Malting Barley Characteristics

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Malting Barley Characteristics for Craft Brewers

The Pipeline Subcommittee of the Brewers Association Technical Committee has identified barley malt needs specific to all-malt brewers which differ from the current North American barley malt supply. This document identifies gaps and bridges in the current barley malt market and enumerates ideal barley malt attributes from the perspective of all-malt brewers.

The brewing industry is evolving rapidly: as of January 2014, U.S. craft brewers consumed more than 25 percent of the total malt consumed by U.S. brewers, and that proportion is growing rapidly. The North American barley malt supply chain must likewise evolve rapidly to meet the very different needs of all-malt beer brewers.

To produce all-malt beer brands, craft brewers seek barley malts with:

  • Distinctive flavors and aromas
  • Lower free amino nitrogen (“FAN”)
  • Lower Total Protein
  • Lower Diastatic Power (“DP”)
  • Lower Kolbach Index (ratio of Soluble Protein to Total Protein, or “S/T”)

In April 2014, the American Malting Barley Association, Inc. (AMBA) added a category for Barley Breeding Guidelines for All Malt Two-Row, which aligns closely with the characteristics identified by BA Pipeline Committee. The BA believes that taken together, the BA and AMBA guidelines and criteria provide clear, achievable direction for the entire barley malting industry.

Submitting Comments

Please submit comments to Chris Swersey, Brewers Association technical brewing projects coordinator.

Important Information

Media should contact Chris Swersey or Brewers Association Director, Paul Gatza for more information: 1.888.822.6273 or +1.303.447.0816.