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Bozeman ★ Montana ★ USA

Montana MaltLab

Maltsters, brewers, distillers and food manufacturers need to predict malt performance. The American Society of Brewing Chemists (ASBC) developed a comprehensive set of well-accepted protocols that evaluate grain and malt quality. We will be evaluating our malt using these assays while adapting the current trend to reduce the sample size suitible for a small malting system.

Measuring the physical characteristics of grain and malt is simple:

  • Test weight - a measure of the density or weight per unit of volume of a grain at a standardized moisture level.
  • Kernel weight - average weights of full grain with the hull, representing the overall yield from the field.
  • Kernel plumpness - the measurement of width across the seed (with hull), reported as % by weight on a 6/64" sieve
Malt friability and other biochemical analyses predicting performance characteristics of malt are more challenging:

  • Deoxynivalenol (DON) content - concentration of the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON, aka vomitoxin) indicating grain infection by the pathogenic fungus Fusarium sp.
  • grain protein percent - total protein measured in unmalted grain which is important for yeast nutrition but at higher levels can be negatively correlated with extract and haze.
  • malt soluble protein percent - water-soluble protein mesured in malt which is important for yeast nutrition but at higher levels can be negatively correlated with extract and haze
  • α-amylase activity - key enzyme in starch degradation, catalyzing the endohydrolysis of (1 → 4)-α-D-glucosidic linkages in polysaccharides containing three or more α-(1 → 4)-linked D-glucose units
  • diastatic power - assay to determine the joint action of α-amylase, β-amylase and any other carbohydrate-degrading enzyme; the most important determinant of starch degradation
  • free amino nitrogen (FAN) percent - critical determinant of yeast nutrition
  • malt extract percent - a measure of the sugars and nitrogenous compounds available for yeast nutrition; a key component of beer yield
  • wort color - derived from boiling barley grain with water during the beer making process
  • wort clarity - estimates potential beer cloudiness; 1=clear, 2=slightly hazy, 3=hazy
  • wort β-glucan content - estimates wort viscosity and ease of filtration; β-Glucans are polysaccharides of D-glucose linked by β-glycosidic bonds that vary by molecular mass, solubility, viscosity and 3D configuration.
Malt and grain analyses are performed with equipment purchased with assistance from Montana Department of Agricultureā€™s Growth through Agriculture program.

Links from assay names go to Trait description pages in the Barley database of The Triticeae Toolbox (T3), the USDA-ARS-NIFA supported database project to evaluate barley varieties from barley breeders and lines for the National Small Grains Collection. Trait pages on T3 list phenotype trials evaluating this trait held in the database.

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About WFT Montana Malters Big Sky Malts Montana MaltLab Gallatin Grains

Montana MaltersĀ® is a Registered Trademark of Western Feedstock Technologies. Patents Pending.
★  205 Haggerty Lane, Suite 190, Bozeman, Montana, USA 59715  ★  (406) 586-8758  ★
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