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Malted Brewing Grains - Barley, Oats, Wheat, Rice, Corn & More!

Malt is one of the core ingredients in making beer. You cannot even start making beer without it, as you don't have a starch source to commence the fermentation process. By definition, malt is a product left over after a cereal grain has undergone different air drying procedures, sprouting, and heating. You can use any cereal grains as a malt source, such as wheat, rice, oats, and rye. But the most popular source is barley.

Heating the grain is a vital process in malting as it halts the grain's growth, thus keeping the starch content at its highest potential while still allowing the natural enzyme called diastase to convert the starch into sugar. Diastase is responsible for providing malt with its flavouring. (more info below)

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Malting grains has several benefits. Aside from being the starch source, it also helps prepare the starch to be converted into sugar, the yeast energy source during the fermentation process. Malting develops the starch in the grains to the highest point of possible starch content. The proper preparation of malted homebrewing grains makes it possible for it to impart sweetness to the beer. On the other hand, malt is also used to add flavour and colour to the final product. Many homebrewers malt their grains past the point where enzymes are still active to provide a deeper shade or roasted character to the beer.

An essential ingredient in making the wort, malt, is used at the beginning of the beer-making process. Once the diastase has converted the starch into sugar, yeast is added to the wort to produce alcohol. The yeast does not use up some sugar during the entire process, giving the beer a distinct sweetness. However, three other by-products are produced that impart different flavours in a beer. These include the diacetyl for the woody taste, phenols for the spicy flavour, and esters for the fruity taste.