A malt beverage is a fermented drink that is produced by the fermentation of malted barley and hops. The grain or seed of the barley plant is its main ingredient. This barley plant would have been made to sprout in a way referred to as malting before processing it. Some other cereals as well as other carbohydrates may be included whether they be malted or not.
Malt products may be alcoholic or non-alcoholic and may use natural (food products) as flavor making them suitable for consumption. Typically, beer is a malt beverage and it is the most prominent malt drink available. It is made from barley sugars that are naturally fermented and flavored with hops.
Malt can even be said to be the “soul of a beer”. It is one of the essential ingredients that are used for making beer. It is the one that gives aroma, color, flavor and body to all lager and ale. It sets each beer apart from another. You can find more information on this here http://howtobrew.com/book/section-1/malt-extract-and-beer-kits/what-is-malt.
Barley is preferred for making malt and beer however, it cannot be fermented into alcohol so it is instead converted to malt. Some beers however do not have malted barley such as gluten-free beers that are made from molasses and sorghum.
Additionally, other flavored drinks made from malted grains and to which artificial or natural flavors are added may be termed malted beverages. Drinking malt has many benefits such as improved mental health. This is because it is rich in nutrients – vitamins and amino acids as well as antioxidants.
The Malting Process
Malting is used to modify barley grains into green malt and this can be preserved by drying. The process includes steeping as well as aerating the barley and then allowing it to germinate before it is dried and cured.
Steeping involves soaking the grain – in this case, barley so as to awaken it. It is then made to germinate and sprout. Afterward, kilning or heating the barley produces its ultimate flavor and color. Below, we take a more detailed look at these steps.
This is the first as well as a critical step in creating quality malt beverages. In this step, the grain is cleaned and then brought to life using water as well as oxygen. This is achieved by steeping the barley grain in water. This is followed by aeration or air rest period allowing the grain’s water content to increase.
The water that is absorbed activates the naturally present enzymes while as well stimulating the barley to develop new ones. Steeping can vary based on the type of grain as well as its size.
The process is typically done over a period of 24-72 hours. The temperature of the water, as well as the aeration, is critical to making malt of high quality. Steeping is complete after the grain has reached an appropriate level that allows the collective breakdown of its starch and protein. You will find the importance of steeping in this article.
This is the second step for making this kind of beverage. In the germination process, the growth, as well as modification of the barley, happens. Rootlets emerge from the external part of the grain and a shoot (called acrospires) grows from within the outer husk.
Modification in this sense refers to the breakdown of carbohydrates and proteins. This results in opening up the starch reserve of the seed. Germination usually takes about 4-6 days and its results are referred to as “green malt”.
In order to achieve consistent and high-quality germination, the temperature and moisture levels are controlled. This is done by regulating the airflow and providing a uniform spray of water.
Furthermore, the grains are separated using periodic rotation to avoid non-uniform heating, clumping and varying germination rates. Modern equipment coupled with a structured approach and malting skill helps with achieving this.
Kilning is the third as well as the final step involved in the malting process. In this step, a heat treatment is used to dry the green malt so that it prevents further germination. If this is not done, the grain will keep growing. The reserve of starch needed for the brewing will then be used up by the growing plant.
Next, moisture is extracted from the germinated grain and this is referred to as “withering”. Further drying will reduce the moisture content more and makes the malt ready for color and flavor development.
Enzymatic activity, as well as friability, is other key results that are achieved during kilning. The controlled variations in kilning are what give rise to the wide range of flavors and malt colors. These are used by brewers for crafting their distinctive and special lagers and ales.
Equipment for Malt Drink Production
The advent of technology over the years has resulted in a more perfect and easier way of making malt using modernized equipment. These equipment are simple yet ingenious resulting in making consistent and high-quality malts.
A lot of modern equipment eliminates rotating devices that can squeeze or injure the barley grain. This provides for a gentle blending and uniform distribution of the grains. This also ensures the even development of the beverage and making it of the best quality.
The pieces of equipment for making malt are typically made of food-grade stainless steel. This prevents corrosion and ensures cleanliness. The system includes various parts like piping, mash or lauter tun, sanitary pump, wort kettle, plumbing essentials, work platforms, etc. You can check out https://abs-commercial.com/3-bbl-brewhouse/ for more information.
These systems can come in various sizes even as small as 3BBL and are typically automated using computer controls. What this means is that even as a small enterprise or individual, you can produce and enjoy your own malt beverage.
Malt is a popular beverage that is made from grains especially barley and can be alcoholic or non-alcoholic. Its production involves certain important steps using high-quality, food-grade equipment. The skill of the brewer may also be important in achieving a drink of high quality.