Malty Beers—All About Brands, Food Pairings, and More

Do you like salty beers?

They have a range of flavors, from sweet to nutty, with notes of caramel, toffee, bread, and dried fruits. 

The color can vary from light copper to dark brown, and they can be soft or full-bodied, with low to high ABV%.

It all depends on the brewery and the brewer’s preferences. 

Continue Reading to learn more about malty beers!

Men Enjoying A Drinks In A Bar.

Malty Beer 101

There are several different kinds of malty beers, each with its unique flavor:

  • Pale Ale is a light-colored, mild-flavored malty beer. It is often served with food and is a popular choice for newcomers to the beer world.  
  • Amber Ale is a darker, more full-bodied, malty beer with a slightly sweet flavor. It is often used in cooking. 

It is also famous for those looking for a more complex beer.  

  • Brown Ale is a dark malty beer with a nutty, roasted flavor. It is often served with stews and other hearty dishes.  
  • Stout is a dark, heavy, malty beer with a strong flavor. It is often served with desserts and is a favorite among beer connoisseurs.  
  • Porter is a dark malty beer that has a sweet, chocolate-like flavor. It is often served with desserts and is a favorite among those who enjoy a sweeter beer.  

These are only a few of the many types of malty beers available.

No matter your preference, there will surely be a malty beer you will enjoy. 

So why not give one a try?

Malt Profile

Do you know what makes a malty beer so special?

It’s all about the malts used in brewing. 

These beers are darker and sweeter than others, with a more subtle hop flavor.

Malted barley is the most common grain, but rye, wheat, oats, and sorghum can also be used. 

The kilning process dries the grain and activates enzymes to break down starches and convert them to sugars.

The heat used in this process affects the color and flavor of the malt. 

The lightest malts are called base malts, followed by crystal/caramel, toasted, and roasted. 

The type of malt used in a beer significantly impacts the color and flavor.

If you’ve only had mass-produced Pilsners and IPAs, you may think all beers are hoppy or not so lovely, like Pine-Sol.

Malty beers, however, are perfect for colder months as they’re usually more robust and heavier. 

They can have notes of: 

  • caramel
  • toffee
  • coffee
  • fruits
  • bread/biscuit
  • chocolate
  • toast
  • burnt coffee
  • smoke

Malting grain is how brewers get the fermentable sugars yeast needs to brew beer.

So, all malty beers are a bit sweet. 

Crystal malt gives beers a sweet caramel flavor, while chocolate malt gives brown ales, stouts, and porters a coffee-like taste with less sweetness.

Explore Malt Liquor vs Beer in this detailed comparison.

Malty or Hoppy?

Malt is essential for beer because it contains alcohol and carbonation.

Hops also play a significant role since their bitterness balances out the malt. 

Depending on the beer, it can be either malt-forward or hop-forward.

Malt-forward beers like brown ales and porters have a more robust malt flavor, and the hops are less noticeable. 

For hop-forward beers like Pilsners and IPAs, the malt sweetness balances the hop bitterness.

Malt-forward beers can have several kinds of flavors: 

  • bread-like or biscuit
  • coffee, toffee, or caramel
  • chocolate and nutty notes

Hop-forward beers can have several kinds of aromas: 

  • spicy
  • floral
  • citrus
  • piney
  • tropical
  • woody 
  • earthy

Explore a list of hoppy beers and their hoppiness measures in this article.

Maltiest Beers

Are you looking for a dark and malty beer?

These types of beers are earthier and have more complex flavors than their hoppier counterparts. 

Here are some of the most renowned types of beer malt: 

Brown Ales 

  • American
  • Belgian Dark
  • English
  • English Dark – Mild

Dark Ales 

  • Dubbel
  • Rye Beer
  • Scottish Ale

Strong Ales 

  • Barleywine
  • American
  • English
  • Belgian Quadrupel
  • Belgian Tripel
  • Belgian Dark Ale
  • Belgian Pale Ale
  • American Strong Ale
  • English Strong Ale
  • Red Ale – Imperial
  • Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
  • Wheat Beer

Dark Lagers 

  • American Amber/Red
  • Marzen/Oktoberfest
  • Dunkel
  • Rauchbier
  • Schwarzbier
  • Vienna


  • Traditional Bock
  • Doppelbock
  • Eisbock
  • Maibock
  • Weizenbock


  • American
  • Imperial
  • Baltic
  • English
  • Robust
  • Smoked


  • Sweet/Milk
  • American
  • American Imperial
  • English-Style
  • Oatmeal
  • Irish Dry

Dive deeper into a comparison: Ale vs. Lager vs. Pilsner vs. Stout vs. Porter.

Malty Beer Food Pairings

Different Drinks Served In A Very Decorative Tray.

Planning a party?

Picking the right food to go with malty beers is easy. 

Try bold cheeses, root crops, tomato-flavored dishes, pork, and cured meats.

The perfect combo? 

Malt beer and Hawaiian pizza with loads of cheese.

When pairing malt, go for roast, smoked, and toasty dishes. Beets, mushrooms, legumes, beans, and grains also work well.

Malt beers are sweet, so pick food that complements, not contrasts, the flavor. 

And don’t forget umami and buttery foods.

Sip, Slurp, and Enjoy: Best Beers for Cheese Soup.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a malty beer? 

A malty beer is a type of beer that has a sweet, grainy flavor from malted barley.  

What is malt? 

Malt is a sprouted and dried cereal grain used in brewing beer and whiskey. 

What does it mean if beer is malty?  

Maltiness is a flavor in beer that comes from malted grains. It’s often described as sweet, biscuity, or bready. 

Maltiness can range from subtle to intense, depending on the type of beer.

What are the different types of malty beers? 

There are several malty beers, such as amber ales, brown ales, and porters.  

How do malty beers taste? 

Malt beers have a sweet, grainy flavor, often balanced with hops for a slightly bitter taste.  

Are malty beers stronger than other beers? 

Not necessarily. The strength of the beer depends on the type and amount of ingredients used.

IPAs and Popular Brands.

Best Greek Beer Brands.

Low Acid Beer for Acid Reflux.

Final Thoughts

You’ve learned a lot about malty beers!

They are full-bodied and have a sweet, bready flavor. 

Coming in various styles, including amber ales, brown ales, porters, and stouts.

They are usually darker in color and have a higher alcohol content than other beers. 

You can find malty beers at most bars and breweries.

They pair well with a variety of foods, from burgers to desserts.

Enjoy a malty beer the next time you’re out with friends, and you’ll have a great time.