Tuesday Beer Trivia: Specialty Malt

Put your knowledge of specialty malts to the test in this week’s Tuesday Beer Trivia quiz.

Specialty malts add an array of flavors and colors to beer that allows a for more complex and interesting drinking experience. Whether using lightly-roasted crystal malts or the impenetrable black patent malt, specialty grains provide endless opportunity to mold a homebrew recipe into your perfect beer.

After you take the Beer Trivia quiz below, scroll down to the “Beer Trivia Answer Explanations” section to learn more about specialty malts.

Beer Trivia Answer Explanations

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The following explanations are taken from Malt: A Practical Guide From Field to Brewhouse by John Mallett.

Question 1: “As the maltster slowly raises the temperature, the amino acids and sugars in the grain react, causing the kernels to darken and develop new, complex flavors. When the desired color and flavor is finally reached, the process is quickly halted with a shot of cooling water.” (Malt: A Practical Guide From Field to Brewhouse, page 70)

Question 2: “To make caramel malts, the maltser begins with green malt, which is taken directly from the germination bed fully modified but unkilned. By raising the temperature of the still wet grain to enzyme conversion temperatures, the maltster effectively mashes the grain while still in the husk. The enzymes then continue the work begun in malting to break down proteins into amino acids and starches into simple sugars. As the heat in the kiln is raised, Maillard and caramelization reactions begin, and a wide range of reaction compounds form.” (page 74)

Question 3: A drum roaster rotates 30 times per minute, while the cylinder of the drum is heated with a burner. Equipped with features that facilitate air and moisture management, the maltster has quite a bit of control and is able to uniformly roast a batch of malt. Drum roasters can also be used to make caramel/crystal malts. (pages 71 & 76)

Question 4: Husk material contains high levels of astringent tannins, which manifest during roasting. Production of very dark malts using dehusked barley reduces these unwanted flavors. Alternately, huskless grains like wheat can be used to make less astringent final malts. (page 81)

Question 5:  “The German word saüre (the root of the English word sour) translates to “acid.” Sauermalz (also known as sour malt or acidulated malt) is produced by intentionally allowing lactic acid bacteria to grow during the malting process, because changing brewing water pH by adding acid is not allowed under the Reinheitsgebot. These malts provide a means (that functions within the purity laws) to counteract the effect of alkaline waters.” (page 81)

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