Simply put, malt is the soul of beer and spirits. It is created by steeping, germinating, and kilning small grains. The object is to manage the enzymatic digestion of the cell walls inside each kernel as they are converted into starches and simple sugars.
Regardless of batch size, this process requires 7 days to complete. The success of each step builds on the one before it. The end result is a product that evokes the distinct flavors of Southern terroir.
Types of Grain
Barley is the most common grain used for malt. We use different types of barley as well as other grains to create our malts.
2-row barley is a recent addition to our portfolio. We currently work with Violetta, Calypso, and are testing Flavia and Scala. Each one has a unique flavor profile and agronomic traits.
We’ve worked with Thoroughbred barley since we started in 2010. Originally developed by Virginia Tech, it has been successfully grown for many years. The unique grainy, sweet flavor is utilized in farmhouse ale programs throughout the South.
We’ve been working with an heirloom rye variety called Wrens Abruzzi since 2011. You can trace the origins of this variety back to the 12th century Abruzzi monks in Italy. The finished malt produces a unique, spicy character with a hint of citrus oil in the finish.
We work with a modern variety of wheat called Viper. After years of chasing heirlooms, we decided to focus on this variety because it offers superior disease resistance and good yields for our farmers. It also received high marks from the artisan bread baking community around Asheville. Our brewers love it for the distinctive flavor and high extract levels!
How Malt Affects Flavor
Malt is responsible for the color, body, and mouthfeel of beer.
Depending on the chosen recipe, malt can contribute flavors such as biscuit, toast, spice, toffee, and fruit. These flavors are created by melding art and science. We set the table for flavor development by controlling the level of modification that occurs during germination. This modulation continues during the kilning phase where grassy flavors can be enhanced with cooler temperatures. Warmer temperatures can accentuate sweeter toffee notes and fresh baked bread.
Bring out the local flavor of your next project.
We love a challenge. Brewers and distillers have come to us with ideas and inspiration. We channel that passion into process to create unique custom malts. Whether you want an origin specific Pilsner malt or something darker we can make it happen.