A true heritage malt. Developed by Dr Beaven at Warminster Maltings in 1905. The offspring of Plumage and Archer and was the world’s first commercially produced cross-bred barley for brewing.
When brewing Plumage Archer is typified by very sweet, smooth malty flavours.
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.