Our malting process lets us create small batches of specialized malts, controlling every step of the production process and adjusting it to suit the characteristics of the original grain.
The three stages of malt production
We use an automated malting process that allows us to control all of the production parameters. However, the maltster is constantly involved during key stages of production, making all the necessary adjustments to optimize the process. As natural products, the grains we use vary season to season and year to year. Turning barley into malt is a skilful blend of art and science. While automation makes the process easier, the key to quality malt will always be the expertise and attention of the maltster.
The first step of malting is initiating germination by soaking or misting the grain with water.
The moisture content of the grain increases from 14% to over 45%. At this stage, the grain is also aerated to remove CO2 and stirred to ensure that the water is absorbed uniformly.
During germination, the mass of grain starts to generate heat, so the temperature must be carefully controlled: too cold, and germination slows down, too hot, and the grain develops too quickly.
Germination must be halted just before the germ emerges from the grain. If the germ appears, it is considered “over-modified.” When all the kernels are germinated, the barley is called “green malt.”
Kilning refers to the process of drying the germinated barley. Once again, the quality of the final product will be affected by the temperature and the temperature plateaus at which the grain is held while drying. Depending on the equipment used, green malt can be dried at temperatures up to 190 degrees Celsius. By varying the drying temperature, various types of malt can be produced, from basic malt to specialty malts, with colours ranging from 3 to 160 on the Lovibond scale.
Finished malt remains a whole grain: the only evidence of its modification visible to the naked eye is the colour change.
This is the malt – the modified grain – that brewers use to make beer. Before it is bagged and shipped to our clients, each batch is analysed in our laboratory to provide the detailed data brewers need.