Tuesday, April 3, 2007

What are Base Malts?

Base Malts
Last time we were talking about diastatic power of a malt. Base Malts are malts that have enough diastatic power to convert their own starches to sugars. Common base malts are 2 Row, 6 Row and Pale Ale. These malts can be used to convert other starches in the mash. The table below may help you get your base malts sorted.

Table of common base malts

In all fairness malted rice and sorghum could be added to the list. Both have their share of problems when it comes to mashing and the resulting taste of the beer brewed. Maybe my friend Greg will find the magic bullet and make a really great tasting beer from rice.

Base malts are really the work-horse malts that carry the bulk of the enzymes to convert starches to sugars. With a large proportion of base malt, we can then add specialty malts and adjuncts to the mash to create different effects.

In the Philippines it's expensive to ship lots of base malt from Australia or the US. The cost of shipping often is greater than the malt. I'd recommend malting your own base malt here and ordering in smaller amounts of specialty malts to create the flavors and textures you want. Adjuncts such as oats, rice and corn are readily available in supermarkets, so we don't have to import them.

Next I want to look at adjuncts and their effects in the mash and the finished beer.


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