An introduction to malts
Malts are sprouted grains that are used in the production of beer. Allowing grains to sprout releases an enzyme that converts the starch contained in the grains to sugar. These sugars then provide nourishment for yeasts which, when activated, generate the alcohol and carbon dioxide found in beer.
Even though they start with the same grains, the alcoholic beverages brewed in Asia (such as sake or shochu) differ from Western beers in the way they extract the sugar content from the plant.
Sake uses yeast action to convert the starch found in sake rice into sugar, while beer makes use of the sugar in sprouted wheat or barley. Coedo uses entirely different methods to brew its beer while honoring the brilliant insights found in these native brewing traditions.
In preparing the sugars that will provide nutrients for active yeasts, Coedo places great importance on the approach that traditional brewers took to their raw ingredients. Quality distilling always begins with the people who have settled in the region, the surrounding natural environment, and farming practices. In the Mediterranean, where a warm climate makes it easy to grow fruit, the people decided to ferment wine from grapes, as they offered the highest sugar content. Japanese sake is a product of the nation’s extensive rice cultivation, while the chilly climate of central Europe made it impossible to cultivate grapes; instead, people turned to their grain fields to product liquors and beer. Farmers in the Kawagoe region of Saitama have grown vegetables since the Edo period, making their famous sweet potatoes a natural choice as an ingredient in Coedo beer.
Brewing a quality beer begins with a close inspection of the ingredients. Our highly trained artisans make use of all of their senses during the evaluation process, not only looking closely at the ingredients, but also smelling, touching, tasting, and rolling them around on the tongue. This painstaking process never feels like work to our brewmasters, who are studiously committed to maintaining ingredient quality.
Nine types of malts
There are many different types of malts used to make beer, but Coedo artisan brewers tend to work with carefully selected specimens of nine malts: pilsner, black, Carapils, Munich, caramel, chocolate, Vienna, Dinkel, and sour.
Each type of malt naturally has its own distinctive characteristics and flavors, each of which contributes to the unique flavor profiles of Coedo beers.MORE
Pilsner malts Pilsner malts are light in color and have powerful enzymes that break down starch. They are used as base malts in fermenting a great number of beers and give the finished product a clean, refreshing character.
Black malts Black malts are roasted to a charcoal tint and can deepen or even blacken the color of the final brew depending on the amount used. They add a toasted bitterness and a hint of astringency to the beer.
Carapils malts Carapils malts have a lighter color that more heavily roasted varieties and have a wide range of uses. They improve the frothiness of beer while adding depth of flavor.
Munich malts Munich malts add body and strong malt flavor to beer.
Caramel malts Caramel malt enzymes are able to convert starch into sugar on their own, and the resulting product can be heated and dried into a caramelized substance. They lend a caramel-like flavor and depth to beer, and can tinge the color anywhere from gold to reddish depending on the amount used.
Chocolate malts Chocolate malts have a deep chocolate color and add both a dark color and fragrant roasted flavor to beer. They have a mellower taste than black malts.
Vienna malts Vienna malts are sprouted from wheat and are cloudy due to their high protein content. They create a smooth mouthfeel and strong head.
Dinkel malts Dinkel malts are malted from an ancient original wheat strain and lend a nutty aroma to beer as well as a distinctive sweetness.
Sour malts Sour malts are the result of lactic acid fermentation. They are used to lower the ph value of the mash, which is a porridge-like substance made from soaking crushed malts in water. This low-ph mash is the used in the process of converting grain starches into sugar as a way to further activate the enzymes.
In order to extract the sugars from malt starches, the malts must first be thoroughly milled or crushed. However, because the husks of the crushed malts will later be used as a filter in the wort filtration process, they cannot be ground too finely.
Our artisan brewers carefully maintain the milling equipment so that malts are crushed to exactly the right degree—neither to coarsely nor too finely.
Sour malts are the result of lactic acid fermentation, and are used for a different purpose than other malts. During the saccrification process, enzymes and proteins are used to break down starches and convert them into sugars. Doing this effectively requires that the ph of the wort mixture be kept at a slightly acidic level. While most brewers simply use chemical additives to control ph, Coedo brewers maintain their commitment to natural products by using sour malts instead.
The heart and soul of beer
Everything about beer begins with the malts. Malt storehouses give off a sweet, fragrant aroma—one that seems to conjure up feelings of nostalgia in many Japanese even though it is unfamiliar to them. Malts are what give beer its flavor, aroma, and enchanting color. At Coedo, we know that superior taste always comes down to quality ingredients.