What does 100 malt beer mean?

In this article, we will answer the question “What does 100 malt beer mean?”, and the process of malting along with its addition in different beverages.

What does 100% malt beer mean?

100% malt beer is a kind of beer made exclusively from malted barley or other malted grains without the addition of  any adjuncts while regular domestic beer typically contains 25-65 percent adjuncts (1, 2). 100% malt beer is also called “pure malt beer” and “all malt beer”.

The adjuncts (such as corn – maize, rice, wheat, rye, sorghum) are used to replace malt, because they are usually cheaper than barley malt, but also used because they modify the flavor (3). 

Malt is any grain that has undergone the malting process (4) and the most commonly chosen grain for malting is either wheat or barley. However, other grains such as spelt, rye, oats may also be used (3, 5).

There are different types of malts used in the production of beverages such as beer (both 100% malt beer and beer with adjuncts), including base barley malt, roasted malt, wheat malt, rye malt and oat malt. Each of them contributes specific characteristics to a final beer (6).

Are there differences in the organoleptic characteristics between 100% malted beer and regular beer?

Yes, there can be differences in these characteristics of 100% malted beer compared to regular one (11). 

Malted beers tend to have a deeper and richer color compared to beers brewed with adjuncts because malted grains, especially darker malts, contribute to the beer’s color (12).

Malted beers often have a fuller body and a richer mouthfeel due to the complex sugars and proteins present in malted grains giving the beer a more substantial and satisfying texture (12).

100% malted beers may exhibit better foam formation and longer-lasting foam compared to beers brewed with adjuncts (12).

Malted beers can have a distinct flavor profile characterized by the flavors and aromas derived from malted grains (13).

Why has there been a growth in popularity and demand for 100% malt beers?

100% malt beers provide a diverse array of malt flavors and aroma. This flavor complexity attracts those seeking more robust and characterful beer experiences (14).

This correlates with the fact that the craft beer industry has seen tremendous growth in recent years (15). Craft beer consumers are looking for unique and tasty beer options (16).

What are the benefits of 100% malt beer compared to beer with adjuncts?

Drinking 100% malt beer can have several potential benefits.

100% malt beer typically has an intense malt flavor compared to beers that include adjuncts (7). Also, different malt varieties and the brewing process can contribute to a wide range of flavors, aromas, and textures, providing a more intricate and enjoyable beer experience (6).

Some adjuncts can contribute lighter flavors and a less satiating impact (especially when sugars, as adjuncts, have been added) (8).

What are the harms and disadvantages of 100% malt beer compared to beer with adjuncts?

Despite 100% malt has many benefits, we cannot fail to mention the harms and disadvantages.

Beers with adjuncts are often used to produce lighter and more easily drinkable styles and it may result in a different taste experience that is less to consumers’ liking (2).

Barley malt contains gluten. This can be a concern for individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disease (9). There are even Gluten-Free Beers.

Regardless of whether a beer is 100% malt and also those that contain adjuncts, the alcohol content remains an important consideration. Moderate alcohol consumption is imperative. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to various health risks and should always be approached with moderation. When consuming beer or any alcoholic beverage, it is recommended to do so responsibly.

In the economic scope, 100% malt beers have the disadvantage of being more expensive to produce compared to beers with adjuncts resulting in higher prices for consumers (10). 


In this article, we answered the question “What does 100 malt beer mean?”, we also argue about the differences between a 100% malt beer and a regular beer, which contains adjuncts. As well, we debate  its benefits, harms and disadvantages in comparison to beer with adjuncts. 


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