Breeding for malting quality is an important goal of malting barley breeding programs. Malting quality is a complex phenotype that combines a large number of interrelated components, each of which shows complex inheritance. Currently, only a few genes involved in determining malting quality have been characterized. We combined transcript profiling with phenotypic correlations to identify candidate genes for malting quality. The Barley1 GeneChip® array containing 22,792 probe sets was used to conduct transcript profiling of genes expressed in several different stages of malting of four malting cultivars. Genes that were differentially expressed in comparisons between different malting stages relative to ungerminated seed, as well as in comparisons between malting cultivars in the same malting stage were identified. Correlation analysis of 723 differentially expressed genes with malting quality phenotypes showed that 11–102 of these genes correlated with six malting quality phenotypes. Genes involved in carbohydrate metabolism were among the positively correlated genes. Genes for protein and lipid metabolism, cell wall organization and biogenesis, and genes involved in stress and defense response also correlated with malting quality phenotypes. Expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were generated from a ‘malting-gene enriched’ cDNA library made by suppression subtractive hybridization between malted and ungerminated seeds of ‘Morex’. Eleven percent of the ESTs had no significant homology with sequences in the databases, suggesting that there may be other malting-related genes not represented in the barley gene chip array. The results provide candidate genes for malting quality phenotypes that need to be functionally validated.