Brewers call malt “the soul of beer” but they might also add that malt contributes mightily to the different personalities we expect from beer. Of all the barley grown, only one-quarter or less is used for malting.
Malt was an important product long before the days of recorded history. Across many centuries the process of production has changed greatly, but malt as a finished product is much the same, changing probably only to the extent that better grades of barley have been developed.
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Malt is the product created through controlled germination and drying (or kilning) of barley, and consists of three stages. Click on the image below to see the full size chart, or read a description of the how and why.
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Malt varieties and characteristics
No two batches of malt are alike. The only sure way to predict their effect on your brew is to ask for and know how to read malt analysis sheets.
Any crop is potentially susceptible to the ravages of pests or disease, and barley is no exception.
Malt-handling isn’t such a back-breaker when you have a silo and a good delivery system. A checklist to aid in designing a silo.
Malt in general can store for long periods of time if kept in a clean dry environment. Tip to make sure you do it right.