What is malt?
Malt is a huge variety of carbohydrates extracted from mashed grain. The grain, often barley, is wetted and left wet at various temperatures and time, during which the natural enzymes have converted the starch into a mix of e.g. glucose, fructose, sucrose, maltose, iso-malt and other low molecular carbohydrates. The mash is then dried in trays or drums, some with an extra roasting. The drying should be at a temperature high enough to stop the "sprouting" and to inactivate the enzymes. The final dry product is then milled to produce a coarse product.

Producing malt extract
To produce malt extract the dried and milled mash is mixed with water and heated up to near the boiling point. The mixture is filtered, and the filtrate is evaporated in a falling-film evaporator. The filtrated dry material is used as animal feed or as land fill.

During the concentration in the evaporator some proteins may precipitate and make an unclear extract. These proteins can be removed in a membrane filtration plant and the resulting malt extract concentrate is a clear liquid.

What is malt extract used for?
The malt extract is used for beer brewing. The malt extract is also used as concentrate in the bakery industry, malted drink industry, and confectionery industry. Finally, the malt extract concentrate can be converted into a malt powder product by spray drying. The composition of the malt extract depends on type/quality of grain, moisture content, temperature and time during the mashing, and the characteristics can be very different.

  This means that some malt extract concentrates can be rather easy to spray dry and a Conventional Spray Dryer or an Fluidized Spray Dryer FSD™ can be used, depending on the required final powder structure. With the FSD™, the powder consists of particles, agglomerated and with less fine particles, better flow properties, less hygroscopic powder and improved solubility properties.

The composition of the malt extract concentrate can also be so difficult to spray dry due to hygro-scopicity and thermo plasticity that it is necessary to use the FILTERMAT™ spray dryer. This will create a coarse powder with acceptable properties. The FILTERMAT® will be able to handle most malt extract compositions.

Some malt extract concentrates, however, are so difficult to convert to a stable powder that a "carrier" like maltodextrin is needed to obtain a powder that can be stored. GEA Niro has experience with several different malt extract concentrates, and we are able to help you find the correct process unit by testing your actual products at our Test Center.