A Home Brewing Malts Guide

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Brewing
Malts

CaraFoam
UK Pilsner 2-Row
Malted Oats

Mashed
Or Steeped

Steep
Mash
Steep

2-Row Malt
6-Row Malt
Golden Promise
Belgian Pilsner 2-Row
German Pilsner 2-Row
Lager Malt
Belgian Wheat
German Wheat
White Wheat
CaraPils
Dextrine Malt
Mash
Mash
Mash
Mash
Mash
Mash
Mash
Mash
Mash
Steep
Steep
Acid Malt
Peated Malt
Maris Otter
Optic
Mash
Steep
Mash
Mash
Briess Pale Ale Malt
English Mild
Vienna Malt
Mash
Mash
Mash
Toasted Malt Steep
Dark Wheat
Munich Malt
Smoked Malt
Mash
Mash
Mash
Crystal 10
Munich 10
Steep
Mash
Carastan 15 Steep
Crystal 20
Munich 20
CaraRed
Melanoidin Malt
Steep
Mash
Steep
Steep
Amber Malt
CaraVienna
Mash
Steep
Belgian Biscuit Malt
Brumalt
Mash
Mash
Gambrinus Honey Malt Mash
Belgian Aromatic Mash
Victory Malt Steep
Crystal 30 Steep
Carastan 35 Steep
Crystal 40 Steep
Caramel Wheat Malt Steep
Special Roast Steep
CaraMunich Steep
Crystal 60 Steep
Brown Malt Mash
Crystal 80 Steep
Crystal 90 Steep
Crystal 120 Steep
CaraAroma Steep
Crystal 150 Steep
Special B Steep
Chocolate Rye Malt Steep
Roasted Barley Steep
Carafa I Steep
Chocolate Malt Steep
Chocolate Wheat Malt Steep
Carafa II Steep
Black Patent Malt Steep
Black Barley Steep
Carafa III Steep

Getting to know the malts used in home brewing is possibly the most important step you will take if you want to create your own recipes or clone existing ones.

There seems to be some confusion with the terms malt and grains…

Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably, but there is a difference between malt and grains.

Also, there are different types of malts which are your base malts, crystal and caramel malt, and specialty malts.

The first thing I want to point out is the difference between malt and grains. The actual ingredient of beer is grain, usually barley. Other grains that may be used in brewing beer can be wheat, rye, oats, rice, maize (corn), amaranth, qinoa, millet, and spelt.

However, not all of these grains are easily available for home brewers and only a few are malted and available to home brewers.

Now, what the exactly is is malt?

When a grain is soaked and drained with water, it begins to germinate or sprout. Before the the grain starts to sprout, different levels of heat stop the germination process in its tracks and you get malt.

Obviously there is more to it than this, but this essentially how maltsters (the people who turn grains into malt) get the enzymes that will convert the starch into sugars.

Kilning stops the germination by heating the grains in a kiln at different temperatures, times, and humidity levels to create all kinds of different varieties of malts.

When high moisture levels are used the process is called stewing, which is essentially the same process used by all-grain brewers to convert the grain’s starch into sugar.

This is how Crystal malt, caramel malts and other trade name malts are made available which are very beneficial for extract brewing.

There are other ways to modify the flavor on these malts like smoking them with wood or peat to produce smoked malt, roasting in a drum roaster for roasted malts, treating with lactic acid to get acidulated malt or sauermalz, or a combination of stewing and kilning to get melanoidin malt.

Your base malts are going to be the malts which provide most of the fermentable sugars for your beer. Your specialty malts are also known as character malts and they add flavors like caramel, nutty or bready notes, chocolate (flavors and aromas), and coffee flavors. Some of the really dark ones can give you a burnt bitter flavor so use them with caution.

The table on the right gives you an idea of the color you can expect out of the different malts and whether the malt needs to be mashed or steeped…

Keep in mind that grains that say steeped, can be either mashed or steeped…

Grains that need to be mashed cannot be steeped because you won’t be able to get fermentable sugars out of them using that method.

Once you become familiar with the taste of each of these malts you’ll be creating your own recipes and cloning some of your favorite beers.

You pretty much know the taste of chocolate and know that stouts have a chocolaty taste…

Well, just like that, you’ll be able to identify the main flavors in some of your favorite beers and deciding on a malt almost through an elimination process…

Hope this helps…

2 Comments

  • Republic Polytechnic

    Reply Reply December 2, 2010

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    • Jorge

      Reply Reply December 2, 2010

      Can you tell me what you are planning on using the article for and where? As long as you provide a link back to the original article it should be fine with me…

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