Base and specialty Malt is often divided into two categories by brewers: base malts and specialty malts.
Base malts have enough diastatic power to convert their own starch and usually that of some amount of starch from unmalted grain, called adjuncts.
Specialty malts have little diastatic power but provide flavor, color, or “body” (viscosity) to the finished beer. Specialty caramel or crystal malts have been subjected to heat treatment to convert their starches to sugars nonenzymatically. Within these categories is a variety of types distinguished largely by the kilning temperature.
Mash ingredients, mash bill, or grain bill are the materials that brewers use to produce the wort that they then ferment into alcohol. Mashing is the act of creating and extracting fermentable and non-fermentable sugars and flavor components from grain by steeping it in hot water, and then letting it rest at specific temperature ranges to activate naturally occurring enzymes in the grain that convert starches to sugars.
Brewing with fresh ingredients is one of the quickest ways to improve the quality of your beer.
Milling your own grain gives you unsurpassed control on brew day. After getting several all-grain batches under your belt, you realize how important it is to be consistent. Every homebrew store has their grain mill on different settings, so if you order from one store the first time, and another location the next, the same grains could have a different crush, leaving you with a potential mystery in the brewhouse efficiency department. Having your own mill means the grain is always crushed to the same extent. The same goes for brew in a bag brewers. It’s much easier to ensure a double crush (when you run the grain through the mill twice) when you do it yourself.
Crushing your own grain lets you adjust your brewing schedule on the fly to some degree. If you have an unexpected scheduling change and you can’t brew for a while, your grain will stay fresh, whereas if you ordered pre-milled grain to brew with this weekend and now it’s no longer an option, you’re forced to let your crushed grain sit until you can brew again.
Not only will you save a bit of cash if you buy your base malts at 25kg, but you’ll also have the option to be more flexible and create more precise recipes. Milling your own grain will also help you create more consistent results between batches.