• Barley to Malt - Barley
  • Barley to Malt - Steeping
  • Barley to Malt - Whiskey
  • Barley to Malt - Tin
  • Barley to Malt - Raking
  • Barley to Malt - Beer Bubbles
  • Barley to Malt - Hands
  • Barley to Malt - Beer
  • Barley to Malt - Barley
  • Barley to Malt - Steeping
  • Barley to Malt - Whiskey
  • Barley to Malt - Tin
  • Barley to Malt - Raking
  • Barley to Malt - Beer Bubbles
  • Barley to Malt - Hands
  • Barley to Malt - Beer

From Barley to Malt: The Malting Process

The word "malt" refers to several products of the malting process.  These include the grains to which this process has been applied, the sugar derived from such grains (e.g., baker's malt used in various cereals), or a product based on malted milk which is made up of malted barley, wheat flour and milk. Malting is process that takes grain, allows it to germinate, then halts the growing process with the application of heat.  Canadian barley malt is principally used in the production of beer. Canadian malt makers (maltsters) take barley and submit it to a nine-step process to turn it into malt. 

Steps 1 to 4

The first four steps are straightforward intake, drying, storage and screening steps that take the grain from the farm to the malthouse.  Steps 5 through 7 are when the barley grains are encouraged to sprout, but then have their growth halted. They are the steps where a seasoned maltster makes his or her mark. Two additional processes prepare the finished product for shipping.

Step 5: Steeping

Steeping is a three-stage soaking of the barley grains that increases their moisture content to a point where a new plant can begin to grow.  Repeatedly soaking and draining the barley brings moisture levels to between 35 and 46 percent.  At this level, the seed’s food source (the endosperm) could begin to ‘feed’ the barley if it were allowed to grow (germinate).  The exact moisture level of the batch is at the maltster’s discretion.

Step 6: Germination

For four to six days, the steeped grains are kept in temperature- and humidity-controlled germination vessels. Mechanical stirring devices keep the germinating grains loose in order to sustain even growth and ensure even moisture. Now called ‘green malt,’ the barley’s starchy cell walls have begun to break down. Before the endosperm begins its conversion to food for the soon-to-develop new plant, the maltster applies heat to arrest the growing process.

Step 7: Kilning

As its name suggests, the kiln takes the green malt to a higher temperature where the heat arrests the biochemical reaction within the seed.  Tightly-controlled levels of air flow and heat are applied as dictated by the use to be made of the product – whether a lager malt or an ale malt.  Now formally called ‘malt’, this stable material has a moisture content between 3 and 6 percent.

Step 8: Deculmer

The declumer emoves small rootlets (culm) that begin to sprout during germination.  Higher in protein than the original barley, the maltster can sell the culm as animal feed.

Step 9: Final Step

The final step includes final storage and screening of the malt - preparing the malt for shipment to our valued brewing customers around the world.