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As a start-up company, Proximity Malt takes risks to build a large roster of product lines. Sometimes this is due to wanting to develop unique products, in some cases it’s about matching what’s currently in the marketplace. Nothing showcases this like when we decided to come up with our new Pilsen malt product.
John Mallett’s 2014 book “Malt, A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse” defines the Pilsen malt found in today’s brews. “Traditional Pilsner malt production includes the use of low protein two-row malts, lower modification during germination, and low temperature, high airflow kilning.” He continues, “Pilsner malts have a distinctive flavor: a little green, with the smell and taste of fresh wort”.
Accordingly, we chose a piece of low-protein Genie barley, and adapted the malting process to target a green flavor, with a slightly under-modified modification profile. We were excited to use the Genie because of its genetic low protein, along with the lower enzymatic profile which we thought would replicate the European varieties which we are competing against. We went into the steep tank, and came out with a pilsner-style malt.
However, this was not exactly what several customers had in mind. Sensory feedback was related as astringent, grassy, and so we went back to the drawing board.
We had discussions with the brewers, talked through their needs and how to achieve them, compared brewing results with malt analysis and drilled down on how we could change the process and produce something that the brewers would embrace.
Several iterations later, we feel that our product something that we are proud to call our Proximity Pilsen. We have increased the overflows during malting to wash away any bitter, astringent, lingering flavor notes. We increased the modification slightly to keep the malt sweeter (breaking the carbohydrates down to smaller sugars) and are keeping the S/T ratio low.
Once we found a recipe the brewer enjoyed, we then repeated, along with some older retained samples of our first Pilsen trials in the brewhouse to ensure we had found the right recipe, selected the right barley, and produced the Pilsen malt for our customers to make the best beer in North America, from regional ingredients.
We are pleased to have a better product from our collaboration with our customers, a wider knowledge base on both malting and beer, and a better relationship with our customers. That level of dedication to our customers and to the quality of our malts will continue as we introduce new products in the future.
Call your sales rep to try some Proximity Pilsen today, and add your name to our Proximity Pilsen Project!