Biscuit Malt Guide

Biscuit Malt is a quality specialty malt produced by Dingemans® in Belgium. Biscuit Malt is a lightly roasted malt used in most Belgian Ales, American Ales, and British Ales sold worldwide. Biscuit Malt pairs well with darker roasts and adds a hint of biscuit malt to low-gravity bitters, mild Ale, and Brown Ale.

Dingemans® Biscuit Malt imparts bold biscuit, nutty, and toasted flavors and aromas, preceded by tastes of wholesome freshly baked bread. Biscuit Malt brings out powerful roasted aromas when added to Belgian ales and lagers, with delicate notes of dark malts and dark chocolate.

Biscuit Malt is one of the most used specialty malts in the world and an ideal malt for home-brewers to experiment with when creating their own unique and delicious beers. Biscuit malt is easily accessible and affordable.

This Biscuit Malt guide will explore the history of Biscuit Malt, general characteristics, how to make and use Biscuit malt, Biscuit Malt substitutes, and popular beer styles that use Biscuit Malt in the brewing process

Bottom Line Upfront

Biscuit Malt is one of the most widely used specialty malts on earth and features in most British, Belgian, and American Ales. Additionally, it is ideal for brewing an array of delicious beer styles, including Red Ale, Amber Ale, Bock, Lager, and Pale Ale.

Biscuit Malt is a fantastic malt for all homebrewers, delivering intense tastes and aromas. It pairs well with darker roasts, imparting rich aromas of dark chocolate and dark malts.

Pros and Cons of Biscuit Malt

Pros

  • Quality Malt from Dingemans® in Belgium
  • An Ideal Malt for Most Belgium Lagers, American Ales, English Ales, Oktoberfest/Märzen, and Bock 
  • Only a Small Amount Needed to Effectively Enhance Beer
  • Imparts Delightful, Biscuit, Nutty, and Toasted Flavors and Aromas
  • Soft Undertones of Freshly Baked Bread
  • Adds a Hint of Biscuit Malt to Low-Gravity Bitters, Mild Ale, and Brown Ale.
  • Imparts Delicate Aromas of Dark Chocolate and Dark Malts when added to Belgian Ales and Lagers
  • All-Natural
  • An Ideal Malt for Home-Brewers
  • Easily Accessible
  • Reasonably Priced

Cons

  • Using Too Much Biscuit Malt in the boil can spoil the End Product

The History of Dingemans® and Biscuit Malt

Biscuit Malt

Biscuit Malt is a lightly-kilned specialty produced by the Dingemans® Maltery in Belgium. Founded in 1875, the company has been making and supplying a vast range of quality and all-natural malts. Founder Alexander Dingemans® was one of the malt industry pioneers, starting by trading grain and then producing malt. 

Today, the company is still 100% independent and family-owned. At the reins are Karl and Jan Dingemans, fifth general maltsters, who take care of customer relations, buying, and production.

General Characteristics

The Look

Biscuit Malt starts as light brown husks with a gorgeous golden tinge. The husks are slightly lighter in color when compared to substitutes such as Chateau Biscuit Malt and Victory Malt. 

The Smell

Biscuit Malt delivers delightful warm biscuit and freshly baked bread aromas with a toasty finish. Biscuit Malt brings out roasted aromas when added to Belgian ales and lagers, with soft notes of dark malts and dark chocolate.

Why You Need It

Made by Belgian Dingemans® Maltery, Biscuit Malt is used to impart a wholesome biscuit flavor to beers and other malt beverages. In addition to the warm biscuit flavor, this malt also delivers nutty, freshly baked bread and warm toasty characteristics.

How Much To Use

Biscuit Malt is lightly kilned and can describe as a slightly roasted malt. The flavors and aromas are softer than darker roasts like Munich Malt, but using too much Biscuit Malt can instantaneously spoil your beer.

I recommend that Biscuit Malt should not make up more than 10% of the grist, so if you happen to be brewing a five-gallon batch, then use about one pound of Biscuit Malt. If you find the flavors of the Biscuit malt overwhelming, halve the amount of Biscuit Malt in the boil to soften the malt flavors and aromas.

I know of brewers who use no more than a quarter of a pound in their beer and believe this is enough Biscuit Malt to enhance the flavor of their beer.

How To Make Biscuit Malt

The process of making highly flavored specialty Biscuit Malt is simple yet fascinating. The first thing to do is allow the gorgeous malted barley to germinate for three to five days. The barley is ready when the acrospires are as long as the grain. The next step is to lightly kiln-dry (toast) the germinated barley before roasting it at high temperatures in a drum roaster.

Biscuit Malt should only be drum roasted at high temperatures for a short time until you achieve a color around 25°-30° Lovibond. At first, making Biscuit Malt might seem overwhelming, but it will get easier with some patience and practice.

Biscuit Malt Substitutes

Castle Malting

Below are four quality substitutes for Biscuit Malt:

Chateau Biscuit Malt

Chateau Biscuit Malt is another fantastic example of a quality Belgian Speciality Malt, produced by Castle Malting S.A. in Beloeil, Belgium. Castle Malting S.A. has been creating quality malts since 1868 and is proud to be the oldest malting company in Belgium and one of the oldest family-run malting companies in the world.

Chateau Biscuit Malt offers similar characteristics to Dingemans Biscuit Malt, imparting a warm fresh baked bread taste and aroma. Chateau Malt is more forgiving in the brew and can make up 25% of the grist. Chateau Malt features specialty beers, porters, Brown Ale, and English Ale.

Victory Malt

Victory malt is a delightful malt created by Briess Malts in Germany. In my opinion, Victory malt is probably the closest substitute malt available, with similar flavors and aromas to that of Biscuit Malt. Victory Malt adds a lovely brown color to various beer styles and delivers warm biscuit, nutty, and toasted flavors with undertones of freshly baked bread.

If you are brewing lagers or light lagers, I recommend adding small amounts of Victory Malt to the boil. If you enjoy bold dark malty lagers, you can add up to 25% Victory Malt, roasted to around 29°L, to release additional toasted and biscuit flavors.

Melanoidin Malt

Melanoidin is a prized specialty malt created by Weyermann in Germany. This fine kilned malt has high acidity and delivers rich flavors of freshly baked biscuits and raw honey. Melanoidin malt is versatile and adds body, promotes flavor stability, and produces an exceptionally smooth mouthfeel.

It adds a rich copper-brown color to beers such as Irish red ales, Scottish ales, amber ales, kellerbier, and bocks. Melanoidin is a fantastic malt that all home brewers should try. It has excellent friability, delivering intense aromas and unique brewing characteristics.

Amber Malt

Amber Malt originated in England, and it is my opinion, one of the best British malts available. Amber Malt was created in England and traditionally produced from spring or winter barley. Amber Malts’ primary function is to flavor and color beer when making stouts, porters, bitters, mild ales, and brown ales. Amber malt adds body, a smooth mouthfeel, and a copper-brown colored head.

Popular Beer Styles that use Biscuit Malt in the Brewing Process

beer

Below is a list of six quality beer styles that use Biscuit Malt in the brewing process:

Bock

Originating in Einbeck, Germany, Bock is a style of beer that dates back to the early 1400s. The Northern German town kept the recipe a secret for over 200 years before eventually emigrating to Munich in the South. Bock is a superb beer style with rich flavors of toasted malt and creamy caramel. The malty flavors are proceeded by a trace of mild hop bitterness. 

Bock has a silky smooth mouthfeel, medium carbonation, and a medium-sized head. The finish is smooth and rewarding, with a delicate balance between sweet and bitter. Bock offers an ABV of between 6% and 7%.

Oktoberfest/Märzen

Oktoberfest/Märzen is a delightful lager originating in Bavaria, Munich. Marzen or Marzenbier (March Beer) is lagered (aged) throughout the summer months and traditionally served at the world-famous Munich Oktoberfest in Germany.

Oktoberfest/Marzenbier is medium to full-bodied, with biscuit and freshly baked bread aromas and flavors. It is rich in malt with a moderate trace of hop bitterness. The finish is clean, malty, and thirst-quenching. The colors of this beer style can vary from dark brown to pale with a touch of amber. Oktoberfest/Marzenbier offers an ABV of 5.8%.

Red Ale

Red Ale is a popular pale ale beer style, also known as Irish Ale or Irish Red Ale, originating in Europe. Red Ale gets its name from its reddish color from the perfectly roasted barley and a moderate amount of superb kilned malts.

Red Ale offers intense flavors of rich caramel and authentic butterscotch, preceded by a long and lingering finish. Red Ale offers an ABV of between 3.8% and 4.8%, although some craft beer varieties contain up to 6%.

Lager

Lager-style beers have been around for centuries and originated in Northern Europe in Germany and Austria. All Lagers-style beers feature a specific strain of specialty lager yeast. Traditional lager-style beers feature exquisite dark roasted malts, which result in the gorgeous amber color with a hint of reddish-copper.

Lagers impart lovely notes of freshly baked bread and nutty goodness. These delectable aromas are proceeded by soft undertones of dark chocolate and coffee beans. 

Lagers deliver low levels of hop bitterness and a crisp and refreshing finish. Lagers offer an ABV of between 4% and 6%.

Pale Ale

Pale Ale originated in England, created by George Hogeson from the Bow Brewery, London, United Kingdom. Pale Ale is significantly lighter in color than porter, which was the beverage of choice at the time. 

George Hogeson brewed the first Pale Ale by brewing traditional Ale with an increased amount of hops and much higher alcohol content. Locals immediately recognized he was onto something special, and the popularity of pale Ale gained traction.  

Pale Ale has stood the test of time. Pale Ale is an easy-drinking beer consumed in large volumes all over Britain. Pale Ale is copper in color and imparts fruity notes with moderate levels of hop bitterness. The finish is crisp and refreshing. Pale Ale offers an ABV of 5%.

Amber Ale

Amber Ale is one of my favorite beer styles, originating on the west coast of the United States. Developed by gifted brewers in the Pacific Northwest and California, this beer style is a by-product of American Pale Ale.

The presence of crystal and caramel malts results in a beer that is slightly darker in color (light copper-brown), with gorgeous notes of toffee and toasted grains. It is medium-bodied, has a smooth mouthfeel, and a rich and rewarding finish.

Pale Ales brewed in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Australia are called Amber Ales due to the inclusion of Amber Malt in the brewing process. Amber Ale offers an ABV of between 4.4% and 6.1%.

Popular Commercial Brands That Use Biscuit Malt in their brewing process

Below are three exceptional beers that use Biscuit Malt in the brewing process:

Rough Day IPA

Rough Day IPA

Rough Day IPA is a delightful India Pale Ale created by the Lily Patrick Craft Brewery in Stellenbosch, South Africa. While South Africa is famous for producing outstanding wines and brandies, the country also makes some incredible beers. 

Rough Day IPA is the company’s signature beer, offering unique flavors of lychee, melon, gooseberry, passion fruit, grapefruit, and lime. These bold fruity flavors are perfectly balanced by rich caramel and wholesome biscuit malts and proceeded by a long and lingering finish. This outstanding craft beer offers an ABV of 5.25%.

Hopalong Cascade

Hillbilly Brewing

Hopalong Cascade is a quality IPA proudly produced by the Hillbilly Brewing company in Ridgefield, Washington, United States. The Hillbilly Brewery started like many North Bank Breweries, and today they create exceptional beers from their family-owned production facility in Ridgefield. 

Hopalong Cascade is an outstanding American IPA-style beer dominated by bold tastes and aromas of Cascade Hops. Upfront, you encounter pleasant citrus notes of grapefruit and lime zest, followed by a thirst-quenching finish with moderate hop bitterness. Hopalong Cascade is full-flavored, easy-drinking, and offers an ABV of 5.8%.

Charlies Brown

Charlies Brown

Charlies Brown Ale is a multiple award-winning Northern English Brown Ale created by Mike Formisano in collaboration with the New Belgium Brewing Company.

The New Belgium Brewing Company is well-known for creating bold and crazy IPAs and is applauded for making America’s first carbon-neutral beers. Mike Formisano is the Head Brewer at the Bull N Bear Brewery in Summit, New Jersey, with mountains of brewing passion and experience.

Charlie’s Brown Ale is a delightful reddish/dark brown beer. It delivers rich flavors of sweet malt, chocolate, and caramel, with a rich and rewarding finish. Charlies Brown Ale offers an ABV of 5.2%.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: What Type of Malt is Biscuit Malt?

Answer: Biscuit Malt is an excellent malt created by Dingemans® in Belgium. Although Biscuit Malt is light in color, it falls into the category of roasted malts. This variation of malt is drum roasted at mild temperatures of around 25°-30° Lovibond. 

Question: Is Biscuit Malt and Victory Malt the Same?

Answer: Biscuit Malt is a specialty malt made by Dingemans® in Belgium, and Victory Malt is a specialty malt made by Briess in Germany. Each maltster uses its secret techniques to make its malt, but the end products are similar. Both examples impart flavors and aromas of biscuits, freshly baked bread, nuts, and toast.

Question: Is Biscuit Malt a Crystal Malt?

Answer: Biscuit Malt is not a crystal malt. When making Biscuit malt, the starches in the husks have not converted to sugars before entering the kilning process. When making Crystal malt, a percentage of the starches in the husk are converted to sugar, subsequently caramelizing the sugars before entering the kilning process. 

Question: How Many Types of Malts are There?

Answer: There are two types of malts used in the brewing process. The first type is known as a base malt, and the second type is known as a specialty malt. Brewers will use both varieties in brewing to create determined or particular beer styles. Base Malts lay the foundation for the brew, and specialty malts allow the brewer creativity to produce traditional or unique beer styles.

Question: Do Malt Drinks Contain Alcohol?

Answer: Some malt beverages contain alcohol, while some are non-alcoholic examples. Alcohol comes from the sugars within the barley malt, but this does not mean there will automatically be alcohol content in the beverage. Many consumers assume that all malt beverages contain alcohol, but this is not the case.

Conclusion: Biscuit Malts Guide

Biscuit Malt is a specialty malt created by Dingemans in Belgium. Biscuit Malt is lightly-kilned and used in most Belgian, American, and British Ales. Biscuit Malt imparts bold biscuit, nutty, and toasted flavors and aromas, preceded by undertones of wholesome freshly baked bread. It brings out powerful roasted aromas when added to Belgian ales and lagers, with delicate notes of dark malts and dark chocolate.

Biscuit Malt is a roasted malt that is well toasted and only slightly roasted and is, therefore, an ideal malt for all home-brewers to gain experience. 

The bold aromas and flavors can be overwhelming, so go lightly with the amount of malt until you get the hang of it. Biscuit Malt is used to make an array of beer styles, including Bock, Red Ale, Lager, Amber Ale, Pale Ale, and Oktoberfest/Märzen.

Biscuit Malt is readily available and can be purchased online from northernbrewer, Yakima Valley Hops, Amazon, and castlemalting.com. 

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