Homebrewing Blog and Resource

The hobby of homebrewing beer

Maris Otter Malt

Maris Otter malt is highly praised for use as a base malt in all English style beers. I ordered some for the milk stout I am brewing later on in the month. After I clicked “submit” on my order, I decided to learn more about this base malt. Here is the Maris Otter malt profile.

The malt was developed by the good doctor, Dr. G. D. H. Bell at the Plant Breeding Institute and was introduced to the public in 1966. He crossed two different barley varieties, Proctor and Pioneer.

Although I couldn’t find where the name “Otter” came from, “Maris” was the name of the lane where the institute was located in Trumpington, Cambridgeshire, England.

It is a winter barley which means it is sown in autumn and germinate before winter. The malt was bred to brew cask conditioned ales. Many sources stated how forgiving this malt is in the brewing process. I am not sure what that means but it’s probably a commentary on how it handles mash temps or duration.

Flavor:  Brings a nutty flavor to your beers.  Other sources claimed a biscuity flavor.

Color: 3.5- 4.5°L

Body: N/A

Use:  Base malt for all English style beers.  It could be a good experiment to brew 2 beers – one using American 2-row and the other using Maris Otter and compare/contrast the tastes.


December Brewing Plans


Golden Promise Malt


  1. My personal favorite base malt. So smooth it’s unreal.

  2. chris

    I agree with derek. It is delicious. Try making an american IPA with it. Fabulous.

  3. I think what’s neat about this malt is that if you don’t have a hoppy beer, it will pick up on the biscuit flavors that are on it. If you do have a hoppy brew then it helps, “round out” the beer giving it more of a back bone. The only complaint that I could ever have about it is that you won’t get a super light color. So if appearance is you’re thing then probably pils is a better malt you know? But for me the taste is everything and a slightly darker brew is good for me. I just compensate with out using as many specialty grains, or just adding cara-pils or something that really won’t make a change in the color unlike crystal malt or something like that.

  4. Great summary on this grain – I’ll probably try it out in my Oatmeal Stout one of these days – I just used British 2 row in that recipe, but this may be an even better base malt for that style.

  5. I love MO. I use it for APAs, IPAs and ESBs but it’s main skill (for me) is it’s hability to create a fantastic Barley Wine. 100% MO, boiled for 2-3 hours will caramelize and concentrate so much flavor… You guys should try it out.

  6. boothsbrewing

    I love Maris Otter for a base malt. We use it for our Turmoil IPA. It really has a great bready light nutty chracteristic.

  7. Nathan

    I think there’s more difference between the brands of domestic two row than between maris otter and domestic two row malts as a whole. Much is made of maris otter to the point where it has acquired mythical status as super malt. However, it is a simple variation on the theme of two row. With 1L darker color. That’s about it.

  8. Rich

    I don’t agree with your comment AT ALL.
    After reading your post, I got the impression you are trying convey that Maris Otter is simply a slight variant of a two row & that it’s ONLY difference is a 1L darker color. I’m sorry if you do not agree, but it seems as though you have either never tried something with it or have the inability to differentiate flavors/body/characteristics.

  9. Larry

    Sounds like Nathan has never really used it. I wanted to find out what it really was like and so I made a smash beer with MO/Cascade. Beautiful light color, medium body, not thin, looks like a Macro brew but it is very nice. So it was not really traditional although the yeast was us-04 which is used more in the English varieties of Ales. My only problem with it was did not go low enough on the FG. 1.020, but after bottle conditioning most of the sweetness retreated, if I do it again and can’t get down further then I would cut back the sugar at bottling and let it condition for a month.

  10. Larry

    The most telling aspect of Maris Otter is that most new strains have a life of about 7 years until another cross breeding improves on the strain. That is the way it usually goes. Maris Otter however, has been around a long time, almost revered among brewers. It cost me twice as much as Aussie 2 row where I live, but I would not consider making a single malt beer with any 2 row. And just about every British Malt traces its heredity to Maris Otter. I like it very much, I have only made one beer with just base malts, that had, Aussie 2 row, Swaen pale ale malt, and a couple of pounds of Maris Otter, which are all base malts and it turned out quite nice too, with Amirillo hops.

  11. Right on, Larry. Thanks for your helpful and insightful comment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén