Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Welcome to our big malt test 2022. Here we present all the malt products we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet. We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best malt for you. You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy malt.




Summary

  • If you want to brew your own mash and create your own malt blends, giving free rein to your creativity, then you should choose malt. Malt forms the body of your beer and is essential in homebrewing.
  • There is a wide range of malts that allow for endless combinations and thus flavour variations for your beer.
  • Malt is cheaper than malt extracts, easier to store and has a longer shelf life. You can buy it in stores from 1.50 euros per kilo. In larger quantities, from 25 kg, you pay on average only 1.15 euros per kilo.

The best Malt: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying malt

What is malt anyway?

Malt is grain that has been artificially made to germinate. Therefore, malt does not refer to a specific type of grain, but rather describes a condition. In order for alcohol to develop through fermentation, the yeast needs sugar, which it gets from the malt. After the malt has been made to germinate, this process is interrupted in order to obtain as much starch as possible. During kilning, the green malt is dried with hot air. The level of temperature here produces either light malt (80°C), dark m alt (100°C) or coloured m alt (220°C). After kilning, the finished malt is ground and boiled with brewing water to make mash. Malt is therefore a fixed and necessary component in the brewing process of your own beer.

It is very important to pay attention to the storage conditions of malt.

What influence does the malt have on my beer?

The mashing of the brewing malt can influence the alcohol content of the beer. In addition, the colour of the beer and not least the taste depend on the type of malt. How long you boil your mash, what temperatures it is subjected to and how many hops you use have a direct effect on the original wort of your home-brewed beer. This in turn influences the later alcohol content and taste of your beer

Therefore, a waterproof thermometer is indispensable for brewing the perfect beer.

The table in the buying criteria can show you which original wort is required for which beer. The type of malt can also influence the taste: If you use light varieties that are kilned at lower temperatures, the beer will be tart like a Pilsener. Dark malts give your beer a malty, sweet flavour and also make it much darker in the brewing process.

You can brew not only alcoholic beer from malt, but also non-alcoholic beer.

What types of malt are there?

Malt is mainly made from barley and wheat. But other types of grain such as rye, spelt or even maize can also be used. More than fifty different varieties are available to brewers and thus also to you. Base malts usually make up a large part of the malt used for brewing. Often 100 % of a batch, i.e. the amount of malt used in the brewing process, consists of base malt. This includes all types of grain that have not been treated additionally to kilning. Special m alt is used in smaller quantities, as it is often very flavour-intensive. If you want to refine your beer or achieve a very special taste, you can replace part of the base malt with smoked malt or roasted malt, for example.

What alternatives are there to malt?

If cooking the malt is too time-consuming for you and you want a good result quickly and easily, the solution is malt extract. Malt extract is available in liquid and powder form.

How much should my malt cost and how much do I need?

When it comes to malt, there is a wide range of prices and many types, but you need different amounts of each. You can get basic malts for as little as 1.50 euros per kilo, plus shipping, but special malts are also available for as little as 1.80 euros per kilo. Ready-made malt blends cost a little more on average, around 5 euros per kilo. Here, several basic and special malts are mixed to achieve the desired colour and taste.
Category Price
Base malts from € 1.50 per kilo
Special malts from € 1.80 per kilo
Finished malt blends approx. € 5 per kilo

If you are not sure about your choice of malt, this is an easy alternative to get a good beer result. For 10 litres of beer, you need an average of 2.1 kg of malt. You can put this together from as many varieties as you like. There are no limits to your joy of experimentation.

Bier

The colour of the beer is mainly related to the type of malt. The best-known types are pilsner, rye, wheat and caramel malt. Here you can see a malt beer, with the characteristic strong, dark colour. (Image source: Artturi_Mantysaari / pixabay.com)

Decision: What types of malt are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between two different types of malt:

  • Base malts
  • Special malts

Depending on how you like to drink your beer, either a basic malt or a special blend is suitable for you. In the following, we would like to help you find out which types of malt are best suited for you and your beer. For this purpose, we will clearly present the two types of malt mentioned above and explain what their advantages and disadvantages are in each case.

What is a base malt and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Malt is produced when the grain is germinated and then dried. In breweries in Germany, barley is the predominant grain used for this purpose. When a malt makes up the majority of the beer, it is called the base malt. These properties thus allow it to be used in larger quantities and no other malt is absolutely necessary.

Advantages
  • Use of large quantities possible
  • No additional malt necessary
  • Versatile use
Disadvantages
  • Properties can hardly be influenced without other malts

Base malts can be used for almost all types of beer. The most commonly used barley malt in Europe is Pilsener malt. It is characterised by its light colour and can also be supplemented with special malts (such as coloured malts). This can turn the light Pilsener beer into a dark beer. On the other hand, the taste cannot be changed greatly with a base malt alone. Only with the help of a special malt can properties such as full-bodiedness, certain aromas or reddish colour changes be achieved.

What is a special malt and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

To brew beer, you need a base malt, such as a Pilsener, Munich or Pale Ale malt. In addition, a special malt can be used, which is needed for a desired aroma, for example.

This not only refines the taste, but can also compensate for undesirable characteristics.

The foam can be stabilised and the shelf life is extended. In the production of special malts, an additional processing step is added. For example, caramel malts are sugared before kilning. The result is that the yeasts cannot ferment this sugar into alcohol. The Maillard reaction that takes place creates a special aroma. This aroma is perceived as a strong caramel taste, with flavours of sultanas, plums and nuts. A typical pithy aroma can then be achieved by using melanoid malt. This stabilises and intensifies the aromas and the beer is perceived as fuller-bodied. The colour is also influenced by the special malt. The amount of melanoid malt used can be up to 20 percent and is thus significantly lower than that of base malts.

Advantages
  • Better beer taste
  • Improved foam stability
  • Only small quantities necessary
Disadvantages
  • No beer brewing possible without base malt

The usual dosage of a beer is approximately 90 percent base malt and ten percent special malt. Caution: It is not possible to brew beer with a special malt alone. The reason for this is that the properties of special malts are technologically insufficient to successfully complete the further steps of production.

Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate malt on the basis of these factors

Beer type

If you have a clear idea of the type of beer you want to brew, you should select the malt that matches it. Malt has a decisive influence on the taste, alcohol content and colour of your beer. Therefore, you should think carefully about which types of malt you use for brewing. You can find information about which types of malt you should use to achieve the desired result on the Beer Types page under Buying Criteria.

Taste and colour

Do you want to influence the full-bodiedness and colour of your beer or achieve a special taste? Then there is the possibility of using special types of malt. By using caramel malt, you can add more foam and flavour to your beer. It also gives your beer a reddish hue and a richer colour. You can also achieve this by using melanoidin malt.

Grist

Malt is available in grist and un-grist. Depending on the quantity and the desired taste of the beer, the malt should only be ground shortly before brewing.

Ground malt Unground malt
Ground malt is the perfect choice for beginners. Unlike the unhusked malt, hulled malt must be consumed within a few weeks The unhusked malt is more suitable for advanced brewers and can be stored at room temperature for up to two years.

Ground malt has the advantage that it only needs to be boiled. As a beginner, it also makes sense to use ground malt first. This way you get a feeling for how fine or coarse the malt needs to be ground, and you save yourself a considerable amount of work and do notneed any additional equipment. On the downside, you should use up the malt quickly, as it does not keep for long. However, it should keep for several weeks if stored in a dark, cool, dry and airtight place.

Unground malt has a stronger flavour and can be stored for longer. (Image source: pixabay.com / stevebp)

Unground malt has the advantage that it can be kept for longer, which means that special malts that are only needed in small quantities can be stored for a long time. It also has a more intense flavour . So if you want a beer with strong malt flavours, you should grind your malt fresh.

Photo source: 123rf.com / RUNGSAK KUNAVIRIYASIRI

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