Malted Barley “Tea” – Part Two

Recently, I wrote a bit about making Malted Barley “Tea’s”, in order to better understand the affects any one grain would have on a finish Beer. That first round definitely opened my senses to the possibilities when designing a recipe. Yet, I did learn a few things from the experience, and want to share this part 2 with you.


Decided this time needed a few more bold flavors, so I picked the following grains:Sonoma County Beer

  • White Wheat
  • Caramunich
  • Chocolate Rye
  • Chocolate Malt

Spent a little less time grinding on each… only a few seconds in my coffee grinder, and the result was much closer to what you’d need for a mash.


Kept an eye on water temp this time, and used my brewing thermometer to get it as close to 158° F as possible. Really wanted to experience the process as it could be during the mash. Much hotter than that, and the flavors seem to get lost in the waters heat (exactly what happened on my first go); Too cold, and the enzymatic reactions don’t occur, so you just don’t get the sugars out to taste.


Ok, ok. Lesson learned. Using Fiestaware coffee mugs may look sweet in pictures, but do absolutely NOTHING in seeing the color impact from your grains. Luckily, I had 4 small glass tumbler’s laying around, but I’m sure you could get these cheap at most any home goods store.


Again, I used our dining room table as the stage for this test. Instead of using just the over head lighting in that room, and leaving our table cloth, I switched things up a bit. We recently picked up Studio lights, which create much better natural effects than our home incandescents. Also, after moving our table cloth, I setup two White back drop boards, in order to get really consisted lighting all around the glasses.

To be honest, that last part was more for the photo’s than actual brewing experiment… But they did help in seeing the water’s color, so I’m calling them a success!

Oh, and I made sure none of our candles had been lit that day, so no more lingering baking spice aroma’s.

Malted Barley Tea

*phew* Quite a few changes this time, so how did the actual tasting part go? Here are my notes:

White Wheat – Straw colored (light yellow); Subtle aroma, mildly sweet, yet only a little flavor.

Caramunich 1 – [Light] Brown colored; Reddish in the middle. Aroma of roasted nuts. Subtle toffee flavor; Tangy, and slightly acidic. Somewhat like a cup of over roasted coffee.

Chocolate Malt – An espresso or french roast coloring. Aroma of wet cardboard, and bitter coffee. Tasted of dark, bittersweet chocolate.

Chocolate Rye – Looks black, like motor oil. Smells spicey, and of damp wood. Tastes like bittersweet chocolate, baking spices (the spice, not the sweet).

Categories: Home Brewing

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3 replies

  1. Should I be embarrassed that I have never heard of Barley Tea’s? What an interesting way to get a better understanding of the malts used in brewing. I’m now on the hunt for small scoops of grain.

    • The Whole Foods near my house carries a full stock of home brewing supplies, including bulk grain. Picked up a few varieties, from dark to light. Got the idea from watching a Dogfish Head video on recipe creation… Apparently it’s a practice they used (to some degree).

      • I got the idea from the Dogfish show to put additive ingredients into Fahrenheit press with beer to see how it would work, but now that I think about it I remember the “tea” talk

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