Complete Guide to Our Brewing Malts

Brewing Malt Guide

 

 Guide to Brewing Malts

Copyright ©2021 The Beverage People, Inc

 

This guide provides details about the brewing grains available to homebrewers at The Beverage People.

It is presented in 7 sections as follows:


 

Base Malts

‘Base malts’ are the malt or malts in a grist which, when mashed, provide the bulk of the fermentable sugars in a wort. After being malted, base malts are very lightly kilned both to dry the malt and to develop subtle flavors.

Because of their high fermentable sugar potential, and because of their starch converting enzymes, these light colored (low Lovibond/SRM) malts are the primary malts used in most beers made “from scratch” by advanced brewers or commercial breweries.  Due to the fact that the base malt accounts for the majority of the grist in most beers, the subtle differences between them can make a significant difference in the final beer.  Country of origin is an important aspect in identifying those subtle differences which result in very different beers.

Extract brewers can use them to color and flavor light beers, adding interest to their brews in much the same way that more colorful and assertive specialty malts would be used with other beer styles.


 

Belgian Pilsener

G51 - by the lb/oz | G21 - 55 lb sack

Characteristics

A two row pilsner malt from Belgium which makes a fantastic base malt for Trappist and Farmhouse style ales. Light color is complimented by a delicate biscuity flavor and aroma.

Appearance

Color: 1.5° Lovibond - Contributes light straw color

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

Yes


 

German Pilsener

G65 - by the lb/oz | G25 - 55 lb sack

Characteristics

A German, lager-style base malt produced from high-quality, 2-row spring barley. It contributes a pale-straw color to wort and adds mild, malty-sweet flavor with gentle notes of honey. This malt also provides the finished beer with substantial body and mouthfeel, as well as good foam development and head retention. 

Appearance

Color: 1.5 - 2.2° Lovibond - Contributes light straw color

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

Yes


 

Low Color 2 Row - Domestic

Conventional

G94 - by the lb/oz | #9924 - 55 lb sack

Organic

G85 - by the lb/oz | G78 - 55 lb sack

Characteristics

A light-colored base malt made from a blend of American 2-Row barley varieties. It is darker than most lager malts, but lighter than most pale ale malts. It has moderate protein levels, and good extract yield. Its neutral characteristics make it extremely versatile, and it is widely used by American craft breweries as their standard base malt for any beer style.

Appearance

Color: 1.7 - 2.2° Lovibond - Produces a straw color when used alone

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

Yes


 

High Color 2 Row "Pale Malt" - Domestic

G41 - by the lb/oz | G48B - 55 lb sack

Characteristics

High Color 2 Row, often referred to as "Pale Malt", contributes a light golden color and a bold, rich, malty character with biscuit notes making a solid malt backbone for bigger beers.

Appearance

Color: 2.6 - 3.0° Lovibond - Contributes a golden color

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

Yes


 

Distiller's 6 Row Malt - Domestic

G43 - by the lb/oz | G03 - 55 lb sack

Characteristics

A medium color pale malt with exceptionally high alpha amylase and diastatic power with the ability to help convert starches present in adjuncts which lack the ability to self-convert. Six Row Malt has a higher percentage of husk, which makes it useful when brewing beers that employ grains such as wheat, which have no husk of their own.

 

Appearance

Color: 2.1 - 2.5° Lovibond - Contributes a golden color

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

Yes, 6-Row contains an exceptionally high level of enzymes.


 

Golden Promise Malt - UK

9212LB - by the lb/oz | 9212 - 55 lb sack

Characteristics

A UK base malt which gives a beautiful mouthfeel to bring balance to beers with even the gutsiest hops. And when you drop the gravity for a session beer, you won't lose out on body. This gives the biggest base of any malt without adding color, resulting in exceptional beers.

Appearance

Color: 2.1 - 2.8° Lovibond - Contributes a golden color

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

Yes


 

Maris Otter Pale Malt - British

G59 - by the lb/oz | G19B - 55 lb sack

Characteristics

A favorite of many brewers for its earthy, nutty malt character.  Maris Otter Pale Malt is a British, high-color "pale malt" made for ales from the famous Maris Otter barley variety. It is renowned for its ability to enhance foam formation and palate fullness and for producing a consistent, flavorful base malt. The low protein content and high degree of modification make for easy mashing and lautering.  

Appearance

Color: 2.5 - 3.5° Lovibond - Contributes a golden color

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

 

Yes

 


 

Non-Barley Malts

Lacking in husk material, some non-barley malts, such as wheat and rye, may present unique sparging problems if used alone in amounts larger than one pound. Mash them with enough extra mash water to keep them from sticking together, or mash them together with at least 30% malted barley and perhaps some extra rice hulls, oat malt, or 6 Row Malt to help with separation.


 

Oat Malt

G57 - by the lb/oz

Characteristics

Low color oat malt is gluten-free and adds a nutty oat flavor and creamy mouthfeel. Functionally works similar to rice hulls as an aid in increasing sparge efficiency.

Appearance

Color: 1.9 - 2.3° Lovibond - Contributes a golden color

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

No, it may not contain enough enzymes to self-convert.


 

White Wheat Malt

G69 - by the lb/oz | G29 - 55 lb sack

Characteristics

With a color similar to a high-color pale malt, white wheat malt contributes foam stabilization and more mouthfeel without added sweetness.

Appearance

Color: 2.5 - 4.0° Lovibond - Contributes a golden color

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

 

Yes, but due to lack of husk it should not be used for more than 60% of the malt base or it may result in a stuck mash.


 

Rye Malt - Domestic

G52 - by the lb/oz | G12 - 55 lb sack

Characteristics

Rye malt lends a slightly spicy flavor profile and high protein content.  Recommended for 10 – 20% inclusion in mash. It is higher in protein and beta-glucans, so rice hulls are recommend to avoid stuck mashes.

Appearance

Color: 1.8 - 3.0° Lovibond - Contributes a golden color

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

 

Yes, but due to lack of husk it should not be used for more than 30% of the malt base or it may result in a stuck mash.

 


 

Toasted, Light Roasted & Kilned Malts

‘Kilned’ malts have undergone further kilning relative to base malts. The extended kilning imparts more complex aromas and flavors, with different kilning procedures accounting for the different malt varieties.

‘Roasted’ malts have been heated at high temperatures in drum roasters for various lengths of time.

The high temperatures can denature enzymes, therefore many high-kilned & roasted malts do not retain the ability to self-convert.


 

Vienna Malt - German

G67 - by the lb/oz | G27 - 55 lb sack

Characteristics

Vienna malt is a golden color lager malt that is kilned to produce a smooth mouthfeel and malty sweetness with gentle notes of honey, almond, and hazelnut.  The color may be the same or slightly darker than a British Pale Malt.  It is lightly kilned from quality, two-row, German spring barley and produces full-bodied beers.  It is especially intended for for use in Vienna style beers, Festbier, and Märzenbier.

Appearance

Color: 2.8 - 3.9° Lovibond - Contributes a golden to orange color

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

Yes


 

Munich Malt - German

Light Munich

G68 - by the lb/oz | G28 - 55 lb sack

Dark Munich

G49 - by the lb/oz

Characteristics

Munich Malt is an amber to deep amber color lager malt that is kilned to produce full body and smooth mouthfeel with strong maltiness and rich aromas of light caramel, honey, and bread. While it is usually used a specialty malt, it has a high enzyme content despite its color, and can constitute up to 100% of the grist. It is typically used in dark lagers and ales, especially Munich-style lagers, various bock styles, and German festival beers like Märzenbier, Festbier, and Märzen.

Appearance

Color: 5.1 - 9.9° Lovibond - Contributes an amber to deep amber color

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

Yes


 

Aromatic Malt - Belgian

 

G71 - by the lb/oz

Characteristics

The flavor of this malt is very bready, with hints of raisins.  Belgian Aromatic Malt is a kilned specialty malt from Belgium designed to boost both the malt flavor and aroma characteristics of a recipe. It is great for adding maltiness without the sweetness of caramel malts. Try Aromatic Malt at lower rates for any American or British style of beer or any recipe which is malt forward. Mashing this specialty grain is suggested as it has not been pre-converted like a caramel malt.

Appearance

Color: 19.3 - 26.9° Lovibond - Contributes a reddish hue

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

No, due to its low diastatic power it should not be used for more than 30% of the grist.


 

Biscuit Malt - Belgian

 

G75 - by the lb/oz

Characteristics

Biscuit Malt provides is a toasted malt that provides a warm bread or biscuit flavor and aroma, as well as garnet-brown color.  This malt is produced in the roasting drum and has no enzymes, so it must be mashed with malts that have high diastatic power.

Appearance

Color: 23° Lovibond - Contributes a garnet-brown color

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

No.


 

Victory® Malt

 

G51 - by the lb/oz

Characteristics

Victory Malt adds an aromas of baking bread and flavor of hazelnuts.  It is well suited for Nut Brown Ales & other dark beers. Use it in small amounts to add complexity and warm color to lighter colored ales and lagers.

Appearance

Color: 27-28° Lovibond - Contributes deep golden to brown hues

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

No.


 

Special Roast Malt

 

G54 - by the lb/oz

Characteristics

This specialty malt is produced with a proprietary malting/roasting process that kicks up the intensity of the toasty and biscuity flavors, develops noticeable bran flake notes and creates bold sourdough/tangy flavor.

Appearance

Color: 35° Lovibond - Contributes a golden blonde hue

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

No.


 

Brown Malt - British

 

G80 - by the lb/oz

Characteristics

Brown malt imparts a strong, dark-toasted grain flavor, slightly nutty with a hint of bitter chocolate.  It is a old-style English malt, produced in a kiln at temperatures raised to about 350° F, which is essential for producing an authentic, traditional Porter.

Appearance

Color: 60° Lovibond - Contributes a brown color

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

No.

 


 

Smoked & Peated Malts

Smoked and peated malts are both dried with the heat and smoke of traditional fuel sources---most commonly Beechwood is used for smoked malt, and peat, of course, for peated malt.

“Rauch” means smoke in German, and smoked beers can be a unique change of pace, especially served with a selection of breads and cheeses.


 

Beechwood Smoked Rauch Malt

10199-LB - by the lb/oz

Characteristics

With a color similar to a high-color pale malt, Rauch Malt produces strong beech smoke aromas and flavor with gentle notes of vanilla and honey.  The smoke character is much more restrained than in Peated Malt. OK to use for up to 100% of malt bill.  It is perfect for smoked lagers of the German tradition such as Bamberger Rauchbier and Kellerbier.  

Appearance

Color: 2.1 - 3.6° Lovibond - Contributes a golden color

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

 

Yes


 

Peated Malt

9398LB - by the lb/oz

Characteristics

Utilizing peat from Aberdeenshire and Scottish spring barley, this malt is slowly dried using the peat as a fuel source to give fullest absorption of phenols by each grain.  It is generally not recommended for use in beer due to the potential for phenolic astringency, but very good for old world whisky.

Appearance

Color: approximately 2° Lovibond - Contributes a golden color

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

 

Yes

 


 

Caramel, Crystal & Other Saccharified Malts

Caramel’ or ‘crystal’ malt refers to malt that has been stewed to allow partial saccharification and then kilned to arrest sugar development. Further kilning results in sugar caramelization and the development of a wide range of flavors, aromas and color ranging from very pale (Dextrine Malt) to somewhat dark (120 SRM) and caramelized flavor. They are used in modest amounts for adding color, flavor, viscosity, and in most cases, some fermentable sugar.

It should be noted that the terms, “caramel malt” and “crystal malt,” could cause some unnecessary confusion. Just be aware that the “caramel malt” is the American term for similar malts that are called “crystal malt” by the British. Because the American home brewing tradition is descended from English roots, “crystal” is in wide use among home brewers.


 

Dextrine Malt (such as Carapils™)

G50 - by the lb/oz

Characteristics

A unique specialty malt used for recipe adjustment when more body is desired without any additional color or flavor/aroma. Dextrins are large sugars that cannot be fermented, converted into ethanol and CO2, by brewing yeasts. The effects of more dextrins in a finished beer are improved mouthfeel and head retention - foam stability.

Appearance

Color: 1.6° Lovibond - color contribution is trivial, similar to Pilsener Malt in color

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

No


 

Light Caramel Malts (10L - 20L)

CaraHell® 10L

9225LB - by the lb/oz | 9225 - 55 lb sack

Briess Caramel 20L

G44 - by the lb/oz | G04 - 50 lb sack

Characteristics

Light caramel malts, such as CaraHell® 10L and Briess Caramel 20, contribute a fuller, rounder body and flavor along with a copper color, and gentle notes of caramel flavor.  The resulting sweetness comes without contributing strong flavors.  To avoid much color contribution, 10L is the most subtle, while 20L will be more noticeable in the beer.

Appearance

Color: 10-20° Lovibond - contributes deep golden to deep copper color depending on amount of use

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

No


 

Medium Caramel Malts (40L - 60L)

Briess Caramel 40L

G45 - by the lb/oz | G05 - 50 lb sack

Briess Caramel 60L

G46 - by the lb/oz | G06 - 50 lb sack

Characteristics

Medium color caramel malts, in the range of 40 - 60 Lovibond, impart a deep golden color, rich sweetness, and mild to pronounced caramel and possibly toffee flavors.  A versatile caramel malt for creating malty sweetness when used in higher quantities (functional maximum about 15% of grist) or a subtle added depth at lower rates. It is a mainstay specialty malt for American Pale Ale and IPA.

Appearance

Color: 40-60° Lovibond - Contributes deep golden to red hues

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

No


 

Dark & Extra Dark Caramel Malts (80L - 120L)

Briess Caramel 80L

G47 - by the lb/oz

Briess Extra Dark Caramel 80L

G72 - by the lb/oz

Characteristics

Dark caramel malts are kilned to a dark toast and impart more complex flavors than light or medium caramel malts.  Lower usage rates can provide mild dried fruit, even fig-like character, and toffee notes while higher percentages increase the bittersweet burnt sugar character.  Styles particularly well suited for this malt include Porter, Extra Special Bitter - ESB, Belgian Dubbel or Quad.

Appearance

Color: 80-120° Lovibond - Contributes red to deep red hues

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

No


 

Caramel-Vienna Malt - Belgian (a light caramel malt)

G63 - by the lb/oz

 

Characteristics

A light crystal/caramel malt made in Belgium. Due to the caramelization and low drying temperatures, its specific taste is achieved with light fruit character in addition to sweetness.  It is used by many traditional Belgian breweries in Abbey-style beers.

Appearance

Color: 20° Lovibond - contributes deep golden to deep copper color depending on amount of use

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

No


 

Honey Malt

G42 - by the lb/oz

 

Characteristics

Honey Malt is similar to German "brumalt." It is stewed like a melanoidin malt and lightly cultured with lactobacillus, resulting in a distinct honey aroma. Honey Malt also provides slight acidity along with its grassy/honey character.  This unique malt adds complexity to beers.

Appearance

Color: 25° Lovibond - contributes deep golden to deep copper color depending on amount of use

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

No


 

Melanoidin Malt

 

G74 - by the lb/oz

Characteristics

Melanoidin Malt adds a deep amber to red-brown color and the flavor has notes of honey and biscuit.  Melanoidins are brown colored molecules which are formed when sugars and amino acids combine (through the Maillard Reaction) at high temperatures.  They are produced in wort by long kettle boils, and can also be added to the mash with this malt.   With an intense malt aroma and unique brewing characteristics, this malt helps promote flavor stability with its high acidity, adds body, and produces a smooth mouthfeel.

Appearance

Color: 30° Lovibond - Contributes a deep amber to red-brown color

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

No.


 

Carastan Malt - British

G40 - by the lb/oz

 

Characteristics

Carastan lends a burnished copper color and is bursting with the flavors and aromas of bittersweet English toffee, sourdough bread crust, and toasted hazelnuts.  It is processed wet, followed by an extensive period of high-degree roasting, resulting in a uniquely English malt. 

Appearance

Color: 35° Lovibond - Contributes reddish blush

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

No


 

Caramunich® Malt - German

G76 - by the lb/oz

 

Characteristics

Caramunich is a drum-roasted caramel malt made from two-row, German barley.  It contributes dark amber to copper hues, and adds a rich malt accent with notes of biscuit and an intense caramel aroma.

Appearance

Color: 35° Lovibond - Contributes dark amber to copper hues

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

No


 

Crystal Malt - British (50-60L - medium color)

G60 - by the lb/oz

 

Characteristics

British crystal malt is similar to domestic caramel malt but not identical, providing a delicate smooth caramel/toffee character to beer.  It is stewed and then roasted, which crystallizes the interior of the malt kernel.

Appearance

Color: 50-60° Lovibond - Contributes deep golden to red hues

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

No


 

Special B® - Belgian (150L - dark color)

G64 - by the lb/oz

 

Characteristics

Special B (for Belgium) gives intense color and raisin-like flavors while imparting a rich malty taste and a hint of nut and plum flavor as well. It is very popular for adding malt complexity to malt focused beers with moderate to high intensity such as Belgian Dubbels and Dark Strong Ales, as well as  brown ale, stout and porter, doppelbock, or any other dark beer.

Appearance

Color: 150° Lovibond - Contributes a deep red to dark brown-black color

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

No

 


 

Black & Dark Roasted Malts

When grains are kilned or roasted beyond 200° Lovibond in color, they will increase the acidity of the mash; consider adding chalk to avoid sour flavors if using these grains.

Black grains don’t necessarily have to be mashed, as all the starch has been effectively burned out during the kilning. These grains consequently have little effect on the amount of fermentables in your wort.  Extract brewers have a couple of options as to how to treat these grains. Unless you have a recipe indicating otherwise, you may add black malts to the boil uncrushed 10 to 30 minutes before the end of the boil. If you do that, tying the grain up in nylon or muslin bags makes them easier to remove at the end.

You may also crush and steep them, either with other grains or separately, according to the “Simple Infusion Mash” procedure. That will extract the “goodies” you want, even though you’re only looking for color and flavor, and not fermentable sugars. 


 

Pale Chocolate Malt - British

G83 - by the lb/oz

Characteristics

Pale Chocolate Malt provides the nutty malt flavor of lighter toasted grains, but also some of the heavier flavor of darker roasted malt.  It is lighter in color and milder in taste than regular chocolate malt, and can therefore be used in higher proportions than regular chocolate malt.
 

Appearance

Color: 220° Lovibond - Contributes dark brown color

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

No


 

Chocolate Malt - British

G55 - by the lb/oz

Characteristics

Chocolate Malt provides a rich, dark color and roasted, sharp, even burnt or astringent flavors with intense chocolate and coffee notes.   It is malted and roasted similarly to Brown malt but at higher final temperatures.  When used in very small proportions it adds a nutty flavor, making it useful in Brown Ales as well as darker and black beers. 
 

Appearance

Color: 500° Lovibond - Contributes dark brown to black color with deep ruby or garnet highlights

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

No


 

Carafa® Malt - German

G84 - by the lb/oz

Characteristics

This black malt has been de-husked to produce rich color, body, flavor and aroma without the harsh flavors and astringency typical of dark-colored grains. It made for use where dark color is desired but malt-based bitterness is not desired, as in Schwartzbier and Black IPA.
 

Appearance

Color: 300° Lovibond - Contributes dark brown to black color with deep ruby or garnet highlights

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

No


 

Midnight Wheat Malt

G62 - by the lb/oz

Characteristics

Midnight Wheat Malt provides dark color with the smoothest flavor of any black malt making it popular for Black IPA recipes.  The bitterness of black grains comes primarily from tannins in the grain's husk, as wheat has no husk there's no bitterness to remove. The result is a mellow roastiness that only becomes apparent at higher usage rates.
 

Appearance

Color: 550° Lovibond - Contributes dark brown to black color with deep ruby or garnet highlights

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

No


 

Black Roasted Barley - Unmalted

G58 - by the lb/oz

Characteristics

Black Roasted Barley provides coffee character, intense bitterness, and dryness to the palate and darkens foam color.  It is responsible for the color and flavor of most traditional Irish Stouts, while also popular in Porters and used in very small portions for Red Ales and Scotch Ales.
 
 

Appearance

Color: 500° Lovibond - Contributes dark brown to black color with deep ruby or garnet highlights, and darkens the beer foam

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

No


 

Black Patent Malt - British

G56 - by the lb/oz

Characteristics

Black Patent is darker than Chocolate malt and has strong burnt coffee, char and astringent flavors. When used in very small quantity gives a deep red color to beer.  It is most commonly associated with Porter.
 

Appearance

Color: 620° Lovibond - Contributes black color with deep ruby or garnet highlights

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

No

 


 

Acidulated Malt

Acidulated Malt is used for pH adjustment of an all-grain beer mash.

 


 

Acidulated Malt - German

G87 - by the lb/oz

Characteristics

This German base malt sprayed with lactic acid reduces the pH value of the wort, which results in improved mash enzyme activity and greater yield.  Generally, use 1% of Acidulated malt to reduce the pH by an estimated 0.1. 
 

Appearance

Color: about 2° Lovibond - color contribution is insignificant

 

Good for Starch Conversion?

No