Quality is a pillar of the Craft Maltsters Guild’s work, and we’re proud to honor malthouses dedicated to best practices each year in the Malt Cup. This year’s winners shared their pro tips for producing the best malt possible.

Select Wisely

“Producing high-quality malt begins in the field with a selection of barley.  It continues through storage, cleaning, transportation and carries over to the malthouse. Consistency, documenting, and having a watchful eye helps to make the best malt. Having those pieces in place is the start of the puzzle. Utilizing our lab results, feedback from brewers, and our own brewing experiences have helped to mold the products into what they are now. There is no magic bullet, it is hard work and dedication to the production across the board.”
— Mike Meyers, Root Shoot Malting

Pay Attention To Process

“We trust that the best quality comes from teamwork, where each member does his best. Certainly, barley management (cultivation-selection-storage) is the first step, then process control, quality control and equipment maintenance are central, but definitely, the most important thing is the love for a good job: when I produce a malt, I think how you could be happy tasting a good beer made from that malt.”
Dr. Gian Franco Regnicoli, Malteria Italiana Artigianale

Continue Your Education

“When I attended the Canadian Malting Technical Center in Winnipeg, Manitoba for a two-week training I learned about a variety from Canada that was said to be specifically bred for craft beer.  It has become our mainstay variety and, of course, did very well in this year’s Malt Cup.”
— Tom Hutchinson, Gold Rush Malt 

Use Your Senses

“Familiarize yourself with how your grain looks, smells and feels and how it changes throughout your process. Taste your malt as often as you can- chew it, hot steep it, and seek out beers that showcase it (of course, we’re all doing that already). Malt quality data can provide fantastic information and validation about your process and products after the fact, but well-practiced senses are the best tools for real-time insight.”

— Curtis Davenport, Admiral Maltings

Cultivate Community

“We strongly feel that sensory and data collection AND reaction are key to quality malt production, but another very important aspect that cannot be overlooked is also one of the things that set craft malt apart, which is the creation and nurturing of a feedback loop with the brewers and distillers we work with. This is not just for maintaining quality, but also for the development of new products. We should be constantly looking to innovate, and not just with our products but with our relationships.”

— Chris Schooley, Troubadour Maltings

Want more malt quality tips? Check out these articles in our archive!