Entry Submission Window:
September 14th – October 5th, 2020

2020 Malt Cup Best of Show Winner – Ben Harvey, 1886 Malt House

The Malt Cup is the only competition of its kind and gives maltsters the opportunity to receive valuable feedback on their malt products.

However, it’s more than just an opportunity to win a medal. The benefits to all who enter are quite substantial!

  • All samples entered to receive a malt COA report from Montana State University’s Barley, Malt, & Brewing Quality Lab. This alone is a $75 value return for your participation.
  • Entrants also get a full report of all entry COAs for categories that you enter. This is given with blind codes so you can find your entry and compare it to the rest of the group (Note: All entries remain anonymous.).
  • Entries passing the scrutiny of round one will go on to sensory evaluation. These samples are sent around the country to industry professionals including maltsters, brewers, distillers, researchers, and Master Cicerones. Judges evaluate malts in replicate via DraughtLab. A comprehensive sensory report is generated for each of these malts and included in your packet!
  • Should your entry make it to the third round, Best of Show, you will receive additional feedback from industry judges as they examine your malts in consideration of both sensory and quality data.

Nowhere else can you get this level of feedback for your malt. Everyone is a winner in this competition – and you might get some bragging rights to boot! Thus far 8 Malthouses in our community have the pride of marketing their winning malt, you could join them this year!

“As a relatively young malt house in the Southeast, we believe the ability to showcase a medal from the 2019 Malt Cup afforded us a newfound credibility in potential customers’ eyes. We are humbled by the opportunity to amicably compete alongside the many talented malt houses in this guild.”

~ Mark van Wagenberg, Carolina Malt House


  • MSU Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez

    Any Craft Maltsters Guild Member Malthouse, Allied Trade, or International Malthouse member in good standing may enter. The cost of entry is $150 for Member/International Malthouses and $300 for Allied Trade. Want to compete, but not a member? Join here.

  • Limit one (1) entry per malthouse per category.
  • There is no limit to the number of entries accepted per category.
  • The registration and sample acceptance window for entries will be Monday, September 14th through 3PM Monday, October 5th, 2020. All participants must e-mail [email protected] with their intent to enter, categories for which they would like to participate, product name, and variety/varieties utilized for each submission in order to receive instructions before sending samples.
  • Entries will only be accepted through 3PM Monday, October 5th, 2020.
  • Malthouses must send 3 pounds of malt to the below address:

Montana State University
ATTN: Hannah Turner
Malt Quality Lab 119
Plant Bioscience Building
Bozeman, MT 59717-3150

*Please note this address may not be recognized by local post, but it is the correct street address used by FedEx and UPS. If using USPS P.O. Box 173150 can be used.

  • Each entry must be affixed with the approved competition label with no other identifying information (return label on mail packaging is acceptable).
  • Malt submissions must be a regularly produced and commercially available product from your malthouse as of October 5th, 2020.

“I really think this (the Malt Cup) gives credibility to the products that we are making.  It elevates our operation and excites customers by using the best raw materials for their own operation.  We have seen an increase in sales related to our winning products but most importantly it secures a level of trust between partners.  We have something tangible to prove that we are making the best products we can.  The Malt Cup truly excites me to achieve more and challenge us to make the best products we can.”

~ Mike Myers, Root Shoot Malting


For 2021, the malt categories will be Pale Malt and Pilsen/Pilsner.

Guidelines and judging criteria are based on average examples of these styles found in craft malt and are set and approved by the CMG’s board of directors, and are as follows: 

*Descriptions from John Mallett’s Malt: a practical guide from field to brewhouse:

Pale Malt 

Pale Malt is a generic term covering a broad class of light-colored base malts. “Pale” malt has moderate modification and enzyme potential. The term “lager malt” may also be used to describe these malts. In comparison to Pilsner, pale exhibits a deeper malt flavor. 

Color: 1.6 – 2.5 SRM

Entries will be evaluated based on the following guidelines: Pale Malt entries should be high in extract and enzyme capacity as well as low in B-glucan, all concurrent with well-balanced modification. Malts should also be moderate for S/T and FAN.


Pilsner malt is a base malt designed for very pale, all-malt beers. Traditional Pilsner malt production includes the use of low protein two-row barley, lower modification during germination, and low temperature, high airflow kilning. Pilsner malt made with six-row varieties is also eligible to be entered.

Color: 1.2 – 2.0 SRM

Entries will be evaluated based on the following guidelines: Malts should be very pale in color with moderate enzyme potential, a distinctive flavor which is a little green with the smell and taste of fresh wort. DMS flavor is considered acceptable at low levels. 

“I see the true benefits in ongoing malt quality testing and the Malt Cup gives us unique comparative analysis which is the value of the competition. Winning is nice but the value is in the data comparison and a sense on how we are doing among our peers regardless of who that peer actually is.”

~ Sebastian Wolfrum, Epiphany Craft Malt

Judging Methodology: 

MSU Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez

The evaluation will take place over several phases. The first will be quality, based on COAs provided by the Malt Quality Lab at Montana State University. Entries will be scored according to the criteria outlined above. All entrants will receive a copy of the quality report generated from this process. Malts passing the quality criteria will move to the second phase, a sensory analysis performed remotely by qualified malt quality ambassadors. The top malts will move forward to a final Best of Show judging round which will also be performed remotely for the 2021 Cup

  • Entries will be assigned an entry number to maintain anonymity for the judges. Judges will not be able to identify the malthouse entrant by the hot steep sample. 
  • Entrants and/or their employees may not serve as volunteers or judges of categories entered. 
  • Judges will evaluate hot steep samples and complete score sheets that contain their sensory evaluations of the entry and how those aspects relate to the guidelines as well as provide constructive feedback for each entry. 
  • Judges will come to a consensus on the highest quality malts for each category based on scoring criteria set by the board of directors. 
  • Awards will be given for first, second, and third places for each malt category. Honorable mentions or other accolades may be awarded at the judges’ discretion. 
  • Winners will be announced on February 12th during the 2021 virtual Craft Malt Conference.

2021 Malt Cup Entry Submission & Competition Guidelines (PDF)

Seeking Judges and Judging Location Hosts

MSU Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez

Along with upholding malt quality, this competition is also a way to bring together others interested and excited about craft malt. Last year we had 67 individual judges from across the industry. Their debates were energetic and passionate as they volleyed for their favorite malts! This year we hope to grow our judging community! So, if competition really isn’t your thing but you’d still like to be involved, please reach out to CMG Executive Director, Jesse Bussard ([email protected]) to find out how to become a judge and/or host a remote judge location for this year’s evaluations.

Many thanks to the Allied Trade Member and industry partners who help make this competition possible!