Brewing Trial: Joe White Traditional Ale Malt

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Brewing Trial: Joe White Traditional Ale Malt

Postby seymour » Thu May 21, 2015 7:19 am

Following is an in-depth analysis of Joe White Traditional Ale Malt from Australia. It is now offered through Kent at Missouri Malt Supply (, 314-779-6258.)

I brewed two different beers, an Australian Sparkling Ale and an Australian Porter, utilizing Australian hops and yeast as well. I found Joe White Traditional Ale Malt to have low aroma, similar to US two-row pale malt, as opposed to more aromatic bready/nutty UK malts or husky/grainy German malts. However, the raw malt tasted much sweeter than US two-row pale malt, closer to UK Maris Otter or Mild malt, Gambrinus ESB malt, CaraPils or Vienna Malts. Not quite Munich, but getting there.

The colour of Joe White Traditional Ale Malt is 2.4-3.2 °L, something to consider in your recipe design. By comparison, US Two-Row Pale is typically only 1.5-2.5 °L, German Pilsener is even paler at 1.4-1.8 °L. So, when formulating a recipe with Joe White Traditional Ale Malt, remember it will come out darker and sweeter than typical US and German base malts. It more closely resembles the depth of colour and sweetness of UK base malts, but the aromas and flavours weren't quite as complex. The gold standard of UK brewing, Maris Otter, is typically a little darker yet, 3.0-4.0 °L (although rarer Low-Colour Maris Otter is only 1.5-1.9 °L.) As such, I consider Joe White Traditional Ale Malt to be a happy mid-point between US Two-Row Pale Malt and UK Maris Otter, possessing some traits of each.

Mechanically, I found Joe White Traditional Ale Malt easy to work with. Unlike some other base malts with very tough kernels, this malt cracked easily and quickly, placing no strain on the grainmill. However, both times I used it, I experienced lower than expected mash efficiency, resulting in a lower gravity beer than hoped. Despite using a relatively low mash temperature, lengthy 90 min mash and lengthy 90 min boil, I was a bit disappointed by only 73% efficiency. Under those conditions, I'm accustomed to much higher mash efficiencies, even with Maris Otter. Of course, this is a tiny sample size, and could be entirely my own doing.

That said, my lengthy boil led to some delicious kettle caramelization and residual sweetness. The rich maltiness provides a strong backbone which really comes through in the finished beer, similar to Munich Dunkel or Oktoberfest, and supports intense hop bills too as in American Amber Ale or West Coast IPA. The malt and mouthfeel tastes a lot like Stone Arrogant Bastard, honestly. I'll willingly trade-off some efficiency for this flavour.

I strongly recommend experimenting with Joe White Traditional Ale Malt, just not in a beer meant to be very pale or neutral.

Australian ales are definitely not neutral. To be authentic, pair the Joe White Malt with Pride of Ringwood hops which have a similar reputation in Australia as Cluster does here in America, which is to say: pungent, peppery, fruity, earthy in a good way when used right but sometimes rough-around-the-edges or even harsh when abused. You should also ferment with Coopers Brewery yeast, available as White Labs WLP009. Coopers also produces their own dry yeasts for homebrewers, which aren't the exact same commercial brewery strain, but they perform similarly and produce great beer. Coopers yeast is a force to reckon with too, being extremely bready and fruity, a poor flocculator (Coopers' ad campaign slogan: "Cloudy But Fine"), and prone to banana and clove weizen-like traits when fermented too warm. But don't let me talk you out of it, well-crafted Australian Sparkling Ale is some of the most delicious pale ale in the world.

Lastly, don't be afraid to over-carbonate: the term "sparkling" refers to the gassy, Champagne-like spritziness, not a crystal-clear appearance. This is a major departure from the English ales upon which they were derived: Australian ales are still malty and hoppy as all hell, but carbonated like a lawnmower lager. Very cold and very carbonated, Sparkling Ale has always been such a refreshing thirst-quencher in the hot/arid Australian climate.


Joe White Maltings has eight plants across Australian and supplies nearly all Australian and New Zealand breweries since the 1850s. Besides Coopers Brewery (which is immensely popular, but unfortunately is not distributed to Missouri), other commercial examples include Carlton & United, Castlemaine Perkins, Hahn, Lion Nathan, Little Creatures, Matilda Bay, Mildura, Southwark, Steinlager, Tooth's, West End. They've exported to Kirin in Japan for years, but Cargill recently bought Joe White Maltings which is why it's now available worldwide.

Some recipe research for your consideration:

Coopers Sparkling Ale grainbill is believed to contain 83.5% Joe White Malt, 5.5% Crystal Malt, 11% Light Cane Sugar (mash 45 min at 150°F).

Wally Hughes' Australian Sparkling Ale contains 93% Joe White Malt, 5% Wheat Malt, 2% Dark Crystal Malt (mash 60 min at 145-147°F, then mashout at 169°F).

A Coopers Sparkling Ale clone recipe from a 2001 BYO magazine article suggested 87.5% Joe White Malt, 7.5% Wheat Malt, 5% CaraRed Malt (mash 90 min at 148–150°F).

My Australian Sparkling Ale contains 88% Joe White Malt, 2.5% Thomas Fawcett Crystal Malt II, 2.5% Dingemans Belgian Aromatic Malt, 7% Raw Cane Sugar Invert Syrup (mash 90 min at 149°F).

Northern Brewer's Australian Sparkling Ale kit contains 88.4% Pilsener Malt, 7% White Wheat Malt, 4.6% Simpsons CaraMalt

Coopers Best Extra Stout is believed to contain Joe White Malt, Dark Crystal Malt, Chocolate Malt, Black Malt, ≈5% Cane Sugar Invert Syrup (mash 60 min at 150°F).

Coopers Original Pale Ale contains 81% Joe White Pilsener Malt, 3% Wheat Malt, 1% Dark Crystal Malt, 15% Cane Sugar Invert Syrup (mash 60 min ≈150°F/66°C).

Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale is believed to contain 94% Joe White Malt, 5% Wheat Malt, 1% Medium Crystal Malt (mash 60 at 145°F).

Little Creatures Pale Ale is believed to be 81.4% Joe White Malt, 8.8% Wheat Malt, 5.3% Dark Munich Malt, 4.4% Pale Crystal/CaraMalt.

Castlemaine Perkins XXXX Bitter, a well-hopped lager from 1924, was believed to contain 80% Joe White Malt, 10% Flaked Maize, 10% Cane Sugar.

Mildura Honey Wheat contains Joe White Malt, Wheat Malt and Orange Blossom Honey.

Summit Southern Cape Sparkling Ale contained Australian Pale Malt and Chilean Sebastian Caramel Malt.

The Australian Amateur Brewing Championship - Style Guidelines reveal some interesting differences to BJCP:

If interested, here are links to my own Joe White Traditional Ale Malt brewdays:
Seymour Australian Sparkling Ale:
Seymour Australian Porter:

If anyone else has experimented with Joe White Malts, please share your findings below.

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Re: Brewing Trial: Joe White Traditional Ale Malt

Postby stlmalt » Sun May 24, 2015 6:10 am

Thanks Seymour for the extensive brewing trial write up on the JWM Traditional Pale Malt.
I am not sure what may have contributed to your lower than expected mash efficiency as this malt should mill and produce a mash yield similar to other pale base malts.

MO Malt stocks and offers the JWM Traditional Pale Malt and the JWM Australian Pilsen Malt in qtr (13.75 lbs), half (27.5 Lbs) and full sacks (55 Lbs). 2 base malts worth experimenting with.

Missouri Malt Supply in Fenton
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Re: Brewing Trial: Joe White Traditional Ale Malt

Postby seymour » Wed May 27, 2015 9:03 am

Just to clarify: if the relatively darker colour and (potentially) lower mash efficiency of the Joe White Traditional Ale Malt scares anyone off, you should definitely consider their other malt.

Joe White Australian Pils is an excellent two-row barley malt, lighter in colour (1.7 - 2.1 L), with a crisp and grainy mouthfeel, very popular for brewing top-shelf lagers across Australia, New Zealand, and much of Asia.

Joe White Traditional Ale Malt: ... 672888.pdf

Joe White Pils Malt: ... 672874.pdf
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