FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Purchasing and sale of malt

Q:Where can I find information on your port conditions in Halmstad, Sweden?

Loading capacity/day:   3000 tons
Length of berth:   500 m
Max length of vessel:   210 m
Max draft allowed:   8.5 m
Max distance quay to hatch coaming:   14 m
Max distance waterline to hatch coaming:   ca 16 m
Max outreach of loading spout from quayside:   14 m
Air draft:   no restriction

Q:Do you ship malt in small batches?

We do pack our malts to 25 kg (55 lb) plastic bags. Smallest sales unit is one pallet on those bagged malts. That quantity is 1 000 kg (2 200 lb) as a standard. We can also deliver mixed pallets against certain service fee. Sahti Malt is also sold in some Finnish supermarkets as single bags for homebrewing purposes. For real small quantities, like few kilos, we have some partners who sell our malts in those quantities.

Q:What is Sahti Malt and where can I buy it?

Sahti Malt is a special malt blend for producing traditional Finnish beer, Sahti, highly appreciated, for example, by Michael Jackson, an English writer and journalist who has written several books about beer and whiskey. Sahti is traditionally brewed in farms and country houses. Today, there are also some commercial Sahti breweries in Finland. Sahti Malt is sold in 25 kg bags in many Finnish markets and supermarkets.

Q:Which countries does Viking Malt deliver to?

The home market of Viking Malt is Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea region, but we also export malt to overseas countries such as Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, Trinidad, South Africa, Angola, Nigeria, Tanzania, Mozambique, Japan and Russia.

Malting process

Q:Is it true that the barley farming in the Nordic countries and Baltic region requires less use of pesticides than in warmer climates?

Yes. The cold winter period here in the Northern Europe acts as a natural pesticide, and thus less chemical treatment is needed during the growing period.

Q:Can you track the barley on a farm level?

Yes. Our raw material sourcing is based on the contracts between Viking Malt and farmers (in some cases via trading companies). Within these contracts there are necessary details designed to guarantee full traceability. In most cases, our barley also comes from the local fields by our malthouses, so we can call our domestic beers genuine local produce! Our selection also includes a Signature Malt concept product called Arctic Malt, where single farm barley is used for the malts.

Q:I have heard that malted cereals could be health-promoting. Is this true?

It is true that malting, especially its germination stage, increases some beneficial properties of cereals. Research has shown that some important vitamins, such as folates (B group vitamins), are increased during germination. Germination also modifies grain structure and makes the availability of important minerals (potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon), and antioxidants (phenolic compounds) better than in unmalted cereals. On the other hand, a beneficial dietary fiber (β-glucan) is degraded during malting.

Q:Which varieties of malting barley are grown in the Viking Malt countries?

First we carefully test the varieties with the customers that we accept for our purchasing portfolio. The growing conditions,which have a significant impact of the quality of the malts, in each country are thus also taken into consideration. We typically focus on internationally approved varieties, such as TIPPLE, PROPINO, and QUENCH, and on special varieties for special products. In Finland, the Malting Barley Committee, which oversees the cooperation between brewers, maltsters, farmers and breeders, follows the variety development and grants approval to new malting barley varieties. In Sweden, malting barley development is handled by IQ-Malt, a joint operation between Viking Malt, Lantmännen, and breeders.

Q:What measures is Viking Malt taking to reduce the ecological impact of its operations?

The main impact of our operations comes from the farming of our raw materials. We have development programs in place to find better yielding varieties to reduce that load. We also try to buy our raw materials as close to our malthouses as possible. For the malting process, we constantly introduce new methods and ways to use as little energy and water as possible. To support all of this, all of our personnel are educated on environmental issues. In addition, it is good to know that using barley for malting and brewing is better for the environment than using it for feed (meat production), due to the production and emission of fewer dangerous greenhouse gases as only carbon dioxide is released from the malting process.

Q:Why is barley the main cereal used for malting?

There are several reasons. First of all, barley germinates easily in low temperatures. As a result of the germination process, barley contains, for instance, high levels of activity of the main starch degrading enzymes, beta- and alfa amylases. These enzymes enable the natural ethanol fermentation process when used in a brewery or distillery. Secondly, barley has proper husk. This ensures the fluency of the wort separation step in the brewhouse process. Barley malts also possess pleasant and enjoyable flavours that consumers prefer.
The other cereals, like wheat, share some of the good malting features of barley, but not all of them.

Q:Can you brew beer without any malt?

There have been several attempts, but so far consumers have not been willing to drink the resulting products. The natural brewing process just requires malts, without any technological tricks. That is why beer has been such a popular drink for thousands of years… CHEERS!

Malt selection and characters

Q:Are your malts NON-GMO?

Yes, all Viking Malt malts produced are NON-GMO.

Q:Do you have organic malts in your product selection?

Yes. Occasionally availability of organic barley may limit the malt production.

Q:Do you produce gluten-free malt?

No, we make malt solely from barley, wheat and rye. All these cereals contain gluten or gluten-like protein, which is harmful for those suffering from coeliac disease. About 80 % of the total proteins in these cereals are gluten. Although the amount of proteins can be slightly reduced by the action of the proteolytic enzymes formed during germination, it is not possible to completely remove gluten during malting. Proper control of proteolysis in brewing may result in gluten-free beers, even if barley malt is used as a raw material. Our malt has been used in the production of gluten-free beers, i.e. beers where gluten content is less than 20 ppm.

Q:I have heard that malted cereals could be health-promoting. Is this true?

It is true that malting, especially its germination stage, increases some beneficial properties of cereals. Research has shown that some important vitamins, such as folates (B group vitamins), are increased during germination. Germination also modifies grain structure and makes the availability of important minerals (potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon), and antioxidants (phenolic compounds) better than in unmalted cereals. On the other hand, a beneficial dietary fiber (β-glucan) is degraded during malting.

Q:What different varieties of malt does Viking Malt produce?

Essentially every kind of kilned and roasted malt necessary for the brewing of any kind of beer. Pilsner Malt, Munich Malt, Grain Distilling Malt, Caramel Malts, Black Malt, Chocolate Malt, and Wheat Malt, for example. We can also advise brewers about possible beer recipes and specific features of the different malts if need be.
Please see Our Malt Selection for more information on our malts.

Q:Which varieties of malting barley are grown in the Viking Malt countries?

First we carefully test the varieties with the customers that we accept for our purchasing portfolio. The growing conditions,which have a significant impact of the quality of the malts, in each country are thus also taken into consideration. We typically focus on internationally approved varieties, such as TIPPLE, PROPINO, and QUENCH, and on special varieties for special products. In Finland, the Malting Barley Committee, which oversees the cooperation between brewers, maltsters, farmers and breeders, follows the variety development and grants approval to new malting barley varieties. In Sweden, malting barley development is handled by IQ-Malt, a joint operation between Viking Malt, Lantmännen, and breeders.

Q:Can you brew beer without any malt?

There have been several attempts, but so far consumers have not been willing to drink the resulting products. The natural brewing process just requires malts, without any technological tricks. That is why beer has been such a popular drink for thousands of years… CHEERS!

Q:How do I know which malts are suitable for my beer?

You can always check our shortlist of different beertypes. From those descriptions there is a link to our list of malts. Different recipes can be found here.

Anyhow good discussions are always fruitful. So feel free to contact us.

Q:What is Sahti Malt and where can I buy it?

Sahti Malt is a special malt blend for producing traditional Finnish beer, Sahti, highly appreciated, for example, by Michael Jackson, an English writer and journalist who has written several books about beer and whiskey. Sahti is traditionally brewed in farms and country houses. Today, there are also some commercial Sahti breweries in Finland. Sahti Malt is sold in 25 kg bags in many Finnish markets and supermarkets.

Viking Malt as a company

Q:Is Viking Malt a family-owned company?

Viking Malt is mainly a family owned company. The original company, Oy Lahden Polttimo Ab, was founded already back in 1883, still having a malthouse on a same spot in Lahti, Finland. The ownership is now held by the fifth generation. Minor part of company is owned by Swedish Farmers Association Lantmännen. There are lot of family owners there!

Q:Where does Viking Malt’s malt come from?

Our malting barley sourcing is as local as possible. All our three malthouses we have at the moment are surrounded by good malting barley growing areas. Local sourcing enable efficient supply chain and give us the improved control over the variety development and farmer cooperation. Our Arctic Malt concept is good example of that. As our sites being not too far from each others, the quality risk of crop failure can be managed too.

Environment and sustainability

Q:Do you have organic malts in your product selection?

Yes. Occasionally availability of organic barley may limit the malt production.

Q:What measures is Viking Malt taking to reduce the ecological impact of its operations?

The main impact of our operations comes from the farming of our raw materials. We have development programs in place to find better yielding varieties to reduce that load. We also try to buy our raw materials as close to our malthouses as possible. For the malting process, we constantly introduce new methods and ways to use as little energy and water as possible. To support all of this, all of our personnel are educated on environmental issues. In addition, it is good to know that using barley for malting and brewing is better for the environment than using it for feed (meat production), due to the production and emission of fewer dangerous greenhouse gases as only carbon dioxide is released from the malting process.

Q:Where does Viking Malt’s malt come from?

Our malting barley sourcing is as local as possible. All our three malthouses we have at the moment are surrounded by good malting barley growing areas. Local sourcing enable efficient supply chain and give us the improved control over the variety development and farmer cooperation. Our Arctic Malt concept is good example of that. As our sites being not too far from each others, the quality risk of crop failure can be managed too.

Malts and craft beers

Q:How do I know which malts are suitable for my beer?

You can always check our shortlist of different beertypes. From those descriptions there is a link to our list of malts. Different recipes can be found here.

Anyhow good discussions are always fruitful. So feel free to contact us.

Q:I am interested in craft brewery operations, but I need assistance in starting operations/ checking my recipes etc. What sort of services do you provide for craft breweries?

We have brewed quite a many beers is pilot brewery over the years by our Brewmasters. Those recipes and brewing reports can always contain useful information for the junior brewers. Our Brewmasters can also assist in all kind of other questions related to brewing and usage of malts and other raw materials. Our laboratory can offer some essential wort and beer analysis.

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