Maris Otter Malt

Closeup of Ground Maris Otter Malt


Maris Otter is variety of 2-row winter barley grown in England. Most of the Maris Otter grown is used to produce pale ale malt, kilned a few degrees lovibond darker than typical pale malts. Maris Otter malt is sometimes made using traditional floor malting techniques. This is a very labor-intensive undertaking and can only be done in small batches, but theoretically floor malting allows for better quality control than other malting techniques.

Maris Otter is one of the better-known brand names among specialty base malts. It generally has very nice characteristics for brewing across the board. Maris Otter imparts slightly more color than 2-row pale malt and has a mildly malty flavor with slight nuttiness. Beer made with Maris Otter tend to have a little more body than those made with pale malt. This richer character will be less noticeable in beers with lots of specialty grains but can add substantial character to pale ales. Maris Otter is desirable for its plump grains, low protein, and fairly high diastatic potential. In the field it matures quickly for harvesting. Grains of Maris Otter are easily malted due to good absorption of water and short seed dormancy periods.

In spite of these good properties for beer brewing, Maris Otter was taken off the UK government's list of recommended malting barleys in favor of newer varieties with higher crop yields. The Maris Otter brand is now managed and promoted by a consortium. It continues to be a very popular style of malt for craft brewers and home brewers. This hearty malt enjoys an especially strong following among those interested in cask ales.

Beer Styles

This is a wonderful base malt for many English-style ales. It works particularly well in English pale ales such as ordinary bitter, best bitter, and extra special bitter. In these styles it adds some complexity and body without relying on crystal malt. In these styles it can be used for all or nearly all of the malt. Similarly, it can be a nice addition to American ales, especially pale ales, amber ales, and IPAs. Some brewers feel that Maris Otter heavy beers do not attenuate fully enough for American styles; they may choose to forego it altogether or blend it with a portion of pale malt.

Malt Analysis

Extract Potential 1.036
Color (°L) 2.5 - 3.5
DPLin) 120
Protein (%) 10

Statistical values from [1].


  1. "Warminster Maltings Malt Descriptions." Cargill Foods. n.d. Web. 8 December 2013. ‹›.
  2. "Marris Otter Barley." Warminster Maltings LTD. n.d. Web. 8 December 2013. ‹›.
  3. Hornsby, Ian. Brewing 2nd Edition. Cambridge: The Royal Society of Chemistry. 2013. Web. 8 December 2013. ‹›.