Malt Flavor: Why the Craft Industry Gives a Chit

This year at CBC, Cassie Poirier, Briess Technical Service Rep, joined Lindsay Barr of New Belgium Brewing Co. and Andrea Stanley of Valley Malt to give a presentation on “Malt Flavor: Why the Craft Industry Gives a Chit.” Over the last three years, these ladies have been working together with the American Society of Brewing Chemists (ASBC) to fill in flavor gaps within the malting industry. In 2014, the Brewers Association identified flavor as the most commonly cited gap in the malting barley supply chain. At this time, there was no standard method of preparing malt for sensory evaluation and no common language to describe malt sensory perceptions. This prevented industry stakeholders from effectively communicating about malt flavor.

In 2016, Cassie and Lindsay co-authored the first ASBC validated and approved a method to prepare a malt for sensory evaluation– The ASBC Hot Steep Malt Sensory Evaluation Method (HSM). The HSM provided an affordable solution to close part of the previously identified malt flavor gap. Shortly thereafter, Cassie, Lindsay, and Andrea began working together with the ASBC to create a base malt lexicon. The project resulted in the Base Malt Flavor Map, released in 2017 by DraughtLab, a sensory software company co-founded by Lindsay Barr.

With a standard method to evaluate and a common language to describe malt flavors, it was time to go to work and see if base malt flavor really mattered. The three women collaborated on a study to look at how malt flavor preference translated to beer flavor preference. The outcome of the study demonstrated that both preference and non-preference translated from malt to beer flavor.

At the 2017 AHA National Homebrew Con in Minneapolis, Cassie invited her seminar audience of nearly 200 homebrewers to participate in the blind Helles style beer tasting for this study. Her results were stunning. The breakdown of flavor preference amongst the homebrewers was almost identical to the Briess, New Belgium, and Valley Malt sensory panels – a strong case to support that base malt flavor really does matter!

For more information, stay tuned to the Brewers Association announcements – as all CBC participants and BA members will be able to access full recording of this presentation and study results once posted to the Members page, along with all the other great seminars at CBC 2018.

These “Malt Sensory Babes” are more than brains and beauty – If you had a chance to attend the CBC Presentation, over the sound system you would have heard John Mallet’s voice thundering loud, introducing the ladies to the stage:

 “All the way from Massachutes, Justice Ruth Barley Ginsberg! Oh you thought you knew Midwest nice, now there’s Midwest not nice, Cassie Catastrophe! The high plains drifter from the steeps of Colorado, please welcome Lindsay the Barbarian!”

Why you might ask?  The night before these gals participated in the “Brewersters Arm Wrestling League CBC Showdown” which was a fundraiser for Southern Girls Rock Camp, an organization supporting a culture of positive self-esteem and collaboration among girls & gender non-conforming youth while building community through music.

Posted in Events, Technical & QC, The Briess Beat | Tagged , , , , , , , , , .
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