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My malting procedure

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tubbsy

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That one looks ready to kiln. Another day and the first of your Hussars will be showing.
My interest in malting is mostly academic, have studied it and been through a couple of maltings as part of studying brewing, so treat this as observation not criticism.
Everything I can see says you may not have got quite enough moisture into the grain at the start and that its been way too warm.

Looking at yesterdays picks, there is some there that is starting to branch (ty rootlets) and some that is just starting to chitt. There is also a fair fraction that have done diddly.

When barley is classes as malting grade Protein content is one of the main criterion, one of the others is evenness of sprouting, the varieties chosen for malting are selectively breed for this trait. If you can get your hands on malting barley you might get better results.

Uneven hydration will result in uneven sprouting, too warm tends to promote rootlet growth, normally by the time the rootlet is the length of the corn it should have forked and the acrospires should be about 3/4 of the corn length and the goods ready for kilning.
There will be a significant loss of potential from overgrowth.

Anything you can do to measure your moisture uptake (100 corn weight, imbedding some perforated containers with a known mass of grain in the bed...) and being able to control the temperature better should help.
Most malt is cooled has the CO2 content and has the moisture of the bed controlled by forcing air through it, probably need a bit more than a fan.

If you were making malt for another hobby it wouldn't matter but brewing malt, especially if you intend to do isothermal mashing, needs to be very well and evenly modified. What you have there will be inconsistent and I would strongly recommend you either do decoction mashes (the traditional way to cope with under/inconsistently modified malt) or step mashes, should improve your yields and the quality of the wort.
Well simply it would help make better tasting beer - and for me that's the nuts.

Am still following with interest.
Mark
Thanks Mark, that's exactly the type of feedback I need.

Temperature control is definitely on my to-do list. I just need to figure out how to get air moving through the grain without drying it out. This malting is also the first time I have done it when the weather has been warmer. Temp control and oxygenation of the steeping water is also something I plan on looking at. My understanding is that oxygenated water kept to cold temperatures will slow any growth but not drown the grain? Biggest issue I have at the moment is no cooling capacity for anything but cold crashing. My wife won't let me modify our current fridge to use, so I'm on the lookout for something else.

Yeah, the grain I have is far from ideal. Mashing efficiency has been pretty consistent at around 70%, but having mashed commercially malted grains I know I can comfortably hit 85% with my mashing process. The brew in my other thread is to determine what this malt makes. It's currently in the fridge cold crashing and will be bottled tomorrow, but from a sample of the wort, it actually tastes pretty good, and I imagine it would only get better with carbonation and conditioning.

With this malting, I think I'll give a step mash a go, at least on half the malt with the other half mashed as normal to compare.
 

MHB

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Cheers
I have some notes (somewhere) from class work years ago, I'll have a dig around and see what I can find.

I know some small (home) maltsters draw air up through a stack of trays, there is a small sprayer down the bottom so the air is fully saturated with moisture, wet air wont dry stuff (well unless there is a big change in temperature)

How are you measuring your Extract Efficiency, as a percentage of grain weight, dry grain or against a typical expected yield - just so we are using the same point of reference?
Mark
 

tubbsy

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I had planned to repurpose a 200L drum with sprayers on a fixed axle that the drum would rotate around. It would be used for everything from steeping to drying. Only if I could make it entirely out of steel would I look at kilning in it, but my air fryer does an OK job of small batches.

Efficiency is probably more brewhouse efficiency as I plugged the numbers into the Brewers Friend OG mash calculator using guestimate commercial malt equivalents.
 

tubbsy

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Had another look at the grain and there are some sprouting already, so I've gone ahead and started the drying phase. I have this box, with a couple computer fans on a dimmer and a couple baffles to direct the air evenly up through the basket.
20210110_120233.jpg


The basket is fully sealed so the air can only go directly up. This box will sit in my fermentation chamber which is set on 35°C. It'll be there until the malt starts to feels dry, probably at least 18 hours. It does mostly recirculate the moist air inside the chamber, but there is a low inlet and high outlet to the chamber to introduce some fresh air. Another fan would be handy...
 

kadmium

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Had another look at the grain and there are some sprouting already, so I've gone ahead and started the drying phase. I have this box, with a couple computer fans on a dimmer and a couple baffles to direct the air evenly up through the basket.
View attachment 119784

The basket is fully sealed so the air can only go directly up. This box will sit in my fermentation chamber which is set on 35°C. It'll be there until the malt starts to feels dry, probably at least 18 hours. It does mostly recirculate the moist air inside the chamber, but there is a low inlet and high outlet to the chamber to introduce some fresh air. Another fan would be handy...
You could also put one of those damprid containers from woollies in the chamber. Will suck up any moisture in the chamber.

This is pretty cool!
 

Malted Mick

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I had planned to repurpose a 200L drum with sprayers on a fixed axle that the drum would rotate around. It would be used for everything from steeping to drying.

That will work for the sprouting stage. The drying and malting may require a different approach because of the heat required. Commercial Alfalfa (Lucerne seed) sprouters use plastic or fibreglass rotating drums. They are fitted with lights, fans and misting nozzles using chilled water to contol the temperature. They rotate very slowly and gently roll the sprouting seeds to ensure each seed gets exactly the same amount of moisture and air. The drums are angled to drain off extra moisture. You would not need your drum to be translucent for greening of the sprouts. This will give you other options for drum material, what about a front loader washing machine tub that guys use as berly buckets!
 

postmaster

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Hey Tubbsy, Great Stuff, I have been malting on and off for the past 2 years and have just built a Germination - Drying- Kiln machine out of an old Beko front loader washing machine. (This is M11) less pulleys, 8 kg capacity and a variable speed motor. It is a real challenge malting in hot weather. (I usually did it from May onwards) Got some fresh grain (Hindmarsh) so I though I would give it a go. I actually steep in a fridge @ 15ºC and rest in there also. I use a twin fish tank aerator to provide oxygen and aeration. I ensure that when I change the water it is also at 24ºC. The issue I am having is that the germination goes to about 23ºC in this hot weather which is not ideal. In the past have done it at 18 deg. I think you get a bit darker malt than a pale ale at that temp. But I am giving it a crack. If you have Excel or even Libre Office this spreadsheet is a great help
 

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tubbsy

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Hey Tubbsy, Great Stuff, I have been malting on and off for the past 2 years and have just built a Germination - Drying- Kiln machine out of an old Beko front loader washing machine. (This is M11) less pulleys, 8 kg capacity and a variable speed motor. It is a real challenge malting in hot weather. (I usually did it from May onwards) Got some fresh grain (Hindmarsh) so I though I would give it a go. I actually steep in a fridge @ 15deg and rest in their also. I use a twin fish tank aerator to provide oxygen and aeration. I ensure that when I change the water it is also at 24 deg. The issue I am having is that the germination goes to about 23 deg c this hot weather which is not ideal. In the past have done it at 18 deg. I think you get a bit darker malt than a pale ale at that temp. But I am giving it a crack. If you have Excel or even Libre Office this spreadsheet is a great help
That looks awesome! Is that an air frier you've mounted on the door?
 

Malted Mick

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Postmaster well done what a set up. Your issue of having germination temperature overun can be controlled by chilled misting water like the commercial sprouters use. I think they run their water chillers around 16c. I have to step back because before I know it I will be considering building my own sprouter! LOL
 

tubbsy

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So, the grain is dry and the kilning begins. This step is a bit tedious as the air frier can only fit 1.5kg. The temp control is also very touchy below 110°C, but I fiddle with it on the first batch to get the temp right.

Normally I go straight to 85°C for 2 hours, but I'm adding in a 1hr 65°C step prior this time.

20210112_164833.jpg20210112_164839.jpg
 
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MHB

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Guy next door was trimming his hedge this afternoon, which got me to thinking about you getting more air through you're sprouting trays.
Did a quick Google and ran into something that would perhaps be even better.
Should have more than enough air flow to get a good air dry before kilning.
Farriers Electric Blower Blacksmith
1610446210169.png
 

tubbsy

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Guy next door was trimming his hedge this afternoon, which got me to thinking about you getting more air through you're sprouting trays.
Did a quick Google and ran into something that would perhaps be even better.
Should have more than enough air flow to get a good air dry before kilning.
Farriers Electric Blower Blacksmith
View attachment 119800
That would work great! Couldn't complain about not enough air with that!

I too have been thinking about my drying and kilning. I have a number of drying ovens at work (each up to 6m3) which would be ideal but I can't take my grain in to dry as they're set to 105°C. But there are a couple old ones, no longer operational (1.0m3 and 0.4m3) that I might be able to get hold of and repurpose. The smaller one would probably be better as it has 6 shelves around 40x40cm that could comfortable fit 1kg each, maybe more. And runs on 240v unlike the other 415v oven. Would only need to replace the PID.
 

MHB

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Sounds great, hopefully the price is right;)
One place I used to work the foreman was known to use a ten thousand watt annealing oven to heat up his pies, about the only time it got turned on, think the boss should have put a microwave or mini oven in the lunch room but not my problem if the meters used to hum.
Mark
 

tubbsy

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Kilning continues. Its all had an hour at 65°C, now for 2 hours at 85°C. I should get it all finished tomorrow night, then it can rest for a few weeks.

@MHB Do you know of a malting wheat grain specification? I've looked around but can't find anything.
 

MHB

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Off the top of my head - No.
There aren't any special varieties breed for malting, they just select for the lowest protein and all the other traits that make it easy to malt, even corn size, uniform sprouting, low foreign seeds...
You can get Raw Wheat through Jo White, I would assume its the same as they malt, but its not much cheaper than malted wheat.
Have attached a couple of COAs for Australian Wheat and German Pale Wheat. Should let you abstract a fair notion of what they started with.
Just did a search, haven't got one for raw wheat - sorry. If you emailed whoever sells Joe White these days, I think its Bintani they might be able to send you one. There isn't anything on the Joe White site.

Hope that helps some.
Mark
 

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MHB

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Took a snip out of Kunze for you, has about as much info on Wheat as I have ever needed, might be a help
Mark
 

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tubbsy

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Thanks Mark.

My family are wheat farmers, but malting wheat was never thought about. Even the barley we grew was only for feed. Low protein wheat was also often sold for feed as high protein was target for the highest grade (prime hard) because it makes better noodles. Was just curious what wheat grade maltsters might use.
 

tubbsy

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So, kilning is now complete and after resting for a few weeks will be good to use.

To summarise, my steps were...

Step 1 - Washing the grain
Step 2 - Steeping 13.5hr, rest 9hr, steep 14hr, rest 9-10hr, steep 6hr
Step 3 - Begin germination once rootlets (not chits) appear
Step 4 - Continue germination. Kept in a cool place and turned by hand twice a day, with misting sprays to keep the grain moist.
Step 5 - Measure acrosprie length. For me it took only 2.5 days for the acrospire length to reach 75-100% of the grain length. Normally takes up to 4 days but it has been a bit warmer recently.
Step 6 - Dry the grain to halt germination. I did this at 35°C for 12 hours, then bumped it up to 40°C for another 8 hours. Continue until it feels "crispy".
Step 7 - Kilning. I did this in an air frier in 1.5kg batches. All malt was kilned at 65°C for 1 hour and 85°C for 2 hours.
Step 8 - Wait at least 2 weeks and the malt is ready to use!

From here I plan on making some crystal malt. I forgot to keep some aside before drying, but I've read a decent approximation can be made by soaking the kilned malt then "stewing" at 65°C for an hour, then dry and kiln again. I'll probably give it 180°C for an hour and see how it goes.
 

kadmium

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First of all. Wow. That was very interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Really appreciate the little side hobbies and things that go along with brewing.

And second, making crystal sounds interesting! Essentially mashing it for an hour, then roasting it. Makes sense now that I think about it! I wonder how they get biscuit, vs crystal vs chocolate etc. I am guessing just different roasting temps and times?
 

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