English Pale Ale Malts

I am looking into using the Thomas Facett and Sons grains for my second try at the ESB. Can anyone tell me the difference between the Pearl, Halycon and Optic and which you might prefer?

I love their Maris Otter so I can’t really help you. I’d say the differences will be subtle. Their flavors are as much about how they malt as what variety of barley is used.

Country Malt has a page that describes the differences.


As Tom says, the differences are probably pretty subtle. I use their Maris Otter and love it.

Sounds good. I went with the Marris Otter. Anyone use that for a Stout?

Its good for any British/Scottish/Irish beer, although its nutty/graham cracker flavor gets overwhelmed by the dry bitter roast in a stout.

I’ve used it in a stout several times with great results.

I’ve read similar descriptions of the various malts before and I’ve always forund them to be a bit confusiong. Especially the description of Halcyon producing a “less sweet” wort than Maris Otter. What does that mean, exactly? Is it “less sweet” because there’s less sugar to extract from the grain therefore producing less extract per pound of grain? Or is it just a perceived flavor difference - i.e. Halcyon produces a 'grainier" or 'dry bready" flavor than MO but the extract per lb is the same?

I’ve never experimented with Halcyon so I have no personal experience with this. I have used Optic, MO and Golden Promise and have found that they all produce very nice pale ales/bitters with the GP being slightly lighter in color than the other two. Personally, I don’t think that you’d notice a difference between any of these malts in a dark or highly-hopped beer because the flavors differences are so small and they’d be masked by the stonger flavors of the dark malts.

When munching on dry grains, I’m always surprised how sweet TF MO is compared to American 2-row or continental Pils. It also has a noticeable nutty flavor. Though not having used any other MO, I don’t know how it compares head-to-head.

In recent lot sheet comparison I see the 4 types of pale malt will produce 1.036 PPPG
This including MO: 80.5fg/3m, Pearl:80.5fg/3m, Halcyon: 81.2fg/4m, Optic: 80fg/4m. I have subbed MO with Optic in the past and did not notice enough diff to matter. But not to say that all 4 put side to side in exacting recipes would not show distinct flavor diff as it is quite possible. I do find GP does produce a much different wort than the four British malts( two of which I have tried ) if strictly talking in the confines of TF & S. The GP:79.8fg/3.5m should also yield 1.036 PPPG