Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Warminster maltings

I was lucky enough to visit Warminster maltings last week. There was only time for the briefest of tours but it's a fantastic looking place.

It was built in1855 by local brewer and maltster William Morgan and remodelled in 1879 by his son Frank.

This was the year before the Free Mash Tun act moved taxation from malt to beer, so to this day the windows are still fitted with Customs and Excise approved bars, put in place to stop unscrupulous maltsters chucking grain out the windows when they saw the tax man coming.

Morgan family member E S Beaven seems to have been the E S Salmon of barley, as he bred the variety Plumage-Archer, which was a dominant variety in Britain until the 1950s. After Beaven's death Guinness bought the maltings, and when they wanted to close it in 1994 the head maltster Chris Garratt took it over, and the head brewer at Guinness's Park Royal brewery helped the new venture by giving them a contract for malt.The need for more funding lead to grain merchant Robin Appel taking over in 2001 and he has continued to invest in the company to this day.

There are several malting floors, where the germination takes place, on two levels.

Floor malting is very labour intensive, and before the grain even gets to the floor it has to be shovelled from the steep tank by to an auger by hand.

Don't know how much effort the kiling involves, but I suspect it's still considerably more than in a modern pneumatic maltings.

As we only had time to rush round I didn't take any notes so I really need to go back for a more leisurely visit. 


  1. Great malt out of that shop- interesting to hear some of the history- good post!

  2. Thanks for sharing your tour. Enjoyed reading it and the pictures are great. We went on a tour of Fawcett's many years ago. I didn't know much about malt then and certainly didn't appreciate the amount of sheer hard work that went into floor malting.

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