Malt for brewing comes in a wide range of varieties. Most beer recipes call for some form of pale malt as the main ingredient – barley that has been malted and roasted enough to dry it but not to give it much colour. If you cook the barley too long or too high, it starts to destroy the starches and enzymes that produce the sugary extract required to create a brewable wort, but smaller quantities of darker grains can be added to adjust the flavour and colour of the final beer.
One of the darkest is black malt; a common additive but one that is only used in small quantities. I bought a kilo of uncrushed black malt about 3.5 years ago and I’m still using it! Fortunately, sealed up and uncrushed, malt keeps a reasonable length of time but, when I finally finish it, I’ll see if I can get a small amount next time. However, I may have found another way to work through my stock.
I’m doing some brewing today and needed a whole 7g. It wasn’t worth getting out my mill for such a small amount so I decided to grind it my pestle and mortar. I’ve got a wooden one so I normally dust it out rather than wash and dry it; to avoid the brewing malt getting potentially contaminated with any salt and pepper dust left over from last night’s cooking, I ground a small batch first before the 7g I needed for the brew. Then, in a waste not, want not mood, I brewed the first lot up with some hot water.
I have to say that it isn’t a bad way to drink it. I can see myself trying that again, certainly on brew days. It was a bit peppery, so it probably was just as well to clean out the mortar. More on the beer itself, Winter Flowers, after I’ve got the essential measurements tomorrow.