Malta Soda




Malta is a unique soda that is popular in the Caribbean and parts of Africa. It is thick, malty, sweet, and kind of medicinal tasting. Many people hate it but those of us who like it REALLY like it. There is no other drink quite like Malta. It can be tricky to find in some places and it is often expensive. Luckily it isn't too hard to make.

Although this recipe uses fermentation, the amount of alcohol will be negligible. In fact, due to its rich malty brewed flavor, Malta makes a great substitute for beer for those who can't or don't drink alcohol.

By the way, if you have never made homemade soda before, I recommend starting with something easier like Root Beer or Ginger Beer before moving on to Malta, since it is a little more challenging.

Step 1: Supplies & Ingredients

Malta is made of water, malt, molasses, sugar and yeast. Any kind of malt should make something similar to Malta, but ideally you want a dark, rich drink. I am indebted to for his recipe, which I modified slightly but used as a guide. Here is what I came up with.


1. About two pounds of Malt, processed.
2. 1 gallon of water
3. 0.6 pounds of molasses
4. 0.3 pounds of sugar (White sugar will work. Brown or Piloncillo sugar are even better.)
5. 1/8 teaspoon of ale yeast (bread yeast will work almost as well.)


1. Large stockpot (not aluminum)
2. wooden spoon
3. kitchen thermometer
4. Large meash strainer
5. bottles and capper

For the malt quantities, I used 1.6 pounds of Pale Malt, 0.3 of Carahell Malt, and 0.1 of Chocolate Malt. The homebrew store near my house measured the quantities and processed them all for me.

See step four for choosing bottles.

Step 2: M*A*S*H

Mashing is the process of extracting sugars from malt.

1. Put the two pounds of malt in your stockpot with one gallon of water.

2. Turn the stove to medium-low heat and carefully watch the thermometer. Try to keep it between 150 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Add the molasses and sugar and stir until they dissolve.

4. Brew for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 3: Strain and Add Yeast

You will now need to strain the malt particles out of the liquid. Use a fine mesh sieve or colander. Do not use the kind of colander with holes or slits, since those will allow too many particles through.

1. Pour the liquid through the sieve. If too much debris gets through, pour it through the sieve several times.

2. Let the liquid sit and cool to below 90 degrees. Some of the water will have evaporated, so add enough new water to bring the liquid back up to 1 gallon. You can add cooler water to get the temperature of the liquid down faster.

3. Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup of lukewarm water for five minutes. Do not use hot water, which will kill the yeast. once it is dissolved, add it to the liquid and stir.

Step 4: Bottle & Ferment

Voila! You now have Malta soda. Except its not ready yet. To get fizzy, the yeast will have to consume some sugar to produce CO2 (carbonation) and a small amount of alcohol. This alcohol is only a tiny amount, so don't worry about anyone getting drunk.

1. Pour your soda mixture into bottles. Give the liquid a stir between each bottle so that the undissolved yeast doesn't settle to the bottom and end up in your last bottle.

2. Leave a small amount of "headspace", or air between the soda and the rim of the bottle. This will allow the yeast to grow a little.

3. Cap the bottles. If you like, give them a shake to oxygenate the liquid and give the yeast a bit of kickstart.

4. Store the bottles for a few days. Make sure they are out of the sunlight. If your storage area is about 65-70 degrees fahrenheit, it will probably take about 2 or 3 days. 70-75 degrees will probably will only take 1 or 2 days.

5. After you have waited, open a test bottle. It should fizz up to the rim before settling back down to the bottom. Taste it and see if it seems fizzy enough. If it is, place the remaining bottles in the refrigerator to stop the fermentation process. Otherwise leave the bottles out for several more hours or days.

Note on bottling and safety:

Many people will tell you that plastic bottles are safer than glass. This is true. In case you let a bottle overcarbonate and explode, plastic will just send soda everywhere and not shards of glass. However, I like the classic feel of a glass bottle in my hand, the sound of a metal cap hitting the floor, and overall, the aesthetic of glass in general. Glass is class. All gourmet sodas come in glass bottles, and your homemade Malta will certainly be gourmet. In addition to this, glass can be reused indefinitely and will not impart any plasticky flavor to your drink. With a few precautions, you can minimize the risk of exploding bottles and enjoy the benefits of glass.

-Use thick glass bottles. Antique bottles are ideal. Any modern returnable bottles will also work great. Most microbrew beer bottles will also come in a slightly thicker glass than say, budweiser. And make sure your bottles are not threaded. The seal created on these bottles will not be as good as that of a pop-top, plus the glass tends to be thinner. Never use jars, growlers, or anything other than pop-top soda or beer bottles. Swing top bottles, if the glass is thick, work great. You can buy them at Ikea or most kitchen supply stores.

-Open a "tester" bottle after just a couple of days. If it gushes over, refrigerate it immediately. Open tester bottles in the sink to prevent making a mess.

-Leave about one inch of headspace when filling your bottles. Leaving too much headspace will make the yeast grow too fast a burst your bottles.

-Once refrigerated, use your soda within about one month. Refrigeration slows fermentation to a crawl, but it does not stop it completely.

-If you don't want to risk glass bottle explosions or you don't have access to a capper, use plastic bottles. Use soda bottles with intact threads and plastic seals. Refrigerate them when they feel tight like a bicycle tire. Do not reuse them more than a couple times as the plastic seal tends to weaken a little each time and will eventually fail.

-Whatever bottles you use, cover them with a towel so that any explosions will be contained.

Step 5: Enjoy!

Once your fermented Malta has chilled in the fridge, it's ready to drink! Pour into a frosty mug or over ice (unlike beer, Malta is often served on ice).

You can also mix it with sweetened condensed milk like they do in many Caribbean countries.

I haven't tried it yet, but I bet Malta would make a delicious float with vanilla ice cream.

If you're adventurous, you can turn it into Ponche de Malta.

Thanks for reading!

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    17 Discussions


    Reply 9 months ago

    To know precisely requires special measuring equipment, but skipping primary fermentation and bottling right away should keep it to less than 0.5%


    9 months ago

    Malta traditionally most definitely has and should have hops. What it should not have is yeast.

    The very best Malta I have found, which is all natural and authentic, is "Maltin" by the brand Polar. I travel 2 and a half hours to buy it because all the others pale in comparison and are full of artificial junk and high fructose corn syrup.

    The ingredients are: water, malted barley, sugar, carbon dioxide, and hops.

    It tasted so rich and amazing!

    So I will be tweaking this recipe and adding hops, removing yeast, using brown sugar.

    1 reply

    Reply 9 months ago

    Thanks for the comment!

    Malta is enjoyed in many countries and there are many varieties, including versions which do not contain hops.

    Additionally, many modern sodas are based on traditional brewed and fermented beverages which used yeast. I do not know if this includes Malta, but Malta's ingredients and flavor are especially complemented by fermentation. Using CO2 will, of course, yield something much closer to store varieties, but many people enjoy the flavor and tradition of yeast fermentation.


    2 years ago

    This soda sounds awesome! I should be brewing this in the coming days. As a noobie, would it be a good idea or a bad idea to use cheese cloth to strain the mash?

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    I've made and bottled my first attempt. Cheese cloth was not the greatest idea. At first I had it in the sieve, but it quickly clogged with fine particles. My sieve has a fine mesh, but I didn't want to strain it multiple times. Instead, I draped the cheese cloth over the pot (I tied it to the handles. A large rubber band or some clothes pegs should work), and placed the sieve on top. To get all I could from the mash I balanced the mash pot on top of the straining pot with the mouth over the sieve (the cheese cloth tied to the handles helped support the weight) and allowed gravity to assist getting the last drops to drip out while waiting for the liquid to cool enough to add the yeast.

    Oh, I should mention that because of availability (and hastiness) I substituted the malts in the recipe: I used Pilsner malt instead of Pale; Crystal malt instead of Carahell; and, Dark malt instead of Chocolate.

    The malt tastes good already, without carbonation. Very happy with that.
    I've bottled the malt and am now hoping nothing blows up! (never done this before)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Nice instructable!

    I've been wanting to make this for some time. I'm gonna skip the fermentation step though and go straight to forced carbonation.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago

    That's the ticket now if you use dried malt or syrup then you know what soda makers do. This is a deer makers recipe


    6 years ago on Step 4

    Excellent instructable! I am a homemade brewer, and I will try this! In order to stop the fermentation process and avoid bottles explosions you can pasteurize them. This means to put them in a big pan, fill with water (cover the bottles) and heat to boil. Let it boil for 10 minutes or so, and voil√°, the yeasts are dead and wont be a trouble for you anymore. After this process you can refrigerate if you like, but in a dark, cold and dry place you can store them for at least 6 months with a reasonable amount of confidence.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago

    Invest in co2 yeast will impart a funky taiste "from a soda maker" boiling active soda bottles will be insane your creating all kinds of pressure issues and byw your not killing all if the yeast there will be some resistant to the heat of pasteurization "mycologist here" so use co2


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Nice recipe. But one important ingredient is missing: HOPS. The bittering effect of hops is an integral part of malta. Also, it might be better to allow the malt to mash first before adding the sugars for the boil. Finally, to manonegra, bringing the bottles to a boil can lead to explosion. Heating to 160-180 degrees F and holding for 15-30 minutes should be sufficient for effective pasteurization.

    3 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Do you think Malta beverages are made this way? Can you simplify things by using Malt syrup? I've tried Malta Hatuey, Goya, Regal, and India (from best to worst). I want to try other varieties and/or learn how to make it myself, so I can stop looking for this tasty beverage! Tastes like Grapenuts (the cereal) to me! Yum!


    Reply 4 years ago

    Your a beer brewer not a soda maker Malta has no hops in it we make it here... And resolving sugars at 160 will leave you with a fridge full of busted bottled if your using yeast (don't use yeast) becaue the sugars your creating is yeast fermentable the ones made when boiling it is not.


    4 years ago

    Good instructable than you for posting and this will work and no do not add hops that's not in any Malta receipt I'm an island man and we make it our selves... Fly you can avoid mist of this work by using DME dried malt and the other guy who advised to resolve your suffers at 160 is not a soda maker obviously because he thinks you need the sugars to make alc um no you need the sugars for the taiste if you resolve the sugars at 160 you'll end up with a refigirator full of exploded bottles because the yeast will have way too much work to do that's normally done in the fermenter all you need is the yeast to remove the usable sugars and that will be a little but enough to make the soda fyi your better off not using yeast because it departs a funky flavor to malts you know that taiste in skunks beer if you noticed that in your Malta this is why all that less that you normally LEAVE off in the fermenting process is in your bottle all that dead bacteria and it's waiste so for those of us who can use a co2 tank to all carbonation but use a low pressure for a longer rest time this will give the Malta that soft smoothe taiste you know and like dude you make an amazing post thank you again and ignore some of these other posters dude