Barley classification delivers leadership to increase the value and enhance the sustainability of Australia’s barley industry.

Varieties accredited as malting barleys follow established evaluation and testing procedures in association with the Malting and Brewing Industry Barley Technical Committee (MBIBTC), Pilot Malting Australia (PMA) and Pilot Brewing Australia (PBA).

Grains Australia continues the approach of the peak industry body Barley Australia, which merged with Grains Australia in 2022, and seeks to represent the interest of all stakeholders of Australia’s barley industry.

The classification of Australian barley is guided by the Malting and Brewing Industry Barley Technical Committee (MBIBTC), which is comprised of technical malting and brewing experts from Australia’s major malting and brewing companies. The MBIBTC is an independent sub-committee of Grains Australia’s Barley Council.

About Australian barley production and markets

According to the Australian Grains Export Innovation Centre (AEGIC), 9-10 million tonnes of barley is produced in Australia each year – grown over almost four million hectares across the southern grain belt of Australia. Of that average annual production, about 30-40% is graded as malting barley. With more than 30% of the world’s malting barley trade, Australia is the world’s largest exporter of malting barley.

What is malt and how is it made?

Malt is a cereal grain, which is usually but not limited to, barley that has been allowed to germinate for a limited period of time prior to undergoing a mild kilning. Malt is produced from the malting process, where raw barley is steeped, germinated and kilned to change the raw barley seed into a friable biscuit-like texture – but it still looks from the outside just like a barley kernel.

It is then easily crushed in the brewery mill in preparation for the sugar conversion that takes place in the brewery mash tun. The malting process converts around 10% of the carbohydrate in the raw grain into fermentable sugars via the process of germination. The malting process prepares the grain for more modification that will be undertaken in the brewhouse.

The malting process involves a multitude of biochemical changes during the germination and growth of the barley grain. Amino acids and reducing sugars combine in different ways to develop colour and flavour compounds. Malt extract is a natural flavouring and colouring that is high in protein and natural sugars and is a major natural energy source. In addition to its use in brewing, it is also widely used in baking, confectionery, breakfast cereals, malt beverages, dairy products, condiments and as a caramel substitute.

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