In March 2012 a North American Craft Maltster’s Google Group was formed. This group was initially less than two dozen maltsters, aspiring maltsters, people involved in breeding and growing malting barley, and malting science professionals. The objective of the Google Group was to allow people from around North America to talk about malting. Share experiences. Help each other. Learn from each other.
Of the Craft Maltsters already in operation in 2012, many were receiving multiple emails per week from people wanting information about starting a malthouse. Most of us did not have the time to answer every email and still run our own operations. The Google Group was one way to route some of these questions to a groups rather than an individual.
One of the first posts to the Group was a question asking what folks would like to get out of the experience. One maltster posted :
I would like to learn from and interact with like minded people, spread the workload of variety trials, establish a reasonable option for malt analysis costs. Ask the questions, how much FAN is too much for all malt beers, when does Beta glucan become a problem for non filtering brewers, How are malting conditions eg falling or rising steep and germ temps effecting your analysis. Is washing with acids or alkalis beneficial to fungi/bactiria populations. Is anyone seeing a rise in PH if lactic acid bacteria are low in population. What does this do to the malt flavour.
Many of these questions have since been asked and explored on the forum but still have not been reasonably answered. These are what we consider “big picture” questions that our now, more established, Craft Maltster’s Guild aims to research and answer.
For those of us lucky enough to be running a malthouse, we understand the potential of Craft Malt. We see the tides turning from a commodity driven supply chain to more a robust supply chain that includes thoughtfully made and locally sourced raw ingredients.
We see the need for sharing, communication and most importantly a set of quality and safety standards associated with this burgeoning and yet still cottage industry. There a a sense that what we are creating today will have a lasting and positive impact on the wonderful worlds of craft beer and local agriculture.
Our Guild looks forward to working with already established groups such as the American Malting Barley Association, the Brewers Association, the ASBC, USDA, and university programs to provide educational opportunities to members and to the general public, and to improve and uphold the highest quality and safety standards for Craft Malt.