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

Malt is one of the core ingredients in making beer. Without it, you cannot even start making beer as you don't have a source of starch to commence the fermentation process. By definition, malt is a product left over after a cereal grain has undergone different procedures like air drying, sprouting, and heating. You can use any cereal grains as a source of malt, and these include 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 growth of the grain, 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 source of starch, it also helps prepare the starch to be converted into sugar, the source of energy for the yeast 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 in order 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. Some sugar is not used up by the yeast during the entire process, and this is the reason why beer has this distinct sweetness. However, three other by-products are produced that impart different flavours in a beer, and these include the diacetyl for the woody taste, phenols for the spicy flavour, and esters for the fruity taste.