Beer Knowledge

The Role of Malt in Beer

What is Malt?

What exactly is malt?  
The term “Malt” refers to cereal grains that have been germinated and dried. The preferred grain used for malt in brewing beer is barley. Other grains, such as wheat, oats, rice, corn, or rye, can also be used. Each variety of grain will have a different impact on the color and taste of the beer.

Malting as a process
Malting is the process of converting barley or other cereal grains into malt for use in brewing. The barley goes through the malting process in order to create malted barley or malt. This process involves soaking the barley in water to start the process of germination, and then halted from germinating further with heat. 

What does malt add to Beer?
Here are the 5-primary roles of Malted Barley in Brewing Beer

  1. Malt gives beer its Color.
  2. Add Sweet flavor and aroma.
  3. Provide Dextrins to give the beer body.
  4. Give Protein for head retention.
  5. A source of Natural sugars for yeasts to convert into alcohol and carbon dioxide during fermentation.

The color and type of the beer depend on the barley malt degree of roast. The longer the grain is roasted, the darker the resulting beer. A light-roasted malt will result in pale beers such as a pale ale or pilsner. Longer roasted malt will result in dark beers such as stout.

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