Black Patent Malt


Black patent malt is made with barley that's been roasted almost to the point of burning. It's used in dark beers such as porter and stout to add roasted, bitter flavours as well as colour.

It can also be used in small doses to darken other beer styles, although do this with care as it can easily impart an acrid flavour to your beer.

The roasting process kills all enzymes so it cannot be mashed alone (although the bitter taste prevents that from being desirable anyway). Use with base malts.

It was developed in the nineteenth century and changed the way dark beers were brewed. Previously dark base malts such as brown ale were used for the full grain bill.

With the invention of black malt, the higher yielding and more economical pale ale malt could be used with a small amount of black giving the desired colour. This of course also changed the flavour.

Tasting Notes


Strong burnt toast smell that dies down after extended steeping in water.

Settles down into a light whiff of instant coffee that's been overcooked almost to the point of burning.

After steeping in water, the malt produces an opaque black liquid.

The overwhelming impression is of strong bitterness.

There's a burnt toast flavour that is barely masked by an unpleasant, very weak sweetness. The mouthfeel is pretty astringent and the effects linger in the mouth long afterwards.

The best feature is the burnt toast effect, which on occasion has a certain charm. But overall it's pretty unpleasant and I'll add it to beer with caution.

I tasted the malt by steeping it in water for five minutes to prepare a malt tea.

SRM Colour

500 - 600

Used in

Porter, stout, other beers in moderation

Radical Brewing

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