T5. Explain the malting process, identifying and describing the different types of malts by their color and the flavor they impart to the beer. Give the styles with which they are associated.


The process of malting is done to convert the large, insoluble starch chains of the endosperm to water-soluble starches, and to activate both the proteolytic and diastatic enzymes that will reduce the proteins and starches into desirable components in the mash. The most important enzymes for malting are debranching enzymes, which break 1-6 links in -glucans, and -amylase, which produces maltose units by breaking 1-4 links near reducing ends. During the germination phase, the cell walls are broken down by the cytase enzyme complex, which includes hemicellulases and the -glucanases. This clears a path for other enzymes into the endosperm so that degradation can proceed more easily.
Malting is basically sprouting the grains to a desired modification. The acrospire grows from the germ end of the corn to the opposite end. The ratio of the acrospire length to the length is the degree of modification, expressed as a percent or ratio. A ratio of 1.0 is indicative of fully-modified malt. Such a malt will be low in protein content and will have the endosperm almost fully converted to water-soluble gum. However, the starch content and potential yield will be reduced through its consumption during the growth of the acrospire and the rootlets.
American and Continental malts are generally less modified. Continental malt is modified only to 50-75%, which retains more of the endosperm for fermentability and creates greater nitrogen complexity, but at the price of reduced enzyme activity. American six-row is also modified to between 50-75%, but the higher protein and nitrogen content of six-row gives greater enzyme strength. Both Continental and American malts require a protein rest (at ~122 °F) to degrade the albuminous proteins into fractions that can be both used to promote yeast growth and give good head retention.
The barley is steeped in 50-65 °F water for about two or three days, then allowed to germinate for six to ten days between 50 and 70 °F. The acrospire will usually grow to 50% at about the sixth day of germination. At the end of germination, the malt is gradually raised in temperature to 90 °F, held there for 24 hours to permit enzyme action, and then gradually raised to 120 °F. It is held at this temperature for 12 hours to dry the malt, as it is essential that the malt be bone-dry before being heated to kilning temperatures to prevent the destruction of the enzymes.


Kilning, or roasting the malt, combined with the degree of modification, determines the type and character of the grain. Vienna malts are low-kilned at around 145 °F, British and American pale malts at between 130 and 180 °F and Czech malts are raised slowly from 120 to 170 °F to dry, and then roasted at 178 °F. Dortmund and Munich malts are first kilned at low temperatures before the malt has dried, then the temperature is slowly raised to 195-205 °F for Dortmunder malt, and 210 to 244 °F for Munich malt. This process creates flavor and body-building melanoidins from amino acids and malt sugars. Amber malt is well-modified, and then dried and rapidly heated to 200 °F. The temperature is then raised to 280-300 °F and held there until the desired color is reached.
Crystal and caramel malts are fully modified, then kilned at 50% moisture content. The temperature is raised to 150-170 °F and held for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. This essentially mashes the starches into sugars inside the grain husk. The malt is then heated to the final roasting temperature, with the time and temperature determining the Lovibond color index.
Chocolate and Black Patent malts are undermodified (less than 1/2), dried to 5% moisture, then roasted at 420-450 °F for up to two hours, depending on the degree of roastiness desired. The high heat helps degrade the starches, so no protein rest is require for these malts even though they are not fully modified. Malts kilned over smoky beechwood fires, as in Bamberg, pick up a rich, heavy smokiness (which is imparted to the beer) from the phenols in the smoke. Whiskey malt is made in a similar manner by smoking over peat fires.
Kilning at the maximum temperature is generally done only until the grains are evenly roasted. They are then cooled to below 100 °F and the rootlets removed. Malts should be allowed to rest for a month or so before being mashed.

The following descriptions of some Briess Grains are from their website

    2-Row Brewers Malt
  • Lovibond 1.8
  • Flavor Mild Malty
  • Unique Characteristics/Applications DP 140. Base malt for all beer styles. Smoother, less grainy flavor than 6-Row Brewers Malt. Slightly higher yield than 6-Row Brewers Malt. Slightly lower protein than 6-Row Brewers Malt.
    6-Row Brewers Malt Lovibond 1.8 Flavor Mild Grainy Malty Unique Characteristics/Applications DP 160. Base malt for all beer styles. More husk than 2-Row Brewers Malt. Well suited for high adjunct brewing.

To develop rich malty characteristics, brewers turn to High Temp Kilned Malts. Dried at higher temperatures for longer period of time than standard Base Malts, these malts deliver rich, malty flavor to all beer styles. Four of them—Pilsen, Vienna, Pale Ale and Ashburne® Mild Malt— also deliver a generous dose of enzymes which make them suitable for use as the only Base Malt in your brew.

When you're really going for robust malty flavors for traditional beer styles like Bock and Oktoberfest, it's time to bring in the Munich-style Malts. Briess makes four superb Munich-style Malts including Bonlander® Munich Malt, Aromatic Malt, Munich 10L, and Munich 20L. Bonlander® Munich and Aromatic are traditional, European-style 2-Row Munich Malts. Munich 10L and Munich 20L are produced from 6-Row varieties.

But don't reserve Munich-style malts for traditional beer styles. Their wonderful malty flavors enhance many beer styles when used in small percentages.

    Pilsen Malt
  • Lovibond 1.0
  • Flavor Delicate Malty Sweet
  • Unique Characteristics/Applications DP 130. Exceptionally light-colored, 2-Row base malt. Produces very clear, crisp wort which makes it an excellent base malt for lager beers. Suitable for all beer styles.
    Vienna Malt
  • Lovibond 3.5
  • Flavor Malty Very Slight Biscuit
  • Unique Characteristics/Applications DP 130. Specially processed base malt that contributes a warm, malty flavor and orange hues. Suitable for all beer styles.
    Pale Ale Malt
  • Lovibond 3.5
  • Flavor Malty
  • Unique Characteristics/Applications DP 85. Superior performing 2-Row diastatic malt well suited for beers when rich, malty flavor and additional color is desired. Use with 2-Row Base Malt for full-flavored ales.
    Ashburne® Mild Malt
  • Lovibond 5.3
  • Flavor Malty Sweet
  • Unique Characteristics/Applications DP 65. 2-Row diastatic malt that delivers sweeter, malty flavor. Very well suited for mild ale styles that benefit from additional color and sweet, malty flavor.
    Bonlander® Munich Malt
  • Lovibond 10
  • Flavor Smooth Malty Sweet
  • Unique Characteristics/Applications DP 40. 2-Row Munich-style malt. This European-style malt is a full, rich-flavored malt for a clean, malty flavor.
    Aromatic® (Munich) Malt
  • Lovibond 20
  • Flavor Smooth Intensely Malty
  • Unique Characteristics/Applications DP 40. 2-Row Munich-style malt. This European-style malt is a darker Munich-style malt that develops a very clean, intensely malty flavor.
    Munich Malt 10L
  • Lovibond 10
  • Flavor Robust Malty
  • Unique Characteristics/Applications DP 30. Munich-style malt that contributes a very robust, malty flavor when used at 5-15%. Well suited for contributing additional malty flavor in all beer styles.
    Munich Malt 20L
  • Lovibond 20
  • Flavor Intensely Malty
  • Unique Characteristics/Applications DP 20. Munich-style malt that contributes intensely malty flavor and aroma to beers, while adding amber hues. Well suited for contributing additional malty flavor plus warm color in all beer styles.
    Caramel Malt 10L, 20L
  • Lovibond 10, 20
  • Flavor Candylike Sweetness, Mild Caramel
    Caramel Malt 30L, 40L
  • Lovibond 30, 40
  • Flavor Sweet Caramel Toffee
    Caramel Malt 60L
  • Lovibond 60
  • Flavor Sweet Pronounced Caramel
    Caramel Malt 80L
  • Lovibond 80
  • Flavor Pronounced Caramel, Slight Burnt Sugar, Raisiny
    Caramel Malt 90L, 120L
  • Lovibond 90, 120
  • Flavor Pronounced Caramel, Slight Burnt Sugar, Raisiny, Prunes
    Chocolate Malt
  • Lovibond 350
  • Flavor Rich Roasted Coffee
  • Unique Characteristics/Applications Cocoa Use in all beer styles for color adjustment. Use 1-10% for desired color in Porter and Stout. The rich roasted coffee, cocoa flavor is very complementary when used in higher percentages in Porters, Stouts, Brown Ales, and other dark beers.
    Dark Chocolate Malt
  • Lovibond 420
  • Flavor Intense Roasted Coffee Cocoa
  • Unique Characteristics/Applications 2-Row. The intense, unique flavor of this malt adds depth and complexity to dark beers including Brown Ales, Stouts, Porters and more. Use in all beer styles for color adjustment. use 1-10% for desired color in Porter and Stout.
    Black Malt
  • Lovibond 500
  • Flavor Neutral
  • Unique Characteristics/Applications Color adjustment for all beer styles. Use with other roasted malts for mild flavored dark beers.
    Roasted Barley
  • Lovibond 300
  • Flavor Rich Roasted Coffee Intense Bitter Dry
  • Unique Characteristics/Applications Contributes the roasted coffee flavor that is characteristic of Stout. Also adds complexity in Porters, Nut Brown Ales and other dark beer styles.
    Black Barley
  • Lovibond 500
  • Flavor Rich Roasted Coffee Intense Bitter Dry
  • Unique Characteristics/Applications This one is an extreme version of Roasted Barley. Black Barley produces color and rich, sharp roasted coffee flavor characteristic of Stout and some Porters