The Malt Production Process: Germination & Kilning


Want to know how we produce our quality malts? We’re taking you behind the scenes at our Tivetshall Maltings to learn all about our malt production process.

In the last blog, we discussed steeping, where our malts are soaked in water and then dried in order to kickstart the germination process. In this blog, we’ll be taking a closer look at germination and why it’s essential to the malting process, before going on to cover kilning, when our malts are dried.


Mashing is a key stage in the brewing and distilling process, where grain starches are broken down by malt enzymes, transforming them into fermentable sugars. These clever enzymes are produced during the germination process. In order to produce the enzymes, germination – growing the grains – must take place.

Controlled conditions 

Once our grains have been steeped for two days, we cast them onto one of our large germination and kilning vessels. Here, we keep the grains in controlled conditions while they grow. We control the temperature and humidity of the vessel during this time, so that grains are germinated at optimum capacity. We usually malt barley in these vessels, but we can also malt wheat, oats and rye in this way. We store the grains in these controlled conditions for a minimum of four days.

Producing enzymes

During this time, the endosperm of the grain is modified, and its cell walls and proteins get broken down, so that enzymes are produced and starch becomes accessible. When it comes to the mashing process during brewing and distilling, the starches will be broken down by the enzymes and converted into fermentable sugars.


After the germination process, some of our malts go through a kilning process where the moisture content is significantly reduced. We turn off the cool, humidifying air from the germination and kilning vessel and switch over to warm air. This removes most of the moisture from the malt – going from around 45% moisture content to 5% in the finished malt.

Next week, we’ll go into more detail about the next stage, which is roasting.

Until then, leave us a #BrewersTip, a malty question or just say hello on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page.

Interested in ordering some malt, or just want to know a bit more about how we can support you? Get in touch with our order team today.