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Location: Cereal Crops Research

Title: Malting extremely small quantities of barley

item Schmitt, Mark
item Budde, Allen

Submitted to: Journal of American Society of Brewing Chemists
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/10/2011
Publication Date: 9/14/2011
Publication URL:
Citation: Schmitt, M., Budde, A.D. 2011. Malting extremely small quantities of barley. Journal of American Society of Brewing Chemists. 69(4):191-199.

Interpretive Summary: Malting quality analyses are used by commercial malthouses and breweries to assess how well any given barley variety or lot will perform in the malthouse and how the resulting malt can be used in brewing. Brewers select and use malt efficiently based in part on such analyses, so it is important that the methods used are accurate and reproducible. Malting quality analyses are also important for informing barley breeders how various lines under development perform, so that the breeder can retain the best lines and discard poor lines. Providing this information to breeders in a timely manner allows them to make best use of the malting quality information. Modifications to traditional scale micromalting procedures presented here allow a greater productivity in the malting and malt analysis lab, returning critical information to breeders in a shorter time. The value of this work is in the decreased analysis time and increased number of analyses performed and reported to malting barley breeders and other stakeholders, and the impact is that it benefits malting barley breeders by providing them with critical information in a more timely fashion.

Technical Abstract: Micromalting procedures for malt quality analysis typically use 50 – 500 g of barley and are used to produce malt with characteristics suitable for malting quality analysis. Modifications to routine micromalting protocols in which small quantities of grain within inexpensive mesh containers are surrounded by a larger quantity of grain in standard malting containers allow representative malts to be generated from 2 g of barley. The sample scale enables multiplexing samples within a malting container thereby increasing the potential malting throughput of existing micromalting equipment. The combination of this extremely small-scale malting procedure with previously described reduced-quantity mashing and malt analysis procedures greatly expands the capacity for preliminary screening of malt quality characteristics. This potentially benefits malting barley germplasm development programs by increasing sample throughput and reducing analysis turn-around time. In addition, the ability to generate and analyze representative malts on this very small scale may be useful in research studies where grain samples are limited, such as might occur in specially-developed genetic populations. This ability to malt extremely small amounts of barley will also facilitate basic research studies examining the genetic and biochemical bases of malting quality.