The Importance of Malt
The malting process
So where does malt come from? Starting its journey as barley (a cereal grain which looks similar to long grass), the barley grains are soaked in water over a two day period to maintain their moisture level in order to live through controlled germination.
During the second stage of the malting process, the grains are allowed to germinate with high air flow entering the silo to help them grow evenly over four days. They are regularly turned to make sure that they don’t stick together.
To stop germination, the barley is then roasted in a kiln between 55°C and 100°C. This imparts the colour and desired flavours into the malt. By lightly roasting the malt during the kilning process, this allows brewers to craft a paler beer and when the grain is heated for a longer period, a darker beer.
Malt & other ingredients used
in real aleIf you ever ask a brewer the question about the best malt on the market, you will never get the same answer because it’s down to individual tastes.
For us, we love to use Maris Otter as our base malt because of its versatility and historical significance to us as a brewery. We source this malt from a premium local supplier based in Fakenham called Crisp Maltings.
Introduced in 1965 and originating from the UK’s Plant Breeding Institute on Maris Lane, Maris Otter is a strain of barley used in brewing traditional real ale and offers some beautiful flavours to charm the taste buds. According to Sprowt Labs, 11 of the most recent 15 Champion Beers of Britain are made with Maris Otter.
With so many combinations available when brewing beer, brewers will use a base malt as well as other malts and grains to change the look, taste and aroma of their beers.
To give our ales their unique personalities, we add other malted barley variants such as Crystal Malt which gives the beer sweet toffee flavours or Special B from Belgium and Special W from Germany which both produce a dark fruity ale. Brewers also use other grains such as wheat which gives beer good head retention and oats which gives more body when brewing heavier ales such as stouts or milds.
What to expect in September
September is a busy month for Lacons. Not only will we be judging the Pub category at the Norfolk Food & Drink Awards, as well as announcing the winner at the prestigious ceremony on September 11, there are plenty of exciting local events happening too!
September also sees us celebrate the launch of a fine range of sausages at the Honingham Buck called ‘Serendipity Sausages’ which all have our ale in them. Then we will be creating a special festival brew called Out There Ale for Out There Festival, a brilliant annual arts event in Great Yarmouth that runs from September 15-17. We’re also planning to launch a new permanent ale to our range called Patriot.
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