Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Testing a new "base" malt

Yep, a new base malt!

For those who don't speak brewing lingo, base malt makes up the majority of the beer's "grist" of grains which contain the sugars needed to make beer.  It's barley (usually grown in East Anglia) which is wet then heated gently to con the grains into thinking the season has changed and it's time to start germinating.  Malting is an extremely complicated procedure which is outside the scope of this blog (and my knowledge!) but this should tell you all you need to know should you wish!

Our beers are generally of a simple malt recipe with 90-95% being "base" malt, then 3% wheat malt (for head retention) and 3% of either Carapils or Melanoidin (for body and mouthfeel).  Some beers have other additions, such as stouts and porters with up to 20% roasted grain, but in the main it's 90%+ base pale malt.

We originally used Munton's Maris Otter blend malt, but after using it for a while decided the extra cost (around £150-200 a tonne on top of the usual £500 or so price) of Maris Otter just wasn't worth it for our beer; Maris provides a more "full" malty taste with, at it's best, a luscious honey character, but with our beers being hop-led we don't need the malt character so moved onto Crisp best ale malt.  This unfortunately has an even more pronounced flavour so that was soon jettisoned in favour of Munton's Propino and Super Pale, bought on tonne pallets direct from East Anglia, and we've stuck with them until now as the malt is pretty consistent, works well with our set-up and provides a good to great extract power (the amount of sugar produced per kilo of malt).

We were recently visited by a rep who offered half a tonne of Baird's Propino for evaluation purposes, and so - ever ones for a freebie - have gone with it to test out it's suitability for use in the brewery.  Now I've heard lots of stories, most bad, about Baird's malt but will resist any temptation to jump to conclusions and we'll be using it as a direct replacement for our usual Munton's Propino and we'll see how it stacks up!

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