Coloured and special malts provide a brewer with a means of modifying the flavour and character of his finished beer. Colour, Flavour, Foam properties and Haze Stability are among those factors, which may be influenced.
Though they make up a relatively minor part of the total grist (from 3 to 10%), they have a major impact on the character of the final beer.
Unlike cereal adjuncts, they are truly malted products relatively easy to use, and needing no special milling or cooking equipment. They are milled in a conventional brewery mill, darker malts being milled first and flushed through into the grist case with ordinary white malt.
The origins of coloured malts are obscure, though one may speculate that the use of black malt was discovered by accident following a fire in a malt kiln or store!
Towards the end of the 19th century a wide range of coloured malt were produced, but latterly, with a narrower range of beers on the market, the use of some types of coloured malts has declined and some has disappeared completely.