Preferred malts.

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Whilst looking online at different grain malts I found there are lots of company’s producing the same malt, e.g. Crisp, Simpson’s and Warminster all producing Maris Otter. So are some companies better than others? Do any of you stay with a ‘brand’ or just go with the best deal at the time?
 

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I usually buy Crisp,it's usually the cheapest but it makes find beer and I'm happy with it. Another reason is once you work out your system numbers..loses,efficiency, you can repeat and hopefully constructively tinker with the results. I found chopping and changing base malts gives slightly different results.
 

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Whilst looking online at different grain malts I found there are lots of company’s producing the same malt, e.g. Crisp, Simpson’s and Warminster all producing Maris Otter. So are some companies better than others? Do any of you stay with a ‘brand’ or just go with the best deal at the time?
Different suppliers tend to stock different maltster"s malts, for example Geterbrewed does Crisp's and BrewUK, I think does Simpson"s and Bairds. Be careful with the coloured malts and check for comparable ebc. Crisp's crystal malt descriptions can be misleading and one man's Amber is different to another. With the continental malts, be specially aware that some of the pale malts are darker than the Vienna. Castle Maltings has some unusual colours for some of their malts, cara gold, for example.
 

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The Malt Miller stocks a wide range of similar malts from different maltsters and it's interesting to compare them. Maris Otter is usually fairly similar across the board, but really the only way to tell is by brewing the same beer with a couple of different ones to compare.

If I'm going to use Maris Otter it's because I want it to be the star ingredient, such as in a bitter. I love to use the Warminster Floor Malted Maris Otter for this. If it's a hoppy American style beer I'll use the cheapest ale malt I can find, which is usually Crisp's Best Pale malt.

Once you get above the base malts into roasted and crystal it's best to compare the EBC of the malts as they tend to have different definitions of 'Amber', 'Brown' etc. For example, Crisp Amber is 50 EBC, and it's quite dry and biscuity with a mild roast flavour. Thomas Fawcett on the other hand is EBC 100, and much more like a roast coffee.
 

An Ankoù

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If I'm going to use Maris Otter it's because I want it to be the star ingredient, such as in a bitter. I love to use the Warminster Floor Malted Maris Otter for this. If it's a hoppy American style beer I'll use the cheapest ale malt I can find, which is usually Crisp's Best Pale malt.
I've never used Warminster floor malted. Is it noticeably better than the standard MO? On the other hand, I've just got hold of 10Kg of Crisps Number 19 floor malted and I wonder if anyone has used this.
Crisp's Best from geterbrewed is really good value malt and excellent quality, as is Minch Malt's Hookhead from thehomebrewcompany. Just because they're cheap doesn't mean they're second-class malts, but I agree that the premium price you pay for a named-variety malt is going to be lost in a stout. EXCEPT, I've started using Chevallier in my mild and maltier stout to great effect.
 
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I only use Hook Head malt from the Homebrew Co. Mostly because it's cheap but also because it's local (well I can see it from the top of the hill behind our house!)
I've switched to using their pilsner malt instead of pale ale malt though as I seem to get much greater efficiency with it and otherwise can't see any difference in my beers.
 

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I plan to permanently switch to Crafty Maltsters for my base malts. They are (relatively) local to me and the quality is very good. Bought a couple of bags last summer and the extraction rates it gives is great.

I haven’t bought any since though because I managed to pick up a 25kg bag of Crisp MO for £15 in the springtime, and I got a “free” bag of Warminster floor malted MO with my new grain mill (which I later realised cost £30 more than another retailer who wasn’t giving away “free” grain).

Before getting the Crafty stuff I would usually stick to Crisp because 1) it’s usually the cheapest and 2) both GEB and MM stock it so I could switch supplier depending on price and availability of hops/yeast.
 

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I've never used Warminster floor malted. Is it noticeably better than the standard MO? On the other hand, I've just got hold of 10Kg of Crisps Number 19 floor malted and I wonder if anyone has used this.

I haven't blind triangle tested it against a variety of other Maris Otters, but there seems to be some intangible flavours in there that add complexity to a malty bitter that I've not picked up with regular Crisp MO.

Plus when people drink it you can bore them with the details enthral them with the romanticism of the very traditional malting process. 😁
 

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I plan to permanently switch to Crafty Maltsters for my base malts. They are (relatively) local to me and the quality is very good. Bought a couple of bags last summer and the extraction rates it gives is great.

If I had a local maltster I'd just go straight to them too and figure out how to make my beers with their range of malts.
 

MickDundee

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If I had a local maltster I'd just go straight to them too and figure out how to make my beers with their range of malts.
When I say local it’s about a 30-40min drive but worth making a couple of trips a year to get grain in. I don’t brew massive amounts (once every 4-6 weeks) so 25kg will last me around 6 months.
 
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For those on here living in Devon you can get floor dried malt from Tuckers. Although the maltings in Newton Abbot shut in 2018 they still supply malt from a warehouse in Crediton. This malt is manufactured by Warminster and is also floor dried. I got a 25kg bag 18 months ago for £24 delivered to their old maltings in NA. I used to buy from them when I visited the in laws in Torbay at £30 so now cheaper.
 

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I plan to permanently switch to Crafty Maltsters for my base malts. They are (relatively) local to me and the quality is very good. Bought a couple of bags last summer and the extraction rates it gives is great.

I haven’t bought any since though because I managed to pick up a 25kg bag of Crisp MO for £15 in the springtime, and I got a “free” bag of Warminster floor malted MO with my new grain mill (which I later realised cost £30 more than another retailer who wasn’t giving away “free” grain).

Before getting the Crafty stuff I would usually stick to Crisp because 1) it’s usually the cheapest and 2) both GEB and MM stock it so I could switch supplier depending on price and availability of hops/yeast.

I notice CML stock crafty maltsters and will crush it/sell in batches of 500g so I plan to do the same as you. Anything else I need I can use a recipe builder at GEB or that, but CML also split their hops up pretty well too so their website is getting to the point where I might be doing all my shopping there soon
 
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So are some companies better than others? Do any of you stay with a ‘brand’ or just go with the best deal at the time?

As has been mentioned, they vary more for speciality malts, but even for base malts they are certainly "different" - whether that is "better" is perhaps a matter of opinion, and will depend in part in what kind of beer you're brewing. I generally brew golden-ish ales with simple grists and without daft amounts of hops, so the malt character is more obvious and more important than if I was brewing roasty stouts or something. I've done some basic comparisons without getting too much into it and (pre-long Covid) I could certainly tell the difference between floor-malted and not, there's just an extra complexity there. In general I'm not such a fan of the big East Anglians like Crisp and Munton, Warminster is probably the gold standard, Fawcetts is really nice too.

But whether it's worth paying the premium is a matter of personal taste, and what kind of beers you make. If one is local to you then it makes sense to use the local ones - it's part of your terroir, and reduces transport costs/emissions.
 
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As I’m just starting with AG it’s great to hear everyone’s preferences. Without sounding ignorant why would East Anglian grain taste different from grain from another part of the country. Personally, the kits I’ve done in the past are generally IPAs but my most successful are a Saison and Belgian Pale Ale. I’m keen to stay on the lighter side of beers before moving on to darker types, they’re just not my thing right now.
 
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I notice CML stock crafty maltsters and will crush it/sell in batches of 500g so I plan to do the same as you. Anything else I need I can use a recipe builder at GEB or that, but CML also split their hops up pretty well too so their website is getting to the point where I might be doing all my shopping there soon
I think CML have been out of the Pops Pale for a while, no? Have been planning to order some a hop order for a while but no luck.
 
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I also tend towards Warminster for MO for English style ales. I can't honestly say it is better than any other brand but the maltings are half an hour from me (support local), I am sentimental about the old floor malting process (old softie) and I like to buy from the chap who did so much to save MO for obscurity.

That said, I've bought plenty of Crisp, Simpson and Fawcett too. Weyermann is my go to for wheat, Vienna, Munich.
 
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why would East Anglian grain taste different from grain from another part of the country.

Barley does taste different depending on where it's grown (and Norfolk is the "Bordeaux" of malting barley), but that's not really what I was getting at. It's more that because East Anglia is where most grain is grown, the processors there tend to be the big industrial ones supplying the likes of Greene King and Carling. Maltsters elsewhere don't have the volumes to compete with East Anglia on price, so have to compete on quality - which in the case of Fawcett and Warminster means they've retained the traditional methods like floor malting.
 

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After over 40 years of AG brewing I think I have tried most pale malts. Probably used Crisps the most in recent years but a while back the MM was out of Crisps when I went to order so I bought Fawcetts golden promise and now on my 4th sack very impressed.
 

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Burnt malt is essential to achieve the desired black color in beers such as Porter, Stout, and various black ales and lagers. There are special types of roasted malt that are produced from wheat that does not contain chaff - this is wheat malt, or naked barley, or barley malt without this shell (for example, Carafa Special type 1, type 2, type 3 from Weyerman). Thus, it turns out to significantly eliminate the negative effect of bitter substances on beer. The use of this malt and its late mashing methods produce a black beer with the minimal coffee-chocolate bitter taste and aroma that are desirable in many Stouts and Porter but, for example, in black IPAs, where the hop profile is more important, they will no longer be are appropriate.
 

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