Grains are a necessity when making beer. Grain is used in the production of malt for brewing beer. You can’t have beer without grains or grain extracts.
In this article, we will go through the 6 different types of grains that are used in the production of malt for brewing beer. We will describe their uses, advantages, disadvantages, and when to use them in the brewing process. We will also use our experience as a craft brewer to help you know the grains that you can combine or the ones that can not be used together.
It is important to note that for beer production, barley and wheat must undergo a malting process. The other grains do not have to undergo a malting process. Let’s dive into the different grains used for beer production:
What Are the Different Types of Grain used in the Production of Malt for Brewing Beer?
There are six main grains that are used in the production of malt for brewing beer depending on the beer traditions. They are barley, corn, rice, wheat, oats, and rye. Malt is a big part of the flavor of beer, and the grains used to make it affect the taste as well as the color of the finished product. It is used as a base for other ingredients, as a sweetener, and to add body to the beer.
The different types of grains used in the production of malt for brewing beer include barley, wheat, oats, rye, spelt, and sometimes flaked maize (corn). These grains are made into malt in large quantities and then distributed to various breweries for use in the production of beer.
Barley is the most widely used cereal grain. It is used in the production of malt in larger quantities than any other grain. It is a hardy and drought-resistant cereal grain.
It is rich in proteins and sugars, and like all cereals, it is a rich source of gluten, which contributes to the structure of bread. Barley is baled, or bundled, and stored in silos. It is then milled and winnowed to separate the grain from the chaff.
The germination process makes the grain more amenable to brewing. It also increases its enzyme content, which makes it more digestible. Once germination is complete, the grain is dried and ground into flour. While barley is the most widely used grain in beer, it is used to produce malt in smaller amounts.
The resulting barley malt is often combined with other types of grains to produce a more complex flavor. Barley malt is used as a base for other ingredients, as a sweetener, and to add body to the beer.
Barley has a low floor and high ceiling. The low floor is around 16-18 °L, making it one of the driest grains. The high ceiling is around 21-24 °L, making it one of the least fermentable grains. These characteristics result in a beer with a light body and high alcohol content.
The grain is dried, roasted, and ground into flakes, which are called malt. The barley is crushed to recover the malt, which is then sent to breweries. Malt is used in the manufacture of beer in smaller quantities than other grains.
What barley is used for beer?
Malted barley is the most common grain used in beer brewing. Malted barley is made up of several different types of barley that are used for different purposes.
- Pale malt: Pale malt is used in a lot of beers to give them a lighter color and more flavor. It also helps with head retention and clarity.
- Flaked Barley: Flaked barley is a type of malted barley that has been processed and flaked into smaller pieces. This gives it more surface area, which translates to more enzymes to break down the starches and produce sugars for yeast.
- Malt Extract: Malt extract is a type of malt that has been processed even further and condensed into powder form. It can be added directly to the kettle or mashed together with other grains (usually barley). It’s very popular because it’s easy to use, especially in beer brewing kits like Coopers all-grain brewing kit
Wheat is another grain that is used in the production of malt for beer. The grain is grown on cereal crops and has been refined to remove the bran and germ (the inner part of the grain). The resulting grain is called white wheat. The bran and germ contain a lot of starch, which is used as a sweetener in the production of malt.
Wheat is the least expensive grain due to its lower floor and high ceiling. Despite this, it does not have a very low floor, which means it can still produce a low amount of alcohol in beer. It also has a high ceiling, which results in a high amount of proteins and oils in the finished product.
These characteristics result in a beer with a low amount of bitterness and a high content of proteins and fats. These fat proteins can be used in cooking and in the production of soap.
Wheat is grown for its seeds and its gluten. Gluten makes a good base and has a long shelf life. However, it has some challenges since some people can not take gluten such as those with celiac disease and other gluten allergies.
It is used in the production of malt in smaller quantities than barley and other grains. Wheat is milled to remove the top half of the kernels, leaving the grain at the bottom.
The grain is then winnowed and dried, which removes the chaff. The grain is often milled in Scotland, and this is where the terms “Scotch” and “Scottish” are derived.
The grain is then sent to breweries. The gluten found in wheat is essential to the production of beer, and it is also an essential part of bread.
Is wheat used to make beer?
Yes, but at least half wheat grain content. Wheat is used in beer, but the wheat malt content must be less than 50% of the total grain content.
If a brewer wants to use more than 50% wheat in their beer, it is called a “weissbier” which is different from regular beer and still classified as an ale.
Brewers will also add rye and oats to their beers, but these grains are not considered base malts.
Oats are one of the most commonly used grains in the production of malt for brewing beer. The oat bran and germ contain a lot of starch, which is used as a sweetener in the production of malt.
Oats are used in smaller amounts as a specialty malt. They are also known as ale grains. The relatively low floor of oats and the high ceiling result in a beer with a medium body and low alcohol content.
Oats are cereal grains that are milled after the harvest. This process removes the hull, which is the outer shell of the grain. It is then ground into flour and sent to breweries.
Oats are grown in many parts of the world and are used in the production of beer in smaller quantities than wheat and barley. Oats contain enzymes that convert starch into sugar.
Rye is a cereal grain that is grown for its seeds and its gluten. Rye is the smallest of all the grains used in the production of malt for brewing beer.
Rye is used as a specialty malt in smaller amounts. It is also known as a rye or rye malt. The relatively low floor of rye and the high ceiling results in a beer with a medium body and low alcohol content.
Unlike the other grains, rye has a very low floor, which means it produces less sugar in beer than barley, wheat, or oats. It also has a high ceiling, resulting in a beer with a higher concentration of proteins and oils.
Gluten makes a good base and has a long shelf life. It is used in the production of malt in smaller quantities than wheat and other grains. The grain is milled before the removal of the hull and chaff. The grain is then winnowed and dried, which removes the chaff.
Spelt is an ancient cereal grain that is grown in the Swiss Alps and in other mountainous regions of Europe. Spelt is often confused with spelt wheat. It was an ingredient that was traditionally used in Belgian-inspired beers.
Spelt is mainly used to produce a more aromatic malt. It is also known as common wheat. The relatively low floor of spelt and the high ceiling results in a beer with a medium body and low alcohol content.
Most craft brewers are currently using spelt to add a unique flavor and mouthfeel. It is thus a great alternative to wheat beers and gives you a more stable foam. It is currently up to 60% usage in craft beer production.
6. Flaked maize (corn)
Flaked maize is used as a sweetener and as a flavoring in beer. It is also known as corn sugar or invert sugar. It is highly fermentable, which means it can be used for a short period of time, which is ideal for brewing beer.
In beer, flaked maize is used to add flavor and sweetness. It can also be used as a preservative.
Corn functions as a source of starch and as a source of sugar. It is used as an adjunct in mass-market beers produced in North America such as Budweiser, Busch, Natural beer, and others where it can make up to 20% of the grist.
You can use corn in the following forms for brewing
- Flaked, or
However, most beer recipes limit the amount of corn to less than 30 percent of the final beer fermentable ingredient content. This is because too much corn can result in some cider or solvent-like flavors in the final beer. Other reasons to limit the amount of corn in the final beer are the risk of incomplete conversion in the mash, and diluting FAN (free amino nitrogen) too low for adequate yeast nutrition.
Therefore, corn sugar is used as a priming agent to a base of barley or wheat beer. Corn sugar is excellent for brewing since starch gelatinization and conversion of starch to sugar are already done as compared to other grains.
Rice is a common ingredient in imported European beers as compared to corn in beers made in the United States. It gives the beer a sweet flavor and thus makes the beer more drinkable.
Rice is majorly an adjunct in combination with barley malt. Therefore, being a barley beer adjunct, rice gives the beer a very neutral flavor and aroma. On the final brew, rice yields a light clean-tasting beer properly converted in the brewhouse.
It is rarely used in craft breweries but in breweries that know how to use the rice well for alcohol production. However, for mass-production breweries, rice is used to increase the alcohol level while maintaining a light body.
To use the rice in brewing, the breweries steam the rice at 65–68°C for a number of hours. This cooks the rice before it is used for brewing and this is necessary due to the high starch content. The process breaks down the starch in a process called gelatinization which now can be used by the yeast to produce beer.
Which Malt is Used in the Production of Malt for Brewing Beer?
There are several different types of malt that can be used in the production of beer. The different types are differentiated by their use in the production of beer.
The two most commonly used types of malt in the production of beer are base malt and specialty malt. Specialty malt is used in the production of wheat, ryes, and other specialty grains. Base malt is used in the production of barley, wheat, and other grains.
Most beers are made from two types of malt. The two types of malt are often referred to as base malt and specialty malt. The types of malt used in beer are often referred to as base malts or simply base malts.
How to Choose the Right Malt extract for Your Beer
One of the most important aspects of making beer is choosing the right malt. There are many different types of malts that can be used to make beer, but not all are as good for brewing as others. Below, we’ve listed the different types of malt and what they’re best suited for.
- Munich Malt: This type is dark in color and has a full-bodied flavor. It is often used in dark beers or to add richness to lighter beers such as lagers. It is one of the specialty malt extracts available in the market today. The malt is used in German styles like Oktoberfest and Bock, but a small percentage can contribute an additional depth of flavor to American ales as well.
- Pale Ale/ Gold Malt: This malt is light in color and helps provide a crisp flavor. It can also be used to make darker beers such as stouts. This malt is excellent for brewing pale ales, IPAs, or as a base for red ales, porters, and stouts. Thus, it is a good all-purpose extract for most American styles beers. The Pale or Gold malt is usually made from a blend of pale and crystal malts.
- Vienna Malt: This malt is amber in color and has a slight sweetness that balances out other flavors in your beer. It’s perfect for any style of beer where you want to add some balance like a hefeweizen or dunkelweizen.
- Pilsner Malt: This malt is light in color with a slightly sweet flavor that adds just enough malty flavor without being too much like bread or toast flavors. The grain provides enough sweetness to counteract a dry hoppy bitterness, which makes it great for pilsners. It is one of the palest extract available. It is used for light lagers, Kölsch, and Belgian golden ales.
- Maris Otter Malt: The Maries Otter is one of the specialty malt extracts available in the market today. It is quite unique containing a variety of barley from the UK. The barley has a distinctive nutty, bready quality which most homebrewers find to be richer than standard North American pale malt. For brewing, Maris Otter extracts are used for British ales, especially bitters and pale ales.
- Amber Malt: Most homebrewers will not differentiate Amber extract from pale extract but the difference is that amber malt is made with additional crystal malts and in most instances includes highly kilned malts. Therefore, the amber malt gives you an extra-malty flavor thus recommended for any beer that has a robust malt character. Thus, the beers made from the malt are amber ale, brown ale, mild ale, and wee heavy beers.
- Dark malt: The extract in most instances includes a healthy dose of black malt. The dark malt has an assertive flavor making it the malt of choice for for porter and stout. Some homebrewers use it in smaller amounts to contribute maltiness and color when making other beer types by blending it with other extracts.
- Wheat malt: The defining ingredient for this malt is 60-70 percent wheat which is different from other malts made primarily from barley. Barley content in this malt ranges from 30 to 40 percent. This malt extract is used to make Hefeweizen, Wit, Saison, and forms part of the Dunkelweizen and Weizenbock beer foundation.
- Rye Malt: The specialty malt contains both rye and barley. This gives the beer a spicy flavor and a unique mouthfeel. You will find this malt being used in making American rye ales, Roggenbier, and rye stouts.
- Rauch Malt: This smoked specialty extract is not readily available. However, if you are a fan of smoked beer like Rauchbier and smoked porter then this is a malt you have to seek. Otherwise, you can try and malt the grains yourself if you can’t find them.
- Sorghum Malt: Seeking gluten-free malt, then this is the malt for you. The sorghum malt is a perfect specialty malt for anyone who has gluten allergy such as beer lovers who suffer from celiac disease. Sorghum-based extracts will give you the required carbs for fermentation without the risk of having any gluten. However, unlike most of the other specialty malts, this malt is not blended with barley.
All of these malt types are available in liquid malt extract (LME) which contains about 20% water, and dry malt extract (DME) which is dehydrated to 2% water.
What Is Malt?
Malt is a cereal grain that has been germinated and dried. The germination process makes the grain more amenable to brewing. It also increases its enzyme content, which makes it more digestible.
Once germination is complete, the grain is dried and ground into flour. While barley is the most widely used grain in beer, it is used to produce malt in smaller amounts.
Malt is a cereal grain that has been germinated and dried. The germination process makes the grain more amenable to brewing. It also increases its enzyme content, which makes it more digestible. Once germination is complete, the grain is dried and ground into flour.
While barley is the most widely used grain in beer production, it is used in smaller amounts. Barley is grown in many parts of the world, and is used around the world as a substitute for water in brewing.
The four main grain types are barley, wheat, oats, and rye. They are all used in the production of malt in varying quantities.
What are the different types of grain used in the production of malt for brewing beer?
There are four main grains that are used in the production of malt for brewing beer. They are barley, wheat, oats, and rye. Barley, wheat and oats make up the base malt. Rye, spelt and other grains make up specialty malts. The types of malts used in beer are often referred to as base malts, or simply base malts.
Can you make beer with any grain?
No, only certain grains are suitable for making beer and the grain must be fully germinated and dried.
The most common malt used in brewing is barley. It has a sweet flavor and red color that make it great for many types of beer. There are also different types of barley but the type used to produce malt for brewing beer is listed below.
What do oats do to beer?
Oats is a quick-growing cereal grain that can be used to produce malt for brewing beer. Oats are the second most popular barley after barley and they add smooth, rich, and enjoyable textures to a stout.
Why is barley used for beer?
Barley is one of the most prolific grains used in brewing because it has a high enzyme level that can quickly break down starches into fermentable sugars. Barley also produces a lot of enzymes, which helps to convert the starch in the grain into sugar. This means that when you brew beer with barley, you get to enjoy a crisp and refreshing flavor.
What are the things that grain provide for beer?
The grain used to produce malt for brewing beer provides color, flavor, maltose, proteins, dextrins, ions, vitamins, minerals, and oils. The grains break down as the beer ferments giving the beer it’s alcohol content. The sugars are extracted during this time and that is what gives the beer it’s sweetness.
Which types of base malts are used to produce malt for brewing beer?
The five types of base malts that are used to produce malt for brewing beer are two-row, six-row, Pilsner, Vienna, and Munich malts.
What is the difference between two-row and six-row malts in producing malt for brewing beer?
The difference between two- row and six-row malts in producing malt is the type of barley they use. Two-row malts use a lower protein barley than six-row malts. The barley that is used determines the flavor profile of the finished product. Six row barley has a higher protein content which gives more body and flavor than two-row.
Which type of base malt yields a lighter body in producing malt for brewing beer?
The most common base malt that produces a lighter body when making malt is Pilsner.
What’s the difference between Pilsner and Vienna?
Pilsner and Vienna have different flavors as well as coloring levels; however, they both provide a light flavored, light-colored product.
What does Munich do when making malt for brewing beer?
Munich has very little effect on flavor but it does have an amber color that can be used with other grains to create the desired color for your brew.