The Malting Process
The malting process consists of three stages:
- Steeping - the barley is immersed in water to encourage it to grow, followed by periods where the water is drained away. The moisture content of the barley is allowed to increase from around 12 percent to 45 percent.
- Germination - the wetted grain is allowed to grow under controlled conditions. During this stage, the internal structure of the grain is altered, sugars are produced from the grain's starch store and natural enzymes are developed within the grain kernel.
- Kilning - In this process, warm air is passed through the grain to halt the growth and dry the grain to a stable state. During this stage, colour and flavour compounds are formed within the malt.
The malting process normally takes about seven days. While the process is highly automated to help ensure the consistency of the finished malt, the art of the maltster still plays an important role. This blend of art and technology works harmoniously to ensure production of the best possible malt is produced.