Changes in total (1→3), (1→4)-β-glucan content were followed during the micro-malting of nine varieties of barley with a wide range of malting qualities. These changes were related to estimates of endosperm modification based upon staining with Calcofluor. β-Glucan content declined from an average of 3.54% in the barley to 0.75% in the malt. Pentosan and total starch (including starch-derived oligosaccharides) levels showed comparatively little change during malting. β-Glucan composition of the barley was a poor indicator of malting performance. However, the β-glucan, starch and xylose contents of the malt all showed significant correlations with malt extract. Estimation of malt β-glucan content gave the best indication of malt quality. Direct determination of β-glucan may be of more value in assessing malt quality than indirect techniques based upon assessing modification of stained grains.