Good Malt - Good Beer? What does malt contain? Malt is the soul of beer!
Like most commodities, malt is taken for granted. However, the myriad of components it provides us with is remarkable. Were we to obtain them from separate sources we would find ourselves faced with many problems, including: difficulties in storing the individual materials; the need to separate them from one another; the need to keep them dry, and; the need to stabilize some of them with special molecules or mixtures of molecules. Important chemicals contributed to the brewing process by pale malt include starch, protein, amino acids and peptides, phosphate, polyphenols, melanoidins, O- and N-heterocylic compounds, lipids and sterols, beta-glucan, vitamins, metal ions, and enzymes. In addition, malt husk material provides the filter medium for mash tun and lauter tun separation systems. What positive attributes does malt contribute to beer? In addition to providing nutrients for yeast growth, malt contributes a variety of positive characters to beer. Malty flavour character is attributed to O- and N- heterocycles present in malt. For sweetcorn flavour character is responsible dimethyl sulphide (syn methyl sulphide) from malt. Flavours due to esters and higher alcohols are attributed as well to malt components: amino acids and sugars (Malt provides the precursors for these materials.). The color of beer is also assured by malt: melanoidins and polyphenols. Polypeptides, some of which are glycosylated are responsible for the beer foam. This is the proof that malt is the soul of beer.