There’s nothing quite like a refreshing beer. But honey malt may just guide you to unique, pleasing flavors and your best homebrewing— or drinking– experiencing yet. Honey malt is making a splash for signature, flavorful craft beers that may just become a new go-to.
One of the latest beers featuring honey malt flavors? Kichesippi Beer made news by pairing with a local farm to produce a flavorful, lively new beer. The Canadian-based company wanted to offer some crowd-pleasing and new– but one that fits with their unique mission and branding.
The company is situated in Western Ottawa and focused on brewing beers with great service and care. They also aim for consistency in quality with unique, personalized touches. And so far, that seems to apply to their newest beer.
Partnering with a local farm, the new brew features a two-part brewing process and allures with a malt-forward palate, alongside that signature honey aroma and graham cracker and spice. Floral notes round out a unique but versatile beer.
But it’s not just Canadian companies that are using honey malt to add warmth to their brews. Here’s all you need to know about honey malt.
In this Honey Malt guide, I’ll start with a basic discussion of the importance of malts and finding the best malt. Next, I’ll discuss what honey malt is, how it’s used, and where to buy it. I’ll even add in some recipes if you want to try homebrewing with honey malt for yourself.
What is the Purpose of Malt?
Malt is one of the most important ingredients used for beer brewing. It’s also a common ingredient for many other purposes. Malt is used for fermentation, as well as supplying flavor.
Malt can be found in beer, but also milkshakes, candy, and countless otter foods and drinks. Described as one of the most versatile and useful ingredients, it’s important to understand what it is and how it’s used.
What is Malt?
It can come in many different forms but barely is the most common. Other widely used forms of malt include wheat, rice, corn, and rye.
Malt has a sweet taste due to the dried grains which have been soaked in water and germinated. During this process, sugars are released and enzymes develop. Both aid the fermentation process later. When prepared, the malt becomes a sweet and viscous product that’s used in everything from brewing to baking.
What is Malt Used for in a Beer?
Malt is an important component of brewing beer. Grains are fundamental to beers, and malts are the most favored base to start with, particularly for all-grain beer.
Malt extracts may also be used as a sweetening agent and to enhance or develop flavors. As both a fermenting agent and flavor enhancement, malts are responsible for many characteristics of the most popular beers. As such, it makes sense the type of malt used will have a dramatic effect on your result.
Which Beers Use Malt?
Malt is a key ingredient in some of your favorite beers. With millions of tons of malt brewed every year for beer alone, that should come as no surprise.
You can find malt in almost all beer, aside from gluten-free beer. Porter and stout are especially known for their malts, as are many ales. Thus, the malt you use can greatly impact your experience of beer.
Which Malt is Best for Beer?
In truth, there is no one best malt for beer. Every malt brings different and unique characteristics. However, different characteristics can help you decide what type of malt makes the most sense.
What is the Difference Between 2 Rows and 6-Row Malt?
The most widely used form of malt is 2-row, especially outside of the United States. 2-row or 6-row indicates the number of heads. The advantage of 2-row over 6-row is that the barley grows plumper and tends to be more consistent. It’s also preferred for extracts and syrups due to its higher concentration of flavor.
How do You Choose a Malt for Beer?
Your next step is to select a base malt that exhibits the flavors and characteristics you desire. Malts should have a flavor profile and may also include information about methods used during the process.
Tests can indicate qualities such as protein levels, color, and texture. The lower the moisture content, the longer malts can be stored.
If you’re looking for a nutrient-rich option or one to enhance yeast, look for higher protein content. Premium quality barley falls at the germination of 95% or above and protein ranging from 9.5% to 12.5%.
Regions also influence the flavor of malts. As such, one type of malt will not taste the same from one region to another. British malts are famous for pleasant biscuits and bread-like flavors, for example.
What is Honey Malt?
Honey Malt is a unique malt used mostly in pale and medium ales. It’s noted for a heavy malt presence, coupled with signature sweetness. Honey malt isn’t cloying in its sweetness. Rather, the sweetness is versatile and uplifting.
Does Honey Malt Taste Like Honey?
Rather than one-note, the best honey malt provides layers of flavors. In this way, honey malt is an excellent choice for at once making approachable but also pleasantly flavorful ale.
Those flavors feature bread crust, toast, grain, and pretzel notes. The bready and lightly salted notes complement honey-forward flavors, all balanced with just a touch of tartness,
How is Honey Malt Made?
Oxygen is limited while the malt is sprouting. By cutting off oxygen, the grain heats upon its own accord, producing sugars and nuanced, rich malt notes.
This unique process allows for signature sweet but nuanced flavors. The honey malt is then gently kilned, producing a light golden hue and the flavors that honey malt is known for. It’s during the kilning process that the tarter notes can be detected.
Is Honey Malt a Crystal Malt?
Honey malt is unique in that it’s not easily classified. Since the process is self-stewed, it can’t be classified as a crystal malt, nor an acid malt. Crystal malt is traditional for many British beers and steeped and germinated like other classic malts, then processed with high moisture content. To be classified as an acid malt, the malt must be exposed to lactic acid fermentation.
It’s also not a toasted malt, as toasted malts refer to specialty mats that are roasted and processed at high temperatures. So in this regard, honey malt is in a category of its own, thus explaining its distinctive characteristics.
Does Honey Malt Have Gluten?
Honey malt, like other malts, is not gluten-free. Malt and malt-related products are naturally created with gluten. Sometimes, teff and buckwheat are processed for gluten-free malts and beers.
Is Honey Malt Vegan?
Honey malt doesn’t have honey in it. Rather, it’s called honey malt for its light hue and its flavor when it’s prepared. You get a honey-like flavor based on the unique processing. Most malts are indeed vegan.
How do You Use Honey Malt?
Honey malt is a way to bring out unique and layered flavors to a craft beer or ale. With its light hue and friendly but expressive flavor profile, it complements many flavors.
To bring out the sweetness, just a touch of money, as well as floral flavors, can be used. You can likewise bring out the tartness. I like that honey malt is at once unique but also practical for playing with flavor profiles and crafting a unique beer.
Does Honey Malt Need to be Mashed?
Honey malt does not require mashing– it can be steeped instead. However, many popular recipes may have you do an in-between option: a mini-mash.
A mini-mash is a partial mash. Normally, 3 to 6 pounds of grain are mashed with a light amount (3 to 4 pounds) of malt extract. This allows flavors to develop and be extracted but doesn’t go the step of converting the starches into sugars.
This makes sense for something like honey malt, which produces sugars when the oxygen supply is constricted. You will find recipes that tell you to do a full mash- but it’s technically not needed.
How Much Honey Malt Should You Use?
The best rule of thumb is to use about 1 pound of malt extract (syrup) for each gallon for a lighter beer or ale. 1.5 pounds per gallon yields a more robust, flavorful beer. As far as regular malt, your best bet is to refer to individual recipes.
You can experiment with proportions after you get a sense of the flavor and what your desired outcome is. Honey malt is not too different from other malts in this sense.
What Malts Are Popular Aside from Honey Malt?
Honey malt is a great option, but it certainly isn’t your only option. There are several other popular malt options, most notably the following:
Caramel Malt, as the name suggests, imparts a lovely caramel flavor. Through an additional stewing process, this malt takes on a lovely graham cracker and toasted flavor and exudes a reddish hue. You may also notice bready notes, all for a crisp but unique finish. Buy Caramel Malt Here.
Chocolate malt can be used in milkshakes– but it’s actually used in beer as well. Perfect for stouts and porters, chocolate malt imparts notes of coffee and bittersweet chocolate for a rich, robust flavor. Buy Chocolate Malt Here.
Roasted malt refers to a broad classification of malts that have been prepared at higher temperatures. The deep roast presents with notes of biscuit, caramel, and even bits of chocolate.
Roasted malts vary, but they’re a rich yet balanced touch to many beers. Coffee and chocolate malts can also fall under this category. Popular for deep brown beers and stouts, it’s a go-to if you’re looking for rich flavor. Buy English Roasted Malt Here.
Where Can I Buy Honey Malt?
You can buy honey malt from beer specialty and supply stores such as Homebrewers Outpost, Northern Brewer, Label Peelers, Midwest Supplies, Adventures in HomeBrewing, and Michigan Brew Supply.
Of course, many of these products can be purchased on Amazon as well. Just make sure you’re buying from a reputable seller and do pay attention to the ratings and descriptions. However, I don’t recommend More Beer, as it has a failing rating from the BBB.
Gambrinus Honey Malt (5 Lb)
This honey malt is made by Gambrinus, a brewing company based in San Antonio, Texas. It’s best known for selling and marketing Shiner Beers, which are produced in Texas but available throughout the United States.
Shiner sells popular bocks, lagers, and other drinks. This highly-rated honey malt is first produced in Canada, with a light brown hue and features a slightly nutty accent to the classic honey flavor. Buy Here.
Northern Brewer Honey Malt
You can purchase this honey malt by the pound or buy a 55-pound bag. This lightly kilned, toasted malt is one of my top recommendations. Produced by a small malting company based in British Columbia, the honey malt is processed for intense malt sweetness with balanced astringency and honey flavors, all with a golden hue. Priced at $1.99 per pound unmilled, $2.24 per pound crushed, or $94.99 for a 55 lb bag. All orders over $49 come with free shipping. Buy Here.
Midwest Supplies Gambrinus Honey Malt
If you like the Gambrinus brand and don’t mind waiting longer for your honey malt, I prefer this option to Amazon’s listing. Supplied from a reputable, specialty company, you’ll get the same quality Canadian-sourced honey malt.
This malt is lightly kilned and has distinct sweetness with bold honey tones, which can be used for up to 10% of the grist. Priced at $1.49 per pound, unmilled, or $1.74 per pound crushed. For many, buying the 55 lb bulk option will be cost-effective, at $69.99. Buy Here.
Briess American Honey Malt 1 lb
Now on sale for $2.57, this 1lb bag is an excellent option if you’re just getting started with honey malt. You can purchase crushed or uncrushed.
The hue is an inviting amber, with copper undertones and slight orange accents. The classic honey flavor is paired with biscuit and toffee for a pleasing, approachable, and versatile option. Buy Here.
What Are Some Recipes that Use Honey Malt?
To get you started, here are some great recipes that use honey malt and/ or emphasize honey flavors. Most of these are blonde or pale ales, with simple ingredients and easy steps to follow.
Honey Malt Pale Ale
This classic recipe is an American Imperial Pale. The balanced recipe pairs honey malt with caramel and crystal malts for a rich but approachable sweet profile. That flavor profile is accented with Citra hops and cascade hops for just the right bitterness. Read Here.
Braggot is a combination between a classic beer and a honey mead, making it a great recipe to try if you have honey malt on hand. This rich recipe is flavorful, pairing wildflower honey, buckwheat honey, and mashed honey malt. That generous honey flavor with floral notes is rounded out with centennial hops. Read Here.
California Common with American Honey Malt
A play on Baggot, this drink pairs hearty Northern Brewer hops with American honey malt for an impressive and refreshing option. A deep golden hue presents with honey-forward and bread-like notes. The specific ingredients in this recipe are intended to produce a more complex flavor. Read Here.
Honey Blonde Ale
This ale is refreshing and perfect for warm weather. The honey blonde ale presents with a golden straw-like hue, with sweet floral notes lacing honey flavors.
The light body presents with a crisp, dry, finish with subdued hops and a present maltiness. Honey malt is paired with pilsner and wheat malts alongside East Kent Goldings hop. Read Here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What Beer is Low in Malt?
Answer: Happoshu is considered to be one of the lowest malt beers, with under 25 percent malt on average. Japanese beer is popular in part because it has a lower tax rate in its country of origin.
The taste is often heavy and even excessively sweet, but some of the best Happoshu have incorporated bitter flavors to balance the typically heavy and sweet flavor profile.
Question: Does Corona Have Malt in It?
Answer: It should come as no surprise that Corona has malt. The main ingredients in Corona include barley malt, as well as corn, hops, yeast, antioxidants, and propylene glycol alginate, which acts as a stabilizer. These are all fair typical ingredients for popular, mass-produced beers.
Question: Are There Beers Without Malt?
Answer: Malt is a fundamental component of beer making. Not only does malt add flavor to beer, but it also is a key ingredient in the fermentation process. As such, malt is needed to produce the carbonation and reacts with yeast and other essential ingredients.
Honey malt might guide you to some of your most unique and flavorful brews yet. Remember only ever to buy honey malt from a reputable seller so you can ensure the quality and authenticity of what ingredients you’re brewing with.