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What does product innovation look like at Proximity Malt? Who are we innovating for, and what are our key objectives? The answer to these questions is embedded in our promise to customers – we are a ‘new-generation malt company leading the way in providing a full range of malts and malt services to brewers of all sizes.’
Innovation is central to our ongoing commitment to our customers. Proximity Malt was envisioned on the premise that from re-imagining grain sourcing to embracing the latest malting & roasting technology and expertise combined with re-defining customer service, huge opportunity emerged to bring not just malts, but highly specialized malt-expertise directly to the brewer, no matter how small or large, old or new.
So, to return to our questions above – product innovation at Proximity Malt begins with meaningful dialogues with our customers: What products do brewers hope to see from their malt supplier to make their next great beer? New styles, such as Hazy IPAs or fruited ales benefit from high performance malts designed for flavor, stability and mouthfeel. Old styles can be re-imagined and produced with new attention to grain integrity, consistency and precision.
We diligently strive to listen—and respond– to our customers. In 2020-21, Proximity Malt introduced several new malts to add to our range of more than three dozen malted grain products:
Body Builder is an 8 SRM color, foam-enhancing malt which we formulated primarily for Hazy IPAs and pale lagers. In fact, it’s great for any beer where foam, body and a hint of malt sweetness are on display. Proximity Body Builder was designed to provide brewers with a new tool to enhance mouthfeel and create better head retention.
Brightening is another benefit of Body Builder – as many brewers have experienced, adjunct usage for some of today’s new beer styles can result in a dull, graying of your liquid. Using Body Builder at 1-5% of your grain bill speaks for itself – watch your color pop.
One of our most interesting new products with a range of practical applications is Proximity’s Malted Oats. With the husks still attached, malted oats provide great mouthfeel and haze, while eliminating the need for additional rice hulls. With its own enzymes still intact, malted oats convert themselves, minimizing the risk of stuck mashes. As always, our seasoned team of maltsters is here to provide guidance to make the switch – we believe you’ll be glad you did. Use up to 40% in your grain bill. We recommend a 1:1 substitution for flaked or rolled raw oats.
Innovation isn’t always about malt style. At Proximity, we’re equally committed to working with grains – whether barley, wheat, rye or oats – that can be sustainably sourced, and perform in the brewhouse. Take our Mid Atlantic Wheat, for example: We source soft winter wheats that are environmentally ideal for their carbon sequestration and soil health qualities. In the brewhouse, the Mid Atlantic wheat has quickly become a favorite for brewers looking for a with moderate enzymes, comparatively lower protein (and therefore better extract than its white spring cousin) and great flavor.
Sometimes, looking to the past provides inspiration for today. Proximity Malt recently added Prox Brown Malt to our portfolio in response to brewers’ return to historical, malt-forward styles. This flavorful roasted malt is a nod to the great British malts that came with the advent of original Porter beers. These styles were popularized in London in the 1700s (click here for an archived article written by our late colleague, Dave Kuske, for the Oxford Companion to Beer on roasted malts) . With its dark toast flavor and aroma, and subtle coffee notes, Brown malt’s great for use in darker beers such as Brown Ales, British Mild, Porters and Stouts. SRM 160 means this malt will provide not only flavor, but the color you seek as well – we recommend usage from 1 -10%.
In our next blog, we’ll address the tools that Proximity Malt brings to the table when it comes to product innovation – our Semi Works, our malt lab, and our growing team of professionals. Stay tuned!