Crisp Malt, Admiral Maltings Undertake Unprecedented International Collaboration

Photo courtesy Admiral Maltings

Building a bridge between the British and American malting worlds, Crisp Malt and Admiral Maltings have forged a groundbreaking collaborative partnership. The two companies are embarking on the first international exchange of heritage barley varieties for floor malting at each other’s historic facilities.

The transatlantic partnership sprouted from a bond established over a decade ago when the founders of California’s Admiral Maltings visited Crisp’s classic 1870 English floor maltings on a 2015 research trip. Inspired by the traditional processes still employed, an eventual collaboration was inevitable.

That opportunity arose at the 2022 Craft Brewers Conference, when the companies jokingly pondered “What’s stopping maltsters from doing collaborations like breweries?” A plan took shape to swap signature heritage varieties with Crisp sending its revered Czech landrace Hana barley to Admiral in January 2024. Admiral will return the favor in 2025 by shipping Butta 12, a California-bred variety developed at the University of California Davis, to undergo traditional English floor malting.

More than simply exchanging grains, this partnership celebrates the ancient floor malting craft and heritage varieties that have endured for centuries. “This is focusing a spotlight on the renewal of a traditional method…it’s a celebration of floor malting, variety, and their contributions to flavor,” notes Admiral cofounder, Ron Silberstein.

By resurrecting venerable landraces like Hana and exploring their expression through gentle, labor-intensive floor malting, the collaboration connects modern makers to these ingredients’ rich provenance as originally manifested long ago. “Floor malting provides different flavor attributes…with the gentle process and low airflow, you’re preserving subtle flavors stripped away in pneumatic malting” states Crisp’s Technical Director, David Griggs.

According to Griggs, research at Crisp revealed distinct differences in volatile compounds between their floor malts and conventional kilned versions, suggesting the ancient method uniquely retains delicate flavors. This collaboration is a rare chance to look at how variety and process intersect to shape a malt’s sensory profile.

Ultimately, the collaboration celebrates these heritage processes and ingredients by experiencing them in the present day. As brewers transform these malts into beers in the coming months, they’ll serve as an experiential bridge connecting today’s modern craft to ancient maltster forebears.

“It’s a fun project, and brewers like something different,” says Griggs. “When the beers from this special partnership start flowing, drinkers will be partaking in a ceremonial toast spanning centuries.”

Those interested can follow the collaboration’s progress at, with periodic blog updates on the processes, brewer participants, and more. 

Attending the 2024 Craft Brewers Conference in Las Vegas, NV? You’re invited to stop by the Crisp booth at BrewExpo America to meet with Crisp and Admiral representatives during the event and learn more about the collaboration project.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.