What Is Malt? What Are Adjuncts? - Ready for review

What Is Malt? What Are Adjuncts? - Ready for review

What is malt?

A malt is a type of grain, which has been through the 'Malting Process' to convert its sugars. Malts can come in many different forms, and depending on the beer that the brewer would like to create. 

The Malting process is to help prepare for the creation of beer. Soaking, germinating and then drying different types of grain. This process is completed to convert the structure of the barley to allow synthesis so that the final product can be used in the stages of brewing. There are two main ways in which this process can be carried out. 

Traditional Floor Malting

‘Floor Malting’ was very popular in the early 20th century but has been adapted since. It begins with drowning all the malt in water for a couple of days, draining and resting it each day to ensure it is getting enough oxygen. There isn’t any way to force the malt to adapt or develop, so the time can vary every time. The grain is then placed on a smooth concrete surface, at room temperature so it is able to germinate. After continuously turning the malt over for multiple days, The malt would have germinated to produce the sugars needed when brewing.

Drum Malting

'Drum Malting' is the process which  allows the grain to be washed, removing any dust but also adding more moisture to the grain to begin the process. It gets mechanically turned in a large industrial drum ensuring the entire time it's not getting tangled. This process allows way more control than the ‘Traditional Floor Malting’ as the temperature and airflow can be controlled. This helps to guarantee good, consistent quality. 


Pale Malts are the most common malts used as a base to make a beer. They are light in colour and can be used in any beer style. Pale Malt is typically used to create any style of beer. It is especially good in Ales, or really any beer which you would like to have more body. 

Chit Malt is raw barley in which has been barely malted and it only just starts to germinate before the germination gets stopped. It is used to promote foam formation and the stability of the body in any style beer. This malt is typically used in the creation of a Hazy IPA. 

Roasted Malts are made by using a malt roaster at a high temperature to roast a selection of Malts (Typically biscuit, caramel, chocolate malts). The colour of the malt will help to determine the colour of the end result, if the malt is pale, the beer will be more on the pale side. Malt roasters are also used to create roasted barley. The styles of beer in which it is normally used for, is a Stout and Ales. This malt adds rich and malty flavours to the beer. 

Crystal Malt is a traditional coloured malt, being a brown, chocolatey colour. During the malting process, it is soaked and geminated like classic malt, but is then moved into the roasting drum wet. Crystal malts have no enzymes and are used primarily to enhance a beers colour, flavour, body and aroma. 

Caramel Malts impact a huge caramel aroma, if you couldn't assume by the name! This is because of how the malt is produced. The malt is kept at a constant temperature. The starch inside of the malt is turned into a sugary liquid in the soaking process that is then trapped inside underneath the husk. After the malt has been soaked, it is then dried in a roasting drum. The soaking and roasting process causes the liquified sugars to convert to a caramelise into solid. Caramel Malts are used for malty-sweet flavours. 

But what is the difference between Crystal and Caramel Malts? (https://www.burp.org/crystal-vs-caramel-malt/)

Essentially, these malts are the same thing. Crystal malt is specifically the English malt that can only be roasted at a low temperature. But a Caramel malt can either be roasted or kilned, as they are not the same thing. So all crystal malt is caramel malt but not all caramel malts are crystal malt. 

Non-Barley Malts 

Barley is one of the most common malted grain, because of its high content of enzymes. But some brewers used other materials, such as wheat, rhy, oats, rice and corn. 

Wheat malt is a sweet malt with a wheat flavour and can be used as a base malt. This malt is typically used in beers which have wheat characteristics and helps impact a bready flavour. It also increases the foam stability without affecting the flavour. 

Rhy Malt is often used as well as barley. It adds a crisp, slighly spicy flavour and adds richness to the malt characteristics. As well as being used in traditional beers, rhy can also be used to create a hoppy beer style.


Similar to barley, You can get oats in many different variations. The most common being Malted and Flaked as these both can be added directly to the mash in the Brewing Process. Don't know what that is? Take a look at "How Is Alcohol Free Beer Made?"

Malted Oats have large husks but the grain inside is small. Once the husks have been separated from the grains, the creaminess from the oats releases a smoothness which will affect the texture of each beer. 

Flaked Oats are an unmalted grain that have had their starches gelatinised by pressure and heat during the flaking process. It has the same affect as Malted Oats in a beer, A silky mouthfeel and adds a smoothness to the structure of the beer. 

Non-Malted Grains

Roasted barley is commonly used as a typical ingredient for an Irish Stout. Even though the colour is similar to Black Malt, it has a roasted coffee flavour with a dark colour to match. 


Adjuncts are unmalted grains or grain products which are used as an alternative in The Brewing Process. This may be to try and cut expenses but they also are used as an additional feature, To add to the structure and flavour of the beer. 

Sorghum is used in brewing and behaves very similar to malted barley. It is hydrated and its enzymes break down starches to sugars. Unmalted sorghum can also be used as a starch adjunct. A beer brewed with Sorghum is rich in B vitamins and iron. 

Sweet Corn or Maize is one of the most common adjuncts, and is most popular in North America. Many Years ago, corn was used because it was one of the very few sources of starch available to brewers. It can be used in two forms, as a source of starch and as a source of sugar. It achieves an extreme lightness in colour and flavour in a beer. 

Rice is used as an adjunct in combination with a barley malt. Rice is preferred by some brewers as it contains less oils which creates a better outcome for the beer. Its aroma and flavour is very bland, and when used in brewing will create a light beer.