Malt extract is concentrated brewers wort. You can get it in liquid form, LME (liquid malt extract). Alternatively, you can buy it in a fine, dry granular form as DME (dry malt extract) or spray malt.
As a general rule: 1kg DME = 1.5kg LME.
Malt extract comes in different blends, ranging from extra light to dark. You can also get wheat malt extract.
Pale malt makes up the majority of the ‘grist’ (dry grains that have been mixed together prior to mashing). Pale malt provides the starch which turns initially into sugar in the mash tun and then into alcohol during fermentation.
On the whole, you are likely to use approximately 4 kgs of pale malt per 5 gallons of beer. You can buy pale malt ready-crushed; it costs just a few pence more. Should you wish to do it yourself then you will need an expensive malt-mill. A certain amount of crushing is vital for the consequent brewing process.
Crystal malt provides sweetness and flavour. This will make up around 10% of the grist in a typical recipe. Again, buy it ready-crushed to save you the hassle.
Other Malts Plus Grits
These provide a range of flavours as well as sought after properties (for example, head retention).
Greatly used include:
- Wheat Malt – gives a pleasant flavour
- Wheat Flour – helps head retention
- Torrified Wheat – assists head retention
- Flaked Maize – has a distinct flavour; key for some variety
- Flaked Rice – offers some strength at a low cost, however has minimal flavour – this is more suitable for American lagers
- Dark Roasted Malts – this takes the brew towards dark stouts!