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Chapter 11: Malting and Brewing

Principles of Cereal Science and Technology, Third Edition
Pages 161-175
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1094/9781891127632.011
ISBN: 978-1-891127-63-2


Simply stated, malting is controlled germination followed by controlled drying of a cereal seed. The goal is to produce high enzyme activity, endosperm modification, and a characteristic flavor with a minimum loss of dry weight.

Worldwide, huge quantities of malted cereals are used as raw materials for the production of beer. This, along with the fact that significant tonnages of malt are also used in the production of distilled products, in the breadmaking industry (i.e., as an enzyme or flavor source), and in the breakfast food industry (mainly as a flavoring agent), justifies covering the principles of malting and brewing in this book.

The cereal most often malted is barley, although sizable quantities of wheat and rye are also converted to their respective malts. In parts of Africa, sorghum and millet, particularly finger millet, are malted. In theory at least, any cereal could be used. However, the type and amount of enzymes produced vary from one cereal to another.

The predominant use of barley today is based on a number of factors. To start with, it has traditionally been the cereal of choice. In addition, barley malt contains a good balance of the desired enzymes and has tightly adhering hulls that protect the modified grain after malting and provide a natural filter bed later in the brewing process. Because, during malting, the seedling grows under the husk, it is not removed during deculming (i.e., removal of the rootlets) of barley malt. In contrast, in the case of wheat malt, the seedling is completely removed during deculming.

Many definitions exist for the term brewing. Generically, the entire beer making process is referred to as brewing. Technically speaking, the term covers only the part of the process during which the beer raw materials are first converted to sweet wort, i.e., the liquid that has been extracted from mashing malt and/or adjuncts, and then to hopped wort, i.e., the sweet wort that has been boiled with hops. It contains fermentable carbohydrates. After brewing, the resulting product, i.e., the pitching wort, is fermented into “green” beer. The final beer is the result of maturation and filtration of the green beer.