From barley to malt

Barley is especially well suited to malting operations and meets brewers’ needs and expectations. During the different stages of fabrication of malt and beer, the grain is capable of synthesizing and rapidly activating an enzymatic complex. Certain of these enzymes are necessary for the saccharification of starch, and thus its later transformation into alcohol during fermentation of the wort at the brewery. During this final stage, barley’s moderate protein content is sufficient for nourishing the yeast while limiting the appearance of sludge in the beer.

The fine husks that are a particularity of barley grains, following crushing of the malt, are the origin of the draff through which the wort is filtered in order to separate the insoluble parts.

Even though malt is made essentially from barley, other cereal grains can be malted (wheat, sorghum, buckwheat, rye) depending on the availability of raw materials in the country. Wheat malt is used mainly in making "white" beers (Weiβenbier in Germany).

Storage

Following a harvest of malting barley done at a stage of complete physiological maturity (moisture < 14.5 %), storage must be able to ensure maintenance of satisfactory sanitary and technological quality. That means that malting barley must be stored in clean, watertight installations equipped with ventilation allowing the grain to be cooled in successive stages, thus avoiding the proliferation of insects and the development of microflora and maintaining the barley’s germinating power.