The 2022 Malt Cup winners all said the same thing when we asked them for advice for crafting the best malt in the world – start at the source. Here are this year’s winners iterating why and how making great malt is rooted in intentional agriculture.
“Admiral Maltings is thrilled to be recognized for its work making freshly kilned, floor malt from sustainably farmed, California-grown grains. This is the third straight year Admiral Maltings has received recognition from the Malt Cup for our malt, and it wouldn’t have been possible without our tireless, dedicated team of maltsters. We are proud to participate in connecting the dots from farmer to maltster to brewer and distiller, reviving local economies, while lowering the carbon footprint for brewers and distillers.”
— Ron Silberstein
“Use the best grain you can get. Get the moisture and temperature right. Drink beer.”
— Karl DeJonge
I can produce malt that meets all the technical specifications that are ideal. But when it comes down to flavor, that has to be related more to the variety than the processing techniques. I picked our Pale Malt variety because when I went to the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre malting class several years ago, the director said the Cerveza variety- which has a great name- was developed with craft beer in mind. I said, well I’ll give that a try. It works well with my system, and I get good numbers— high extract, high friability, low beta-glucan, decent enzymes— so I’ve stuck with it.”
— Tom Hutchinson
“My brother and I are 5th generation farmers. Our malt is personally delivered by us, and everything else too from the ground up. We like the connection with the customer. Beverage flavors, freshness, traceability, family farms— are the core values of the companies we work with. Malt then becomes a platform for explaining ag and food systems to people, how the world actually works to get food to your pantry.”
— Hillary Barile
“This year’s crop of Violetta barley featured plump kernels with low protein, perfect for creating a low color malt with high extract. We attribute our malthouse’s growth to our growers’ commitment to quality, and to our ever-strengthening relationships with our farm partners. All of this has allowed us to expand contracted acreage throughout our network and strengthen our commitment to Malt With A Mission.”
— Brent Manning
“Farming is the beginning of all we do. Long before we’re malting barley, we’re tending the seeds that become your future beer. Farming is food. Farming is beer. Farming is life.”
“It’s not going to surprise anyone that great malt starts with great barley, and great barley starts in the field. Being actively involved with your growers and their farming practices will help to better understand, and influence the quality of barley you’ll be working within your malthouse. It’s really about education. One of the most valuable sources for us has been the Craft Maltsters Guild, which has been vital in providing us with the skills and knowledge to produce the highest quality malt. Whether it be the conference, the forum, webinars, workshops, or even the contacts we’ve made through the Guild, it will enable maltsters access to the knowledge required to make consistently high-quality malt.”
— Stu Whytcross
“Our quality malt starts in the field. Finding a variety that works for your farmers is key. If they cannot grow quality barley, then we cannot make quality malt.”
— Chad Brown
Want more malt quality advice? Check out these tips from our 2021 Malt Cup winners.
Photo courtesy of Voyager Craft Malt.