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Saturday, October 15, 2005


Beer: The Basics - Malt

That wonderful beverage called beer, starts with just four basic ingredients. Malt, water, yeast and hops. Let’s first talk about malt. Malt comes from barley kernels that are partially germinated and then roasted. The longer the roasting, the darker the color. The best malt is made from 2 row barley.

Malt can be purchased by either liquid or dry. Liquid malt (malt extract) or malt syrup as it is sometimes called comes in a variety of containers. The most common is the 3 1/2 pound cans, but 3 1/2 pound plastic bags and 5 gallon containers can also be purchased. When I first started brewing I used the 3 1/2 pound cans because they where easy to store and easy to use. I recommend that you use the cans for your first several batches.

Liquid malt basically comes in 3 different styles. Light is used for making beer that is yellow in color, Amber is used for making tan colored beers and Dark is used for making black colored beers. You also have the choice of getting your malt hopped or unhopped. Personally, I use the unhopped variety, but if you want to speed the brewing process up, then use the hopped variety.

Dry malt extract or DME as it is called is basically malt extract that has the liquid evaporated out of it. Three pounds of dry malt is about the same as 4 pounds of liquid extract. I prefer the dry malt over the canned because it is easier to measure when you are trying to duplicate another recipe.

Dry malt also comes in the basic 3 colors, so if you get a light variety, then you should be able to brew a yellow colored beer.




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