Base malts make up the majority of the grist in all-grain beer, and the variety is, frankly, astounding. Named based on the formation of corns on the barley stalk (2-row vs. 6-row), the variety (e.g., Maris Otter, Golden Promise, etc), or the region in which it was grown or malted. Includes:
- Barley malts: pale malt, Pilsner malt, Vienna malt, Munich malt, mild ale malt, and more
- Non-barley base malts like wheat malt and rye malt.
- High-kilned malts: responsible for the dark, malty lagers of Europe and have also found a home in some ales because of their unique character. Munich and Vienna malts are the prime examples
- American base malt is generally mild and fairly neutral; British malts tend to be maltier, bready, and biscuit-like.
The European climate gives malts made from Continental barley a clean, "elegant" character. Pilsner malt has a soft, delicate maltiness that practically defines pale lagers. "High-kilned" (heated to a higher temperature at the end of the malting process) base are rof high-kilned malts, although mild ale malt belongs to this category too. The darker color lends these malts a more toasty, malty flavor than you get from lighter base malts.