The Essential Ingredients and Elements of Malt

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June 13, 2014 by Prost Brewing

Grain malting in a kiln

Grain malting in a kiln

We frequently discuss malt as a major ingredient in every Prost bier, but what makes malt so essential in the brewing process? It has everything to do with its chemical and physical properties, coupled with our knowledge of how to produce the highest quality German style bier. The process of malting begins with soaking grain in water until it begins to germinate, and then drying it with heat in a kiln. The length and temperature of the kilning or roasting will determine the color and flavor of the malted grain.

The malt is then milled, or crushed. The brewing process begins when the malt is steeped with hot water for a certain length of time at certain temperatures. We call this mashing, a time when the enzymes produced in the malting process go to work. One type of enzymes convert starches in the malt into fermentable sugars, and another type of enzymes convert complex proteins into simple proteins and amino acids. These elements are very important for use in the fermentation stage, when yeast metabolizes the sugars and turns them into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Amino acids and simple proteins also work with the yeast to provide the bier with head retention and to reduce haze, among other factors.

The liquid that’s produced during the mash is called wort. The husks of the malted grain provide a physical trait important to the end of the mash, when the wort is separated from the grain. These husks serve as a natural filtering bed during lautering, which is the process of separating the wort from the spent grain before the wort is boiled with hops.

The types of malts used, the length and temperature of the mash, and many more aspects of the brewing process are different and specific to each bier style we brew. We work hard to maximize our expertise to keep bringing you the most delicious bier in the Rocky Mountain region. Prost!

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