The whisky congener of “Malt Extract” was one I did not understand at all. After finding out what “Malt Extract” is it makes sence that it is on the revised Scottish Whisky Flavour Wheel.
A description of “Malt Extract” is given on “The Good Scent Company page for Malt extract.
barley malt extract
dark syrup obtained by evaporating an aqueous extract of the partially germinated and dried barley (hordeum vulgare, gramineae) seeds
If you know what “Malt Extract” is you will probably do not need to read on, but can I ask you to read on just the same? If you think this page is lacking anything in information than please lett me know.
I entered “Malt Extract” into Google and one of the first hits I got was the wikipedia site for “Malt”.
A quote of the “Malt” Wikipedia site:
Malt extract, also known as extract of malt, is a sweet, treacly substance used as a dietary supplement. It was popular in the first half of the twentieth century as a nutritional enhancer for the children of the British urban working class, whose diet was often deficient in vitamins and minerals. Children were given cod liver oil for the same reason but it proved so unpalatable that it was combined with extract of malt to produce “Malt and Cod-Liver Oil.” Malt extract was given as a “strengthening medicine” by Kanga to Roo in The House at Pooh Corner, and was also Tigger’s favorite food in the book.
The 1907 British Pharmaceutical Codex’s instructions for making nutritional extract of malt do not include a mashout at the end of extraction, and include the use of lower mash temperatures than is typical with modern beer-brewing practices. The Codex indicates that diastatic activity is to be preserved by the use of temperatures not exceeding 55 °C (131 °F).
So just like “Digestive Biscuit“, a congener in the “Cereal” section of the flavour wheel, this congener is also something recognisable for Scottish people. Either from own experience or hearsay.
The images above are from Instagram if you look for #maltextract.
I also found that “Malt Extract” has different forms still used:
- as a syrupy liquid used in home brewing or beer,
- as a powder used in the home brewing or beer,
- as a syrup for putting on toast or something else.
It is probably not used for a “medicine” anymore, but I am not in Scotland, so I don’t know for sure.
Malt Extract is produced from Malted Barley that is basically “Wort” that hasn’t been boiled, but condensed into a syrup or a powder. I got this information from Klaus Doblmann, a home brewer, and it is consistent with what I read on several other sources. Obviously the “wort” has been filtered so no “husk” is left in the mix. Thank you Klaus!
I also found “Marmite“, but this seems to be a “Yeast Extract”. How this is different from “Malt Extract” I do not know. Information about Marmite tells me it is not “Malt Extract” per se, since herbs and salt are added to Marmite. Also “Yeast Extract” implies that “Yeast” has been added to the liquid to convert sugars to alcohol.
Without ever having tasted Malt Extract I can imagine the taste off this based on what it is.
- Sugars that the enzymes have made from breaking down the starch. These will be converted to alcohol in a later step of whisky production when yeast is added.
- Any phenolic compounds which were adsorbed on the husks during kilning and were desolved in the water during mashing.
- All the water soluble compounds of the barley.
- All the compounds of the barley that are suspended in the liquid, which were not filtered out.
- some fatty compounds from the barley.
So, “sugary sweet” and “malty”.
The “sugary sweet” you will not find in whisky because the whole idea of yeast is to convert sugars into alcohol. This would mean that this note on the RSWFW is probably never going to be a flavour note, only a aroma note, since sugar does not smell.