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Posted by on November 17, 2018 in Garden videos

 

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Old book review

Here’s an interesting book pointed out to me from a reader, thank’s Peter! It’s called The Theory and Practice of Malting and Brewing. By a Practical Brewer by William Creech  You can read it here. The great thing about it is that it was published in 1793, a time that predates the use of Black Patent malt in 1817 (which would eventually replace diastatic brown malt) and it’s also a time where thermometers were used to record temperatures in Farenheit. The Farenheit scale was first introduced in 1724 so it is between these two dates that we can find books published about brewing that include temperatures used in the process of making malt and beer in a more pre-industrial era and by that I mean this predates the mechanization and increased scale of malting.  So we get some very useful descriptions of malting and brewing practices that serve as a window into the past. What’s amazing about this book is all of the unique descriptions about brewing practices, things like adding the hops before the boil pg. 37 for a perceptible improvement in flavour. Hmmm gotta try that. Here’s a link to an article on first wort hopping.

There is also mention of using fresh hops for small beer on page 66. But more importantly, this is the first time I’ve seen mention of different colours of brown malt. They are referred to as Brown, Middling Brown, and High Brown. What?! This suggests that malt colour and therefore beer was not as inconsistent as one (being me) might have assumed. And if you’re into brewing historical beers check out the recipes included on page 60-72.

 

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2018 in Brown malt

 

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Corn!

 

I always get a lot of questions about malting corn and it’s been on my “to-do” list for years. So many projects, so little time! Fortunately I recently received this great description from a fellow home maltster Jonathan Shockley who is having some success using popcorn. I can’t wait to try this.

“For starters, I have found that yellow popcorn works much better than white. Not sure why, but the white doesn’t germinate as evenly. My process is as follows. Start with 4 pounds of yellow popcorn. The starting moisture content was around 13.5%. This seems to be a general characteristic of popcorn, because apparently it won’t pop unless the moisture content is above 13.5% and of course any higher and you would risk spoilage. Steeped in de-chlorinated water for 8 hours, with 8 hours rest in between. It took only 3 steeps to reach about 45% moisture. On previous batches I found that even after 5 steeps the corn would only take up so much. Don’t really understand why that is. The steeping was done at 73F for both steep and air rest. I also let the air rest take place in a colander so there would be airflow under and over, and any residual moisture would trickle out. Not sure if this was necessary, but I spray StarSan on everything during the steeping, and germination process, even the spoon I stir with. The germination took about 5 days. It’s hard to check corn the way you do other grains, as the rub test doesn’t really work. I find I have to cut the kernel with a knife, and dig out the starch. Anyway, I have decided to stop germination when the acrospires is just longer than the grain. This is slightly more modified than barley, but the total diastatic power of popcorn under the best of circumstances is only about 40 Lintner (based on what I’ve read online). I have never had problems with mold during germination. I dry out the popcorn for 2 days over a fan with about 90 degrees F (it’s summer in Virginia and very hot in my attic). After that, I took the popcorn and kilned it at about 140F for 8 hours. My goal was to preserve as much DP as possible. I’m pretty sure every batch of popcorn malt I’ve made has been ok. Where I mess up is on the mash, which I think I finally have figured out. As you mentioned to me in a previous email, you have to use a decantation. I use a 1 to 1 water to grain ratio. I start by milling the popcorn almost to flour. You have to use a fine mesh brew bag for this to work. I start the mash at 140F for 30 minutes. This gets the enzymes activated. I then decant off about ¾ of the liquid and set it aside. I add the same amount of water as liquid removed and bring it to a boil. FYI, it’s a little messy. After the corn has gelatinized, I let it cool some then add back the removed wort. I make sure the temperature is around 150 and then just let it sit for about 2 hours. After all that, I check the gravity and do an iodine test. My last attempt yielded a wort around 1030 and iodine test was negative. This next part may not be necessary, but after the mash, the wort looked horrible. I have a large refrigerator (and it was late) so I put the kettle in the refrigerator and left it overnight. The next morning all the sediment in the wort had settled and I had about 2 gallons of clear wort. The color of the wort was much darker than I had expected. I then decanted off just the clear liquid and proceeded with the boil.”

Thank-you Jonathan!

I’ve also come across this historical text regarding corn in the American Practical Brewer and Tanner by Joseph Coppinger 1815: Indian Corn Malt, a Valuable Auxiliary to Brewing Materials. A very interesting read:

This species of grain well managed, and made into malt, will be found alike useful to the brewer and distiller, but it is peculiarly adapted to the brewing of porter; further, it is known to possess more saccharine matter than any other grain used in either brewing or distilling, joined to the advantage of not interfering with the season for malting barley, as this should commence when the former ceases. The summer months are the fittest for malting this kind of grain, and can be only very defectively made at any other season, as it requires a high temperature to force germination, and cause it to give out all its sweet. The following process, it is expected, will be found to answer every purpose wished for: suppose your steep to contain sixty bushels, after you have levelled it off, let on your water as directed in malting barley; you should give fresh water to your steep at the end of twenty-four hours. If it is southern corn you are malting, it will require to remain in steep seventy-two hours in the whole; if it be northern corn, it will require ninety-six hours, there being a considerable difference in the density of these two kinds of grain; the hardest, of course, requires the most water; and, in all cases, the fresher Indian corn is from the cob the better it will malt. When you have accomplished the necessary time in your steep, you let off your water; and, when sufficiently drained, let it down in your couch frame, where it will require turning once in twelve hours, in order to keep it of equal temperature; the depth of the grain should be about two feet and a half in the frame; as it begins to germinate and grow, open your frame, and thin it down at every turning, until you reduce its thickness to six or seven inches; thus extending it on your lower floor, turning it more frequently, as the growth is rapid. The vegetation of the grain, together with the turning, will by this time make the watering pot necessary; the criterion by which you will judge of its fitness for the water, is as soon as you perceive the root or acrospire begins to wither. Two thirds of your water is to be distributed over the surface of your couch for the first watering, which will require thirty-two gallons, and when turned back again, sixteen gallons for the second watering, making in the whole forty-eight gallons of water to sixty bushels of corn. This water should be put on with a gardener’s watering pot, as equally as possible. Supposing this pot to contain four gallons, it will make eight pots for the first watering, and four for the second. In this stage of the operation the turnings on the floor should be very frequent, in order to keep the grain cool, as the heat of the weather, at this season, will be sufficient to promote and perfect the vegetation. The second day after the first watering, if the blade is not sufficiently grown, water again, but in less quantity, say one half. It will be now four or five days more before the couch is ready for the kiln, which will be ascertained by the blade becoming the full length of the corn. After this it should be thrown on the upper floor, and suffered to wither for a couple of days, turning it frequently; by this time the blade will have a yellow appearance, the grain will become tender, and, if tasted, be found uncommonly sweet; in this state it may be committed to the kiln, and dried in the usual way.

N. B. It will generally take ten days after it is out of the steep to perfect the malting of southern corn, and twelve days for northern. (this includes kilning)

 

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2018 in Corn

 

Rye Malt

10 lbs Rye at 12.6% moisture steeped to 42%

Steeped 8 hrs + 8 hr air rest + another 4 hr steep  (target steep weight 15 lbs) 12° C (53.6°F).

Germinated at 16° C (60.8°F ) for 6 days 1 additional day at 21° C (69.8 ° F). Acrospires 1/2 length of grain.

Kilning for Pale:

24 hrs 37-43° C  (98.6-109.4° F) (malt temperature)

8 hrs. at 60° C (140° F)

1 hr. 175° F (79.4° C)

1 hr. 180° F (82.2° C)

2 hrs. 185° F (85° C)

Caramel :

1 lb. green malt stewed at 158° F (70° C) (malt temp) for 2 hr (recommend 3 hrs)

Cover removed 2 hrs. at 200° F (93.3° C) to dry.

30 min. at 250° F (121° C)

Chocolate: Pale malt roasted at 400° F (204.4° C) for 40 min.

Brewing: 

1 hr at 109° F (42.8° C) pH adjusted with acid malt to 5.1 – Recommend 2 hrs.

45 min. at 150° F (65.6° C) pH adjusted to 5.3

Pre-boil grav. 1.037

O.G. 1.045

F.G. 1.0079

A.B.V. 4.78 %

 

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2018 in Rye Malt

 

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Garden Update May 20 2018

April 9

This creepy creation is a last-minute improvisation made with clothes from a giveaway bag that was in my trunk. The head was made from a pillow-case stuffed with remay. Looks kinda stupid but it worked. The crows left these little seedlings alone. This is two weeks after planting.

 

 

May 6

 

 

 

 

 

Actually had some frost damage in April, that’s why it looks a little sparse on the bottom right.

 

 

 

Weeding has been much easier this year thanks to the rows. I still planted by broadcasting the seeds but before I did this I made 5 furrows per bed, so when I broadcast the seeds they more or less fell into the furrows. I then dragged my hoe in between to bury them.

May 12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s what it’s looking like today, the Chevalier (front three beds) is racing ahead of the Maris Otter. I’ve installed the anti-lodging chicken wire for these and left the Maris Otter since it’s easier to weed without the chicken wire in the way.

May 20

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2018 in Garden videos

 

Garden Update Spring 2018

It’s been way too long since I’ve posted anything. I’ve been super busy with a new job but I still have plenty of malting projects on the go and many more ideas I want to try. I’m currently brewing an ale made from a malt that germinated for 14 days. I also made malt with an accelerated schedule that took only 5 days start to finish as well as brewing a small beer with 100% unmalted barley, but more on these later.

Firstly, I want to thank all the people that have purchased one of my books. I’m quite happy with how the Malting Log book turned out and I’ve been using it for the last few batches of malt that I’ve made. I have to say it’s pretty darn handy.

I did have some problems formatting the Malting At Home book as a reviewer on Amazon has pointed out (the rest of the review is very positive so thank-you Jeremiah!). For some reason, Amazon direct publishing does not, at this time, recognize Google documents. So I had to turn my google documents into  Word documents and when I did this the formatting gets really screwy. I’ve corrected the spacing issues as best as I can but it’s not perfect. I’m sure there are better ways to do this but if you’re planning on self-publishing I would highly recommend starting with Word right from the start. I also wanted more pictures but knowing I wouldn’t have the time available for at least four months I decided to get it out sooner than later. I am however very happy with all of the recipes I’ve managed to compile and I was pretty excited when I realized I could use Google translate to read some German and French texts that included some very useful information. I think having all these recipes in one book is handy because surprisingly most of the big expensive modern text books are kind of lacking in actual recipes or kilning schedules.

I managed to get to the garden yesterday to plant this years barley. I actually had more Chevalier seed than expected and managed to plant 3 beds with Chevalier. I planted another 3 beds with Maris Otter and there’s a narrow bed that I had planted with the small amount of Bere seed I had.

From the other side looking north.

 

As you can see I’m not taking any chances here and covered everything to prevent the birds and squirrels from digging out the seeds. I’ll remove the covers in about two weeks.

 

 

 

As I was prepping the soil and removing some weeds I pulled out some beets that were perfectly preserved from last year. They had been covered up with a pile of weeds and straw. We ate them that night and they were like new. We also had some kale shoots which are very mild and not bitter at all. Here’s a shot of the kale “tree” I left in the garden over winter. I also planted a Fuji apple tree on the north side of the garden.

More kale!

Kale shoots

Fuji apple tree

Beets

In total I have about 530 square feet of barley planted this year and I’m hoping to get about 40 lbs. of barley from this.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2018 in Garden videos

 

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New Malting Book!

It’s finally here all the recipes on the blog and more, in one convenient place. Yes you can make malt at home, it’s not only possible but it’s a lot of fun. Take your home brewing to the next level!

Check out the table of contents:



Table of Contents 2

Introduction 4

Malting Simplified 7

Getting started 10

Equipment and some Terminology 10

Steeping, Germination, Kilning and Curing 16

Moisture Content 21

Growing and Harvesting 24

Threshing and Winnowing 33

Feed Barley 35

Recipes: Pale Malt 39

Pilsner/ Lager Malt 43

Historical Malting 47

Modern Malting 53

Vienna Malt 56

Toasted Malts 58

Victory, Biscuit and Amber 58

The Melanoidin Family 61

Aromatic, Munich, and Melanoidin Malts 61

Brumalt 61

Munich Malt 63

Melanoidin/ Brumalt 72

Caramel Malts 74

Special B Type Malt 76

Making Caramel malt from Pale malt 77

Roasted Malts 78

Chocolate, Roasted Malt, Roasted Barley 78

Debittered Black Patent Malt 80

Brown Malts 82

Belgian Malt for Lambic 89

Acid Malt 90

Wheat 91

Oats 92

Spelt and Emmer 93

Bibliography 94

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2018 in Malting at Home Book

 

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