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How Grains Affect the Flavour of Beer

The grains are an essential part of beer brewing. After all, a grain helps in imparting tasty flavor to a beer. A grain also gives beer its appearance and the present sugars ferment it into alcohol. 

But which grains impact the taste of beer? If you’re not aware, you need to read about these well-known grains that impact the taste of your beer: 

1. Barley 

It is the base of the brew. It is turned into brew-ready malts by professionals. Mixing barley with water allows the grain to develop various enzymes that help grain starches to convert into sugars. The sugars further combine with yeast for alcohol formation. 

With brewing, the major billing is reserved for barley malts. Be it unroasted or roasted barley malt, it contains husk that keeps the mash loose while transforming the drained wort into the beer. For added flavours, brewers usually blend the grain barley with other fermentable grains like wheat and rye. 

2. Speciality Malts 

These auxiliary grains improve head retention and add hue, aroma and flavours like chocolate, coffee, biscuit and caramel. The speciality grains are mixed for achieving unique taste characteristics. Some popular varieties of speciality malts include: 

  • Roasted malt: roasted or kilned at high temperatures impact a certain flavour of the beer. 
  • Crystal malts: These malts, particularly stewed ones, are used to form crystalline sugar structures in the grain’s hull. They impart sweetness to the beer. 
  • Dark malts or highly roasted malts: They help attain robust flavours linked with bocks, stouts, Schwarzbiers and black IPAs.

3. Base Malts

These malts consist of the heavy grain bill. Usually, it is cafe light malt in a light hue that provides the majority of the fermentable sugars, proteins and minerals needed to form brew. 

4. Caramelized Malts

If you are a beginner in brewing, the caramelized malts are good to start with. The caramelized malts are available in an extensive range of colours and flavours that are easy to use. Here are some samples of caramelized malts:

  • Cara-Pils: This malt is light in colour. It’s mainly needed to enhance head retention. It also provides a better beer body and good mouthfeel. Its flavour contributes to the sweet character in a brew. 
  • Cara-Vienne: It is a darker malt with 20° to 25° Lovibond. This malt is ideal to make Oktoberfest and Vienna-style beers. It has a toasty aroma with a slight caramel taste. 
  • Cara-Munich: It is available in medium colour. It adds mouthfeel taste and a rich body to the beer. The flavour of this beer has a caramel-like nutty finish. 

5. Unmalted Barley

It adds rich and grainy character to the brew. The main attribute of this beer style is dry stout. The unmalted barley provides head retention to the brew. 

6. Corn 

Corn adds a smooth and neutrally sweet taste to the beer. It lightens up beer’s body while stabilizing flavour and minimizing haziness. It is perfect for those who prefer mild flavours.

7. Oats

Oats are combined with barley for brewing. With oats, there is a creamy and full-bodied flavour in a beer with a smooth satin texture. 

8. Rice 

Like Abbey malt, rice imparts no or little discernible taste to the brew. It helps in creating a dry profile, snappy flavours and light beer body.  

9. Rye

When blended with barley, rye is a perfect brew to sharpen flavours and add crispness, complexity and some spiciness. This grain on kilning can create caramel and chocolate flavour. Its only drawback is that it’s hull-less. So, using it in a large quantity can lead to clumping and sturdiness. 


This grain comes jam-packed with proteins. It helps create the mouthfeel and a fuller body with a foamy head that’s as thick as a long-lasting Cool Whip. A good amount of wheat in beer results in hazy, smooth, and slight tartness. It is somewhat like a hefeweizen or a witbier. 


Now that you know what flavours are imparted by which grains, you need to choose the right Castle Malting malts per your taste and liking. This way, you can create the desired brew with the right amount of colour, aroma and flavour.

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