Malt plays a huge part of the finished product of beer, from the flavor and the color of the beer to the amount of alcohol the beer will have. There is so much happening with malted barley from the time it is harvested to the time it is bottled. Malt contains pocket of starch that is held together by a fiber us husk.

It all starts when a Maltster that warms the grain to create the germination process which fills the body of the grain with starch that will act as food for the plant to grow. It is up to them to stop this germination process at the right time so that the grain kernel is filled with this starch.

Now it is up to the brewer to convert that starch into sugar by a process of a mash which is accentually making a tea at a specific temperature that will convert the starch into a fermentable sugar. Mashing the grain looks like a giant pot of oatmeal.

Another thing that the Maltster is in charge of is roasting the grain; this will give some of the grains a deeper flavor just as roasting a coffee bean will change the flavor of a coffee. Now keep in mind that the more the malt is roasted the less fermentable sugar it will have. Roasted malt makes up a small amount in the recipe of a beer but plays a huge part in the flavor of the beer. A little goes a long way. Specialty grains also make up a small portion of a beer recipe such as rye or wheat but none of the less have a huge impact on the finished product.

If you find a beer that you like try to find out the specialty grains that are used and try to isolate those flavors, this will enhance your pallet and make you more aware of the ingredients of beers to come.