A few years ago, we got a request to investigate the quality of malts from smaller outlets. In the message, the writer wondered if malts grown and malted by smaller, craft-focused companies were worth the higher price per pound. In this post, we finally present our comparison between two base malts: Mecca Grade Estate’s Lamonta Pale Malt and Rahr’s Standard 2-Row Malt. Through a designed experiment, we aim to present our thoughts on the differences and ascertain whether the premium associated with Mecca Grade malt is justified.

They look pretty similar – how do they taste?

How We Set Up The Comparison

The experiment has a clear objective: to understand the difference of these two base malts on the flavor of the final product. We brewed 2 identical batches of beer, maintaining uniformity in all aspects except for the base malt. One batch featured Rahr Two-Row Pale Malt sourced from BSG, while the other employed Mecca Grade Lamonta American Pale Malt bought from Northern Brewer. From recipe formulation to hop selection (Cascade), water composition (Spring water with a touch of Gypsum), and yeast strain (US-05), every parameter remained consistent across both brews.

Our Thoughts

Mike was given a blind triangle taste test. We wanted to know if he could detect pick out the difference. He correctly identified the beers by their base malt (Phew!) While the Mecca Grade malt exhibited subtle variations, offering a slightly richer and smoother profile compared to its counterpart, we didn’t think these differences justify a higher cost. Indeed, Mike picked out the nuances, but they were so delicate that they might be overshadowed in a more complex grain bill.

I think we got our answer. While premium malts may promise distinctiveness, the benefits in a practical brewing context remain subjective. Ultimately, the pursuit of crafting excellent beers isn’t just in the ingredients themselves but in the execution of the brewing process.

Hey, Buy what you want and have fun!