Types of Barley Malts
Malt influences the flavor of beer more than any other ingredient. The malt types selected for brewing will determine the final color, flavor, mouth feel, body, and aroma. Depending on the style of beer desired and the type of malt, it takes from 15 to 17 kg of malt to produce a hectoliter of beer.
Base malts provide most of the enzymatic (diastatic) power to convert starches into fermentable sugars. The base malts provide the highest extract potential.
Pilsner malt or lager malt is the standard malt type used for most lager production. These malts are produced to retain maximum enzyme activity and to preserve certain sulfur-based flavor precursors characteristic of light-colored lagers. They produce less color and flavor than standard base malts and are very useful in producing beers in which other flavors and aromas are to be achieved. Traditionally, they are less modified than pale ale malt, as indicated by the harder kernels.
Pale Ale Malt
This is the standard malt type used for most ale production. Pale ale malt is traditionally more fully modified, with a lower protein content and more easily accessible starch than Pilsner malt. Pale ale malt is usually kilned at high temperatures, which gives it a darker color and more malt character than Pilsner malt. Pale ale malt is perfectly suited to infusion mashing.
Mild Ale Malt
Mild ale malt is kilned at a higher temperature than pale ale malt but still has enough diastatic power to be used as a base malt or as a substitute for a portion of the base malt.
Vienna malt is very close to pale ale malt but is kilned at a higher temperature to emphasize the production of melanoidins that are responsible for differing flavors and aromas.
Munich malt, like Vienna malt, is kilned at high temperatures to emphasize the production of melanoidins. It gives an amber color to the beer; however, its most important contribution is a nutty, rich malty aroma and flavor. Although Munich malt has about half the normal enzyme complement of lower-kilned malts, it can still be used as a base malt.
The specialty malts are designed to contribute a unique characteristic to beer, such as color, flavor, midsized proteins for foam improvement, body, or other accentuating characteristics. Unlike base malts, specialty malts provide little or no enzymatic (diastatic) power but do contain some extractable material. Specialty malts are used in relatively small quantities compared to base malts. Depending on the style of beer brewed, the brewer may use only one or two types of malts, or as many as seven or eight different types of specialty malts.
Light-colored specialty malts are kilned at higher temperatures than base malts and impart a deeper color and a fuller malt flavor and aroma to the finished beer. Enzyme levels are lower than for base malts. Dextrin malts and honey malts are examples of specialty light-colored malts.
Caramel (Crystal) Malts
Continental lager brewers traditionally use caramel malts, whereas British ale brewers favored crystal malts. Today, most maltsters no longer make a distinction between caramel and crystals malts and, more often than not, use "caramel malt" when referring to these malts. Other names that can be used when referring to caramel malts include CaraMunich, CaraVienne, Special B, Carastan, Cara, and Extra Special.
Dry Roasted Malts
Dry-roasted malts are produced by kilning at very high temperatures followed by roasting. The heat and duration of the roasting determine the color and flavor of malt. Dry-roasted malts include amber malt, biscuit malt, brown malt, black malt, chocolate malt, and dark chocolate malt.
Two other specialty products made from unmalted barley which are roasted barley and black barley. There are no enzymes in either of these products.
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