My local health food store sells various types of grain, including barley, which are labelled "unprocessed". So my question is - can I malt this barley and use this in my homebrew? How does one malt barley?

Also, the store has rye and wheat. Can I malt these grains?

OK, so has anyone here actually made an all-grain brew with home-malted barley?

  • 2
    Start practicing your step mashing procedures. I think its cool to try and malt your own barley, but the quality will be lacking compared to the single infusion malts we are used to using. So a careful step mash would likely be required for the undermodified malt.
    – brewchez
    Jun 13, 2011 at 12:30
  • 1
    As a little bit of an aside, I'd probably want to buy the barley from a feed store (as in farm animal feed store) because you can get a 50lb sack of barley for $15 or so. Then your experimentations will not be so inexpensive!
    – SimonH
    Jun 13, 2011 at 15:25

2 Answers 2


Basically, soak the barley until it starts to sprout. When you malt, you are letting the seed (grain) start to germinate, so it produces enzymes and starts converting its starches into sugars.

There is a pretty detailed how-to article by Dan Carol that has been around for a while.

  • 5
    It's easy to make malt. It's very hard to make good malt.
    – Denny Conn
    Jun 13, 2011 at 15:56
  • @Denny - this is the impression I'm getting !
    – Poshpaws
    Jun 13, 2011 at 16:17

Malting is a simple process, theoretically, but getting it right can be tricky. I'm not speaking from experience; I've never tried it, but I have read about it. It's a topic that probably can't be fully answered in a single post here, but I can point you to a source of more information. There's an inexpensive book you might want to pick up: The Homebrewer's Garden: How to Easily Grow, Prepare, and Use Your Own Hops, Malts, Brewing Herbs. I picked up this book to help with growing hops, but it has a lot of good getting-started information for growing and malting your own barley and other grain.

I'm not associated with the book or amazon, I'm just providing a link for reference. Feel free to buy it or not buy it from any vendor you like.

  • OK, this is useful thanks. I'll get experimenting!
    – Poshpaws
    Jun 13, 2011 at 13:03

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