Malted Barley: What Is It And How to Use It in Brewing

What is Malted Barley? Malted barley is the sweet, dark, and chewy top of barley that has been ground down into a powder. It is the most well-known of all three barley types and is used in brewing, bread making, and beer brewing (as well as being a staple food for people on planet earth). There is an old tradition of brewing your own beer from malted barley that goes back to the second century AD.

The malted barley is ground down into a fine meal through a malting process similar to how it is done with coffee beans. Unlike coffee beans, however, malted barley doesn’t go through a grinding or milling process. Instead, it goes through a process similar to how it would be done if you were grinding pecans or nuts. In this way, the malted grains create the flavor and texture that are characteristic of a traditional brew.

Two basic methods of mashing for malted barley

You have two basic methods of mashing for malted barley: dry mashing and wet mashing. Dry mashing is accomplished by pouring the grains into a large pot and covering them until nearly dry. You allow the grains to sit for several hours in this liquid, which forces the liquid out through the larger holes in the middle of the grains. The next morning, all you have to do is add water and bring it to a boil. This method results in highly concentrated malted barley beer that has high levels of carbonation and sweetness.

glass of beer from malted barley

Wet mashing refers to the use of malted barley along with other ingredients, such as wheat or oats, to create a traditional wheat beer. Many professional brewers, microbrewers, and home brewers choose this method over the dry method simply because it adds just the right amount of gluten to the brew. Adding too much gluten will lead to a bitter result, but too little and the finished beer is too sweet.

The final step in making this sweet liquor is to add the rest of the ingredients to the pot, including the yeast, baking powder (or flour), and malt extract. Allow the mixture to boil just long enough to dissolve the yeast and to begin the mashing process. During this process, the sugar crystals in the malted barley settle to the bottom and are separated from the rest of the mixture. The sweet liquor is then brought to a boil and transferred to another container. This second bottle is used to store the cooled mixture while it undergoes further fermenting.

The second fermentation process of malted barley

During the second fermentation process, the sweet liquor is decanted into the third bottle, which is used to finish the brewing process. It is important to note that this process is very important. The sweet liquor must have adequate seepage to allow the active malting process to take place without boiling over. Boiling over the malt will result in a bitter product that lacks flavor. It will also reduce the amount of salt that can be used for brewing beer.

glass of beer from malted barley

For beginners in brewing

If you are a beginner in brewing, malted barley and gluten-free beer make a great first batch. They are also a good alternative to wheat beer when it is time to try another alternative style of brewing. For example, if you want to create a wheat beer that has a fuller, richer taste, then add more malted barley during the second or third fermentation stages. As for a pale ale, add less malted barley during the fermenting process to achieve a lager or straw-colored brew.

Other types of malts

There are other types of malts that can be added to the typical brew. However, this article has given you just a few ideas on what can be used in the brewing of a light, lager beer. Adding other ingredients such as corks, blueberries, or strawberries will help the flavor of the finished brew. When it comes to gluten-free beer, it will always be important to use the best ingredients so that your beer has the right texture. With some careful planning and research, you will surely be able to master the art of gluten-free beer making.