Malting Barley

The term malting barley refers to a type of barley which – unlike feed barley – is grown for brewing purposes and therefore fit for human consumption.

Malting barley is converted into malt in the malting plant and is used in a number of ways: as ground malt in breweries, as ground barley malt in the bakery industry, as the basis for malt spirits and whiskeys in the liquor industry, as malt coffee or, for instance, in breakfast cereals. Almost all types of grain can be used for the purpose of brewing and malting. Barley has established itself as one of the main raw materials besides wheat. Barley husks play an important technical role in the brewing process as they form a natural filter bed to separate the wort from the residual grains during the lautering process. Of all cereals, barley also displays the highest activity of starch-degrading enzymes, which plays an important role in the rapid saccharification (literally “to make into sugar”) of starches in the brewhouse. 

Malting barley is made predominantly from two-row summer barley. As a result of plant cultivation, the last few years have seen the development of new types of two-row winter malting barley, whose quality approaches that of summer malting barley. Moreover, types of six-row winter malting barley are also being cultivated, mostly in France.

Malting Barley Quality Requirements

Moisture content (max.)14.5%
Grading > 2,5 mm min.
Determined using a mesh sieve
85 % (70 %)
< 2.0 mm & > 5.0 mm
Kernel damage, max.
• Germination potential, min.
• Winter barley, max.
• Burst kernels

1 %
95 % (93 %)
2 % (4 %)
max. 2 %

Dockage, max.2.5 %
Of which no more than:
Peeled and damaged kernels
Grain impurities
• including grain affected by Fusarium head blight
Miscellaneous impurities 

2.5 %
2.5 %
0.5 %
1 %
Pre-germination, percent dry basis (max.)1 %
Crude protein, min.9.5 %
Crude protein, percent dry basis (max.)11 % (12 %)
Deoxynivalenol (DON), max.1250 ppb
Zearalenone (ZEA), max.100 ppb.

*As a natural product, barley is subject to various factors that determine its quality, such as climatic conditions during the growing season; the soil condition of the cultivation area; the deployment of fertilisers or pesticides as well as production circumstances and the use of processing aids. The product quality may therefore vary from year to year.

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