Malt Types

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Roasted Malt

For murkier beers, dried malt is next dispatched to a drum roaster, typically a customised coffee roaster. A revolving drum inside keeps the malt turning to achieve uniformed roast. Prompt cooling is vital; otherwise the colour will continue to develop. To signify the importance of this, when the equipment to produce black malt was patented back in 1819, the main breakthrough was not the roaster, but the water spray device which immediately cooled the malt. Roasted malts include chocolate and the various shades of black malt, ranging from 300 to 600°L/600 to 1200°EBC.

You will observe on the malt colour wheel that there is a space between mid- and dark-coloured malts, amid 70 and 200°L. In this space, flavours are particularly abrasive and ashtray-like, not the sort of taste you’d want in a beer. Beyond 200°L, the flavours become richer as the unpleasant flavours have actually been burnt away.

NOTE: If you struggle to understand the stats of the examples below, we recommend checking out our guide to Understanding a Malt Analysis

Chocolate Malt

Colour = 200–400 (Lovibond) 400–800 (EBC)

Enzyme Activity = None

OG per lb in 5 gl = 1.0061 (1.57°P)

OG per kg in 20 L = 1.0116 (3.00°P)

Max % = 20

Origin and Notes: Paler version of black malt. Chocolate malts can also be produced using rye and wheat, but these variations tend to be darker, like black malt.

Production: Drum roasted exactly like black malt, but roasting is halted at a lower colour level.

Flavor and Aroma: Sharp, coffee-like roastiness, but harsher than black malt. Wheat and rye offer slightly different taste characteristics, usually a darker and more chocolatey character.

Uses:

  • Provides complexity to dark ales, porters, and stouts
  • Supporting malt for coffee-flavoured beers

Röstmalz

Colour = 200–400 (Lovibond) 400–800 (EBC)

Enzyme Activity = None

OG per lb in 5 gl = 1.0061 (1.57°P)

OG per kg in 20 L = 1.0116 (3.00°P)

Max % = 20

Origin and Notes: This is the German take on black malt, probably developed during the early nineteenth century as German brewers required malts in order to create their own versions of the porter, which was exploding in popularity. Because lagers have such smooth, clean flavours, it was only logical that continental brewers would create roasted malts which followed that aesthetic, and röstmalz was the product. It comes in a variety of colours, as displayed by the Weyermann Carafa range: I at 337°L, II at 425°L, and III at 470°L.

Production: Premoistened malt (10 to 15%) is heated in a drum roaster for 60-90 minutes at 350 to 425°F/177 to 208°C. Steam is then applied to the malt, which removes the harsh, volatile Assamars, which would give the malt a harsh character if they remained, this processes is referred to as debittering. Dehusked versions provide even smoother flavours.

Flavour and Aroma: Deep, bittersweet-chocolate character. Known for being outstandingly smooth and delightfully creamy, free from the kind of harsh bitterness that can come with black patent malt.

Uses:

  • Whenever a really smooth roastiness is required, such as a schwarzbier or a Baltic porter.
  • A subtle, roasty kicker in dark bock and doppelbock, providing a gentle counterpart to the richness of Munich malt
  • Röstmalz is also excellent for including more of a redness and depth to red ales
  • For black India pale ales and black witbiers, when a lot of colour is required without a large amount of roastiness.
  • Inconspicuous as a colouring agent in any light- to medium-coloured beer, can even be used in pale lagers.

Black Malt

Colour = 475–600 (Lovibond) 690–1250 (EBC)

Enzyme Activity = None

OG per lb in 5 gl = 1.0061 (1.57°P)

OG per kg in 20 L = 1.0116 (3.00°P)

Max % = 10

Origin and Notes: First patented in England by Daniel Wheeler back in 1817. Since then, black malt, which is used in a wide range of beer styles, has been the workhorse malt in almost all black beers. Roasted unmalted barley has similar specifications, but possesses a sharper flavour.

Production: Roasted in drum kilns at high temperatures, often for two hours or so at 420 to 450°F/216 to 232°C.

Flavour and Aroma: A profound, bittersweet chocolate character, regularly accompanied with coffee or espresso notes. It ranges from smooth and mellow, to fairly sharp, depending on maltster. It is less strongly flavoured than its colour would suggest. Roasted unmalted barley possesses a much drier, more acrid flavour.

Uses:

  • Classic signature malt in all most modern stouts and porters (excluding Irish stouts)
  • A colour enhancer, it can provide a hint of deep roastiness in amber and brown beers including Scotch “ales,” old ales, mild ales, and dark barley wines
  • With a reddish cast, black malt is also great for providing a redness and depth to red ales
  • In tiny quantities (less than 2%), it can be utilised as a colouring agent in any light- to medium-coloured beer
  • Irish stout (roasted unmalted barley)

 

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