How much do you know about the influence of grains and malts when it comes to your brew? We, at The Session, chose to dive in a bit here to determine the optimal grain and malt profile for brewers to achieve the exact taste they are looking for in their brews! Here is what we discovered:
To clarify, while hops and yeast added towards the conclusion of a brew cycle indeed can impact flavor, the grains (developed into malt) a brewer selects at the start of a brew have a dramatic influence on flavor profile too – not all grain is the same!
Let’s start with the most common ingredient in beer, barley. Even this first grain can be broken down into two types, 2-row or 6-row. People looking for a rounded flavor and fuller beer will favor 2-row barley, though it is a bit more expensive. For cost purposes, many larger commercial breweries will use the less expensive 2-row barley to get their brewing malt. Grains such as wheat, oats, or rye can also be used as the key ingredient for beer. Wheat will give your beer stellar head-retention, oats will improve a brew’s smoothness, and rye will leave you with a bit of a dry, crisp taste.
There is even more variety available when it comes to your malts. First, as many of our Session readers will know, is pale malt, used as a base for over 90% of all beers. The crystal malt, produced by varying temperatures when converting starch to sugar as well as roasting, will add a caramel sweetness flavor to your brew. Chocolate malts will add a darker color, less sweetness, and a roasted flavor used in brown ales or stouts.
All in all, while this short article won’t be enough to make you a grain and malt expert, we hope it will at least show you the importance of each! Brew well, enjoy your beer, whatever taste profile you prefer.