Malts 101

All About Grains 101

revision 1, July 1994
Jim Busch,



Quick Index:
American Malts | German Malts | British Malts | Belgian Malts | Common Maltsters ]


We would like to personally thank Jim Busch for allowing me to post this information on my Homebrew pages. This Grain information is posted with his permission.
-Thanks Jim!

American Malts

Pale Malt (2 Row, Klages)
The basic malt for brewing all grain beers from scratch. Being American grown, high in diastatic power, well modified and fairly neutral, Klages makes an excellent base malt. Best for both American Lager and Ale styles, Klages lends itself well to all beer styles.

Examples: Briess, Shreier, Froedterts. Froedterts is slightly darker than Briess and Shrier. It is currently used at the Baltimore Brewing Co and the Alleghaney Brewing Co, two quality German style micros. Alleghaney uses a decoction mashing program with this malt. Great Western is also a common variety of this malt. (Alleghaney Brewing Co has just been renamed as the Penn Brewery).


Wheat Malt (Malted Wheat)
Use to make wheat and weizen beers. Also, small amounts (3-6 %) aid in head retention to any beer without altering final flavor. Use 5 to 70 % in the mash, 40 to 70 % being the norm for wheat beers, combined with a high enzyme malt such as Klages.

Examples are: Briess (cattle feed due to excessive protein levels) Gambrinus (canadian, high protein wheat) Ireks (German), DeWolf-Cosyns. Imported varieties have lower protein levels. In Germany, a weizen must be of at least 50% wheat malt, as measured in the final beer. This means if a weizen is made of 55% wheat, and subsequently krausened with say Helles krausen, the amount of krausen must not reduce the final proportion of wheat to below 50%. Germans are like that!


Vienna Malt (Lightly kilned) 4L
Vienna malt is kiln dried at a higher temperature than pale malt yet still retains sufficient enzyme power for use as 60 to 100% of total mash grist. Vienna is a rich, aromatic malt that will lend a deep color and full flavor to your finest Vienna or Marzen beers.


Munich Malt (Domestic) 10 L
A little darker than our German Munich malt, use our Domestic Munich to add a deeper color and fuller malt profile. An excellent choice for Dark and amber lagers, blend Munich with German Pils or Klages at the rate of 10 to 60% of the total grist.

Darker grades of Munich are available from contential maltsters. Essential ingrediant in German Bock beers.


Carapils (Dextrin Malt)
Dextrins lend body, mouthfeel and palate fullness to beers, as well as foam stability. Carapils must be mashed with pale malt, due to its lack of enzymes. Use 5 to 20% for these properties without adding color or having to mash at higher temperatures.

Some brewers dislike the almost cloying sweetness that high amounts (10%) of Dextrin malt contributes.


Light Crystal (Caramel Malt) 10 L
5 to 20% will lend body and mouthfeel with a minimum of color, much like Carapils, but with a light crystal sweetness.

Also sold as CaraPils from the Dewolf-Cosyns maltster. My own opinion is that this is a much better choice in malt sweetness/body builder than the US Dextrin malt version.


Pale Crystal (Caramel Malt) 40 L
As with all Crystal malts, the character of this malt is contributed by unfermentable crystallized sugars produced by a special process Called "stewing". 5 to 20 % Pale Crystal will lend a balance of light caramel color, flavor, and body to Ales and Lagers.

Caramel 40 is a mainstay malt in brewing of all types of ales. It can be used in British and American ales, and in conjunction with other malts in Belgian ales and German lagers. Hugh Baird Maltings in Witham , Essex, England make very fine high grade caramel malts. US domestic specialties are made from 6 row malt, whereas the European vesions are 2 row. This makes imported specialties a much higher quality product. The grain kernels are also plumper and as such will mill better than 6 row malts.


Medium Crystal (Caramel Malt) 60 L
This Crystal malt is well suited to all beer recipes calling for crystal malt and is a good choice if you're not sure which variety to use. 5 to 15% of 60 L Crystal malt will lend a well rounded caramel flavor, color and sweetness to your finest Ales.


Dark Crystal (Caramel Malt) 120 L
5 to 15% will lend a complex bitter/sweet caramel flavor and aroma to beers. Used in smaller quantities this malt will add color and slight sweetness to beers, while heavier concentrations are well suited to strong beers such as Barley Wines and Old Ales.


Victory Malt (Aroma & flavor malt) 25 L
A unique, lightly roasted malt that provides a warm "biscuity " character to Ales and Lagers. Use 5 to 15 % to add a fuller flavor and aroma to Ales, Porters and full flavored, dark Lagers where a bigger malt character is desired without crystal malt sweetness.

D/C Biscuit malt fits in here also. Biscuity/toasted flavors and aromas result from the use of this malt.


Special Roast (Aroma & flavor malt) 50L
Pale roasted to lend an unmistakable, toasted malt flavor and aroma and amber, red-orange color to beer. At the rate of 3 to 10% Special Roast is an excellent addition to your Vienna, Marzen and Alt beers or in recipes calling for Amber malt.


Chocolate Malt (Roasted, black malt)
Being the least roasted of the black malts, Chocolate malt will add a dark color and pleasant roast flavor. Small quantities lend a nutty flavor and deep, ruby red color while higher amounts lend a black color and smooth, roasted flavor. Use 3 to 12%.

Chocolate is an essential ingrediant in Porters, along with Caramel malts. Used in smaller quantities in Brown ales, old ales and some Barleywines.


Roast Barley (Black, Unmalted Barley)
Use 10 to 12% to impart a distinct, roasted flavor to Stouts. Other dark beers also benefit from smaller quantities (2 - 6%).

Essential ingrediant in Stouts. Small amounts are OK in Porters, provided they dont overpower the chocolate/caramel notes. Rarely used in any Belgian ales or German Lagers


Black Patent (H ighly roasted black malt)
The darkest of all malts, use sparingly to add deep color and roast-charcoal flavor. Use no more than 1 to 3%.

Best used in trace amounts only, for color. Almost any contribution that Black Patent gives to beer can be obtained from using another malt with less harsh flavor impacts.


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German Grain Malts

German Pale Malt (2 Row, Pilsner Malt) 1.8 L
A quality German two row malt. Produces a smooth, grainy flavor. Use in your finest German Lagers and Alt Beers.


Weizen - (Wheat Malt) ~ L
German Wheat malt is the perfect ingredient for Weiss, Weizen and Berl iner Weiss beers. Blended in proportions of 20 to 70% with pale malts, weizen malt is the perfect companion for German wheat strains for a full flavored, classic wheat beer.


Wiener - (Vienna Malt) 3 L
German Vienna is high in diastatic power, meaning you can use it as 100% of the total grist for a fuller, deeper malt flavor and aroma.


Munchener (Munich Malt) 6 L
A true Munich variety that has undergone higher kilning than the pale malt. German Munich still retains sufficient enzymes for 100% of the grist, or it can be used at the rate of 20 to 75 % of the total malt content in Lagers for its full, malty flavor and aroma.


Crystal - (Med. Caramel) 50 L
Use 3 to 20% of German Caramel malt to add color, sweetness and body to European lagers Viennas and Marzen/Oktoberfest lagers.


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British Grain Malts

English Pale Malt (British, 2 Row)
Fully modified British malt, easily converted by a single temperature mash. Preferred by many brewers for full flavored ales. Pale Ale malt has undergone higher kilning than Klages and is lower in diastatic power so keep adjuncts to 15 % or less.


English Crystal (Caramel Malt) 37 L
Also known as CaraStan, use 5 to 20% of our English Crystal to add color and a full, toffee/sweet flavor to Bitters, Pale Ales and Porters.


Scottish Crystal - (Caramel Malt) 90 L
Will lend a deep amber to red color and a full bodied, toasted/caramel like flavor to the finest Scottish and European ales.


Chocolate Malt - ( Brown malt) 400 L
British Chocolate malt is ideal for British Porters and Brown or Mild Ales and even Stouts. It's a little darker than domestic Chocolate malt yet it has a slightly smoother character in the roast flavor and aroma profiles. Highly recommended.


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Belgian Grain Malts

Belgian Pils (European 2-Row) 1.8 L
This is an excellent base malt for many styles, including full flavored Lagers, Belgian Ales and European Wheat beers.


Aromatic (Mildly Kilned) 26 L
Used at rates of up to 10%, Aromatic malt will lend a distinct, almost exaggerated malt aroma and flavor to the finished Ales and Lagers. Aromatic malt also has a rich color and is high in diastatic power for aid in starch conversion.

D/C Aromatic malt. As the name suggests, adds aromatics to a beer. At 25 Lovi, it is grouped in the upper end of the "Munich Malts" category. It shows conversion by itself, with a diastatic power of 29, as compared to D/C munich with a DP of 50 and Pils with a DP of 105. When using Aromatic malts, be sure to calculate the additional extract and color that will be added, since this malt contributes both.


Biscuit Malt - (Pale Roast) 23 L
Biscuit is a unique malt thats lightly roasted, lending the subtle properties of black and chocolate malts. Used at the rate of 3 to 15 %, it is designed to improve the bread & biscuits , or toasted flavor and aroma characteristics to Lagers and Ales.


CaraVienne - (Lt. Caramel) 22 L
As with normal Crystal malts CaraVienne is non-enzymatic. It does, however, impart a rich, caramel-sweet aroma to the wort and promotes a fuller flavored beer at rates of 5 to 20 % of grist total.

D/C: CaraVienna, ~22 Lovi. Another excellent all purpose caramel malt. Can be used in high percentages (up to 15%) wothout leaving the beer too caramel/sweet. Good to use in conjunction with Munich malts and Pils malt for a Maerzen base. Also good for use in many Belgian style ales, in conjunction with other Belgian color malts.


CaraMunich - (Med. Caramel) 72 L
Use CaraMunich for a deeper color in Ales and Lagers, and in small amounts in Lagers. 5 to 15% will also lend a fuller flavor, contribute to foam stability, add unfermentable, caramelized sugars and contribute a rich malt aroma.

Excellent malt to use as a suplement to other caramel malts. I tend to use 7-10% caraVienna and 3% CaraMunich as a amber beer base which would include Munich and Pils malt.


Bamburg Rauchbier malt:
Green(?) malt is "kilned"/dryed over a beechwood fire. Some US brewers use malt smoked over Adler. Depending on the amount of smoking, the malt can be used in 100% of the mash, as some Bamberg brewers do, or used as a flavoring malt in the 10-30% range. Imparts a distinct smoked character to the beer. Rauchbiers should be based on a Maerzen recipe and adjusted using Rauchbier malt, which shifts the color from amber to dark amber/light porter.


Peated Malt:
sold by Hugh Baird. Adds Peated flavors, good in small amounts for Scottish ales.


Raw Wheat:
used in Wit biers at 45% of grist and in Lambics at 30%. Contributes a permenant starch haze to the beer.


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Common Maltsters: