Malting is the name given to the process of encouraging barley to germinate. During germination, barley produces large amounts of enzymes, natural chemicals that are used by the seed to convert the starch into sugar to provide energy to allow it to develop into an independent plant.

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During the malting process, the barley is steeped in water to increase its moisture content to over 40%. It is then transferred to a malting box and kept under controlled conditions of moisture and temperature to allow it to germinate. This process normally takes 5 or 6 days. At the end of this time, the barley will have started to grow, and small rootlets will begin to appear. At this stage we call the grain GREEN MALT.

The grain distiller uses the excess of starch-reducing enzymes in malted barley to convert the starches in the “whole cereals” into sugars that can subsequently be fermented to alcohol. The company operated its own maltings from its inception in 1885 until 2002 when commercial and environmental pressures meant that it was no longer economic to continue. Commercial maltsters operating in a rural environment now produce our malt.

To learn about the next part of the process click here.