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Base grains

In brewing terms ‘malt’ can be taken to mean ‘malted barley’ although there are a few other grains which can be malted. It is malt that gives a beer its basic flavour and determines its eventual alcohol content.

If all beers are made from malt why are they all so different?

This is because malts are so different. To begin with there are many varieties of barley grown all over the world although the majority of them are not of brewing quality. Barley intended for brewing must satisfy certain criteria, e.g. uniform size, low nitrogen content etc., but within these criteria there is still scope for differences. There are a dozen or more varieties of barley regularly used to make brewing grade malt, each with its own unique characteristics. New varieties are constantly being developed but some of the old favourites such as Maris Otter, Halcyon and Pipkin remain popular. There are different methods of malting and different types of malt which also have an effect on the end product. Although ‘pale malt’ forms the basis of all beers, other malts, and many other factors, combine to produce the endless permutations of colours and flavours which make brewing so fascinating.

How is malt produced?

There are four stages to malt production......

CLEANING. The first job for the maltster is to separate the barley from the extraneous matter that always accompanies it. Special filters remove stones, soil and other debris before the barley is transferred to silos where it remains until malting time.

STEEPING. Barley to be malted must be plump and moist. This is achieved by steeping it in tanks of water for a few days until the maltster considers the moisture content to be correct. The steeping water is changed frequently to maintain freshness.

GERMINATION. The moistened barley is transferred to the germination floor and spread out thinly in order to prevent heat build-up and to facilitate turning which allows oxygen to pass through. Germination cannot proceed without oxygen and high temperatures make it difficult to control the embryonic growth. During germination enzymes are produced which break down the starches and proteins to a form which can be used by the brewer. This is known as modification. Germination usually lasts for between five to seven days before it is halted by heating.

KILNING. After the barley has been fully modified it is loaded into kilns where it is dried by the application of warm air. Later the temperature in the kiln is raised for the final process of curing. The barley is now known as malted barley or simply as malt. It is now sent out to breweries for the production of beer

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Wheat Malt Whole 1KG
It is generally used only in top fermented beers, especially the Bavarian Weiss biers, but can be..
£1.55
Ex Tax: £1.29
Marris Otter Pale malt whole 1kg
This whole pale malt is the Maris otter variety and is the basis of all British ales,we..
£1.30
Ex Tax: £1.08
Whole Pale Malt-Maris Otter 25kg
NOTE. This is listed out of stock as our couriers will not carry this weight, Please contact us f..
£28.99
Ex Tax: £24.16
Belgian Pilsner Malt 1kg
Usually produced from German, Belgian and Czech barley, Pilsner malt can be used on its own, provide..
£1.94
Ex Tax: £1.62
Lager Malt Whole 1kg
Lager malt is the British version of Pilsner malt. It is kilned at slightly higher temperatures, ..
£1.90
Ex Tax: £1.58
Wheat Malt Whole (500g)
It is generally used only in top fermented beers, especially the Bavarian Weiss biers, but can be..
£0.78
Ex Tax: £0.65