Melanoidin Malt Guide

The Ultimate Melanoidin Malt Guide for Beer Brewing

Melanoidin Malt is a wonderfully kilned malt produced by the Weyermann Malts Company. This multi-purpose specialty malt offers numerous unique brewing qualities and properties. It delivers a rich, intense malt aroma and a bold malt flavor with lovely undertones of freshly baked cookies and pure honey.

It greatly increases levels of smoothness, enhances mouthfeel, adds body, and promotes flavor stability. This specialty malt offers high levels of acidity, excellent friability and can modify both starches and much-needed proteins. Additionally, this wonderful beer malt adds a beautiful bold amber to red and dark beers. Before we go into our Melanoidin Malt Guide, let’s look at the pros and cons of Melanoidin malt.

Pros and Cons of Melanoidin Malt

Pros

  • Wonderfully kilned specialty malt from the Weyermann Malt Company
  • Numerous unique brewing qualities and properties
  • Rich, intense malt aroma
  • Bold malt flavor with lovely undertones of freshly baked cookies and pure honey
  • Increases levels of smoothness
  • Adds body
  • Promotes flavor stability
  • Adds a beautiful bold amber to red and dark beers

Cons

  • Melanoidin Malt is an exceptional malt. I am unable to come up with a suitable con at this time

What Does It Taste Like?

Melanoidin Malt is a multi-purpose specialty malt that offers high levels of acidity. It delivers a lovely malt flavor followed by delicate undertones of freshly baked cookies and pure honey.

The Kilning Process

Kilning is a process whereby the malt is dried or roasted until it develops the final desired taste, aroma, and brewing qualities. A malt that has been kilned or roasted above 90 degrees C (194 degrees F) will develop “melanoidins” which are compounds responsible for the rich malty flavors found in most dark malts.

These wonderful compounds are produced in the final stages of the process when amino acids, proteins, and sugars are reduced. A malt that hasn’t been kilned will produce an awful “green” tasting beer with flat aromas and tastes. The kilning process usually takes three to five hours at temperatures between 90 degrees C (194 degrees F) and 140 degrees C (284 degrees F).

What Does It Smell Like?

Melanoidin Malt is perfectly kilned and delivers a bold, intense malt aroma. Although extremely versatile, the quality aromatic properties are what this malt is most prized for.

What is Melanoidin Malt Used For?

Melanoidin Malt is a versatile and multi-purpose specialty malt. It is highly prized for its aromatic and flavoring qualities. It greatly enhances smoothness, adds body, and promotes flavor stability. Additionally, it adds a wonderful bold amber when added to red and dark beers.

How Much Melanoidin Malt Should You Use?

Melanoidin malt offers bold brewing characteristics, and you should pay close attention to how much you use. Due to the bold qualities, it can be easy to overwhelm other delicate flavors in the beer. I recommend that you use no more than 2%-3% Melanoidin malt in your brew.

This will gently enhance the malt aromas and flavors and provide a wonderful toasted background flavor. You will find that some recipes call for 5%, 6%, and 10%. If you are new to the world of home-brewing, I suggest you experiment with each one to understand the effects of Melanoidin malt on your beer fully.

Melanoidin Malt Substitutes

Below are four quality substitutes for Melanoidin Malt:

  • Vienna Malt: Vienna Malt (Weyermann Vienna Malt) is another fantastic Lager-style malt produced by the Weyermann Malts Company. It is expertly made from premium two-row German spring barley and is gently kilned for around three to four hours. It offers strong malty flavors with soft notes of hazelnut, almond, and pure honey. Vienna malt adds body, improves mouthfeel, increases levels of smoothness, and adds a beautiful golden glow to beer.
  • Biscuit Malt: Biscuit Malt (also known as Chateau Biscuit Malt) is a rare and unique malt produced in Belgium. This exquisite malt is first lightly kilned and then lightly baked at up to 160 degrees C (320 degrees F). Biscuit malt is commonly used in Porters, Brown Ales, and English Ales. As the name suggests, it offers a lovely biscuit flavor with notes of saltine crackers. This is an excellent malt for home-brewers as it is easy to work with and extremely forgiving.
  • Light Munich: Light Munich Malt (Weyermann Munich Type 1 malt) is a lovely kilned lager-style malt that is made from premium all-natural two-row spring barley grown and sourced in Germany. It offers a bold flavor of rich malt with lovely aromas of freshly baked bread, natural honey, and rich caramel. Light Munich Malt offers interesting and robust malt qualities such as enhanced mouthfeel, increased levels of smoothness and mouthfeel, full-body, and a lovely amber glow.
  • Brown Malt: Not many people are aware that Brown Malt was traditionally made from Green Malt. To produce green malt, the malt is removed from the germination floor prematurely. The modern-day William Crisp Brown Malt is a premium roasted specialty malt. It is typically used in older brewing traditions and English ale-style beer and is commonly found in Porters. Brown malt offers tastes of roasted nuts with moderate levels of bitterness. Additionally, it adds a beautiful dark amber to the beer.

How It All Began

The Weyermann Malt Company started from humble beginnings in Bamberg, Germany. On the 4th October 1879, Founder Johann Baptist Weyerman acquired a roasting drum and a tarpaulin and set his equipment upon the property of his in-laws. At that point, it was known as the Weyermann’s Malzkaffee Fabrik.

In 1896 the company received numerous prizes and international awards for their first registered trademark, “Gambrinus.” In 1908 the company introduced the CARA-brand, starting with CARAPILS and later introducing CARAMUNCH, CARAHELL, CARADUNKEL, AND CARAFE. These malts put the company on the map, and today the Weyermann Malts Company is one of the largest malts producers in the world.

Popular Beer Styles That Use Melanoidin Malt in the Brewing Process

Below are five popular beer styles that use Melanoidin Malt in the brewing process:

  • Kellerbier: Kellarbier is a delightful German Lager that originated in Franconia, Bavaria towards the end of the middle ages. This fine beer is traditionally brewed without the use of refrigeration, with brewers brewing their beer in the winter months and then lagering them in deep cold caves. Kellerbier offers tastes and aromas of wholesome bread and malt, with a hint of herbs, pepper, and spice. These lovely notes are complemented by a medium to high hop bitterness and followed by a bitter, dry, and refreshing finish. Kellerbier offers an ABV of between 4.7% and 5.4%.
  • Bock: Bock beer was first produced in Einbeck, a German Town in Lower Saxony. This type of beer was known as Ainpockisch Bier and was considered to be one of the greatest luxuries in medieval times. Similar to authentic IPA (India Pale Ale), Ainpockisch Bier was brewed to be significantly stronger with large amounts of quality hops. This was done to preserve the brew over long distances. Bock beer is brewed under the Beer Ordinance, which states that Bock and all strong beers, must have an Original Gravity of 16% or higher. Bock beer offers lovely tastes and aromas of rich, expertly smoked malt. A remarkable and memorable finish follows high levels of hop tastes and bitterness. Bock beer offers an ABV of 7%.
  • Scottish Ale: Scottish Ale originated in Edinburgh, Scotland, in the 1800s. This strong Ale is dominated by malt as the region is unsuited for hop cultivation. It offers a thick, soft mouthfeel with bold malt tastes and aromas and soft notes of creamy caramel. The finish is smooth and refreshing. Scottish Ales are easy to drink and offer an ABV of between 2.8% and 5.3%.
  • Amber Ale: Amber Ale is a new beer style first produced in the United States in the 1980s. Passionate brewers in California and the Pacific NorthWest created this wonderful beer, and it quickly gained popularity all over the United States and Europe. This outstanding beer style offers beautiful aromas and tastes of rich caramel, chocolate, and toasted malt. The sweetness is expertly balanced with medium to high levels of hop bitterness. The finish is thirst-quenching and rewarding. Amber Ale offers an ABV of between 4.5% and 6.2%.
  • Irish Red Ale: Irish Red Ale originated in Kilkenny, Ireland, and dates back to a brewery opened by Daniel Sullivan in 1702. Irish Ale is easy drinking with lovely flavors and aromas of creamy caramel malt, rich toffee, and buttered toast. English hops adequate supply levels of hop bitterness which are followed by a dry, bitter, and refreshing finish. Irish Red Ale offers an ABV of between 4% and 6%.

Popular Commercial Beer Brands That Use Melanoidin and Other Types of Malt Producing Their Beloved Brew

Below are six quality commercial brands that only use Melanoidin and other types of quality malts when producing their beloved brew:

  • Spaten Oktoberfestbier: Spaten Oktoberfestbier is a world-class beer produced by the Spaten-Franziskane-Brau GmbH in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. This fantastic medium-bodied beer is specially created for the greatest beer festival on the planet and offers a rich and textured palate with lovely tastes and aromas of authentic roasted malt. Bold hop characters offer an exceptional balance between sweet and bitter and a finish that is smooth and refreshing. Spaten Oktoberfestbier is widely considered to be one of the finest beers on the market and offers an ABV of 5.9%.
  • Carbonator Doppelbock: Carbonator Doppelbock is a rich and malty German-style Lager made by the Glenwood Canyon Brewpub in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. This brew is expertly made using German Lager Yeast, Melanoidin malt, and a mixture of premium Munich malts. The result is an outstanding beer with complex and bold malt aromas and tastes. Medium to high levels of hops bitterness is followed by a remarkable finish that is both silky smooth and thirst-quenching. Carbonator Doppelbock is an interesting take on a German-style Lager produced in the United States and offers an ABV of 11.5%.
  • Sierra Nevada Pale Ale: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is an outstanding Pale Ale proudly produced by the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Fletcher, North Carolina. This is a “must try” beer that has been brewed with caramel and two-row row pale malts. It offers lovely aromas and flavors of creamy caramel malt, fruity yeast, and floral hops. Perle and Magnum hops provide bitterness and balance, with Cascade being used as the finishing hop. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale delivers a finish that is bitter, rewarding, and refreshing and offers an ABV of 5.6%.
  • Anniversary Ale: Anniversary Ale is made by the Firestone Walker Brewing company in California. This incredible brew is tasty and dark with complex aromas and tastes. Upfront you encounter rich notes of juicy cherries, dark chocolate, roasted barley, and bitter coffee, with light undertones of mature oak. Anniversary Ale is brewed using Amarillo, Mosaic, Centennial, Citra, and CTZ hops. They deliver fresh hop aromas and tastes with medium to high levels of hop bitterness. The finish is remarkably smooth, refreshing, and rewarding and keeps you wanting more. Anniversary Ale offers an ABV of 5.8%.
  • Grateful Red: Grateful Red is a crazy Imperial Irish Red Ale proudly produced by the Absolution Brewing Company in Torrance, California. This Imperial Irish Red Ale is an Absolution Brewing tribute beer and is all about malt and hops. These two ingredients completely dominate this beer. It is hopped like an authentic IPA with lovely malty notes from the Melanoidin malt. The finish is smooth and refreshing with extreme levels of hop bitterness. Grateful Red offers an impressive ABV of 11.3%.
  • Dave’s Pale Ale: Dave’s Pale Ale is a classic and respected Ale made by Oskar Blues in Lyons, Colorado. Upfront, you get exquisite aromas of fresh hops and rich malt with soft notes of fresh grapefruit and earthy pine. Flavors of citrus, zest, floral, and pale malts are followed by a smooth, bitter, and refreshing finish. Dave’s Pale Ale is expertly brewed, very drinkable, and offers an ABV of 6.5%.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: What does Melanoidin Malt taste like?

Answer: Melanoidin Malt is a wonderful specialty malt from Weyermann. It is unique, multi-purpose, and versatile and offers lovely tastes and aromas of rich malt with soft notes of freshly baked cookies and pure honey.

Question: Does Melanoidin Malt help with head retention?

Answer: Yes, although not a primary or even a secondary function Melanoidin malt does enhance head retention. Malts that are high in dextrins and proteins enhance head retention and body by allowing the proteins to act as a structural component within the foam. Once they encounter other positive foam stabilizing substances, the hydrophobic malt proteins move up towards the foam, thus enhancing head retention.

Question: Does Melanoidin Malt need to be mashed?

Answer: Yes, Melanoidin malt must be mashed. Other types of malts, such as caramel/crystal malts undergo a vigorous “stewing” process which results in pre-converted sugars. Pre-converted sugars (caramel/crystal malts) can simply be placed in hot water to begin extracting fermentable sugars. Melanoidin malt does not undergo the “stewing” process therefore needs to be mashed to begin extracting fermentable sugars.

Question: What is a good substitute for Melanoidin Malt?

Answer: Melanoidin Malt is expertly kilned to release its rich bold tastes and aromas. Malts that undergo the same kilning process as Melanoidin malt include Brown, Mild, Vienna, Biscuit, Munich, Vienna, and pale Ale. These malts display similar qualities and are good options as malt substitutions.

Question: Who makes Melanoidin Malt?

Answer: Melanoidin Malt is made by the Weyermann Malting Company in Bamberg, Germany. The Weyermann Malting Company has been producing quality malts for over 140 years. Today, Weyermann is one of the largest malt manufacturers in the world, with numerous global brands making use of their prized malt.

Question: Is Melanoidin malt a crystal malt?

Answer: Melanoidin malt is not a crystal malt. The two are quite different. Crystal malt undergoes a different process to Melanoidin. They have more dextrins and are substantially sweeter. Crystal malt can also produce vastly different tastes when compared to Melanoidin malt.

Conclusion

Melanoidin Malt is an incredible specialty malt from Weyermann. It is multi-purpose and versatile with numerous quality brewing qualities and characteristics. This exceptional malt is highly prized and sought after for its rich, intense malt aroma. It offers a bold malt flavor with lovely undertones of freshly baked cookies and pure honey.

Melanoidin malt greatly enhances mouthfeel, adds body, and promotes flavor stability. Additionally, this fine malt delivers high levels of acidity, excellent friability can modify both starches and proteins and adds a beautiful bold amber to red and dark beers.

I love this malt. It is an all-in-one Super Malt that brings so much to the table. Except for it needing to be mashed to extract fermentable sugars, it does everything else for you. If you enjoy malty flavors, full-bodied, and dark-colored beers, this is a great option.

If you want to expose softer or more delicate flavors in the beer, use around 2% to 3% Melanoidin Malt. If you enjoy dark Lager, dark Ales, and Doppelbock style beers, you can add up to 10% melanoidin malt to your brew.

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