Malting is a process in which grains are allowed to germinate and then quickly dried in a kiln before the plant has a chance to fully develop. Most grains that homebrewers purchase have already been malted and are ready for either steeping or crushing and mashing. The malting process develops enzymes that are required to modify complex starches in the grain into simple fermentable sugars during a later step in the brewing process called mashing. Malted grains are low in moisture and can be stored for an extended period. Malted grains are also easily crushed for All Grain Brewing or steeped for use in Extract Brewing.
Steps in the Malting Process
- Raw grains are soaked to begin germination.
- Moisture and germination is maintained until the green acrospire (sprout) reaches a length approximately the length of the grain. This takes approximately 5 days.
- Green malt is kiln dried until the level of moisture is reduced to about 6%. Darker grains may be kilned at higher temperature for an extended period to darken or roast the grain adding color and flavor.
- The brittle acrospires are separated from the grains, and the malt is packaged for shipping.