The Malts Ontology Specification 1.0

The Malts Ontology is an ontology created to represent data about malts.

Working Draft — 24 March 2021 (Version Française)

This Version: (rdf/xml, ttl, nt, json-ld)
Latest Version: (rdf/xml, ttl, nt, json-ld)
Last update: 1.0
Date: 24 March 2021
Myra Analytics
Jessica Singer
Rob Warren
Subject Headings:
Malt - LC Linked Data Service: Authorities and Vocabularies | Library of Congress


The scope of this ontology is to help provide malt and malt ingredient traceability, process control and style identification in a language neutral way.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Malt is an integral part of the beer brewing process, adding unique flavors, aromas and colors to the finished beer. While science has reduced the amount of labor involved in producing large volumes of malts and how it affects the finished beer, malting is still more of an art than a science, especially in craft beers and malts.

Some malt styles are based on the type of grain used, while other styles of malts are based on specific processes typical of a location or region. Different styles of malts has various effects on beer such as color, body, head, aroma and flavor. However, there are still some unknowns on how exactly the ingredients of malt and the malting style affects the finished beer.

Another prominant issue with malt is not knowing what to expect when ordering malts from small or even medium sized malting companies. The properties associated with a batch may vary between batches of the same malt product and could be the cause of variance between batches of the same beer product. Customers expect consistancy when purchasing a product, and any huge variance may deter them from buying from smaller scale businesses.

This ontology was created in order to provide more information on these styles and the properties associated with instances of malt in order to provide traceability and consistancy for brewers, specifically small and medium scale brewers.

2. Brief History of Malt

While alcohol has been used by our human ancestors since there have been fruit to fall from the trees and ferment, malt has been a relatively new discovery that came about with cultivation of grains.

Archeologists have found that humans have been cultivating and consuming barley and emmer (a wild ancestor of wheat) for at least 23,000 years and have had the tools and technology required to brew beer for about 12,000 to 15,000 years.

To make dried raw grains easier to consume, humans discovered that the grains needed to be ground, then have heat and water applied. This is in essence how bread and gruel was made. Through experimentation, humans had found that they can eliminate the grinding and cooking processing acitivites by soaking the grains in water and allowing them to germinate. The germination process softens the grains and made them more paletable. From there, it is certainly plausible that bacteria and yeast that colonized gruel ended up becoming the first beer.

Further experimentation was done on the grains in order to find the most efficient method of extracting sugars from the grain since using unprocessed dry grain kernels did not produce beer. For hundreds of years, producing malts was extremely labor intensive using traditional floor malting techniques and crude kilning. Due to the lack of refrigeration, malt could only be made between the months of October and May in most parts of Europe.

As transportation and technology further advanced, malting techniques evolved to meet increasing demands for beer by relying more on automation and sanitized malting methods. Mallett, 2014

Today, barley is mainly used for producing malts with the European Union producing about 40% of all barley grown worldwide. The EU is also the leading exporter of malts, exporting 69% of all exported malts worldwide. The largest malting company in the world is Malteurop, which produces 2.2 million tons per year with the top ten largest malt companies producing 44% of all malts worldwide. FAO, 2009

While the overall beer sales dropped by 1.6%, craft beer demand is on the rise with sales increasing by 3.6%. More people have turned to paying more for higher quality, 68% of craft brewing production coming from regional craft breweries as of 2019. Brewers Association, 2019

3. Organization

In this initial release of the Malt ontology, only classes and certain instances of malts are listed.

4. Marketing Malt Examples Using Ontologies

This section to be written.

5. Linkages to Other Datasets

The Beer ontology links to FOODON equivalent classes and makes use of the GS1,, sosa/ssn ontologies to represent measurements and prov ontology for provenance and documentation. Additional temporal support is provided by the time ontology. Grains used for certain types of malts are referenced from the cerealstoo ontology.

6. Global Cross-Reference


Classes: AcidatedMalt, BarleyMalt, BlackMalt, CaramelMalt, ChocolateMalt, Malt, MaltFoodProduct, MunichMalt, PaleAleMalt, PaleChocolateMalt, PilsnerMalt, RoastedMalt, SixRowBarleyMalt, StandardChocolateMalt, TwoRowBarleyMalt, ViennaMalt, WheatMalt, marisOtterMalt,



7. Detailed References for All Terms, Classes and Properties



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Class: malt:AcidatedMalt


Acidated Malt

Through a few processing means, acidated malts are malts that are acidic and are used to lower the pH of mash to achieve more desireable enzymatic activity and to increase extract recovery. Acidation can be achieved through lactic acid fermentation after kilning, germinating macerated grain in anaerobic conditions until it becomes acidic, or by spraying green malt with Lactobacillus delbrückii (a lactic acid bacteria) and then held at 50˚C (122˚F) for 24-36h before kilning.

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Class: malt:BarleyMalt


Barley Malt

Malt that uses barley as a base.

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Class: malt:BlackMalt


Black Malt

Black malts are used primarily in stouts and dark beers with a coloring of 1200-1400 ERB.

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Class: malt:CaramelMalt


Caramel Malt

Caramel malts are malts that are the result of the endosperm of the base grain being liquified during the malting process and can even crystalize. The moisture content of the final product is higher due to stewing process that occurs between germination and kilning. Caramel malts come in a variety of colors from 20 EBC to 500 EBC, which gives beers a golden caramel color. This malt adds a sweet, caramel or toffee aroma. These malts quickly lose their aroma while in storage so they must be used soon after manufacture.

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Class: malt:ChocolateMalt


Chocolate Malt

Roasted malts that that have a somewhat chocolatey aroma and whose coloring varies from 500-1100 EBC.


For roasted malts, the classes Pale Chocolate Malt, Standard Chocolate Malt and Black Malt have the general ranges of EBC coloring assigned to each of these classes. It is important to note that there are significant gaps between these ranges despite all being in the same Roasted Malt class. This is due to the fact that much of the coloring is at the decretion of the operator of the roasting drum, therefore coloring may vary from malters or even between batches. In the end, it is the malters who decide under which class the product will be marketed.

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Class: malt:Malt



Malt is the result of the malting process by which a grain (or sometimes pulse), usually barley is partially germinated and then subjected to a drying or roasting process. Malt is an essential part of brewing beer. By starting the germination process of the grains (or pulses), enzymes are activated to start converting the starch in the seed into sugar (mainly maltose) and amino acids. Then the grains are dried or roasted to halt enzyme activity until the brewer is ready to brew the beer.

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Class: malt:MaltFoodProduct



1- Un produit malt qui est vendu commercialement.

2- A commercially available malt product.

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Class: malt:MunichMalt


Munich Malt

Munich malts are typically used for Oktoberfest beers. They are darker malts (15-30 EBC) and rich in aroma due to longer kilning. Compared to pale malts, Munich malts are are not as fermentable, slower coversion times, and are poor in enzymes.

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Class: malt:PaleAleMalt


Pale Ale Malt

Pale and mild ale malts are typically used to brew British-style ales. Low nitrogen (1.35-1.5%), two-row barley are typically used as a base for pale ale malts. Mild ale malts generally use two-row barley with higher percentages of nigtrogen (1.6-1.65%). Finished malts are typically darker than lager malts and more malty flavored, have about 4-6.5 EBC units, have a TSN value of 0.5-0.7%, and TSN:TN ratios of about 40%.


English malters typically favor local barley cultivars.

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Class: malt:PaleChocolateMalt


Pale Chocolate Malt

Roasted malts that that have a somewhat chocolatey aroma and whose coloring varies from 500-600 EBC.

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Class: malt:PilsnerMalt


Pilsner Malt

Pilsner, as well as other lager malts, have a very pale color and weak aromas. They are made with two-row barley (TN 1.52-1.84%, crude protein 9.5-11.5%) that is steeped to a moisture content of about 43%. The germination period is typically longer and cooler with a maximum temperature of 17˚C (62.6˚F). Once the grains have germinated they are then dried using cool and fast airflow until the moisture content is about 8%. The grains are then slowly cured with slow-rising temperatures that have a maximum of 70-85˚C (158-185˚F).

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Class: malt:RoastedMalt


Roasted Malt

Malts whose base grains undergo a roasting process in drums at high temperatures after germination. Roasted malts are often decribed as having bitter, rich or chocolate aroma, coloring that varies from 500-1400 EBC at the descretion of the operator and with little to no enzymatic activity. The husk of the finished grain must be polished and shiny, the endosperm must not be steely, charred or glassy, rather they should be friable.

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Class: malt:SixRowBarleyMalt


Six-Row Barley Malt

Malt that uses six-row barley as a base.

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Class: malt:StandardChocolateMalt


Standard Chocolate Malt

Roasted malts that that have a somewhat chocolatey aroma and whose coloring varies from 900-1100 EBC.

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Class: malt:TwoRowBarleyMalt


Two-Row Barley Malt

Malt that uses two-row barley as a base. Two-row barley is preferred for malting since the grains are often plumper than six-row barley grain due to the lower number of grains per head of barley.

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Class: malt:ViennaMalt


Vienna Malt

Vienna malts fall between Pilsner and Munich malts in terms of color (5-10 EBC) and provide the coloring for golden brown lagers. Barley with higher protein content is often used. The malts are well but not over-modified, the drying process is long, using air recurculation in the kiln and the curing process is completed at around 90˚C (194˚F). Unlike caramalized malts, the endosperm is not liquified.

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Class: malt:WheatMalt


Wheat Malt

Malt that uses wheat as a base.

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Class: malt:marisOtterMalt


Maris Otter Malt

A pale ale malt that has a barley grain base of the cultivar Maris Otter.



8. Version History

Version 1.0

9. General Notes

9.1 Malts vs Cerealstoo

While malts are derived from cereals, the transformation process of malts from cereals is too complicated to put in one giant ontology. Therefore the cerealstoo ontology is reserved for cereals and their various cultivars and properties and the malts is for types of malts and the processing involved.

9.2 Translations

As a policy, if there is no translation for a label then it is not added and it is kept in the original language. If the translation is the same word, then both labels will still be kept.

10. Release Notes

The RDF terms for the bibliography are marked unstable as the bibliography generator is buggy and requires further work.

11. Deprecated Terms

Global Cross Reference of Deprecated Terms

Deprecated Terms:

Detailed references for all terms, classes and properties

12. Ontology Bibliography

This bibliography is available as a Bibtex file here.

[1] Dennis E. Briggs. Malts and Malting. Blackie Academic & Professional, 1998.
[2] John J. Palmer. How to Brew: Everything You Need to Know to Brew Great Beer Every Time. Brewers Publications, 4th edition, 2017.
[3] Garrett Oliver. The Oxford Companion to Beer. Oxford University Press, 2012.
[4] Elisabeth Wiesen, Martina Gastl, and Thomas Becker. Protein changes during malting and brewing with focus on haze and foam formation: A review. European Food Research and Technology, 232:191–204, 02 2011. [ DOI ]
[5] John Mallett. Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse. Brewers Publications, 2014. [ http ]
[6] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Barley, Malt, Beer: Agribusiness Handbook. 2009. [ .pdf ]
[7] Brewers Association. National beer sales & production data, 2019. [ http ]