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malted grains
See Brupaks Guide to Grains for more information

The basic ingredient of all beer is malt!

But what is malt?

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.
Brupaks grains are carefully selected for quality and are packed in oxygen barrier bags to maintain freshness. Grains are available both crushed and whole in sizes of 500g, 3kg and 5kg. Bulk size is 25kg sacks. Grains should always be stored in a warm, dry place. Part-filled bags should be re-sealed with tape to exclude air.
See Brupaks Guide to Grains for more information

Malted Grains

Pale Malts

Pale malt forms the basis of all British ales. The following varieties are currently in stock but this could change as other varieties become available.

approx colour EBC
Maris Otter Extra Pale 2.5
Maris Otter 5
Pearl 5
Halcyon 5
Optic 5
Golden Promise 5
Mild Ale 6
Belgian Pale 7
Lager Malts

As the name suggests, lager malts form the basis of lager beers. Pilsner and lager malts are kilned slightly cooler than pale malts, which gives them a more delicate flavour. Munich malt and Vienna malt are used for the darker lager styles indigenous to Bavaria.

approx colour EBC
British Lager Malt 3
Pilsner (Germany /  Belgium) 2.5
Vienna Malt (Germany) 7
Munich Malt (Germany / Belgium) 20
Caramel Malts

Caramel malts are produced by roasting ‘green’ malt, i.e. malt before it is kilned, in a closed drum so that moisture is retained and the starches are converted to sugar. As these grains have effectively ‘mashed’ themselves they can be used to good effect in extract beers.

approx colour EBC

Carapils (Germany) 5
Carahell (Germany)
British Caramalt (UK)
Caravienne (Belgium) 40
Cara Red (Germany) 50
Pale Crystal (UK) 60
Cara Amber (Germany) 70
Caramünch (Germany) 100
Crystal 120
Dark Crystal (UK) 240
Special B 250
Cara Aroma (Germany) 300
Wheat Malts

Wheat is a more difficult grain to malt than barley as it has no husk. It is also more difficult to mash for the same reason. German Weissbier brewers use up to 70% wheat malt in their grist, but 50% is a more realistic proportion for the home brewer. Wheat malt is an excellent adjunct in many types of beer as it promotes head formation and retention.

approx colour EBC
Pale Wheat Malt 3
Dark Wheat Malt (Germany) 15
Crystal Wheat Malt (UK) 110
Chocolate Wheat Malt (UK) 800

Rye Malts

Rye malts can be used with discretion in most beer styles. They add a dry, nutty flavour which is very disctinctive.

approx colour EBC
Pale Rye Malt (UK) 5
Crystal Rye Malt (UK) 110
Chocolate Rye Malt (UK) 800
Roasted Malts

Roasted malts are used both for flavour and colour. They are produced by roasting pale or lager malts in revolving drums at various temperatures and for differing durations to achieve the desired characteristics.

approx colour EBC
Diastatic Amber Malt (Belgium)
Amber Malt
Brown Malt
Pale Chocolate Malt
Chocolate Malt
Carafa Special I (de-husked Germany)
Carafa Special III (de-husked Germany)
Black Malt

Speciality Malts

Please see the Brupaks Guide to Grains for detailed descriptions of Speciality Malts.

  colour EBC
Malted Oats 2
Acid Malt (Germany) 3
Bavarian Smoked Malt (Germany) 10
Aromatic Malt (Belgium) 50
Melanoidin Malt (Germany) 70

Unmalted Grains

Unmalted grains are collectively known as adjuncts. They are used for various reasons, e.g. colour, head retention, flavour etc. As unmalted grains have no diastatic enzymes they have to be mashed with pale or lager malt.

Flaked Maize

Flaked Barley

Flaked Rice

Torrefied Wheat

Roasted Barley


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