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Beer Basics Malt and Adjuncts. June 16, 2007. Today’s Topics. Introduction Malting Process Malting Steps Outcome from Malting Modification and Acrospire Growth Types of Brewing Malt Base Malts Higher Kilned Base Malts Specialty Malts Adjuncts Evaluating Malt Dry Basis Fine Grind

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today s topics
Today’s Topics
  • Introduction
  • Malting Process
    • Malting Steps
    • Outcome from Malting
    • Modification and Acrospire Growth
  • Types of Brewing Malt
    • Base Malts
      • Higher Kilned Base Malts
    • Specialty Malts
    • Adjuncts
  • Evaluating Malt
    • Dry Basis Fine Grind
    • Dry Basis Coarse Grind
    • Fine Grind/Coarse Grind Difference
    • Color
      • Traditional Lovibond Scale
      • Standard Reference Method
      • European Brewing Conference
    • Diastatic Power
    • Protein Percent
    • Soluble Nitrogen/Total Nitrogen Ratio
    • Mealy Percent
    • Example - Briess Malt Sheet
  • Barley malt is a major component of beer. Malt contributes aroma, flavor, and body to beer. To make great beer, brewers need to understand malting and mashing processes. The first step in this direction is to understand the malts and adjuncts used in brewing
malting process
Malting Process

Malting is sprouting grains in a controlled environment until a certain level of modification is obtained and then the kernels are dried and kilned until a specific color is achieved.

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Malting Process

Malting Steps

  • Steep the barley in water at 50-65 °F for two to three days
  • Germinate for six to ten days at 50-70 °F. After six days the length of the acrospire will be ½ the length of the kernel.
  • After germination, the temperature is slowly raised to 90 °F and held at this temperature for 24 hours to allow enzymes to work
malting process2
Malting Process

Malting Steps

4. The temperature is raised to 120 °F and held for 12 hours to dry the malt

5. The malt is kilned at the prescribed temperature to achieve the correct color

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Malting Process

Outcome From Malting

  • Develop enzymes that will reduce starches and proteins during malting and mashing
  • Breakdown grain cell walls to allow enzymes to start modification
  • Modification, which means appropriate breakdown of starches and proteins in order for the malt to be mashed properly
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Malting Process

Modification and Acrospire Growth

  • The amount of modification is connected to the growth of the acrospire relative to the kernel.
  • The malt is fully modified when the acrospire is fully grown, i.e. the acrospire has grown the entire length of the kernel
  • It is desirable for the acrospire to grow to at least ¾ the length of the kernel for well modified malt
types of brewing malt
Types of Brewing Malt

Base Malts

  • Base malts comprise the majority of the brewing grain bill. Typically, they are lighter in color and provide enough enzymes to convert their own starches and the starch from other malts.
  • Base malts include:
    • Two row barley
    • Six row barley
    • Lager
    • Pilsen
    • Vienna
    • Munich
base malts
Base Malts

Two Row Barley Malt

  • Grains only grow on two rows on the ear. Only two of the six flowers are fertile
  • Typically has lower protein and enzymes than six row barley.
  • Thinner husk compared to six row barley, which means less tannins that can cause off flavors in beer
base malts1
Base Malts

Six Row Barley Malt

  • Grains grow on six rows on the ear. All six of the flowers are fertile. Yields more per acre than two row barley malt.
  • High in proteins and enzymes. So good with adjuncts like rice and corn which are weak in proteins and enzymes.
  • Thick husk and more tannins than two row barley malt.
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Base Malts

Higher Kilned Base Malts

Higher kilned base malts are kilned at a highertemperature than other base malts. As a result, these malts are darker in color and contain fewer enzymes for starch conversion; however, they usually have enough enzymes to convert their own starch

higher kilned base malts
Higher Kilned Base Malts

Vienna Malt

  • Malt dried to 5% moisture and then kilned at 210 to 230 °F for about one hour
  • Provides sweet toasty malt aroma and flavor
  • Contributes a golden to amber color in beer (3.5 to 4 degrees Lovibond)
  • Used in Vienna lager and Oktoberfest
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Higher Kilned Base Malts

Munich Malt

  • Kilned at up to 240 °F for darker Munich malt
  • More aromatic than Vienna malt. It provides a sweet toasty malt aroma and flavor
  • Also darker than Vienna malt, usually Munich malt is 8 to 10 degrees Lovibond
  • Used in Vienna, Oktoberfest, Dunkels, and Bocks
types of brewing malts
Types of Brewing Malts

Specialty Malts

  • All malts not included as a base malt. These malts are added to the grain bill to increase flavor, body and beer color.
  • Usually constitutes a small portion of the total grain bill
  • Low to no enzymes for converting starches and proteins during the mash.
specialty malts
Specialty Malts

Crystal and Caramel Malt

  • Typically sold by Lovibond color rating ranging from 20 to 120 degrees Lovibond
  • Contains no enzymes
  • Depending on Lovibond rating, can impart a caramel, toffee or nutty flavor to beer
  • Fully modified and kilned at 50% moisture content, which mashes the starches into sugars inside the grain husk.
speciality malts
Speciality Malts

Chocolate Malt

  • Under modified barley malt dried to 5% moisture and kilned at high temperatures to achieve brownish black color
  • Contains no enzymes
  • Imparts a nutty or toasty aroma and flavor
  • Used in porters, stouts, brown ales and dunkel styles.
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Specialty Malts

Black Malt (Black Patent Malt)

  • Under modified barley malt dried to 5% moisture and kilned at higher temperature than chocolate malt, which produces darker color compared to chocolate malt
  • Contains no enzymes
  • Adds a sharp burnt flavor to beer
  • Used in porters and stouts and to a lesser degree in Scotch ales
  • Small amounts can be used for color adjustment
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Types of Brewing Malts


  • Adjuncts are unmalted grains that provide additional starch. Examples include rice, corn, barley, wheat, oats, and rye.
  • The starches in adjuncts must be gelatinized before they are mashed. This gelatinization can be achieved by cooking or by flaking through hot rollers.

Corn and Rice

  • Used by large American brewers to make Standard American lager.
  • Corn and rice have low protein levels. Therefore, they are normally used in conjunction with six row barley malt that has high protein levels.
  • Large brewers use a double mash to gelatinize the starches in the corn and rice.
  • Corn imparts a sweet flavor while rice is more flavor neutral


  • Used in belgium Wit beers and Oatmeal stouts
  • Provides a silky creaminess and oiliness.

Unmalted Wheat

  • Used in belgium Wit beers and Lambics
  • Imparts a malty spiciness
malt analysis
Malt Analysis

Moisture Content

  • It is recommended that malt should have a moisture content less than 6%. The moisture content should be less than 4% for colored malts
  • High moisture content can lead to mold and to loss of aroma and flavor during storage
  • For large scale brewers, moisture increases the cost of the malt
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Malt Analysis

Dry Basis Fine Grind (DBFG) Extract Yield

  • Assumes zero moisture content which is not true in real setting.
  • Uses ASBC laboratory mash. The grains are crushed on a Buhler-Miag disc mill set to .2 millimeters
  • Indicates maximum potential yield.
  • The higher the DBFG yield the better. Malts with a DBFG yield less than 78% are below standard.
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Malt Analysis

Dry Basis Coarse Grind (DBCG) Extract Yield

  • Assumes zero moisture content which is not true in real setting.
  • Uses ASBC laboratory mash. The grains are crushed on a Buhler-Miag disc mill set to .7 millimeters
  • Indicates possible extract yield. However, brew-house yield is always less because of malt moisture content and better efficiency of laboratory mash
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Malt Analysis

Fine Grind/Coarse Grind Difference

  • The difference between the dry basis fine grind and coarse grind indicates the degree of malt modification. The smaller the difference the more modified the malt
  • Normally the difference is less than 2%
  • A DBFG – DBCG up to 2.2% is OK if decoction mash is employed. For infusion mash, the difference should be less than 1.8%
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Malt Analysis


  • Traditional Method developed by Lovibond. The scale is implemented by comparing colored slides or glasses to a sample to visually see which slide agreed with the color of the sample
  • Current standards for measuring color
    • Standard Reference Method (SRM) developed by American Society of Brewing Chemists (ASBC)
    • European Brewing Convention (EBC) color rating
    • The two methods can be compared by the equation

EBC = 1.97 * SRM

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Malt Analysis


  • The current methods use spectrophotometers
  • All three scales goes from low to high, with lower numbers assigned to light colors
  • For light colored beers the SRM method is very close to the Lovibond scale
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Malt Analysis

Alpha-amylase (Dextrinizing Units)

  • ASBC metric that measures dextrin units per 100 grams
  • Over modified malt normally has lower dextrin units. For less modified malts, the dextrinizing units needs to be greater to apply an infusion mash.
  • Typical ranges for 100 grams:
    • Six row malt 35-45
    • American two row malt 40-50
    • Pilsener malt 44-48
    • Vienna malt 40-45
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Malt Analysis

Diastatic Power (Degrees Linter)

  • Measures the enzyme content of the malt. Specifically, the enzyme strength to convert starch to sugar
  • Higher diastatic power malts convert starches faster than lower diastatic power malts
  • Well modified malts with low protein content typically have a diastatic power between 35 and 40. On the other hand, it can be as high as 160 for six row brewers malt.
  • Diastatic power decreases as malt color increases.
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Malt Analysis

Protein Percent

  • Equals 6.25 times the total nitrogen content
  • The protein percent for Barley malt should be 9 to 11%
  • Enzymes are proteins, so higher protein levels correspond to higher enzymatic strength.
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Malt Analysis

Soluble Nitrogen/Total Nitrogen Ratio

  • The ratio of soluble nitrogen to total nitrogen is a measure of malt modification. A higher ratio indicates higher malt modification
  • For lager malts, 30-33% indicates under modification and 37-40% indicates over modification.
  • For infusion mashing, the ratio should be 38-42%
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Malt Analysis

Mealy Percent

  • Malt is characterized as mealy, half-glassy, and glassy. Mealy malt is very chewable, whereas, glassy malt is very hard.
  • Well modified malt is mealy.
  • For infusion mashing, the malt should be at least 95% mealy. Malt should be at least 92% mealy for decoction and step mashes.
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Malt Analysis


Let’s review a typical malt analysis from Briess

Malt and Ingredients Co.