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Emilie's Education Series: Malt

Aug 09, 2013 Comments (0)  | Tags: Beer Geekery Emilies Education Series: Malt

There's a lot that goes into malt. What is it made of? What is the action of malting? Read on for the answers, my friend!

Primarily, malt is barley. Barley goes through the malting process and then, can officially be called "malt." Barley is the most common used grain for malting because it enables one to extract sugars and enzymes for the <a href="">wort</a> (also known as malty sugar water) during the brewing process.

There are two types of barely: 2-Row and 6-Row. At Ninkasi, we primarily use 2-Row malt because of its mild flavor, plump kernels rich with sugars, and for the fact that it is low in protein content.

So what does it mean to malt barley? It all begins with the stage that the barley is in before it goes through the malting process. First, the barley goes through controlled germination. Basically, germination means the barley seed has sprouted. After the seed sprouts, it is dried to preserve the enzymes, which contains sugars used for fermentation.

After the malt is dried, there are many things that can be done. The malt can be heated, toasted, and/or roasted in a kiln. This will give the malt its different degrees of strength, color and flavor.

Malt is a huge part of the brewing process. Not only does it contribute to the strength, color and flavor of beer but it is responsible for providing the sugars that are used for fermentation. At Ninkasi, we have two large grain silos that hold our foundation malts. One silo holds 60,000 pounds and the second silo holds 20,000. We get malt delivered to the brewery every other day and receive about 45,000 pounds at a time. Now you can imagine that is a TON of malt!

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