °L4.0%65%
Patagonia Brown 115L155.0 – 155.0115 – 115 °L4.0%65%
Simpson’s Brown218.4 – 304.8161.8 – 225.6 °L4.0%68.70%
Warminster Brown107.6 – 143.490 – 120 °L3.5%73%

Black Patent Malt

Black (Patent) Malt
Black (Patent) Malt

Among the palette of malts available to brewers, Black Malt, also known as Black Patent Malt, occupies a unique and defining role. Often described as the “ink” of the brewing world, this malt is the darkest available and has unique properties that can deeply influence the finished product.

Black Malt undergoes a roasting process that is considerably more extended and occurs at higher temperatures than other malts, such as Chocolate Malt. This extensive roasting gives it a color intensity that ranges upwards of 500 Lovibond. This means that even a small amount of Black Malt can lend a dark, almost opaque, hue to a brew, making it ideal for beers that require deep coloration.

The roasting process imbues this malt with a sharply pronounced roasted-charcoal flavor that can drastically impact a beer’s palate. When used judiciously, it can introduce flavors reminiscent of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and even a slight hint of smokiness. These robust flavors are not just complements but often the defining characteristics of certain beer styles like Stouts and Porters.

When used in higher proportions Black Malt can lend a complex, dry, and mildly burnt finish to the beer. This characteristic can be both a boon and a bane, depending on the brewer’s intention and the beer style in question. For instance, in a Dry Stout or a Russian Imperial Stout, the dry, burnt overtones might be considered desirable, adding complexity and depth to the beer’s flavor. On the other hand, in a sweeter, malt-forward style like a Milk Stout, excessive Black Malt can clash with the inherent sweetness, causing an imbalance in flavors.

Moreover, Black Malt’s impact extends to the tactile sensations of the beer, influencing its mouthfeel. The rich, roasty flavors lend a sense of fullness and body to the beer, adding a layer of tactile complexity. This means that Black Malt isn’t just a flavoring agent; it also contributes to the overall drinking experience, enhancing the beer’s body and depth. However, brewers must tread cautiously here, as too much can result in an astringent, overly dry mouthfeel that can be off-putting.

Given its potent attributes, it’s worth pondering how to best utilize Black Malt in the brewing process. As a highly influential ingredient, its use requires a thoughtful approach. It often works best when combined with other, milder malts that can balance its strong flavors and mitigate its potential for astringency. Many brewers also like to pair it with caramel or sweet malts to offset its dry, burnt characteristics. Another point to consider is the timing of its addition during the brewing process. Due to its strong attributes, Black Malt is typically added during the later stages of the mash, allowing the brewer to retain its color contributions while tempering its more aggressive flavors.

Black (Patent) MaltEBCLovibondMoistureExtract
Bairds Black677 – 812500 – 600 °L3.0%68%
BestMalz Black561 – 609415 – 450 °L4.5%65%
BestMalz Black Malt eXtra663 – 715490 – 529 °L4.5%65%
Briess Black676500 °L6.0%72%
Briess Blackprinz®676500 °L6.0%72%
Briess Organic Black676500 °L6.0%70%
Castle Château Black687507.4 °L4.7%73%
Castle Château Black of Black202 – 304150 -225 °L5.0%72%
Crisp Black785 – 853580 – 630 °L3.0%75%
Dingemans Belgian Debittered Black677 – 812500 – 600 °L4.5%65%
Fawcett Black555 – 677410 – 5003.0%71%
Franco-Belge Kiln Black997 – 1297450 – 585 °L5.0%75%
Muntons Black Patent693 – 809512 – 598 °L5.0%65%
Patagonia Black717.1530 °L4.0%65%
Patagonia Perla Negra 340L460340 °L5.0%65%
Pauls Angry Bear – Black Malt1300 – 1600587 – 722 °L4.0%73.3%
Simpson’s Black Malt728 – 965538 – 713.1 °L3.0%69%
Viking Black1200 – 1500885 – 1108 °L5.0%65%
Warminster Black248 – 307208.8 – 257.1 °L3.5%73%

Carafa Malts

Carafa Special Type II

Manufactured by the German malting firm Weyermann, Carafa malts are a specialized variety that enjoys widespread acclaim among brewers. Available in three versions—Carafa I, II, and III—these malts are distinguished by their rich, dark color and complex, roasted notes. Made from premium two-row barley, the grains are first malted and then subjected to a unique roasting technique. Notably, the husks are removed prior to this roasting step, a hallmark of the Carafa line. This husk removal helps mitigate the potential for bitter, astringent flavors that are sometimes characteristic of darker malts. Subsequent to the husk removal, the grains are roasted in a manner that caramelizes their internal sugars, thereby infusing both flavor and hue. The varying depths of color and flavor intensity across Carafa I, II, and III are determined by the duration and degree of this roasting process.

An intriguing facet of Carafa malts lies in their effect on a beer’s texture, specifically its mouthfeel. The process of de-husking and roasting results in malts with a high content of unfermentable sugars. During the brewing process, these sugars are not transformed into alcohol, thus enriching the body and mouthfeel of the final beer. This quality is especially advantageous in beer styles like Stouts and Porters, where a thicker, creamier texture is often a desired feature.

Carafa I is the lightest of the trio, generally offering color ratings around 300-375 Lovibond. This particular malt is usually employed when a brewer wishes to impart dark coloration without overwhelming roasted or burnt characteristics. It lends a subtle note of chocolate and coffee but maintains a smooth finish. It is commonly used in darker lagers or Schwarzbier, where complex flavors are welcomed but should not be the star of the show.

Carafa II takes the roasting a notch higher. With color ratings usually between 375-450 Lovibond, this malt adds deeper hues to the beer. The flavor profile becomes more prominent, featuring bolder notes of dark chocolate and espresso, but still avoiding harsh bitterness. It’s like the middle child in a family, striking a balance between the subtleness of Carafa I and the intensity of Carafa III. This makes it a versatile choice for a wide array of styles, including Dunkels, Stouts, and even some robust Porters.

Carafa III is the darkest and most intense, featuring color ratings often exceeding 500 Lovibond. The flavors become even more pronounced, leaning toward rich, dark chocolate and almost burnt coffee notes. Despite its intensity, the absence of the husk ensures that the bitter astringency remains low. Brewers reach for Carafa III when crafting beers like Imperial Stouts or Baltic Porters, where the deep, dark malt complexity complements the high alcohol content and robust flavor profile.

Carafa SpecialEBCLovibondMoistureExtract
Weyerman CARAFA® Special Type 2558.7 – 608.8413 – 450 °L3.5%70%
Weyerman CARAFA® Special Type 3660.3 – 761.9488 – 563°L3.5%70%
Weyerman CARAFA® Special Type I405.6 – 507.2300 – 375°L3.5%70%
Weyerman CARAFA® Type 1405.6 – 507.2300 – 375°L3.5%70%
Weyerman CARAFA® Type 2583.1 – 608.8431 – 450°L3.8%65%
Weyerman CARAFA® Type 3660.3 – 761.9488 – 563°L3.8%65%

Chocolate Malt (200 - 450°L)

Light Chocolate Malt
Light Chocolate Malt

Chocolate Malt occupies a distinctive niche in the panorama of brewing ingredients, offering a range of flavor profiles that extend from the subtle notes of cocoa to the robust undertones of dark coffee. Much like the skilled hands of a chocolatier can coax complex flavors out of cocoa beans, so too can a brewer manipulate the impact of Chocolate Malt to craft beers that resonate with intricate flavors and aromas.

In the early stages, Chocolate Malt begins its life much like any other malt, it is in the kiln that Chocolate Malt diverges from its paler siblings. Subjected to temperatures ranging from 350 to 500°F, the malt undergoes Maillard reactions and caramelization, the same chemical changes responsible for the sear on a steak or the crust on freshly baked bread. These processes confer upon Chocolate Malt its defining characteristics, notably its dark color and unique flavor profile.

Despite its name, this malt doesn’t precisely impart a “chocolate bar” flavor. Instead, it offers a spectrum of dark, roasted flavors resembling cocoa and coffee. The depth and nuance in its flavor profile depend largely on its roasting temperature; a lower roasting temperature will yield milder, sweeter flavors, whereas higher temperatures produce bolder, more intense notes with a touch of bitterness

When it comes to color, Chocolate Malt delivers a rich, dark hue, typically falling between 200-450 Lovibond. This color spectrum allows it to be highly versatile. It can darken lighter beers, like Amber Ales, without making them pitch black, while in darker beers like Stouts or Porters, it contributes to the deep, impenetrable shades that are often their hallmark.

Beyond flavor and color, Chocolate Malt also has a role in shaping the beer’s body and mouthfeel. The high temperatures in the kilning process decrease the malt’s enzymatic activity and increase its content of non-fermentable sugars and dextrins. These complex carbohydrates do not break down during fermentation, adding sweetness and fullness to the finished beer. When you take a sip of a beer crafted with Chocolate Malt and feel it luxuriously coat your palate, that’s the malt’s contribution to the body and mouthfeel.

Chocolate Malt can overwhelm a beer if used in excess. It could introduce excessive bitterness and make the beer unidimensional, robbing it of the complexity that defines great brews. Moreover, this malt does have fermentable sugars, meaning it will contribute to the alcohol content of the beer. Therefore, it often appears in recipes alongside paler malts, or even other specialty malts.

Given its wide range of applications, Chocolate Malt is an essential malt for brewing a classic Stout, a seasonal Pumpkin Ale with a hint of cocoa, or experimenting with a hybrid style, this malt offers a pathway to complexity and richness.

Chocolate MaltEBCLovibondMoistureExtract
BestMalz Best Chocolate405.6 – 514.0300 – 380°L4.5%75%
Briess Chocolate473.4350°L5.5%79%
Castle Château Chocolat406.4 – 508.0300.6 – 375.6°L5.0%75%
Crisp Pale or Low Color Chocolate270.2 – 337.9165 – 250°L3.0%77%
Crisp Chocolate574.9 – 642.7351.5 – 346.5 °L2.0%72%
Dingemans Mroost 900 MD Chocolate459.8 340 °L5.0%65%
Dingemans Chocolate405.6 – 514.0300 – 380°L5.0%65%
Fawcett Pale Chocolate243.1 – 337.9180 – 250°L4.0%71%
Gladfield Light Chocolate383.8.- 495.5321.2 – 415.5 °L4.5%71.0%
Franco-Belge Chocolate405.6 – 501.8300 – 371 °L3%70%
Patagonia Chocolate 350L473.4350°L4.0%65%
Pauls Reliable Lighthouse – Lt. Chocolate400 – 600180.9 – 271.1 °L4.0%73.3%
Viking – Chocolate Light202.4150 °L5.0%68%
Warminster Low Color Chocolate187.6 – 295.9157.1 – 247.6 °L3.5%73%
Weyermann Chocolate Rye204.1 – 357.4151.3 – 264.4 °L4.0%65%
Weyermann Chocolate Spelt 229.5 – 324.3170 – 240 °L4.0%65%

Dark Chocolate Malt (400 - 600 °L)

Dark Chocolate Malt
Dark Chocolate Malt

Dark Chocolate Malt holds a position of unique interest, offering a distinct palette of flavors and colors that can deeply influence a beer’s profile. While the name “Dark Chocolate Malt” might evoke thoughts of a dessert, make no mistake, this malt serves as a crucial element in creating complex and robust beers.

During the malting process Dark Chocolate Malt differs from other malts during kilning, where kilning occurs at higher temperatures, generally upward of 400°F. These elevated temperatures result in an intricate matrix of flavors and aromas, leaning toward darker notes like espresso, dark chocolate, and even a subtle touch of burnt elements.

However, what separates Dark Chocolate Malt from its lighter counterparts is its particular balance of flavors. While it shares some characteristics with its less-roasted sibling, Chocolate Malt, it possesses a more intense, less sweet profile. The roasting eradicates a chunk of the malt’s natural sweetness, leaving a robust, bitter layer behind.

The color contributions of Dark Chocolate Malt are equally compelling, typically falling in a range between 400-500 Lovibond. This means that it can impart a notably dark, almost black hue to your beer, a characteristic especially desirable in styles like Imperial Stouts or Baltic Porters.

The malt’s role doesn’t stop at just flavor and color; it also has biochemical implications on the brewing process. During fermentation, yeast consumes the fermentable sugars in the malt to produce alcohol and carbon dioxide. The higher kilning temperature means that Dark Chocolate Malt has fewer fermentable sugars compared to lighter malts. While it contributes less to the beer’s alcohol content, it adds significantly to the body of the beer. When we talk about the ‘body,’ we mean the thickness and mouthfeel of the beer when you sip it. It’s what gives a beer its substance, its tactile sensation in your mouth. Dark Chocolate Malt contains proteins and complex carbohydrates called dextrins, which contribute to a fuller body, enhancing the tactile experience of drinking the beer.

Combining Dark Chocolate Malt with other malts can add layers of complexity to the beer, creating a harmonious blend of flavors and aromas. Pairing it with something like a Caramel Malt could soften its intense characteristics, adding a layer of sweetness that complements its darker, bitter elements.

Dark Chocolate Malt (Over 400L)EBCLovibondMoistureExtract
Bairds Chocolate676.5450 – 500°L3.0%72%
Briess Dark Chocolate568.2420 °L5.5%79%
Crisp Dark Chocolate608.8450 °L2.0%72%
Gladfield – Dark Chocolate541.6 – 631.7453.3 – 528.8 °L3.5%73.0%
Munton’s Chocolate519.4 – 577.7384 – 427°L4.0%67%
Patagonia Dark Chocolate 450L608.8450 °L4.0%65%
Pauls Reliable Lighthouse – Chocolate800 – 1000361.2 – 451.4 °L4.0%73.3%
Simpson’s Chocolate542.0 – 660.4400.7 – 488.1°L3.0%69%
Viking Dark Chocolate865325 °L5.0%67%
Warminstern Chocolate 350L793.8 – 992.6300 – 375 °L3.5%73%
Weyerman Chocolate Wheat457.1 – 610.2338 – 451 °L4.0%65%

Roasted Barley

Roasted Barley Malts
Roasted Barley Malts

Distinct from malt, roasted barley is created from barley that hasn’t been malted. Its lack of malting and subsequent roasting imbue it with flavors and attributes that offer the brewer both opportunities and challenges.

While malts undergo the stages of soaking, germination, and kilning, roasted barley skips the germination process. This omission makes roasted barley a roasted grain rather than a roasted malt. It is the roasting process, executed at high temperatures of around 300–400°F, that gives roasted barley its signature flavors, reminiscent of coffee, and its deep color ranging from 300 to 400 Lovibond. The Lovibond scale measures the color intensity of grains and the resulting wort—a critical metric for brewers.

When it comes to flavor, roasted barley offers a robust, coffee-like character. For beer styles that necessitate a strong roasty note, such as Stouts and Porters, this grain becomes a quintessential addition. However, its powerful flavor means it should be used judiciously. An excessive amount can overshadow other nuanced flavors in the brew, making the beer overwhelmingly bitter or astringent.

Roasted barley also has a considerable impact on beer’s color. Its high Lovibond rating means that even a small addition can alter the hue of the brew dramatically. For styles like Irish Red Ales, the red tint introduced by roasted barley is desirable and authentic to the genre. On the other hand, there are darker versions of roasted barley that can turn the beer nearly black, perfect for the darkest of stouts but probably unsuitable for lighter ales and lagers.

The fact that roasted barley is made from unmalted grain also has ramifications on its brewing applications. Unlike malted grains, it does not contribute fermentable sugars. This means it won’t affect the alcohol content of the beer, but it will contribute to its mouthfeel and body. Beers brewed with roasted barley often possess a fuller, more rounded texture. While this grain can offer a desirable body, brewers should balance its use with other grains that provide fermentable sugars to ensure a balanced final product.

It is also worth noting that while roasted barley imparts an unambiguous color and flavor profile, it does not work in isolation. It interacts with other elements in the beer, including hops, yeast, and other grains. For example, the bitterness of roasted barley can be complemented or even counterbalanced by the sweetness of caramel malts or the bitterness of certain hop varieties. Such interactions need to be carefully considered in recipe formulation to achieve a harmonious blend of flavors and aromas.

Roasted BarleyEBCLovibondMoistureExtract
Bairds Roasted Barley676.5 – 812.0500 – 600 °L3.0%68%
BestMalz Roasted Barley608.8 – 717. 2450 – 530 °L5.5%65%
Briess Light Roasted Barley300.0405.6 °L5.0%N/A
Castle Château Roasted Barley300 -375405.6 – 507.24.0%75%
Crisp Roasted Barley744.2 – 757.8550 – 560 °L3.0%76%
Fawcett Roasted Barley554.6 – 676.5410 – 500 °L3.0%70%
Muntons Roasted Barley581.7 – 839.1430 – 620 °L6.0%67%
Pauls Angry Angler – Roasted Barley1400 – 1600631.7 – 721.9 °L4.0%73.3%
Simpson’s Roasted Barley660.4 – 965.2488.1 – 713.1 °L3.0%62%
Viking Roasted Barley900 – 1200665 – 868.4 °L5.0%63%
Warminster Roasted Barley541.6 – 676.8453.3- 566.5 °L3.5%73%
Weyerman Roasted Barley507.2 – 608.8 °L375 – 450 °L6.0%73%

Special Processed Malts

Victory Malt
Victory Malt

In the realm of brewing, special processed malts serve as both the backbone and the flourish of a well-crafted beer. Like the key change in a musical composition or the subtext in a novel, these malts bring an unspoken depth to the brew, elevating it from a mere drink to an experience. Often subjected to specialized heat and moisture treatments—whether kiln-dried or drum-roasted—these malts distinguish themselves in the symphony of flavors, colors, and mouthfeel that characterize various styles of beer.

Just as a filmmaker may opt for a particular lens to capture a scene in a unique light, a brewer chooses specific types of specialty malts to cast the envisioned beer in a particular hue and flavor profile. The process might be technically grounded, based on the Maillard reaction or enzymatic activity, but the result is poetic, appealing to our sensory experience. This duality of science and art is what makes specialty malts so intriguing. They offer brewers a chance to be chemists in one moment and artists in the next.

Each of these specialty malts plays a unique role, not just as a technical component but also as a storyteller. Whether it’s the comforting aroma of a campfire evoked by Rauchmalz, the earthy undertones of a highland landscape brought forth by Peated Malts, the crisp tartness introduced by Acidulated Malt, or the silent but essential contribution of Chit Malt to a beer’s body and texture, specialty malts enrich the narrative of the beer. They provide opportunities for brewers to be true artisans, to balance science with sensory experience, and to create beers that are more than just beverages.

These specialty malts serve as tactile reminders that brewing is as much about creating emotional connections as it is about mastering the science. Each malt tells its own story, introduces its own color to the canvas, and plays its own note in the melody. And in doing so, they allow brewers to transform the simple act of drinking beer into a nuanced sensory journey, turning each glass into a storybook brimming with possibilities.

Acidulated Malt (Sauermalz)

BestMalz Acidulated Malt
BestMalz Acidulated Malt

Acidulated Malt, colloquially known as Sauermalz in German brewing circles, on the surface, doesn’t look dramatically different from other grains, but its distinctive role in brewing is like the subtly complex ingredients in a recipe that elevate the dish. Not only does it offer a distinct sour note to the beer, but it also performs the crucial task of adjusting the pH of the mash, rendering the fermentation process more efficient. Let’s explore how this unsung hero of the malt world weaves its magic, both scientifically and experientially.

The production of Acidulated Malt involves an extra layer of care, almost as if it’s attending a specialized chemistry class. Once the malting process is complete, the grains are sprayed with lactic acid and then dried. This infuses the grains with the acid’s properties, in turn allowing them to modify the mash’s pH levels when used in brewing. Just as a little acidity in cooking can transform a dish, Acidulated Malt brings about transformative change in the beer’s chemistry.

The principal role of Acidulated Malt lies in its ability to lower the pH of the mash during the brewing process. Why is this important? The pH level plays a significant role in enzymatic activity. Enzymes are like tiny factory workers that break down complex starches into simpler sugars, which yeast can then ferment into alcohol. A more acidic environment encourages these enzymes to work more efficiently. The result is a smoother fermentation process, where the yeast produces alcohol and carbon dioxide with greater ease. In essence, Acidulated Malt streamlines the brewing process, serving as a catalyst that spurs the other ingredients to perform better.

Its secondary role is sensory. The slight tartness that Acidulated Malt brings to the table is a gastronomic delight, particularly prized in specific beer styles. The acidic undertones act like a garnish of lemon zest over a meal, subtly enhancing the inherent flavors of the dish. For example, in Berliner Weisse, a traditional German sour wheat beer, Acidulated Malt is a cornerstone. It helps achieve the sour, refreshing character that defines the style. Beyond these sour ales, the malt finds its way into other beer styles that benefit from a crisp, clean finish. When you sip a Pilsner that finishes with a refreshing snap, chances are Acidulated Malt has played a role.

BestMalz BEST Acidulated3.0 – 8.01.6 – 2.7°L8.0%76.0%
Castle Château Acid6.0 – 16.02.8 – 6.6°L10.0%74.0%
Gladfield Sour Grapes Acidulated2.0 – 6.01.3 – 2.8°L6.5%27.0%
IREKS Sour Malt (Acidulated)14.05.8° L8.0%75.0%
Swaen PlatinumSwaen© Sauer Malt13.95.8°L5.0%75.0%
Weyermann Acidulated3.0 – 6.11.2 – 2.3°L6.0%75.0%

Smoked Malt (Rauchmalz)

BestMalz Smoked Malt
BestMalz Smoked Malt

Smoked malts, colloquially known as Rauchmalz in their German homeland, serve as the memory-triggering essence within the lexicon of beer ingredients. Just as a well-chosen melody can evoke memories and emotions, the rich, smoky aroma and flavor of Rauchmalz have the power to transport beer enthusiasts to another time and place—perhaps a tranquil evening by a campfire or a cozy winter night spent near a fireplace. While the scent of wood smoke often conjures a universal sense of nostalgia, in the brewing world, it adds a chapter to the evolving narrative of a beer’s profile.

Originating from the historical city of Bamberg, Germany—a locale as steeped in brewing tradition as it is in cultural significance—smoked malt undergoes a specialized drying process. Barley grains are exposed to the fumes of open flames or smoldering logs, infusing the malt with aromatic smoke compounds. Yet, it isn’t just any wood that fuels this transformation; the choice of wood is as integral to the malt’s personality as a key ingredient in a complex recipe. Beechwood is often the wood of choice for a balanced, traditional smokiness. However, for those aiming to imbue more nuanced flavors, woods like cherry or apple provide fruity undertones, that offer subtle, yet important, support to the main flavors.

Smoked malt serves as the cornerstone of German Rauchbiers—a style of beer that venerates the smoky character as its defining feature. The versatility of Rauchmalz transcends its roots, venturing across borders and styles. Contemporary brewers have started to incorporate smoked malts into porters and stouts, bestowing these already robust beers with a hint of smokiness that acts as an aromatic undertone that adds depth without overtaking the main flavor. Even in some Belgian beer styles, known for their fruity esters and spicy phenols, smoked malts are used judiciously to create complex flavors.

The influence of Rauchmalz can be as overwhelming if not properly managed. The key is balance. The ratio of smoked malt to other malts in the grain bill—the recipe of malts used in brewing—requires meticulous planning. A heavy-handed use can result in a beer that tastes more like a liquid smoke bomb than a masterpiece. Conversely, a touch too little, and its evocative influence is lost.

BestMalz BEST Smoked3.0 – 8.01.6 – 3.5°L5.5%77.0%
BriessApplewood Smoked7.46°L6.0%80.5%
Briess Cherrywood Smoked10.05°L6.0%80.5%
Briess Mesquite Smoked5.05°L6.0%80.5%
Castle Château Smoked4.0 – 12.02.1 – 5.0°L6.0%77.0%
Gladfield Manuka Smoked3.51.9°L5.0%81.5%
Swaen PlatinumSwaen© Smoke6.02.8°L5.6%82.0%
Viking Smoked10.08°L9.0%81.0%
Weyermannn Smoked8.02.0-3.5°L5.0%81.0%
Weyermann Beachwood Smoked4.0 – 8.02.1 – 3.6°L4.0-5.0%78-81%
Weyermann Oak Smoked Wheat4.0 – 6.02.1 – 2.8°L5.5%81.0%

Peated Malt

Fawcett Peated Malt

Peated malt is most famously associated with Scotch whisky, particularly those styles originating from the Islay region, which are known for their smoky, peaty character. So, how does this compelling element transition into the world of beer? The secret resides in its singular method of production and the unique spectrum of flavors it contributes to the art of brewing.

To create peated malt, barley is dried over fires fueled by peat, a type of soil formed from ancient, decomposed plant material. The plants break down in anaerobic, or low-oxygen, conditions in bogs, producing a dense, organic matter rich in aromatic compounds. Imagine the earthiness of a forest floor after a rainfall, the slight tang of damp moss, and the fragrant bouquet of wild herbs. These are the sensory notes encapsulated in peat, and by extension, in peated malt.

This artisanal malting process imbues the grains with flavors and aromas not found in traditional malt varieties. It offers a tapestry of notes, from the earthiness of damp soil to the floral hints of heather, even branching into the herbal and medicinal realms. The malt becomes like a storyteller, each grain imbued with ancient tales of the land from which it comes.

Peated malts have a long-standing relationship with Scotch whisky, but their role in beer is more nuanced. Much like a powerful spice in cooking, a little goes a long way. The smoky, earthy character can quickly dominate a beer’s profile, so brewers often use peated malts judiciously, mindful of the malt’s assertiveness. When used with care, peated malts can add a layer of complexity to certain beer styles, most notably in Scotch Ales, which traditionally have a malty, robust character. The peated malt complements this profile, adding a whisper of smoky complexity, like an undercurrent in a flowing river.

But it’s not just the realm of traditional Scotch Ales where peated malts make their mark. Adventurous brewers might introduce them into stouts, porters, or even darker Belgian styles to achieve an avant-garde expression of beer. In such beers, the peated malt serves as a provocative challenge to the palate.

PeatedEBCLovibondMoistureExtract FG Min
Bairds Peated3.8 – 6.52 – 3°L4.5%81.0%
BestMalz BEST Peated Malt1.5 – 4.11.7 – 3.6°L5.5%78.0%
Castle Château Peated3.5 – 5.01.9°L4.5%81.0%
Crisp Scottish Heavy 50 Peat3.8 – 6.52 – 3°L4.3%81.5%
Fawcett Peated2.6 – 7.91.5 – 3.5°L5.5%80.0%
Gladfield Peat Smoked Malt – Heavy3.2 – 5.01.8 – 2.4°L5.0%81.0%
Simpsons English Peated Malt2.5 – 3.01.5 -1.7°L5.0%81.9%
Simpson’s Peat Smoked Malt1.5 – 2.61.7 – 2.5°L5.0%81.9%

Chit Malt

BestMalz Chit Malt
BestMalz Chit Malt

In brewing, where exotic and glamorous ingredients often take center stage, Chit Malt might be seen as the understated hero in the backdrop, unassumingly lending structural support. If the brewing process were akin to a theater production, Chit Malt would be the behind-the-scenes technician, ensuring that the spotlight hits just right and that the lead actors shine. But let’s not be too hasty in underestimating its importance; like a dependable friend who always comes through, Chit Malt plays an indispensable role in the overall character of a beer.

The phrase “undermodified” might sound like a criticism, but in the context of Chit Malt, it’s more of a unique quality. Most malts undergo a thorough process of modification to break down complex proteins and carbohydrates, rendering them easier for yeast to consume. Chit Malt, however, undergoes a lighter treatment, preserving its high protein and glucan content.

Its high protein content aids in head retention, which isn’t just aesthetically pleasing but also enhances the beer’s aroma. A stable head acts as a barrier that traps volatile aromatic compounds, releasing them slowly as you drink, much like the gradual unfolding of a well-told story.

In terms of mouthfeel, the experience of consuming a beer is not merely about flavor; it’s also about how the liquid interacts with your palate. Just as you would appreciate the texture of a well-cooked meal, a beer’s body adds another layer of satisfaction. The glucans in Chit Malt contribute to this, making each sip a little more memorable, akin to the comfort of your favorite blanket or the warmth of a familiar melody. In a sense, the body of a beer, enhanced by Chit Malt, serves as the narrative pacing in the story of that beer, enriching each moment and leaving a lasting impression.

One of the more appealing attributes of Chit Malt is its versatility. Given its minimal impact on color and flavor, it’s akin to a neutral-colored piece of furniture that fits seamlessly into various interior designs. Whether you’re brewing a light, zesty pilsner that resembles a brisk morning walk or a dark, contemplative stout that evokes the complexities of a classic novel, a touch of Chit Malt can seamlessly integrate into the beer’s character without stealing the spotlight.

BestMalz BESTChit2.0 – 3.01.2 – 1.6°L4.90%50.0%
Castle Château Chit Barley3 – 71.7 – 3.2°L11%77.0%
Castle Château Chit Wheat5 – 92.4 – 3.9°L10%77.0%
Crisp Chit Malt2.52.4°L7.0%50.8%
Gladfield Chit2.1 – 3.01.4 – 1.7°L10%53.8%
Gladfield Chit Wheat Malt2.1 – 3.01.4 – 1.7°L10%60.0%
Swaen PlatinumSwaen© Chit2.0 – 3.01.2 – 1.7°L6.0%50.0%

Melanoidin Malt

Melanoidin Malt
Melanoidin Malt

In brewing ingredients, Melanoidin Malt can be considered the charismatic individual who brings a sense of depth and complexity to the conversation. This intriguing malt has the ability to enhance the beer’s flavor profile, imbuing it with rich, warm undertones reminiscent of baked bread or toffee.

Melanoidin Malt is crafted through a specialized, high-temperature kilning process. This technique mimics the effects of a traditional brewing method called decoction mashing. In decoction mashing, a portion of the malt mash is boiled separately and then returned to the main mash, aiming to intensify the malt character of the beer. However, this method can be time-consuming and cumbersome. Enter Melanoidin Malt, a convenient alternative that brings the desirable characteristics associated with decoction mashing without requiring the laborious effort.

So, why might a brewer choose to use Melanoidin Malt? One reason is to add a sense of lushness or body to beers that may otherwise feel a bit thin on the palate. Just as a pinch of salt can make a dish come alive, Melanoidin Malt can make a simpler beer style taste richer and more intricate. It is often used in beers like lagers, which are generally known for their lighter, crisper profiles but can benefit from an added layer of depth. Similarly, various styles of ales that strive for a more robust mouthfeel may incorporate Melanoidin Malt to achieve that goal.

As with all charismatic malts, Melanoidin Malt should be used judiciously. Its potent ability to add complexity means that it can easily dominate the flavor profile if used in excessive amounts. Finding the right balance is key; a skillful brewer knows how to use just enough to enhance the beer’s character without overshadowing the contributions of other malts and hops.

Moreover, the use of Melanoidin Malt has implications beyond taste; it also impacts the beer’s visual appeal. A fuller-bodied beer often comes with a luscious, long-lasting foam head, adding to the drink’s overall aesthetic and sensory experience. And let’s not overlook the malt’s impact on the beer’s aroma. Those toasty, bready notes can be as inviting as the smell of freshly baked bread wafting through the air, beckoning you to take that first, satisfying sip.

BestMalz BEST Melanoidin Light40 – 6016 – 31°L4.9%75.0%
BestMalz BEST Melanoidin60 – 8016 – 23°L4.9%75.0%
Castle Château Melano Light36 – 4414.1 – 17.1°L4.5%78.0%
Castle Château Melano Nature®75 – 8528.7 – 32.4°L4.5%78.0%
Great Western Mela60 – 8023 – 31°L4.0%75.0%
Gladfield Aurora (Melanoidin)40 – 6016 – 23°L5.0%79.0%
Swaen©Melany60 – 8023 – 31°L4.5%77.0%
Weyermann Melanoidin60-8023 – 31°L4.5%75.0%

Oat Malt
Oat Malt

In the realm of brewing, barley has traditionally been the go-to grain for malt production due to its favorable enzymatic qualities, husk characteristics, and balance of proteins and starches. However, an exploration into alternative grains reveals a world teeming with diverse flavors, textures, and unique attributes. These alternatives not only enrich the variety of beers available but also offer options for those with dietary restrictions or preferences. Among the more commonly used alternatives are wheat, rye, oats, corn, and rice, each with its distinct properties and contributions to the brewing process.

Wheat stands as a versatile alternative to barley, often used in beers where a light color and distinct mouthfeel are desired. Wheat beers are generally high in protein, providing excellent head retention, a trait highly valued in styles like Hefeweizen and Witbier. On the flip side, this high protein content can also create haze, an attribute not always wanted in certain beer styles. In terms of flavor, wheat tends to offer a light, bready character, providing a canvas for more subtle flavors to shine.

Rye brings to the table a rather intriguing complexity, infusing beers with flavors that range from earthy to spicy. This grain is typically used in smaller quantities due to its intense flavor profile and because it lacks a husk, which can make the lautering process more challenging. Beers like Rye IPA or Rye Stout incorporate this grain to introduce complexity and a dry, crisp finish. From a functional perspective, rye can improve head retention, although its high beta-glucan content can lead to a viscous wort if not managed carefully.

Oats serve as another viable alternative, particularly favored for the smooth, creamy mouthfeel they impart. A staple in Oatmeal Stouts, oats are rich in proteins and lipids, contributing to both body and foam stability. They don’t offer much in terms of fermentable sugars, so they are generally used in conjunction with barley or other grains with higher enzymatic activity. The result is a beer that feels fuller and silkier on the palate, like a soft blanket for the tongue, elevating the beer’s overall sensory experience.

Corn and rice are often categorized as adjunct grains in the brewing lexicon, and their use has been historically associated with lighter American lagers. Both are low in protein and high in fermentable sugars, making them ideal for producing beers with a clean, crisp character. While they might lack the complexity of other grains, they serve a role in balancing flavors and reducing costs. Corn imparts a slightly sweet, smooth character to the beer, whereas rice creates a neutral backdrop, allowing other flavors to come forth.

These alternative grains can also be embraced for more than just their flavors and textures. For those with gluten sensitivities, grains like sorghum, buckwheat, and millet offer gluten-free options. Sorghum is often used as a direct substitute for barley in gluten-free beers, providing a somewhat neutral, slightly sweet malt backbone. Buckwheat and millet offer nutty, earthy flavors, further diversifying the spectrum of tastes available in gluten-free brewing.

For additional information View Additional IngredientsAdjuncts

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