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.
There is no universal system used in classifying malts since maltsters categorize and market their products differently. However, most often malts are classified either as base malts or specialty malts. Base malts usually account for a large percentage of the total grain bill, with specialty malts accounting for a much smaller proportion of the total grist bill. The only exception is wheat malt, which can make up to 100% of the total grain bill in brewing wheat beers.
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.
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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