Coloured malts won by a considerable margin, receiving double the number of votes (six) or its nearest rivals (a three-way tie between: non-deposit bottled and cask beers, modern mashing and arsenic in beer).
But I'm not going to dive into the article straight away. I'm going to start with a few details from the Roasted Malt Act of 1842. I'd never realised all these restrictions existed. It demonstrates just how tightly regulated brewing and related trades were in the 19th century.
"AN ACT to provide Regulations for preparing and using Roasted Malt in colouring Beer.
(18th June 1842.)
ABSTRACT OF THE ENACTMENTS.
1. Prohibiting the roasting of malt for sale, or the selling thereof except by persons duly licensed.
2. Roasters of malt and dealers in roasted malt to take out a licence. — Penalty.
3. Duty on licences to be under the management of the Commissioners of Excise, who shall grant the same.
4. Roasters of malt to make entry of their premises and utensils.—Penalty.
5. Roasters of malt to mark their premises and utensils corresponding to their entry.
6. Officers of Excise empowered to enter the premises of roasters of malt.
7. Roasters of malt not to receive any other grain than unroasted malt, and dealers no other than roasted malt.—Penalty.
8. A malt book to be delivered to every roaster of malt and dealer in roasted malt, in which they shall respectively enter all malt received, roasted, and sent out by them.
9. Stock account of malt to be taken.
10. Book may be made up before taking the account, and malt in the cylinders may be included,
11. Malt not to be roasted at night.
12. A certificate book to he delivered to every roaster of malt, and all roasted malt to be sent out by certificate.— Penalty.
13. Brewers intending to use roasted malt to provide deposit rooms in which all roasted malt to be deposited, and the certificate delivered up to the officer of Excise.—Penalty.
14. All malt received by any roaster shall be roasted on his premises; and all roasted malt shall be sent out unground.
15. No roasted malt to be bought of any but a licensed roaster.
16. No maltster at his malt house, or within one mile of it, or any druggist or grocer, to be a roaster of malt or dealer in roasted malt
17. Power of Commissioners to except maltsters whose premises were within prohibited distance before 1st April 1842.
18. Roasters, &c. of malt subject to like prohibitions as to the custody, &c. of certain articles, &c. as brewers of, or dealers in, or retailers of beer.
19. Act may be altered this session."
They clearly didn't trust roasters and maltsters much. Weird that you weren't allowed to roast malt within a mile of a grocer. The similar restriction on druggists makes a chill go down my spine. It makes you wonder what they were getting from druggists to help with malt roasting. Couldn't have been anything pleasant. And I wonder why they weren't allowed to roast at night?