High Roast Malt % Mashes

edited July 7 in Recipes

Continue to push the limit with roasted malt, and loving it.

Just did a "chocolate" bourbon with 30% "dark" roast malt.

  • 10% Midnight Wheat (black as coffee)
  • 10% Chocolate Malt
  • 10% Caramel Malt

Was clearly in stout territory during the mashing process, huge coffee/chocolate flavor profiles. Deep, dark, bitter, complex. This is going to age out wonderfully.

Also did a 7 grain bourbon (ALL THE GRAINS!!@!)

Roast Oat Malt, Biscuit Rye Malt, Caramel Barley Malt, Dark Wheat Malt, Flaked Rice, Briess Sorghum, and of course plain ol' corn.

This one was about 40% roast malt, again, though nothing as dark as the Midnight Wheat or Chocolate Malt in the other batch. Wow wow wow, amazing toasted nut flavor profile, roast toasty. Really didn't know what to expect with this batch, but it was 51% corn to keep it bourbon-ish.

I may need to just dump standard/pale malts from my repertoire, the complexity you get from the roasts is just really wonderful.

There were some old threads here and there talking about keeping the percentages on the low side. If you stay in the lighter roast category, I don't see why you couldn't go 100%, even in some of the mid-level roasts, 50% is in no way too much. Even on the very dark side, it's not at all "too much" at 20-30%.

I see absolutely no reason why you wouldn't just substitute caramel malt for 2 row barley in just about every situation, and yield a far better result.


  • @grim. Your my hero. I did a roasted rye about a year ago where I accidently put in about 20% or roasted Rye in with a wheat rye grain bill and it was glorious as well. Thanks for the post. I am waiting on delivery of a custom order of 1200kg of triticale and rye from a craft maltster and I had forgotten I still have about 50kg of roasted rye left.

  • You just blew me apart. I was looking to do a 700L 100% pale barley malt mash this weekend.

    What yeast are you using. I have two options up for trial as shown below. Suggestions which to start with ??


    800 x 560 - 64K
  • M-1 is king of malt. If you want to stay true to profile - I think M.

  • I use a lot of caramel malt. It's creates some great flavors with much better complexity than pale malt.

    For the heavy dark malts - does the flavor change much with aging? I would assume not. I am not a huge fan of the flavor so I tend to not use much if any.

  • edited July 8

    Initially, the profile is dark/bitter chocolate and coffee, what happens through aging is the oak-derived flavor contributions compliment the bitter profile, shifting it towards much more of a confectionary quality versus the very one-dimensional profile you get right off the still. I feel that it does get toned down a bit as well, but the complimentary flavors have more of an impact.

    I think that’s what originally drove the “that’s too much dark malt” suggestions, not the longer-term results.

    I’d wager a bet that some of this roast/Malliard quality is similar to what you’d get off a fuel-fired still.

  • The “chocolate” bourbon had the distillery smelling like chocolate milk for two days.

  • In my last stout, I kept collecting deep into the tails in other containers and past normal tails is where some great aromas were. a bit scared of putting it with the hearts in the barrel unless it is going for a long time...

  • @richard, I use safspirit M1 and USW6. USW6 is similar to the D-53. Both yeasts have their plusses and minuses. The M1 is very efficient but not as great with the esters and aromas. D-53 is less efficient. I tried a number of straight M1s ie 100% M1 yeast, then I tried 100% USW6. Then one day for the hell of it I tried both together and the sum was better than the individual parts but lately I have been added in a beer yeast to the mix and those latest whiskeys are a LOT better than the straight M1 or USW6 or M1 and USW6. What beer yeast you need to use depends on which type of whiskey your trying to make. If your using a straight malt go for a pale ale yeast. If your doing a wheat add in some wheat yeast. The beer yeasts I am adding I am only adding in at about 10 to 20% of the total starting weight of the yeasts so I am looking for a blend. I really loved the M1/USW6 combination but adding in a beer yeast has made a huge difference in my opinion.

    Just like @grim is saying about the different grains. If you want a very nice clean standard single malt use straight pale ale and use M1 yeast. If you want complexity add in different grains and or different yeast combinations.

  • @DonMateo many thanks ..... I was in actual fact thinking along similar lines with mixed yeast. For this one, I will use just M-1

  • @CothermanDistilling ... How far into tails did you go .... temperature. Cheers

  • Cool topic!

    Love what you're doing @grim

    Spec malts have lots to offer as do yeast varieties.

    I've just run a spec malt mash fermented with M1 & BE-256 (Abbey) ale yeast. I was trying to balance the though put of M1 & the ester profile of a belgian yeast. I'm really happy with how it's turned out. Now to wait a few years to see what different casks do...

  • @richard said: CothermanDistilling ... How far into tails did you go .... temperature. Cheers

    207 on stripping, 204 on spirit run.

  • edited August 17

    I started an all barley malt mash last Friday late afternoon followed by grain in ferment. 125 kg malt for a final 667L mash in volume.

    Mashed out at 72°C and cooled down within the hour to 32°C and pitched M-1 yeast. Left it for the night and checked Saturday morning only to see that temperature was sitting at 38°C.

    My stupidity in that I ought have taken it lower than 32°C because of residual heat energy from within the insulated still and also I had formed a grain cap on surface which was further holding heat in. After emergency temperature correction I dropped the temperature and its set-point to 30°C.

    In any case all seems to be okay this Sunday morning, currently sitting at 5.25% ABV and holding temperature spot on with its PID control with another 82 hours to go.


    800 x 615 - 113K
  • SamSam
    edited August 17

    I did a stout with the below mash bill late last year which just hit 9 months in the barrel and its shaping up nicely. Its at 15% "dark" malts but I feel those could be higher, its shaping up pretty nicely but I feel that if doing it again I would push the dark choc and crystal/shepherds delight a bit higher as I love the finish you get from them.

    Chevallier/Ale    40%
    Munich Malt       25%
    Rolled Oats       12%
    Manuka Smoked     10%
    Dark Choc          4%
    Shepherds Delight  3%
    Dark Crystal       4%
    Light Choc         1%
    Roast Wheat        3%
  • @Sam you could merge the dark & light choc. Consider adding some carafa type 3 to boost the choc and add some coffee notes without the astringency you get from roast barley

  • Thanks mate, I will give that a try.

  • edited August 18

    I've never had the typical brewers astringency issue carry through to distillate, and I'm talking about fermenting and distilling on grain and husk, which if anything, should cause it to be far worse.

  • hey @grim. I just did 4 washes with a high roast washes at about 20% and the washes tasted exactly like a stout and the final whiskey was this really nice rice stout tasting whisky. The white dog is amazing. I put it down in a 100l barrel and in 3 or 4 months I will see how it is. Thanks again for the tips. This time it was an accident but I will definitely be making some more of this. My next run is a straight single malt but after that I am going to do an Irish with lots oats and some roasted rye.

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