Aromatic Malts, a type of specialty malt that contributes a high degree of pronounced malty flavors and aromas to beer and has a color of about 20° SRM/Lovibond. Aromatic malts are produced when germinated barley is kiln dried at higher temperatures, typically 220°F (104°C) or greater, and at higher residual moisture content for a longer period of time than most base malts. The high kiln temperatures and length of kilning at higher temperature and moisture create more pronounced malty flavors and aromas through intensified Maillard reactions.
Aromatic malts are generally used for up to 10% of the grist in beers that benefit from intensely malty flavor and aromatics, such as bocks, brown ales, and Munich Dunkels. Depending upon the maltster, aromatic malts may have some diastatic power (enzymes) for the conversion of starch to sugar in the brewing process.
While the use of highly dried malts dates back centuries, modern aromatic malts owe their clean, malty flavors to the modern kiln that is capable of reaching, maintaining, and uniformly applying high temperatures and controlled drying rates for consistent flavor and color development.