Brew Team Confidential: Malt

Let's talk about malt

Brew Team Confidential: Malt

We talk all things malt with our cracking team of brewers

Are we the only ones that sometimes think that malt is the unsung hero of beer? With the craft beer scene alive and well with hopheads, we decided to spend time giving malt the recognition it deserves with some of the people who know best – our brew team. Here’s what they had to say:


My favourite malt is chocolate malt because it’s absolutely ace! I really like using it in porter as opposed to chocolate stouts which is the beer most people probably associate it with. When used in a porter, chocolate malt creates depth of flavour as well as bite which is a cool combination.

I really like using smoked malt like Rauch. Smoked beers are among my favourite and this malt gives the beer an interesting flavour. This would be the perfect malt to use if you wanted to create a maple syrup and bacon beer! We’ve used a small amount of Rauch in Dogma but it’s something I want to experiment with more.

Rye is one of my favourite malts although it’s not really something people use a lot in brewing. It’s got a distinctive, crisp, spicy mouth feel. It can be difficult to brew with and increases the complexity of the flavour. We used a little bit of Rye malt in Nanny State and also in the Flying Dog and BrewDog collaboration – Dog Fight – which is a Rye IPA. This beer had a lot of big, America style hops in it which worked well with the dry, peppery body created by the malt.

John Allen

Munich is a fantastic all-rounder in the world of speciality malt. It tastes a little bit roasted, a little bit caramel and a little bit like biscuit. At BrewDog, we generally use it in stouts and darker German beer styles. It gives the beer a rich, dark brown colour and works well when blended with Vienna and Caramalt too; if you really want to treat yourself to some malty magic!


Everyone needs to check out Gambrinus Honey Malt! It imparts a beautiful round honey character to the beer. I love it because it really fills out the beer with flavour and compliments any kind of hop; although works especially well with American varieties. Gambrinus is currently the smallest malting house in North America and it’s obvious they take great care of their malt. Try this malt in action in Kern Rivers’ Citra Double IPA.

Stephenstevemalt_620_01Marris Otter is really up there for me. It's the perfect blank canvas; low in colour and flavour, but packed full of essential technical qualities - such as high sugar and nitrogen levels - which assist the yeast in converting the wort into beer. Marris Otter is the backbone of all our beers and an ideal building block which often gets overlooked.

Carafa Special is a must try because it’s a dehusked, roasted malt which gives a lot of colour (black) as well as coffee and chocolate flavours while not being as astringent as other dark malts. It’s very versatile and can be used in Imperial Stouts to create insane coffee and chocolate flavours to Black IPAs where you only want the colour but not so much the dark taste.

What malts rock your world? Let us know! As ever, our brew team are waiting to hear from you and answer your questions…

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Comments (12)

Thebulb 13th August, 2013 8:31pm
gabbergod 11th August, 2013 9:29pm
So when is brew dog going to make a full on rauch bier? ;) ...smokey goodness!
Anon 10th August, 2013 7:07pm
sasanach 10th August, 2013 2:34pm
Have you ever tried scottish malt. from scotland
Charlotte 10th August, 2013 1:32am
Hannah, Marris Otter just isn't ottery enough. Too many potato references. It's 100% Lutrinae or broke with me, I'm afraid!
oyvindgg 9th August, 2013 8:03pm
Brown malt is often overlooked, but a little bit can provide both a bite and colour to malty light coloured beers. It also provides more complexity to darker beers.
James H 9th August, 2013 5:53pm
Shout out for oat malt! Anyone?
Michael B 9th August, 2013 5:49pm
I really like special B. It has such a unique flavor.
Hannah T 9th August, 2013 4:53pm
Why isn't Charlotte's favourite Maris Otter?
George H 9th August, 2013 4:52pm
Maris Otter!
Nanny loves you 9th August, 2013 1:26pm
Malt is why I am such a big fan of Nanny State, you really need to do more of that beer. What about a low ABV stout?
MaltyJoe 9th August, 2013 1:24pm
Thanks for the tips guys, definitely agree with Charlotte on the Rauch shout.