In 2014, the Brewers Association published a Malting Barley Characteristics for Craft Brewers white paper. The paper, informed by dozens of brewers, maltsters, growers, breeders, and researchers, concluded “malt flavor” was the most commonly cited gap in the current supply chain.

The Malt Sensory Ambassador program is a grant-funded initiative to help train and advance malt sensory evaluation methods among brewers and allied flavor communities. The program follows the Hot Steep Method, a first-ever malt sensory method validated by the American Society of Brewing Chemists (ASBC). This brand new form of malt sensory was originally developed by scientists Cassie Liscomb, Briess Malt & Ingredients and Lindsay Barr, New Belgium Brewing.

Getting Started Links

Items needed to perform the Hot Steep Method:

Brewing with Briess Blog – Malt Sensory Ambassadors

Base Malt Sensory MapNOW AVAILABLE!

Malt Sensory Ambassadors

Malt Sensory Ambassadors are trained in sensory methods, including the Hot Steep Method, to share flavor outcomes through advanced sensory training. The ultimate goal is to help answer the desire for more diverse flavor choices in specialty and base malt flavor.

Ambassador Team

  • Amy Tamara Fox, Cornell University
  • Joel Alex, BlueOx Malthouse
  • Keith Foster, Foster Malt
  • Chris Fries, Two Track Malting
  • Robin Coffman, Ohio State University
  • Brian Zimmerman, maltster & brewer
  • Hillary Barile, Rabbit Hill Farms
  • Jessica Johnstone, Grouse Malting & Roasting Co.
  • Christian Kapp, Michigan State University
  • Sebastian Wolfrum, Epiphany Malt
  • Shane Maxon & Sam Lewis, Riverbend Malt
  • Cassie Liscomb, Briess Industries 
  • Andrea Stanley, Valley Malt 
  • Chris Schooley, Troubadour Maltings  
  • Lindsay Barr, New Belgium Brewing Company

Read how these breweries have benefited from a Malt Sensory Ambassador experience:

“Before doing sensory with a member of CMG we would arbitrarily smell, chew, and make a mash. After we now have a standardized malt sensory analysis protocol which has helped streamline recipe development, and create better consensus among our brewers before bringing a new malt on board.” Ben Roesch, Wormtown Brewery

“It was a great opportunity for me and our staff to get up close and personal with malt and really get into how they all differ. The malt sensory system brings out aromas and flavors that you won’t get from just eating grain. I’ve never experienced malt in this way and look forward to doing more sessions in the future.” Matthew Steinberg, Exhibit A Brewing 

“The malt sensory I participated in with Valley Malt was eye opening to say the least. People tend to focus only on hop profiles and completely forget how important malt is to a beer. Tasting same styles of malt from different companies based in different geographical areas allowed me to understand the different characteristics that can develop from each maltster.” Katrina Shabo, Wormtown Brewery

Stop Chewing, Start Steeping

If you are interested to learn more about advanced malt sensory methods, or would like to request a visit to your brewery/distillery location, next brewers guild meeting or industry event; please share here:

 “Tasting malt is a vital part of beer formulation. It is amazing how many people are disconnected. Tasting is a crucial part of deciding what grains will be best for your beer.” – John Mallett, Bell’s Brewery and author of Malt: A Practical Guide