From the HBD Archive
From: (Tony Babinec)
Subject: belgian malts
Date: 1992-07-16 15:33:45 GMT

De Wolf-Cosyns Maltings is one of Belgium's oldest and largest
floor malting plants. They supply many of Belgium's lambic brewers
along with more conventional breweries in Northern Europe. Only
the finest European barley and wheat are used. The barley (all
two-row) and wheat berries are larger than domestic malts. The
dark grains are flavorful and not in the least harsh or astringent.

Here is a listing of the available malts along with color ratings:

Base Malts
pale ale 3.5 - 4.5L
pilsen 1.5 - 2
wheat 1.4 - 1.8

Color Malts
Munich 7 - 8
Aromatic 23 - 28

Caramel Malts
Caramel-Pils 5 - 10
Caravienne 15 - 30
CaraMunich 70 - 80
Special B 150 - 250

Roasted Malts
Biscuit 23 - 33
Chocolate 450 - 550
Black Malt 700 - 800
Roasted Barley 700 - 800

Here are some comments on the malts. Note that Pierre Rajotte's
Belgian Ale book mentions some of these. The color ratings given
above differ a bit from those in Rajotte's book, but the ones
listed above are from the supplier.

The pilsner malt rivals the finest pilsner malt available. It
should be used instead of U.S 2-row or 6-row for such styles as
Trippels, wit beers, and various Specials. Note that George Fix's
Vienna book also argued that Pilsner malt should be the base malt
for the Vienna-Marzen-Fest style. You might also use it in your
best Pilsner.

The Munich and Aromatic malts provide malt aroma, body, and color.
The Aromatic is slightly darker than a dark Munich, and its name
says it all so far as aroma and taste are concerned.

The CaraPils (not to be confused with American Cara-Pils!),
CaraVienne, and CaraMunich are basically very fine crystal malts
comparable to 10L, 30L, and 80L crystal malts you might use. The
Special B is a highly colored caramel malt that, in Rajotte's
words, "...Gives a rich caramel-malt taste. It is used in Scotch
ales and stouts brewed under license in Belgium. Darker Specials
and Abbey beers at times use this type of caramel malt. Its effect
is noticeable in beers, giving lots of additional body and
coloring. Beers using Special B have more well-rounded malt
character than beers colored with only candi sugar." Again, George
Fix in his Vienna book argues for using the finest crystal malts to
avoid astringency in the beer, especially for that style.

At homebrew club meetings, those of us in the Chicago Beer Society
have been able to sample these malts, as the local Siebel
Institute's retail branch had them. NOTE, however, that Siebel
Institute is not a supplier of these malts. Moreover, the Siebel
Institute exists to serve commercial brewing and not the
homebrewing community. I know of a number of suppliers of the
grains. Standard disclaimer here: I have no commercial interest,
but figured that those whose appetites are whetted would want to
know where to get the grains! I don't know prices, so call the

- Tim Norris, Chicago, IL 312-545-4004--Tim runs a basement
homebrew shop. He suggests that homebrew clubs get a collective
order together, but is willing to ship small orders.

- North Brewery Supplies, Franklin, WI 414-761-1018--Brian North
runs a basement homebrew shop located between Milwaukee and
Kenosha. For those of you thinking of getting into kegging, Brian
has all sorts of stuff, and can service and refurbish equipment.
Call from 6-9 pm his time.

- Alternative Beverage, Streamwood, IL--Don't have their phone
number, but their ad is in Zymurgy. Owner Dave Itel (Ittel?) runs
a very complete homebrew and gardening shop. As of this writing,
they either have the grains or will be getting them shortly.

- Great Fermentations of Santa Rosa: I don't have their catalog
with me, but I recall seeing some of the Belgian malts mentioned.

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