Chapter 12

What is Malted Grain?

Malt Types and Usages

(Color i.e. lovibond, values listed as X L, are typical values)

Base Malts

Lager Malt 2 L Lager malt can be used to produce ales as well as lagers. The name comes from the fact that pale lagers are the most common style of beer and this is the malt type most commonly used to produce them. Because it tends to be the most available malt, it is used for nearly every other style also. Logically, if you intend to brew a pale lager, you would be best served by using lager malt.

After germination, lager malt is carefully heated in a kiln to 90F for the first day, withered at 120-140F for 12-20 hours and then cured at 175-185F for 4-48 hours depending on the maltster. This produces a malt with fine mild flavor and excellent enzyme potential. It is used as the basis of most of the world's beers in conjunction with specialty malts for added flavors.

Pale Ale Malt 3 L This malt type is kilned at higher temperatures than lager malt, giving a slightly toastier malt flavor well suited to Pale Ales.

Wheat Malt 3 L Wheat has been used for brewing beer nearly as long as barley and has equal diastatic power. Malted wheat is used for 5-70% of the mash depending on the style. Wheat has no outer husk and therefore has fewer tannins than barley. It is generally smaller than barley and contributes more protein to the beer, aiding in head retention. But it is much stickier than barley due to the higher protein content and may cause lautering problems if not given a "Protein Rest" during the mash.

Rye Malt 3 L Malted rye is not common but is gaining in popularity. It can be used as 5-10% of the grain bill for a rye "spicy" note. It is even stickier in the mash than wheat and should be handled accordingly.

Kilned Malts (need to be mashed)

These malts are commonly produced by increasing the curing temperatures used for base malt production, but can also be produced by toasting finished base malts for a period of time in an oven. Suggested times and temperatures for producing these types of malts at home are given in Chapter 20 - Experiment!

Biscuit Malt 25 L This fully toasted, lightly roasted malt is used to give the beer a bread and biscuits flavor. It is typically used as 10% of the total grain bill. Gives a deep amber color to the beer.

Victory Malt 25 L This roasted malt is similar in flavor to Biscuit but gives a more nutty taste to the beer. Victory adds orange highlights to the beer color.

Munich Malt 10 L This malt has an amber color and gives a very malty flavor. This malt has enough diastatic power to convert itself but is usually used in conjunction with a base malt for mashing. This malt is used for Oktoberfest-type beers and many others, including pale ales.

Vienna Malt 4 L This malt is lighter and sweeter than Munich malt and is a principal ingredient of Bock beers. Retains enough enzymatic power to convert itself but is often used with a base malt in the mash.

Dextrin Malt 3 L Also known as American Carapils, this malt is used sparingly and contributes little color but enhances the mouthfeel and perceived body of the beer. A common amount for a five gallon batch is 1/2 lb. Dextrin malt has no diastatic power. It must be mashed; if steeped it will contribute a lot of unconverted starch and cause starch haze.

Caramel Malts (may be steeped or mashed)

Caramel Malts have undergone a special heat "stewing" process after the malting which crystallizes the sugars. These sugars are caramelized into longer chains that are not converted into simple sugars by the enzymes during the mash. This results in a more malty, caramel sweet, fuller tasting beer. These malts are used for almost all ale and higher gravity lager styles. Various crystal malts are often added in half pound amounts to a total of 5-25% of the grain bill for a 5 gallon batch.

Caramel 10 10 L This malt adds a light honey-like sweetness and some body to the finished beer.

Caramel 40 40 L The additional color and light caramel sweetness of this malt is perfect for pale ales and amber lagers.

Caramel 60 60 L This is the most commonly used caramel malt, also known as medium crystal. It is well suited for pale ales, English style bitters, porters and stouts. It adds a full caramel taste and body to the beer.

Caramel 80 80 L This malt is used for making reddish colored beers and gives a lightly bittersweet caramel flavor.

Caramel 120 120 L This malt adds a lot of color and bittersweet caramel flavor. Useful in small amounts to add complexity or in greater amounts for old ales, barleywines and doppelbocks.

Special B 220 L This unique Belgian malt has a roasted nutty-sweet flavor. Used in moderation (1/4-1/2 lb.), it is very good in brown ales, porter, and doppelbocks. Larger amounts, more than a half pound in a 5 gallon batch, will lend a plum-like flavor (which may be desired in a barleywine in small amounts).

Roasted Malts (may be steeped or mashed)

These highly roasted malts contribute a coffee or burnt toast flavor to porters and stouts. Obviously these malts should be used in moderation. Some brewers recommend that they be added towards the end of the mash, claiming that this reduces the "acrid bite" that these malts can contribute. This practice does seem to produce a smoother beer for people brewing with "soft" or low bicarbonate water.

Chocolate Malt 400L Used in small amounts for brown ale and extensively in porters and stouts, this malt has a bittersweet chocolate flavor, pleasant roast character and contributes a deep ruby black color.

Black Patent Malt 580L This is the blackest of the black. It must be used sparingly, generally less than a half pound per 5 gallons. It contributes a roasted charcoal flavor that can actually be quite unpleasant if used in excess. It is useful for contributing color and/or setting a "limit" on the sweetness of other beer styles using a lot of caramel malt; one or two ounces is useful for this purpose.

Roast Barley 550L This is not actually a malt, but highly roasted plain barley. It has a dry, distinct coffee taste and is the signature flavor of Stouts. It has less of a charcoal "bite" to it than does Black Patent.