What is the difference between pale malt and ale malt?

Answered by Jason Smith

Pale malt and ale malt are both types of malt used in brewing, but they do have some differences in terms of color, flavor, and aroma.

1. Color:
Pale malt is the lightest colored malt and typically has a Lovibond range of 1.5-3 degrees. It has a pale golden color, similar to straw. On the other hand, ale malt is slightly more kilned than pale malt and will have a slightly darker color. It usually falls in the 2.5-3 degrees Lovibond range, which means it will have a slightly deeper golden color compared to pale malt.

2. Flavor:
Pale ale malt has a more full-bodied flavor compared to pale malt. It imparts a slightly richer and maltier taste to the beer. This can be attributed to the slightly higher kilning temperature used during the malting process. On the other hand, pale malt has a lighter and crisper flavor profile, making it suitable for lighter beer styles where a delicate malt character is desired.

3. Aroma:
In terms of aroma, pale ale malt tends to have more pronounced malty aromas compared to pale malt. The slightly higher kilning temperature used in the malting process enhances the development of malt-derived aromas, giving the beer a more robust and malt-forward aroma profile. Pale malt, on the other hand, will have a milder malt aroma, allowing other ingredients like hops to shine through more prominently.

4. Usage:
Both pale malt and pale ale malt are commonly used as base malts in beer recipes. They provide the majority of fermentable sugars and serve as the foundation for the beer’s flavor and body. Pale malt is often used in lighter beer styles such as Pilsners, light lagers, and blonde ales, where a clean and crisp malt character is desired. Pale ale malt, with its fuller flavor and aroma profile, is commonly used in pale ales, amber ales, and other malt-forward beer styles.

The main differences between pale malt and pale ale malt lie in their color, flavor, and aroma. Pale ale malt is slightly darker, has a fuller-bodied flavor, and imparts more pronounced malty aromas compared to pale malt. These differences make them suitable for different beer styles and allow brewers to create a variety of flavors and characteristics in their beers.