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GalBrew

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TimT said:
I sometimes find it interesting how folks really get into the DIY side when it comes to some parts of the brewing process - all grain mashing, fermentation fridges, etc - but take a step back from other things, like malting! Part of the fun of it I think is working out how to do all this stuff at home for yourself.
While I appreciate that many folks love to tinker. I fucking hate DIY with a passion. There is nothing that I can personally do that will come anywhere near a professional product (aside from the beer itself). Nor do I have a passion for homemade products in general (just beer, and general cooking). I also do t have the time to waste dicking around with malting when it is hard enough to get to a brew shop to buy malt off the shelf. My interests lie with recipe formulations, fermentations and the quality of the finished product. Every professional, consistent product I use gets me to my goals in a far more efficient and reliable manner......sorry for the OT rant.
 

TimT

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Fair enough! I guess though, looking at the whole thing from the perspective of someone who has never brewed, if you told them you brewed they'd go 'whoa, that's so DIY!' Anyway, it's all a bit of an aside.
 

GalBrew

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TimT said:
Fair enough! I guess though, looking at the whole thing from the perspective of someone who has never brewed, if you told them you brewed they'd go 'whoa, that's so DIY!' Anyway, it's all a bit of an aside.
I know...don't worry the irony isn't lost on me!
 

mr_wibble

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I humbly disagree GalBrew.

Cooking and brewing are all about DIY.

I do share your frustration when I can't personally finish a job to an acceptable quality level.
But I see the malting process as something achievable in a limited, but acceptable sense - yes, the malt probably wont be full modified, but that's OK.

Same as my curries aren't quite as good as what a professional cook would make.

-kt
 

mr_wibble

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TimT

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The discussion around the viabiilty of enzyme retention in a home malting process is quite interesting. This seems to indicate to me that traditionally malting may have often happened in a way where often brewing enzymes were not retained, or were very sub-optimal. Does this mean that perhaps in traditional brewing a lot of adjuncts were used in the mash to make up for the enzymes lost in the malting?
 

GalBrew

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Mr Wibble said:
I humbly disagree GalBrew.

Cooking and brewing are all about DIY.

I do share your frustration when I can't personally finish a job to an acceptable quality level.
But I see the malting process as something achievable in a limited, but acceptable sense - yes, the malt probably wont be full modified, but that's OK.

Same as my curries aren't quite as good as what a professional cook would make.

-kt
Did you build your own oven/stove/kitchen? Do you mill your own flour or forge your own knives and pans? I really enjoy cooking and brewing. But I don't feel the need to or enjoy re-inventing the wheel at every stage of the process. Brewing for me is about making the best beer I can, consistently. This is not going to happen with DIY malt made from feed barley. If my beer isn't better or more interesting (to me anyway) than a commercial example then I rate that brew as a failure and use the experience to improve.
 

GalBrew

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TimT said:
The discussion around the viabiilty of enzyme retention in a home malting process is quite interesting. This seems to indicate to me that traditionally malting may have often happened in a way where often brewing enzymes were not retained, or were very sub-optimal. Does this mean that perhaps in traditional brewing a lot of adjuncts were used in the mash to make up for the enzymes lost in the malting?
I would have thought the other way around unless you are talking about using sugar. Undermodification of malts is why things like step mashes and decoction mashing came into being. A single infusion mash with under modified malt (which DIY malt invariably will be) will probably not work that well). You will need research traditional methods for mashing these types of malts.
 

TimT

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No I'm suggesting more that the enzymes lost in a traditional rudimentary malting process may be substituted by enzymes from other plants or food stuffs - even unmalted barley or wheat, though I'm thinking more along the lines of stuff like honey (it has both amylase and invertase) or even, possibly, traditional brewing plants like broom. But obviously a straightforward addition of sugar (you'll get that from honey) will do the trick, too.
 

mofox1

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Yob said:
for those considering malting at home >HERE< is some reading
Good read - a nice condensed version... mostly true to what I have read from the Malt book (John Mallett).

I think Brad Smith is mistaken about making your own crystal malt... lightly toasting (dry) malt just gets you exactly that - lightly toasted malt. I'm sure you need to moisten it again (after malting) and hold at conv temps (aka mashing) before the toasting step.

It's somewhat touched on by saying you get "different variants" by wet vs dry toasting, and that "wet toasted malt will impart a slightly sweeter toasted flavor".. the missing information is that there must have been some conversion happening in the malt in order to obtain that sweeter taste (probably as the wet malt is heating up in the oven).

/rant
 

klangers

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No one knew what enzymes were back in the day and hence there is virtually no historical record of the conversion of malts of yesteryear in any form other than the old terms of when it chitted, the acrospire length after germination and if it floated or sank when put in water. These still give a decent approximation.

TimT - you are kind of right. Enzymes are produced during germination (they are produced to help the plant grow), but are lost during kilning. Unmalted barley would not contain much in the way of useful enzymes, but would be a source of starch.

"Green malt", which is unkilned (or kilned to dryness and nothing more) has the highest amount of enzymes. Similarly, barley which has spontaneously malted whilst still attached to the stalk (it does happen) was assumed to be a gift from god and hence called "providence malt" and actually didn't attract tax, as a curious aside.

There was also various forms of half-malted grain which were generally used more in the distilling industry.

How to make good malt evolved concurrently to how to brew good beer.


mofox1 said:
I think Brad Smith is mistaken about making your own crystal malt... lightly toasting (dry) malt just gets you exactly that - lightly toasted malt. I'm sure you need to moisten it again (after malting) and hold at conv temps (aka mashing) before the toasting step.
Correct. You need to "stew" the malt at sacarrification temperatures to get the enzymes to convert the start to sugars. Then you ramp up the heat to get these sugars to invert and hence become glassy. I did it myself (out of curiosity and in prep for my malt plant I'm slowly making) in my oven and it worked out deliciously.
 

niftinev

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Yob said:
cant unmalted be used with a high diastatic malt like pilsner? (ed: or am I thinking of something else...?)
to the best of my knowledge you can, about 50% from memory, there's a shit load of enzymes in modern day malts
i'm pretty sure lots of distilleries use a fair whack of it, probably have to do a step mash though
 

TimT

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I was recently reading the 18th/19th century writer William Cobbett's "Cottage Economy" where he talks about brewing; in one passage - which I can't find at the moment but is buried in there somewhere - he compares brewing with malt to brewing with barley. In other words, he thinks both are viable. But he doesn't think much of a beer made just out of barley, if I recall.
 

Feldon

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I have often wondered whether the word 'mash' was applied to the brewing process because ye olde cottage brewers simply soaked and drained barley grains for a time until they sprouted and the grains were soft and mashable. That is, the grains could be squashed with something like an over-sized potato masher.

You'd end up with water and mashed grains containing enzymes and saturated starch. You could warm this mixture up on the fire to convert the starch to sugar, and away you go.

I have no knowledge if this was every a rudimentary but achievable household brewing practice, but I thought it might explain how the word 'mash' came to be applied to brewing.
 

jyo

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Do a youtube search for home malting. I did a batch just before Christmas using plastic containers, two big flyscreens and my hot driveway to dry it out. The APA I made with it was pretty bloody nice, and that was shared at a case swap. It's really quite a simple process.
 

jyo

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I'm lucky to get my barley from a farming mate who grows high quality malting grade barley for free.
 

TimT

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I have often wondered whether the word 'mash' was applied to the brewing process because ye olde cottage brewers simply soaked and drained barley grains for a time until they sprouted and the grains were soft and mashable. That is, the grains could be squashed with something like an over-sized potato masher.

We're getting into some pretty speculative history here. I presume the early association with bread making and the fact that the earliest brewers, the Sumerians, made little cakes out of their grain before mashing them indicates some sort of cooking/malting process occurred right from the start. (Though maybe in the expectation that fresh grains would be added too later in the process). But anyway, someone with more knowledge of the historical records will have to explain that one to us.

The English word is mash. It could be related to mashed potatoes, and I used to think it was related to the very common German verb machen (to make) and, indeed, the relatively common English verb make. Actually the relevant German word is maisch, so that would seem to indicate the English brewing term and the German brewing term both came from a common root, way back in the early Dark Ages/late Ancient period when the two languages split. That is, it was a common idea even then.

At any rate, the word has a very old history in our culture and while I don't entirely disagree with the idea of old cottage brewers mashing the stuff up with a large spurtle or whatever they used to mash stuff with then, it's best to be careful when dealing with such old terms and old concepts as the meanings can change over long periods of history in quite unexpected ways.

http://etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=mash

Etymology online says:

mash (v.) Old English mæscan, "to mix with hot water," from same root as mash (n.). Meaning "to beat into a soft mass" is mid-13c. Related: Mashed; mashing. For romantic sense, see masher. mash (n.) "soft mixture," late Old English *masc (in masc-wyrt "mash-wort, infused malt"), from Proto-Germanic *maisk- (cognates: Swedish mäsk "grains for pigs," German Maisch "crushed grapes, infused malt," Old English meox "dung, filth"), from PIE *meik- "to mix" (see mix (v.)). Originally a word in brewing; general sense of "anything reduced to a soft pulpy consistency" is recorded from 1590s, as is the figurative sense "confused mixture, muddle." Short formashed potatoes it is attested from 1904.
 

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