Pronounced flavour, Easily processed, very consistent reliable malt.
The variety Maris Otter® was bred and developed in the 1960’s by Dr GDH Bell at the Plant Breeding Institute in Cambridge by crossing the varieties Proctor and Pioneer and has become one of the most enduring malting varieties in the history of modern barley cultivation.
Maris Otter® has been grown for malting for more than 45 years and its pedigree and track record of delivering, year after year, consistent, processable and flavoursome malt is unsurpassed.
The reliability of Maris Otter® malt quality has allowed brewers to develop, stabilise and maintain many of the world famous English cask conditioned ale brands we know today.
Warminster Maltings, Britain’s oldest working maltings
Situated in the Wiltshire town of the same name, on the western tip of Salisbury Plain, the Pound Street maltings has been continuously making malt for the brewing industry since 1855. Not only that, in defiance of all the 20th century technology which completely overwhelmed the malting industry in the 1960’s, Warminster Malt is still made the traditional way, by hand, on floors, almost totally unchanged from the day the maltings was originally commissioned.
Presided over by Head Maltster, this gentle, natural process prevails today because it is now widely acknowledged that this method produces a superior product particularly suited to the Craft Brewing and Craft Distilling sector.
The current owner, the Hampshire based barley merchant Robin Appel, has, over the last 18 years, undertaken extensive restoration of the Listed Grade 2* complex as well as renewing or upgrading all the engineering. So it is not for no good reason that the staff at the maltings have been dubbed by their customers, and are now universally acclaimed ‘The Malt-stars of Warminster’!
Malt has been made forever, by hand, on floors, a perfectly natural, albeit labour intensive method. But by the mid 20th century, advanced technology brought about the industrialisation of both malting as well as brewing.
But in 1971, with the advent of CAMRA, then, in 2002, with the introduction of Progressive Beer Duty, the market opened up to small independent brewers. The ensuing demand for ‘Real Ale’ has brought about a renaissance in brewing. With this, understandably, a demand for ‘Real Malt’(traditional malt) has followed.
The broad principles of Traditional Malt:
- Steeping in open water vessels over 72 hours to raise the moisture level in the grain to well above 32% at which germination is precipitated.
- Controlled germination, on floors, for approximately 5 days when the modification of the ‘green malt’ from starch to maltose is managed courtesy of hand operated tools.
- Rapid transfer of the ‘green malt’ to the kiln to be dried and cured down to a long term storage moisture of just 4%.
At Warminster Maltings the whole process is conducted within the ambient temperatures of the malt floors, regulated by the opening and closing of the non-glazed windows spaced all along their length. It is a very natural process which allows the individual batches of barley to express themselves to the optimum. This emphasises the character of the malt, and creates the maximum extracts for the brewer.