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Home Made Crystal Malt

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Home Made Crystal Malt by Alex Troncaso Chief Brewer, Little Creatures

Back in my early days of studying brewing I used to do a lot of home brewing, and just had a general curiosity for the process.

One day I found all of my fermenters full but, still wanting to do something brewing related, I decided to make some crystal malt at home - and it even actually worked! Below is the method I came up with, based on my reading about how crystal malt is produced. I'm not claiming that this will be better than what you can buy, but it's a bit of fun at the very least and will make your beer just a bit more ‘yours'.


The basic steps in the process are steeping, stewing and kilning.

Steeping is required to raise the moisture content of the dry malt to approximately 50%. Interestingly, re-hydrating finished pale malt is one method by which crystal malts can be made.

Stewing is the step where the contents of the now re-hydrated malt will be converted to sugars (yes, just like mashing!).

Kilning is the stage where the malt is dried, the kernel contents become caramelised and melanoidins are formed.


  1. Measure out 500g of Pale Malt. I'm sure any Pale Malt will suffice.
  2. Measure 1.5l of water and add to a pot. Add the malt to the water.
  3. Heat the mixture to approximately 45°C and let sit for two hours. Stir occasionally. The warm water temperature assists in water up-take.
  4. After the two hours are up, the malt should be rehydrated. Strain the mixture through a normal kitchen strainer.
  5. Preheat your oven to approx 70°C. Place the wet malt in a baking/casserole dish and level out the grain bed. Put the lid on (if no lid, cover with foil, a plate, or whatever) and put in the oven. Let stew for two hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Note: it might pay to verify the temperature of your oven with a thermometer - I know mine is slightly out.
  6. Once step 5 is complete, remove the lid and for a sort of ‘medium' crystal - increase the oven temperature to 175°C and kiln (bake) for two hours, stirring every 15 minutes. Make sure the grain bed is levelled after stirring. After two hours, you can raise the oven temperature to 200°C and kiln for another 30 minutes for a darker colour. During this time, stir every five minutes. Don't kiln any higher than 200°C as it may burn the malt and might even catch fire!
    Those temperatures are just guidelines, you can play around with lower temps, longer times, whatever, to get different character and colour.
  7. Once the kilning is complete, remove from the oven and cool uncovered. The grains will become crunchy after cooling (ie. when the caramelised insides are cold). Once cool, place in a sealed container and let sit for approximately one week before brewing.
  8. Brew a good English Bitter and enjoy! Happy Brewing!


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