Prior to joining Briess, Bob was a brewing consultant, and brewer and consultant for Water Street Brewery, Milwaukee. At Briess, Bob commissioned a 500bbl brewhouse in the new Briess Extract Plant and established a new pilot brewery. In addition to extensive R&D, Bob also provides technical support and recipe formulation assistance to customers. Frequent presenter to brewing and food industry groups.
Dirk Schneider is Head of Quality Assurance at BESTMALZ and leading the in-house Malt Innovation Center (MIC). He contributes a huge treasure of expert knowledge and long-term experience. Before joining BESTMALZ at the beginning of the year 2020, Dirk Schneider worked as the operational controller and Master maltster at another mid-sized malting house. He is also engaged at the Brewers of Germany and keeps an eye on the finances of the association.
Thomas Lembrick is a Master brewer and maltster. After doing seven years of military service for the US-Army, he decided to achieve the diploma for maltsters and brewers at Doemens Academy Munich. Since summer 2020 he works in the Quality Control team of BESTMALZ. Before, he was employed at the Full Sail Brewery in Oregon and breweries in Germany.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 6: DEXTRIN MALT, WHAT’S UP WITH THAT CHIT?
TOBY TUCKER – DIRECTOR OF SALES, COUNTRY MALT GROUP
GRANT LAWRENCE – TERRITORY SALES MANAGER, COUNTRY MALT GROUP
MIKE HEINRICH – NATIONAL SALES MANAGER, GREAT WESTERN MALTING
BOB HANSEN – MANAGER OF TECHNICAL SERVICES, BRIESS MALT & INGREDIENTS
DIRK SCHNEIDER – HEAD OF QUALITY ASSURANCE & MALT INNOVATION CENTER, BESTMALZ
THOMAS LEMBRICK – QUALITY CONTROL, MASTER BREWER & MALTSTER, BESTMALZ
Key Points From This Episode:
- Hear about Mike’s background as he dives into the science behind dextrin malts and how they’re different from your traditional base malt.
- Mike explains the benefit of using the Great Western Malting Dextra Pils malt.
- Find out more about Bob, the R&D beer wizard at Briess Malt & Ingredients.
- Bob explains what dextrin and Carapils malts are and what they add to your brew.
- How Carapils malt differs from other specialty malts
- Insights into how variable malts are.
- Exploring the different understanding of what a Carapils malt is.
- Two and six-row brewing in the US and its impact on Briess’s brews.
- What differentiates Briess’s Carapils from their competitors.
- How Briess uses Carapils in their process.
- Bob shares his rule of thumb of how much dextrin malt he uses.
- We welcome Dirk Schneider and Tom Lembrick of BESTMALZ onto the show.
- How BESTMALZ intends for brewers to use their dextrin malts.
- What BESTMALZ does to differentiate their malts.
- Understanding the difference between Caramel Pils and crystal malt.
- Why BESTMALZ only uses two-row barley — and what they do to stand out in the market.
- How Germany regulates their beer classifications.
- The origins of the word ‘spitz’ and the differences between Chit Malt and Caramel Pils malt.
- We look at the “haze craze” in America.
Transcript - Dextin Malt, What's up with that Chit?
EPISODE S.2, E.6
[DEXTRIN MALT, WHAT’S UP WITH THAT CHIT?]
[00:00:00] GL: Can you start us off for the folks at home listening, a brief background about yourself, Bob?
[00:00:06] BH: I’m a homebrewer for 33 years. I started professionally brewing in 1989. I was a craft brewer for a growing business for multiple years into about 2001 and a brewing consultant. And then, I joined Briess to help commission their malt extract plant. And then, because of my brewing background, after being a supervisor there for a while, I kind of took over R&D and technical service for them and then grew that department as well. So I’ve been with them for 20 years.
[00:00:40] GL: All right, you handle their R&D malting.
[00:00:45] BH: My department does technical service. We’re a small company, and so technical service is basically the technology group. So we support operations quality, sales. We’re basically problem solvers and teachers.
[00:00:58] GL: Fantastic.
[00:01:00] BH: Whether it’s a customer’s problem or a production problem or somewhere in between, we try to understand. So we maintain technical competency in our customers’ applications, including baking and candy making, but also brewing where we have and have had, for you know, long before I joined Briess, one of the few research breweries in the United States.
[00:01:19] GL: Glad to have you on. Let’s jump right into the topic for today. We’re talking dextrin malts and the differences between them. Can you tell us a bit about the intended use for your Carapils malt?
[00:01:32] BH: Dextrin malts are kind of a loosely defined category, kind of like brown malts. There’s really no standard. Almost everybody who makes something in that category does it a little bit different. As the name might suggest — and sometimes the name is actually given by brewers or people that sell the malt more than by the maltsters. But as the name might suggest, they’re malts that are meant to provide residual dextrins to the beer, which will help provide body, head retention, and possibly residual gravity.
Now, Carapils is really along those lines of a dextrin malt, but it’s really to provide body and head retention to a finished beer.
[00:02:16] GL: Awesome. Can you tell us about the qualities of the malt that accomplish what you just went over? Is it just the proteins? Or can you go into that a little further?
[00:02:27] BH: There’s a variety of ways that it has the effects that it has. Part of it is protein. Part of it is the non-starch polysaccharides that are in there, and part of it is the dextrins themselves. So it does have a lower degree of fermentability, so lower than you would get from, say, something like a caramel malt. And that’s due to those starchy compounds that are kind of created during the special process that it goes through. But additionally, the proteins and the non-starch polysaccharides are a little bit different than you would find in a regular malt, and those help with especially the viscosity, which provides body and mouthfeel.
[00:03:08] GL: Gotcha. Can you walk us through a little bit the malting process of a Carapils malt and how it differs from, say, a base malt or even just other specialty malts?
[00:03:19] BH: Well, like all our malting processes at Briess, and I think pretty much all malting processes in general, they’re just simple derivations of moisture and time. They’re all-natural processes. There’s no chemicals or anything that are used. The Carapils process, a lot of it is similar to traditional malting in that it’s sprouted and germinated and then dried. The finished cooking and drying process is different than other types of malt or even caramel malt. It’s kind of a unique proprietary process that we have at Briess of cooking the grain at a certain stage in its process and then drying it out.
[00:04:01] GL: Got it. In terms of what brewers should look for on the COA of a dextrin malt, to get an idea of how that particular maltster or what the malt is going to ultimately contribute to their beer, what should they be looking for on their COA?
[00:04:18] BH: COAs provide a certain amount of information on certain types of tests, but they often aren’t all that practical for telling you exactly what the malt’s going to do. I think it’s good to have a discussion with your maltster about what their Carapils or I should say their dextrin malt is. And what it’s expected to do, because as I mentioned in the beginning, they’re all different. So they would all be used differently. So our Carapils malt, for example, is completely non-enzymatic and already solubilized. So it could be used by a homebrewer and just steeped in water and then have an extract added to it. It doesn’t need to go through a mashing process.
Where other dextrin mulch that are on the market, for example, Weyermann makes dextrin malt as well, are starchy and have enzymatic power and are meant to be mashed and wouldn’t be appropriate for a steeping like ours. So it really depends.
[00:05:18] GL: For sure. Yeah, you really have to trust your maltster, have a conversation with them beforehand. They’re not all the same. I think that’s really one of the points I wanted to key into with this podcast, is specialty malts; they each have their own flavor by the maltster, right?
[00:05:34] BH: Absolutely, especially in a malt like a dextrin type malt, where it’s non-standardized. Every maltster has a house flavor and a slight difference in their process, but when it comes to non-standardized malts like dextrin malts or brown malts, they’re all very different. What you might get on a COA could only be things like color and moisture content, and they’re not going to really tell you exactly how to use it. One thing, as a brewer, that you could do, I would say in the dextrin malts that I see in the marketplace, I would distinguish them between those that are mealy and need to be mashed. Often those are some sort of derivation of a malt that’s simply just under-modified, maybe dried early, and those need to be mashed.
And then other dextrin malts will have a glassy appearance almost like a caramel malt, and typically those have been converted. Either some dextrin types malts are actually just very low-color caramel malts, may have been converted in a way that creates some sugars in just not a lot of color in a roaster, or it may have had steam added to the kiln to help create a high-moisture environment to generate some glassiness. Or, in the case of ours, that may have gone through a different type of process. But typically, the glassy ones are going to be non-enzymatic and also highly soluble.
[00:06:59] GL: Yeah, I think that’s an important distinction that brewers out there understand. Is that just because it’s called a Carapils or a caramel pills, there are many different ways that it can be made, right? And one maltster’s carapils could be, like you said, like completely glassy or mealy or drum-turned even, and all of those are going to have different flavors associated with them.
[00:07:26] BH: That’s correct. As I mentioned, dextrin malts might even be the name that brewers give to this category, but it’s not necessarily the name given to the malts by the maltsters. It could be a variety of different names. So you can’t really tell a lot by the name itself.
Just speaking a little bit about names, I think with Carapils, there’s something that I should clear up as well. In North America, the malt that Briess makes is called Carapils. Weyermann makes a malt that’s also called ‘carapils.’ It’s very different than the one that Briess makes. It’s more in the mealy under-modified category. And in Europe, they market their malt as Carapils. So in the United States —
[00:08:16] GL: It’s CaraFoam.
[00:08:17] BH: Yea, it’s CaraFoam. That’s right. Actually, in a different country, Carapils could actually be a different malt from a different maltster. There were some Belgian-type malts that had some different combinations of names. So things like CaraMunich, Cara Vienna, and there was one there called Carapils too, and that was a different type of malt as well.
[00:08:41] GL: All good points that I think a lot of people skip over or don’t understand, you really have to know the maltster. You can’t just swap from one to the other. And it also almost sounds like American maltsters have sort of an idea of what a dextrin malt is that’s wholly different from like what a European one, wherein ours it’s more of a specialty malt that’s, I guess more glassy, whereas the European style would be a little bit more mealy.
[00:09:16] BH: I see it both ways, actually. Really, it depends on almost when the person started brewing and what was available to them. But I would say Carapils in the United States is generally understood to be the malt that we make, and then other people make dextrin-type malts. But I think especially with people that have been in the industry, say, less than a decade, so maybe most of the industry, I guess.
[00:09:41] GL: It’s always a young industry, right?
[00:09:43] BH: But not me. They have probably an idea of dextrin malts that could cover the gamut of European or whatever. There are some European entrants into the dextrin malt category that are glassy as well. And they’d be just low-color caramel malts. But I don’t know any American maltsters that are making a mealy dextrin malt.
[00:10:05] GL: Got it.
[00:10:07] BH: You know what I mean?
[00:10:07] GL: Yeah.
[00:10:07] BH: So basically like a non-converted one. In the United States, most people marketing their — or all the people I think marketing domestically created dextrin malts are making malts that have been converted at some point in their process or gelatinized, I should say.
[00:10:23] GL: Got it. I hear this all the time from brewers, and I just wanted to clear it up. Some maltsters use six-row for specialty malts. And there are some advantages and disadvantages to that. Does Briess use two-row or six-row for their Carapils?
[00:10:39] BH: History of two-row and six-row, the United States historically I say in the last 50 years used a lot of six-row. And it was the barley that was available, and it was very good barley for making beer with. Oftentimes higher in protein and able to generate higher levels of enzymatic activity, which was good for making American pilsners. So, historically, Briess as a company actually offered both six-row and two-row versions of almost every malt that we create. And so, back in the 80s and 90s, a lot of people won a lot of awards with beers made solely with six-row malt, and that would include the specialty malts created from those. So six-row can make really great malt in almost any type, whether it’s caramel, Munich, Vienna, or things like Carapils. And so we made both six-row and two-row Carapils.
Two-row was more expensive and has some of the advantages of the two-row — lower protein in certain cases, because of that a more controllable enzyme package, but it came at a premium for many years. And it wasn’t really needed in terms of quality. So over the years, though, as corn and soy dominate the midwest, where there’s water in where six-row grows well, barley has moved out west, and two-row has kind of become the dominant type of barley that’s successfully grown for and for malting economically. And so at some point, the price of two-row is less than the price of six-row, and we faced a decision as a company. Do we continue to have two different varieties of every malt? And we were better serving our customers to kind of consolidate our product line from six-row and two-row versions down to just two-row versions. And so the majority of mulch that we offer today are made with two-row, including Carapils. We could do six-row as well if somebody had a special request, but at this point, other than maybe for distillers malt, it would be a special request to use six-row, but it makes great malt for brewing beer.
[00:12:59] GL: Awesome. I like the background there. It’s all good points that, if anything, American craft brewers like they’re using two-row now more than ever; six-row is nearly gone.
[00:13:10] BH: The first time I went to England, I went over for an IBD, and I met an English maltster. And he was surprised to see me, this little guy from a small malting company in the States. And I said, “Well, we’re small, but we make a wider variety of malts than anybody.” And he said, “Well, really?” And I said, “It’s not a bragging point. It’s just that we’re organically certified since 1990, and we have very small batch processes, and we make two-row and six-row versions of all of our malts.” And he scoffed at me and said, “Six-row? I thought that’s only good for cattle feed?” And I was completely taken aback. I had made award-winning beers with six-row malts prior to working at Briess, and I was like, “Well, the majority of American craft brewers who are winning, the majority of the awards are using six-row.” But it was surprising that somebody associated six-row with reduced quality or, in that way, to me, it was very surprising.
[00:14:15] GL: I think that’s kind of like the classic European take on it, and it just depends on who you ask, right?
[00:14:22] BH: Yeah. Yeah, and I guess their history and their background.
[00:14:25] GL: Yeah. Well, what differentiates Briess’s Carapils from others in the market? You’ve mostly answered this already, but I just wanted to know if you had any other points that you would say it differentiates.
[00:14:37] BH: And I would say it’s performance and kind of what it is. Again, it’s a unique malt among the ones that are out there based on how it’s made. And it’s very effective at what it does. That’s why it’s used by a lot of brewers to just kind of bump up their body and mouthfeel. And I guess, speaking to that, you asked about the intended use of Carapils, and Carapils has a long history of being used in American craft beers. Part of that reason is that craft brewing, typically you want beers that are a little bit more full-bodied, have better mouthfeel, and Carapils is very good at that. I would say that’s really its primary purpose.
It also helps with head retention, but mostly because it’s increasing viscosity, not because it stabilizes the foam or does anything like that the way hop compounds do. It just helps reduce bubble drainage. So in that way, it stabilizes foam. But really, its primary use is increasing body and mouthfeel. This is especially important in American craft brewing because a lot of the malts that are used by brewers, still to this day, the average brewer’s base malt — a brewer’s base malt is really intended for making high-adjunct beer. And in combination, mash-lauter, mash is converting typically the entire time it’s in the lauter tun. And so that tends to really dry out beer. First, you start with a base malt that’s maybe too enzymatic, and then you run it through it — essentially, even though brewers think it’s a short conversion process because it’s converting all the way through collection, it’s actually a longer process at ideal temperatures. And so Carapils then helps to basically bring back a little bit of the body and mouthfeel that aren’t in that wort anymore because of how it’s processed. So that’s really, I think what’s led to a lot of people using it a little bit in each of their beers to just bring back a little bit of body and mouthfeel that’s lost due to the kind of high-conversion that they get from using normal malt in a combination mash-lauter process.
[00:16:54] GL: Yeah, that’s a really good point, something I didn’t think about. So if somebody has a two-vessel system or they have a mash-lauter, they really get a lot out of using dextrin malts or Carapils putting some in there, and they don’t have a mash-out step. They don’t have a way to heat it up and then denature those enzymes. So it’s just converting the whole time. Great point.
[00:17:15] GL: Right.
[00:17:15] GL: What inclusion rates do you typically recommend or see your Carapils used in?
[00:17:22] BH: Normally, it’s five percent or less, and I would say usually it’s two to three percent. A lot of people, I would say the most common use for it is to use it just to bring back a little bit of the body and mouthfeel that’s lost in a normal craft brewing process with modern malt. I have seen people use it at a higher percentage, as high as 15 percent, in beers that they’re trying to make that are going to be, say, lower alcohol, like session IPAs and things like that or non-alcoholic beers. I would say it’s effective at body and mouth feeling. It works pretty good in those types of processes. Normally that would be a lot of overkill. I think in a regular type of beer, almost add too much body and mouthfeel. At some point, it can almost get a little bit slimy. But I think in a lower gravity beer or non-alcoholic beer it will help to bring back some of that body and mouthfeel.
[00:18:26] GL: Interesting. Yeah. Okay. I didn’t even think of that as well. Yeah, if you’re doing something like a 3.2 percent ABV beer, like a table beer or an English mild or something, you could really bring up that body with the carapils. Cool.
[00:18:43] BH: Most commonly, I see it in things like session IPAs.
[00:18:44] GL: Session IPAs, yeah.
[00:18:46] BH: Where you’re trying to kind of simulate a bigger beer all the way around in terms of hop content but also mouthfeel, but you’re trying to do it at half the alcohol content. Well, that’s where I’ve seen usages that are higher than that less than five percent because they’re going for a bigger effect.
[00:19:04] GL: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. At least what we’re seeing is, for better or worse, a lot of craft brewers are getting away from using like a pale ale malt as a base, and they’re using more pilsner. So something like that. These kind of these modern session IPAs, like you, said that use pilsner as a base that could probably really benefit from something like a Carapils to get some extra body. Cool.
[00:19:28] BH: Right. It also has a very light color. So it’s appropriate.
[00:19:31] GL: Yeah. It doesn’t influence the color either. Okay. Any rule of thumb for brewers out there? I know this is sort of a complex question, but with something like — you say, you use like a five percent dextrin malt in a grist. Let’s say a 12.0 beer or a 10-48 beer. What would you expect to add to the finishing gravity? Do you have any kind of rule like that or any kind of guidance there?
[00:19:56] BH: Carapils is not completely unfermentable, especially after it’s been mashed. I mean, it maybe has a bigger effect if you steep it in hot water like as a homebrewer. But when it goes through a mashing process, some of the starches that are in there are suitable to enzymatic attack. So it’s just there — are some that are resistant. And so, a normal mash would be roughly 66% fermentable and 33% unfermentable. And I’m talking this in a real fermentability. In Carapils, it’s roughly the reverse.
[00:20:34] GL: Got it. Okay.
[00:20:36] BH: So in terms of apparent attenuation, which is what you’re normally measuring with finished gravity, a 10-40 beer you might be finishing, you know 1008, 1006. In the normal usage rate of one to two percent, you’re really not going to see it move that specific gravity at all. If you’re using at a ten to fifteen percent rate like in a session IPA, you might see it come up by one gravity point or a quarter of a degree plato.
[00:21:08] GL: Sure. Sure. Even if it doesn’t show through the numbers, the perceptions there on the when you use it. Or in the foam, you’ll just see a general benefit there.
[00:21:21] BH: Yep, absolutely. It’s not that it’s a completely unfermentable solid like something like a lactose might be. It’s really more that it’s changing the viscosity and the surface tension and giving you a different impression of a body and mouthfeel. It does also increase viscosity as well — and that’s, again, where bubble drainage might be improved, and it may help to stabilize foam, but its primary effect is giving more of the perception, which, at the percentage that it’s used you’re not going to see it affect the beer’s finished gravity I guess is good.
[00:22:01] GL: Sure. Okay. One of the things I always like to ask, especially like veterans in the industry — is there a particular beer or beer style lately that you’re enjoying? Something that I know it’s impossible to say, like what’s your end all be all or whiskey for that matter. Is there something that you’ve been enjoying lately?
[00:22:23] BH: Yeah. It’s probably different for everybody else, and my tastes are different than a lot of other people because I’ve had a lot of different things. Later in my career, I always would get into, I guess, more complex or difficult to produce beers like sour or wood-aged beers. So we are able to get the beers from Jolly Pumpkin here now. I think Ron Jeffries is a genius. So I really enjoy his beer. But lately, I’ve been looking for reduced-calorie and reduced alcohol beers. That’s a niche that I’m watching very closely. And I’ve tried some beers from people like Athletic, and I find those interesting, but a beer that I was really impressed with the other day was Bud Zero.
[00:23:13] GL: Bud Zero. Okay. I haven’t had that one yet.
[00:23:16] BH: Anheuser-Busch, I would say, does everything right historically when it comes to making quality products. And so when I saw that they made a zero alcohol beer, I said, “Well, if they’re going to put their name on, it’s got to be good.” I was impressed. So I’ve been actually moving into the sessionable locale and low alcohol space, and those are the beers that I’m searching out right now.
And part of it is diet. Part of it’s just that I really enjoy beer. That’s my problem. And so I like to drink a lot of it. I really would like to see sessionable styles of almost every type of beer. I think one of the best beer experiences I ever had was about ten years ago. I was out in Moab, and I had gone to Moab Brewing Company. And they had 4.2 alcohol by volume versions of IPAs, stouts, and everything else. And it was a beer drinker’s heaven for me. I was lamenting that they recently changed their laws, and now brewers are more commonly making full strength instead of — because they were making session beers before session beers were a thing.
[00:24:24] GL: Yeah, they had to, right? Yeah, session beer with all the body and characteristics that you would get normally in like a seven percent IPA added in a nice 4-2 package.
[00:24:37] BH: A great application of Carapils too, by the way — as a segue. But yeah, definitely looking for more sessionable styles so I can maintain my volume of drinking and appreciation of beer lifestyle while still keeping the calories down. So I would encourage all brewers to move into that space. I think it’s going to grow, and it’s not saturated yet, and I think it can be done well. So as the brewers out in Utah proved for many years.
[00:25:04] GL: Awesome. Well, Bob, I appreciate having you on our podcast. I appreciate your time coming on. This is the first time that Briess has been on our podcast, but it certainly won’t be the last. You guys have a lot of technical prowess, and you make a huge array of specialty malts in addition to your base malts, and we will certainly, certainly hope to have you guys back in the future.
[00:25:26] BH: Well, I really appreciate the opportunity, and I’ve enjoyed talking to you.
[00:25:30] GL: It’s Friday. So have a good weekend.
[00:25:33] BH: All right. Thanks so much.
[00:25:33] GL: All right. Have a good one, Bob. Thanks.
[00:25:34] BH: You too. Bye-bye.
[00:25:37] GL: Could you start out and tell us a little bit about yourselves? Just a brief introduction?
[00:25:41] DS: My name is Dick Schneider. I’m the head of quality and manager since one year, and I’m in a multi-factory since 25 years. Clean malt in Heidelberg and now for the quality and safety and so on. And next to me is Tom Lembrick in my request team and the native speaker here in BESTMALZ.
[00:26:08] TL: Yeah. I’ve been here almost ten months now, BESTMALZ in Wallertheim. I live in Mainz, but I’ve been in Germany 12 years now, almost 13 years. Worked mostly in breweries, and I got my brewmasters in 2014 in Munich and came back to Mainz, and now I’m here in Wallertheim by BESTMALZ.
[00:26:30] GL: All right, we are certainly proud to partner with BESTMALZ over the years. You guys make some fantastic stuff. Let’s jump into it. The point of this podcast is to talk about some of the differences there, and I know among German brewers there’s a couple options, not just a typical dextrin malt but also chit malt or a spitz malt, I believe is what you call it.
[00:26:52] DS: Yes. Right.
[00:26:54] GL: Well, let’s get right into it. What’s really the intended use of your Caramel Pils malt, your dextrin malt for brewers?
[00:27:01] TL: What we’d use it for is because a lot of times when you have a pils here, sometimes it tastes a little thin, I guess you could say. It needs a little body and needs a little more flavor to it. So the way we make that caramel pils is it gives it a little extra flavor and this — more full bodiness, sweetness of honey, a little extra sweetness into the beer. Yeah, more body, I guess you could say.
[00:27:25] GL: Okay. I guess that the body would be the beta-glucans that it contributes. Okay. I know that there’s in the malting world there’s more than one way to skin a cat, as they say. Can you walk me through a little bit about how your approach is to making a dextrin malt like a Caramel Pils? Is there something different about the steeping or the kilning or something like that?
[00:27:52] TL: All of our malts will be steeped first because you have to get the water content up. You have to get it higher up before it can actually germinate. So with our Caramel Pils, we’ll actually — a normal process was steeping 24 hours in water and then the germination, five days. The thing is, with our steeping degree, since it is especially malt, it’ll be a little bit less than our normal base malt. So about two percent less than our normal base malts. I won’t go into all the specifics because we have to keep our secrets too.
[00:28:19] GL: Yeah, I understand. Yeah, I understand. Okay.
[00:28:22] TL: We’ll take a little bit higher temperature in the germination since it’s a normal pils.
[00:28:29] GL: Gotcha. Okay. I guess that’s an important distinction. Like, I called it malt, and you corrected me there a little bit. So I guess technically, you wouldn’t call it a malt.
[00:28:38] TL: Well, we wouldn’t really call it a base malt, but we would call it a specialty malt.
[00:28:41] GL: A specialty malt. Okay. All right. Let’s talk about certificate of analysis. I believe a lot of American brewers leave off the testing for beta-glucan. You won’t see that in many certificates of analysis. I’m not familiar with best malts COA off the top of my head. Does it tell you beta-glucans, or is there any indication or something that a brewer could look for?
[00:29:06] TL: Well, I think if you go to the beta-glucans because of that high strand, what you want to look for is the glassiness of your malt. If you’re looking at a certificate because I believe the analysis from [inaudible 00:29:16] is up 100 percent. Yeah, 100%. It means you have a pretty high beta-glucan value into your malt.
[00:29:25] GL: So something you should look for is cutting a kernel in half and looking at how glassy versus how mealy it is.
[00:29:32] TL: Yeah. And if the brewer, if he’s lucky in his brewery to have a [inaudible 00:29:35] meter in the brewery, you could just run that through the testing machine too.
[00:29:40] GL: Got it. It’s pretty rare here. I wouldn’t say many craft brewers would have that, but I’m familiar with it. Okay.
[00:29:47] TL: And if you don’t notice it on the analysis, you’ll definitely notice when you’re done mashing, and you try lautering the beer. Because you have that stopped water, I believe it’s called, where you’re having really bad filtration problems, and then your yields come out really low because it didn’t ferment everything. Or what have you or starches didn’t convert to sugars, but hopefully, you see all that before you actually start brewing.
[00:30:08] GL: Yeah. I guess the entire point of a dextrin melt is that it’s unfermentable, right?
[00:30:13] TL: Exactly.
[00:30:14] GL: Yeah. Okay. One thing that I really wanted to get to the bottom to and differentiate with this podcast, some American craft brewers are confused about a true dextrin malt versus a crystal tin. And to make matters more confusing, some maltsters use those names interchangeably. They might call it a Caramel Pils when it’s a crystal tin versus it actually being a dextrin malt. Does that make sense?
[00:30:42] TL: So what I would say is your true dextrin malt is actually when your dextrin has, on your analysis, 100% glassiness, but also the difference between the crystal and the caramel is a crystal would only be drum roasted. A caramel will be drum roasted and keeled. So you can have both in the caramel malt. We only have it keeled on our Caramel Pils.
The difference in those two is also with the Caramel Pils; you will have a better free ability. So when you’re shredding the mulch or grinding the malts, it’ll come out better. It’ll be more homogeneous. I guess we’re the best say. So crystal malts will probably be hard; I guess you could say was the best way to describe them.
[00:31:22] GL: Yeah, very hard. Yeah, like rock candy.
[00:31:25] TL: Rocky candy sort of, yeah. Or maybe rocky is the better word.
[00:31:30] GL: Right, rocky. I guess for brewers out there looking for a Caramel Pils malt, you really just have to know your maltster to know what you’re getting to know if you’re getting a true dextin or you’re getting a drum turned crystal.
[00:31:43] TL: Or put a lot of trust into them too.
[00:31:45] GL: Put a lot of trust into them for sure. Some maltsters use six-row for their specialty malts. Not all of them. It seems like the industry is moving more towards a two-row. I just wanted to ask what does best use a six-row or two-row for theirs.
[00:32:00] TL: We only take German barley here at best BESTMALZ because we do have different regulations and rules than other European countries. So we wouldn’t be really allowed to accept malt from France or what have you. I don’t know if you’ve heard about the glucose fat. I think it was in the news a long time ago with that Roundup or something.
[00:32:18] GL: It’s pesticide.
[00:32:20] TL: Yeah. So that pesticide. So when that started coming out, Germany was the first country ever to discontinue it. Yeah, it will constantly be tested here. And so that’s why we basically use a six-row German barley.
[00:32:33] GL: Makes sense. I’m asking, not just BESTMALZ, but a few other maltsters this question. So I guess I should have known that that wouldn’t apply to BESTMALZ, that you guys would use all two-row. But just for the listeners out there, appreciate the clarification. What is something you would say that differentiates your Caramel Pils from other dextrin malts in the market?
[00:32:54] TL: Actually, to tell you the truth, the other dextrin malts onto the market, when they’re marketed as CaraPils or CaraFoam or what have you, I think most of them — what I’ve seen you could probably compare that to our chit malt, pretty much. See, our Caramel Pils, I actually took this through, and I measured it yesterday — that we actually have a finer grind to it. It still has a few enzymes, and it still has a few starches that could be transferred into the sugars compared to other ones onto the market that have 100% glassiness, higher proteins, and higher molecular enzymes — and structures still. And ours is a little bit darker than most, and we have an EBC of 5, which I believe is a lovely bond of about 1.6, I’m going to say.
[00:33:37] GL: Okay. Okay.
[00:33:38] TL: So it is just a little bit darker than most other ones.
[00:33:41] GL: Interesting. All right. Good to know. A little bit more flavor that way, I would imagine.
[00:33:46] TL: Yeah. If you make a pilsner, just a little bit darker, but not really too much difference in your colors are what you want to go for.
[00:33:54] GL: That’s an interesting point. These dextrin malts, historically, my understanding is you would use a base malt like a pilsner. If the maltster is doing a really good job, it’s such a well-modified pilsner malt that you’re going to get a very dry beer, and you want to have some dextrin. So historically, that’s how you adjust for it, dextrin malt.
[00:34:15] TL: Exactly.
[00:34:18] GL: Going further on that, what inclusion rates do you typically see brewers use your dextrin malt in their recipes? I know I would imagine in Germany, even the craft brewers are brewing beers drastically different than the craft brewers here in the US. A lot more lagers and we love that. I love that. I’m a huge lager fan. But what kind of inclusion rates would you recommend?
[00:34:41] TL: Because, like I said, it’s not like a normal dextrin like with these other ones on the market. With our Caramel Pils, you could go up to about 30% to 40%. Yeah, it is a little bit higher than the other ones, I mean, because I believe the other ones recommend just up to three percent or something like that. For our spitz malt or our chit malts —
[00:35:00] TL: Maximum ten percent for the chit malts.
[00:35:05] GL: Okay. So a common thing that I see craft brewers here do, and it’s sort of a holdover from older home brewing recipes, and maybe they started out as a homebrewer, brewing recipes at their home before they transferred into professional brewing. And I see a lot of brewers that they love sprinkling just a little bit of a dextrin malt or Caramel Pils across many of their recipes. Any specific beer styles or grist compositions where you would recommend a dextrin malt?
[00:35:38] DS: You do understand that the German laws regulate what would be a light beer, what would be like a medium-light beer. What would be medium to dark to — like there’s actually laws in place for all this, I would say.
[00:35:47] GL: Interesting. Can you break that down a little bit?
[00:35:51] TL: So we would have, for example, pretty much all of your light beers, it kind of goes on to your color, your grab plateau, what you’re having from your hydra — or what do you call those. I learned all this in German. So I’m trying to think of the English terms. But basically, your light beers would be your export pils, lagers, Kolsch. I don’t know if you’re familiar with. And it’s just because basically these are pretty much beers just brewed with pilsner base malts. That’s what I would basically use my dextrin and my Caramel Pils for, just for a little extra body into all those.
I read the study; actually, not just the body of the beer, but also I’ve seen people are still kind of discussing if it actually does help with your foam on the beer also, which I understand because it does build a surface tension, but if that can really help with the foam, yeah. Basically, what I would say for your foam, you really need a good protein, like a high protein beer. Other dextrins on the mark are really good for that, but for us we I would recommend for a better foam retention is probably our cheddar spitz malts.
[00:36:47] GL: My understanding of a chit and my limited use of using a chit malt professionally, you just don’t see it often here in the states. But a chit is essentially like a Caramel Pils on steroids. So just really bulked up, really higher beta-glucans.
[00:37:03] TL: Yeah, you can say that. Yeah.
[00:37:07] GL: So let’s get into chit. Why is it named chit malt? And can you give us some background for our American listeners, spitz malts?
[00:37:15] TL: I heard about this question. I was thinking about this because when I went to the brewmaster school, there was another guy from England there, and I thought, “Man. That’s not an American word. It’s not an American word.” So I called him up, he didn’t know either. Actually, I had to look it up, and I figured out it’s actually an old English word — to sprout, or to shoot, or to germinate, or to seed, I guess you could say.
And so the German word, to spitz is to like — like you have the spitz of your nose, it’s the tip of it. So when you’re thinking of the germination when the roots just pop out of the kernels, they’re just ‘spitzing’ out, I guess. Yeah.
[00:37:50] GL: Oh! That makes a lot of sense.
[00:37:51] DS: Yeah. So the spitz — germinated.
[00:37:56] GL: Got you. And that’s typically when you cut it short in the germ bed and keep it really on the bottom —
[00:38:04] TL: Right. And so I guess the same spitz when you translate it into English as also to sprout, to see, to shoot, to germinate, which is pretty much like old English chit malt.
[00:38:14] GL: Old English chit malt. Okay. Could you talk about the difference or some kind of figure in the difference of perhaps beta-glucan levels or something else of chit versus Caramel Pils?
[00:38:28] TL: When you have a higher beta-glucan, of course, those are your problems where you have the problems with filtering later, or your yields drop down quite a bit if you put too much in. I’ve brewed a lot of beers here in Germany, and it’s happened to me a couple times, but when you’re lautering, yeah. When you think it’s a two-hour process and you’re really furious when it takes you three or four hours. I think that’s probably the worst of all the problems.
With the higher glucan, you do have a lot of more haze into it, but it’s harder to filter through and brew — Yeah, to lauter through.
[00:39:00] GL: I’s just really all about the proteins, and the chip just has really high proteins versus even another —
[00:39:07] TL: Exactly. Yeah.
[00:39:08] GL: Okay. To go a little further on that, I guess the advantages and disadvantages of chit malt versus Caramel Pils, and you touched on a few of these already, but it sounds like with the chit malt you’d get an even lower extract versus —
[00:39:22] TL: Yes. Of course. Yes.
[00:39:23] GL: Okay. But you mentioned a moment ago that the chit really is going to give you that foam stability.
[00:39:32] TL: Yeah.
[00:39:33] GL: Do you typically see in Germany brewers there, do they tend to gravitate towards the Caramel Pils more than the chit or the spitz malts?
[00:39:41] TL: We’re seeing more of it because there’s more craft beers coming out here in Germany right now. Like, some brewers where I worked out, in the smaller ones, I believe because they didn’t have the spitz malt then when I was starting. So you’d usually see a brewer throw like a kilogram of wheat malt in because of the higher proteins also just to help with the foam, But that — now you see spitz malts are generally like more favorable to that.
[00:40:04] GL: More favorable. Okay. So right now in the US, there’s kind of a haze craze. There has been for a few years. We kind of jokingly call it the haze craze. But a lot of consumers are seeing, especially with hoppy beers, they’re seeing haze as a mark of quality. And strangely enough — to them seeing a hazy beer, a hazy, hoppy beer style, they’re registering in their mind that there’s so much hops that it has that haze. But brewers are achieving that haze with a variety of different malts and adjuncts, flaked oats, or malted oats, things like that. But what we’re seeing here at Country Malt is quite a few brewers are catching on to using chit malt for the source of their haze.
[00:40:48] TL: With your high molecular proteins and your beta-glucan and whatnot, it’s going to be more hazy, of course, but I think it’s also more stable. It’s going to have a more stable aroma to it also. We brewed beers, but we dry-hopped it, and we’ve had that haze. And I think also spitz malt is a little easier to work or a little more easier to control.
[00:41:08] GL: Sure, in terms of like a malted oats or a flaked product. Yeah.
[00:41:14] TL: Exactly. So I think — because what are they? Those New England IPAs, I think?
[00:41:20] GL: Right. Yeah. When I say hazy, New England IPA is what I’m referring too. Yup. Has that style made it to some craft beers in Germany yet?
[00:41:29] TL: Slowly.
[00:41:30] GL: Slowly. Okay.
[00:41:31] TL: What was coming back into a fashion while ago is these bigger breweries are starting to make kellerbier, and kellerbier is like unfiltered beer. So it’s like beer you would drink directly out of the tank before it goes to like a proper filtration system. But the thing is you’d see it like a [inaudible 00:41:47] something that would sell it out. And it was doing — I think it does so okay, but it was doing really well for a while. But craft beer still a little bit slow here in Germany.
[00:41:58] GL: Got it. It sounds like the consumers are kind of picking up on the same thing, right? So whenever you filter a beer, the thought is that you’re stripping out flavors, and the kellerbier also lends to that of being unfiltered and raw, a like a hazy IPA would be.
[00:42:16] TL: Right. Yeah, and I think that’s the exact same thing with people — because when you think of filtering, you think you’re losing, okay, you’re losing a lot. The sugars are still in there. Your extracts going down. You’re losing a lot of those flavor components from your hops and stuff. So, of course, they still want to taste those. Yeah, I can understand that.
[00:42:32] GL: That was an interesting point you brought up about a chit malt being easier to control, and I’m thinking about that in my head right now, and it makes a lot of sense. If you’re using like a malted oats or something like that for a haze. By the nature of malted oats, they’re thinner, right? So it’s a lot more challenging to mill, for example. And then if you’re using flakes, you’re subject to — you don’t mill those. So you put them in during mash. Generally, you would put the flakes adjuncts during the mash. And so, from a handling perspective, it’s a little difficult. And I would imagine you would get a better or an easier lauter or runoff from a chit versus flakes just because they’re not so shredded. They’re not so big.
[00:43:20] TL: Yeah. I mean, of course, the easiest way to do all that is just to get a mash filter. But of course, there’s like — yeah, they’re expensive and big and yeah —
[00:43:31] GL: And believe it or not, a few of those are here in the US. In fact — so I live in Texas, and there’s a few craft brewers even in Texas that have the small IDD mash filters. Pretty neat.
[00:43:43] TL: Yup. I could understand that because if you’re starting to use more adjutants and stuff, too, yeah, then the mesh filter would be the best way.
[00:43:50] GL: Yeah. It’s pretty neat. I guess I’ve seen them in action, but my limited understanding is that it hydraulically presses using water. Water pumps and squeezes the mash out. But I’ve seen it in action, and the lauter can be like 15 minutes on these 20 barrel batches.
[00:44:08] TL: Right. Yes. It can fast. What I understood in America, I don’t know if they actually have a producer of in America. So actually, I think the biggest producer is in Belgium. I don’t know. I got to look it up.
[00:44:18] GL: Yeah, it’s — I believe it’s a Belgian producer. I’m not 100% sure on that, but the company I always hear referred to is IDD, what it’s abbreviated as. Have you had a chance to have a New England IPA?
[00:44:33] TL: No, not yet.
[00:44:34] GL: No? Really? Okay. So they’re that new there. All right.
[00:44:37] TL: I know of one brewery that makes it, but I haven’t seen it in the markets around here. I think I’d have to go all the way to Bavaria just to get it.
[00:44:45] GL: Oh, okay. Okay. For our listeners out there, can you tell us the region that BESTMALZ is in? Where your malt house is in relation to the rest of Germany?
[00:44:56] TL: Well, so we are — the closest biggest city next would be Mainz. Mainz is about 30 minutes from Frankfurt. We’re actually in the Rheinhessen area. If that says anything, maybe that says something for your wine drinkers.
[00:45:10] GL: Gotcha. My understanding is sort of central. Would you call it central Germany?
[00:45:15] TL: Yeah. Central. Yeah, I guess the next closest country would be France. Central, close to Rhine River. So, where we’re at is a pretty small town with just a big company in the middle.
[00:45:27] GL: You’re really in the heart of the barley fields of Germany.
[00:45:30] TL: Yeah, of course. Yeah, we have like quite a few barley fields, wheat fields, mostly wine fields.
[00:45:37] GL: Okay. Mostly vineyards. Interesting.
[00:45:39] TL: Vineyards and stuff.
[00:45:40] GL: Is it Riesling?
[00:45:41] TL: Yeah, because Rheinhessen is actually one of the top wine capitals of the world.
[00:45:45] GL: Okay. Wine and beer. Fantastic.
[00:45:48] TL: Wine and beer, yeah. Because of this area here with our relatively mild climate, a long time ago they used to grow hops and stuff here, but acidity and stuff that we have in the dirt and all that it’s really good for the vineyards and it’s really good for the barley too — for the growing conditions that we need for proper healthy barley. And because of these mild conditions, not so much rain, not too much moisture that it really reduces the myco-contenes that we have that can really ruin it.
[00:46:14] GL: Got it. Yeah. Here in the US, we just call it fusarium head blight which can lead to that.
[00:46:18] TL: For molds.
[00:46:21] GL: Yeah, molds. Molds in general. Okay.
[00:46:24] TL: It’s kind of a weird season right now because it just snowed, and then it just stopped, and now the sun shines out. I don’t know what happened. When we started this interview, it started snowing, and now it’s blue skies and sunshine again.
[00:46:37] GL: One of the things that I’m really glad we got to touch on was the chit malt because I think that a lot of American craft brewers don’t understand it. They have no idea what it is. They see it in the catalog, and they’re afraid to order it. But times are changing there. I think people are seeing it as a good source of haze for their hazy IPAs and things like that.
[00:46:57] DS: Well, if they have any questions, they can always send us an email.
[00:47:00] GL: Sure thing. Okay. I work sales and marketing right now. And I’m working with my team with [inaudible 00:47:08] on bringing in the roasted malts and launching those here in the US. So I believe Country Malt will be putting in a pretty hefty order for some roast malts soon. I’m excited to get those into the US. Could you give me a little background? I’m familiar with Weyermann’s CARAFA. That was really the only German-like roast malt that you could get here in the US. There’s a few other ones, there’s [inaudible 00:47:33], but by far CARAFA, the special, the dehusked ones are the most popular. I know that BESTMALZ does a lot of work with Bitburger, and Bitburger, I believe owns, Köstritzer, if I’m pronouncing that right.
[00:47:51] DS: The Radeberger Group.
[00:47:54] GL: Got it. Is the Köstritzer using the BESTMALZ roasted products?
[00:48:01] TL: Yes, of course. Yeah.
[00:48:03] GL: Okay. Fantastic. Do you know if they use the chocolate, or can you tell me the extra or the black?
[00:48:08] TL: I think maybe extra.
[00:48:10] GL: Extra? Okay. Gotcha.
[00:48:13] TL: I’ll tell you as much as I can, but we actually have the other guy, he’s the specialist in that.
[00:48:19] GL: That’s okay. Yeah, we’ll be following up. I was just hoping to hear a little bit more about it, but yeah, you’ve told me enough for now. We’re bringing in some samples. I’m going to brew with them and do some hot steeps on a small scale. And try to come up with some talking points and stuff. And it sounds like we’re going to do a little bit of a soft launch at first, bring in some bags and let some trusted brewers try it out. Because this is all very new stuff, and the malts are delicious. Like when you chew on them with the fluidized bed roaster, they’re very tender, like a popcorn or something. They’re very soft. Interesting stuff.
[00:48:55] TL: In America right now, are they going to start seeing more darker beers brewed or —
[00:49:00] GL: No. I would say there’s a steady demand for them. What we’re seeing in terms of what craft brewers are making, it seems like they’re all going to the extremes, right? They’re getting away from, like a kind of a safer, like an amber or something or a middle-of-the-road beer, and they’re going extremes. It’s either really, really hoppy or a really big, like imperial stout. We’re just seeing a lot of extremes. Or a really nice lager, light drinking beer. I would say those three, it’s like a ten percent alcohol stout or a big IPA or a nice four and a half percent alcohol lager. It’s strange. And less —
[00:49:39] TL: So it’s either really dark, really bitter, or just nice and drinkable.
[00:49:44] GL: Exactly. Yeah. It’s kind of a strange time, but that’s what we’re seeing. Less of the middle styles, unfortunately, like your amber ale or your red ale or just everything in between just seems to be — your Belgian beers. They just seem to be slowing down. The consumers aren’t gravitating towards those.
[00:50:05] TL: Okay.
[00:50:06] GL: Yeah. I would say that the hazy beers came about and were really popular and became really popular, and we’re seeing like this strong pushback, especially from brewers that are just like they’re tired of the hazy IPAs already, and they want crisp, clear lagers.
[00:50:25] DS: There’s always switching just going like this.
[00:50:27] GL: Yeah, we’re very fickle here. We change as the winds blow.
[00:50:31] DS: Right.
[00:50:33] GL: Well, thank you for your time. I think that’s about it for my questions and have a good one, have a good Friday.
[00:50:39] DS: You too, have a good weekend. Thank you.
[00:50:41] GL: Thanks, see you around. Bye.
The highest quality beer can only be made when there is a connection between farmers and brewers.
Today we talk about the importance of this connection while also hearing insights into hops growing and beer brewing from today’s guests; Yakima Chief Ranches CEO Jason Perrault and supply chain ‘hoperations’ manager Joe Catron, and Bale Break Brewery co-owners Kevin Smith and Kevin Quinn.
Today we welcome Eddie Douglas onto the show to talk about the new Sassy varietal known as Malt 2.0. As the commercial director for Bairds Malt, Eddie comes with a wealth of knowledge and shares a variety of details on what makes Bairds’ barley so sensational. He tells us how care is taken from the very beginning of the barley’s life cycle, starting from the seed to its germination and beyond. The Sassy varietal itself came through demonstration plots in Scotland, which was a good testing ground where it proved itself to handle the tough climate.
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Today we sit with James Loughran from Loughran Family Malts to talk about the art of farming and preparing barley. According to some, this cornerstone ingredient of craft beer takes a tremendous amount of care, planning, and even magic.
We open the show by asking James about the challenges and rewards of farming this important grain. After learning about the finer nuances of the grain’s journey, James walks us through the history of his family’s farm, sharing stories about its evolution. James continues by explaining why the Irish climate is especially favorable to his farm and touches on harvesting months, frosty nights, and, of course, Irish mythology and local legend.