Monthly Archives: March 2015

Caramel Malt Yet Again!

DSC00977I had to do this again to finally nail down a proper kilning schedule. I know there’s more than one way to skin a cat but information on caramel malt is all over the map. So it’s high time to do a colour comparison since my last caramel went too dark too fast. I got some good results with this schedule and not meaning to brag or nothin’ but compared to the store bought stuff mine had a higher gravity reading. My samples were between 4-5 brix while store bought was 3 and I’m pretty sure I could have gotten better results with a longer germination which I’ll try next time. This malt germinated for 6 days, but we were going out of town for a few days so I had to kiln it. I germinated it as I would a pale malt, 43% moisture and kept it around 16-18 C during germination. Instead of a pot, I went with the tin foil technique for stewing which works great. Here’s the schedule:

  • Total kilning time: 12 hours.
  • Hour 1: 140F 60C covered
  • Hour 2: Increased slowly to 158F covered
  • Hours 3 and 4 -158F signs of liquification at end of hour 4.
  • Covers removed and malt put on screens  3 hours at 158F Moisture down to 10%
  • Temperature increased to 225 for 3 hours. Moisture down to 2%  First sample taken (20-25L)
  • Temp. increased to 250F 30 minutes Second sample taken. (20-25L)
  • Additional samples taken every 30 min. at 250F. Third – 1 hour at 250 F approx. 60L
  • 4th – 1 1/2 hours 250F approx. 100L
  • 5th-2 hours at 250F approx. 140L

Update: To ensure proper saccharification of malt some texts recommend starting with a very well modified malt. Steep till 45-48% and try to extend your germination as long as possible, acrospires will average the full length of the grain. For dark caramels a couch phase is also recommended in the Wolfgang Kunze text (pg 180) at 45-50C during the last 30-36 hours of germination before the saccharification stewing phase (but not for dextrin or cara-pils malt).

Top: Store bought 15L,30L, 60L, 120L Bottom : My malts

Top: Store bought 15L,30L, 60L, 120L
Bottom : My malts 20L, 25L, 60L, 100L, 140L

The store bought 15 is surprisingly light. To get this colour I would stay below 200F until it’s dried out. My first two samples which are very similar in colour are a little lighter than the 30L. The third sample after an hour at 250F is very close to the 60L and my fourth sample after an hour and a half at 250 is a little lighter than the 120L. Finally  my last sample is slightly darker than the 120L.  I also got to check out the garden today, it’s looking pretty good, some seeds are still germinating and haven’t come up yet so it should fill out a little more.

Ready to be covered

Ready to be covered


Another thermometer picture!

Another thermometer picture!


Planted two weeks ago and coming up nicely.


Posted by on March 16, 2015 in Caramel malts


The Melanoidin family

DSC00935Munich light 5-7L , Munich dark 8-10L, darker Munichs, Munich Wheat, Aromatic 20-26L,  Melanoidin 23-31, Honey 25L and Brumalt.

Here’s a group of malts that probably deserve their own category. They are sometimes referred to as “high kilned” malts and in some old text books they’re referred to simply as “darker malts” which can be confusing because they’re not necessarily referring to dark roasted malts like chocolate malt. They’re referring to Munich, Aromatic and Melanoidin malt. These malts differ from pale and lager malt in that they have a higher initial moisture content (resulting in higher modification), they’re germinated at warmer temperatures and they’re kilned differently- warmer sooner and at certain points without ventilation. The goal when making these malts is to produce a rich malt with a strong aroma. Different companies have slightly different schedules but they all have the same objective- to produce melanoidins.

Melanoidins are reddish-brown coloured substances which contribute the characteristic rich bready, malty aroma and flavour. These are also what give bread crust it’s colour and flavour and are produced as a result of Maillard reactions. Maillard reactions occur in all malts to a certain degree (except in air dried “wind” malt). However, in other malts like biscuit for example they occur when the malt is in a dry state. In these “melanoidin” malts it occurs when the malt is still moist. Using the bread analogy again, a breads crust is formed in the oven from the wet dough, as it cooks. The crust has it’s own unique flavour. Whereas, if you toasted a slice of that cooked bread you would get browning but with a different  flavour, a toast flavour.

Actually each step in the production of these malts promotes these reactions. Firstly they are steeped until they have a moisture content of 45-48%. During germination the malt is allowed to reach 20-25 C as opposed to 15-18 C for pale and lager malt. These higher temperatures promote the development of proteolytic enzymes, the enzymes which act on protein.The protein in the malt is then degraded during the higher initial kilning at 50C or 122 F into peptides, polypeptides and amino acids. This is done while the grain still contains moisture and is akin to the idea of stewing for crystal malt only at the “protein rest” temperature range to target the action of these enzymes. There is also the formation of  sugars  occurring  during the malting process (aided by the high modification) and when combined with amino acids and heated produce Mellanoidins. This is what’s called the Maillard reaction named after the French chemist who discovered this.

For this batch of Munich I did things a little differently. Firstly I germinated warm, 16 C for the first day just because there was a lot of surface moisture and I wanted that to dry out or be absorbed before bringing it inside. Day 2-5 was done at room temperature. It really took off at day 3 and on day 5 the tray, which was only about 4 inches deep reached 25 C (77 F). What I should have done at this point was spread it out and give it another day at least to let the enzymes develop, but I was impatient and the interior of the grain was easily smooshed between my fingers indicating that it was well modified.DSC00938

Next 18 hours were at 50 C (122 F) on trays under tin foil in the oven. I figured trays would be better than a big pot for consistency of heat. I noticed with the caramel, the malt closest to the sides of the pot were warmer for quite some time. After 18 hours the moisture content only dropped 10% to 38%.DSC00946

I then uncovered the barley and put it on screens at 50 C (122 F) for 8 hours. After which the moisture content was at 30%

Temperature was then increased to 60C (140 F) for the next 14 hrs.  Moisture content was at 10%

Over the next two hours I increased the temperature from 170 F (77C) to 200 F (93 C)

The next two hours were at 210 F (99 C)

Took my first sample of Munich. I then increased the temperature again to 225 F (107 C) and took a sample every thirty minutes 3 times.

Top L to R: Munich 10L, Honey malt, Munich 30-35L Bottom: My munich samples 1-4

Top L to R: Store bought Munich 10L, Honey malt, Munich 30-35L
Bottom: My munich samples 1-4

What you may not be able to see in the photos is that the first sample is actually a little lighter than the store bought Munich 10, so it’s probably 7-8L. The second sample is just a bit darker than the Munich 10, call it 12-15L. The third sample is close to the Munich 30-35. The fourth is a deep reddish brown but I don’t have a malt to compare it to. To get a lighter Munich just cure for 1 hour at 210F (99 C) and not 2 hours.

I tasted all of these samples and my samples tasted very similar to the two store bought ones. The dark one was nice and roasty. The Honey malt was quite distinct and I thought I could detect some lacto sourness to it. So I took the pH of each and the Honey was much lower than all of them at 5.12. This makes sense since it most likely went through the couching phase without oxygen at warm temperatures which would promote the growth of  lactobacillus bacteria.  I’ll have to do some experimenting with this – it’s on the list!

Here’s another recipe taken from Briggs Malts and Malting describing an old method on a two tiered kiln.  I have not tried this one yet but I’m guessing that it may be a little less intense as the stewing is done at a lower temperature:

  • Steep to 45% with a long warm germination
  • 24 hrs at 38C with a slow airstream for limited stewing. Moisture down to 15-25%
  • Malt moved to lower floor. Temperature at 75C (167F) for 12 hours
  • Cured at 189-212F (87-100C) or even 221F (105C) for 2 hours

Posted by on March 12, 2015 in Brumalt, Honey malt, Melanoidin malt, Munich malt


More Kilning Schedules- Notes from The Handy Book

Kilning schedules according to the American Handy Book of the Brewing Malting and Auxiliary Trades by Robert Wahl and Max Henius published in 1902:

Finally a description of Vienna malt!, well it’s missing a few key details but it will have to do. Even though this book is online I thought I’d share these schedules with the Celsius temperatures added. (Makes my life easier) There are a lot of details in this section I have left out. I just tried to include essential information useful for malting on a small scale. (There is an interesting paragraph on the differences of drum malting as opposed to floor malting worth the read if you’re set up that way.) These schedules describe kilning in a 2 story malt kiln where the two floors could be loaded simultaneously with the lower floor being hotter as it would be closer to the heat source.

Kilning of American malt for pale beer: total 48 hrs.

Green malt loaded on upper floor of 2 floor kiln.

Temp raised during 10 hours to 90 F or 32 C

Raised during the next 4 hrs to 120 For 49 C and maintained for 10 hours.

Lower floor

Malt moved to lower floor where the temp is raised over next 4 hours to 130 F or 54.5 C

Raised over the next 12 hours to 150 F or 65.5

Next three hrs to 180 F or 82 C held for 3 hrs.

Unloading and loading accounts for the last 2 hours.

Kilning American malt for extra pale beer: total 48 hrs.

Same upper floor schedule as pale

Temp raised over the next 4 hours to 125 For 52 C

And during the next 12 hours to 130 F or 54.5 C

Then raised within 3 hours to 145 F or 63 C and held for 3 hours.

Kilning American malt for dark beer: total 24 hrs.

On the upper kiln the malt is heated in 5 hrs to 90 For 32 C

In the next 2 hrs to 120 F or 49 C  and held for 5 hrs.

Lower floor brought in 2 hrs to 140 F or 60 C

In the next 5 hrs. To 180 F or 82 C

In the next 2 hrs. To 220 F or 104 C and held for 2 hrs.

English Malting :

According to Thatcher- Steeping liquid 50-54 F  10-12 C

Grain depth on floor 2-10 inches temp 50-54 F  10-12 C turned every 3-5 hrs.

Germination takes 10-15 days

“Sprinkling, if done at all…should not be later than the fifth or seventh day after the grain has left the cistern (steep tank).

Germination is arrested by withering. Malt is spread very thinly on the floor to dry out

Kilning: depth 4-6 inches

First day – 95-100F 35-38 C

Second day raise slowly to 120F 49 C

Third day raise slowly to 140-150F 60-65.5 C

Fourth day 185-200 F 85-93 C for pale malts 200-225 93-107 C or even 230F  110 C for “high-dried” malts 5-6 hrs.

With all malts it is recommended to store for 6-8 weeks before being used.

Unfortunately, the recommendations for crystal malt are disappointing in that he describes the practice of “moistening the malt during the drying process with a solution of sugar and then drying it off at a high temperature” (cheaters)

Malting in Germany:

Three types of malt are distinguished in Germany: Bohemian (Pilsner), Wiener(Vienna), and Bavarian (Munich).

“As to the taste and aroma of the malt, that of the Bohemian type should have no caramel and very little aroma; the Vienna malt , on the other hand , should possess it distinctly, and in the Bavarian this aroma should be very strong, without a bitter empyreumatic” (burnt organic matter) taste. (Had to look that one up)

According to Leyser–Heiss:  Steep water 48-54.5 F 9-12.5 C renewed every 12 hrs. Under unfavorable circumstances the water should be renewed every 6-8 hrs.

Floor depth 11.8-19.7 inches. Turned every 12 hrs.

Maximum temp.of grain bed 70-72.5F 21- 22.5 C

Germination period 6-8 days then spread to a depth of 2 inches to wither.

Malting descriptions taken from Michel’s “Lehrbuch der Bierbrauerei”

Bavarian (Munich): 44-45 % moisture. Steep temp. 54.5F 12.5 C  time of steeping 90-120 hours

Floor depth 8-10 inches turned every 12 hrs. Or more depending on temp.

5-6th day allowed to lie 15-18 hrs in order to mat. Generally malt is allowed to mat twice and the temperature allowed to rise to 72 F or 22 C 

Temp. of germination room at 48-50 F  9-10 C and the temp. of grain rises gradually on it’s own over the germination period.

Kilning: 48 hrs

Upper floor first 24hrs not stated

Lower floor 12 hrs at 104-111 F 40-44 C Drafts or dampers then closed

Raised over 6 hrs to 133-140 F  56-60 C

Temp raised for 3 hrs held for last 3 hrs. Air temp in kiln rises gradually from 140F -183F   60 -84 C  over the 6 hrs.

      Interestingly the temps. For under the lower kiln floor are included for the last 6 hrs which goes from 207 -250 F  97- 121 C for the first 3 and maintained at 250F or 121 C for the last 3.

Temperature in the malt goes from 180 – 223 F  82- 106 C. Quite a difference from the air temperature.

Moisture content during kilning:

On reaching upper floor …37-40%

After the first 12 hours on lower floor……20-24%

After next 6 hours…………..10-14%

After last 6 hours…………….5-6 %

Finished malt (after cooling) 1.5-2 %

Weiner (Vienna) malt

Moisture 38-42 % Couch temp. No higher than 66 F or 19 C

Germination period 9-10 days malt never allowed to mat depth 4.5-7 inches

Floor record example:

Temp. Day 1 50-57 F 10-14 C  7- 6.3 inches deep

Day 2 57-63.5F  14-17.5 C 6-5.5 inches deep

Day 3 66-68F  19-20 C  Next 5 days temp maintained at 68F or 20 C 4.7-5.5 inches deep. Turned every 6-8 hrs. Never allowed to mat.

Kilning: 24 hrs.

The malt is loaded on the upper floor  at 95-100 F  35-38 C all draughts being open until it is “air-dry” Unfortunately it does not state what the moisture content is at this point.

“The draught is checked and temperature raised to 144-156F  62-69 C” 

However, an example of a  kiln record  is shown which states that the air off temperature goes up to 183 F  84 C during the final 2 hrs. and the malt temperature goes from 149 – 212 F  62-100 C during the last 6 hours.

The last 6 hours of malt temperatures go like this: 149F 65C, 156F 69C, 171F 77C, 185F 85C, 200F 93C, 202F 95C, 212F 100C.

Malt for Bohemian Beer (Pilsner Malt)

Moisture 38-42%

Germination room temp. 50-54.5 F  10-12.5 C. 8 inch depth turned every 12 hours when roots develop turn every 6-8 hours and spread lower. Max temp. 68 F 20 C

Time of growth 9-10 days

Kilning 24-36 hours

The last 15 hours of a 30 hour kilning record is shown as an example but the temp. of the first 15 hours are not stated. As kilning would have been done in a two floor kiln we know that the temperature would have gradually increased up to 37.8 C or 100 F during the first 15 hours.

Last 15 hrs – Hours 1-12  Malt temperature raised from 37.8 C – 67.2 C or 100 F-153 F.  Draft holes  open.

Last 3 hours malt temperature at 81.1 C or 178 F Draft holes gradually closed.


Posted by on March 11, 2015 in Malting times and temperatures


Tags: , , , ,

Caramel malt experiment

DSC00890Even though it’s only the beginning of March spring is taking hold. Trees are blooming and the birds are back so that means time to plant! This year I’ve planted 7 beds of barley with a total of 240 sq ft. I had planned to get another plot last year but unfortunately nothing suitable came up. There were a couple of plots free but they usually remain under water till April so I passed. In the picture you’ll see that I’ve used black fabric on a few beds. The garden store was all out of the white stuff and I just needed something to protect the seeds from the birds. Since I’ll be removing it in a couple of weeks it doesn’t really matter that it’s black. It might even be better since it will warm the soil and may discourage some weeds.

5 lbs. in one pot.

5 lbs. in one pot.

I decided to do an experiment with caramel malt using the feed barley. I wanted to see the results of  a fast kilning schedule which starts at 200F for 6 hours to dry the malt and then to 275F for colour. Instead of drying it at a lower temp for a longer time. Then I wanted to compare the colours against a store bought caramel malt. The results were surprising and somewhat disappointing. After doing this test I realize that 275F is way too hot and I’ve since corrected this on the Malts Times and Temp. post. (I’ve changed it to 250F)  I’ve made caramel malt at this temperature before but I’ve never compared the colour against store bought malt. As you can see from the photos the colour changes from around 15L to a little under 120L in a mere 30 minutes. So I totally missed the 30L and 60L malts. I’ll do this comparison again with the slower schedule and hopefully I can get a better range of colours. My apologies to anyone who got an overly dark caramel at 275F. Perhaps higher temperatures are used when kilning larger quantities of malt in a malt house or when using a drum roller kiln.

Great Western caramel malt on top. My malts on bottom.

Great Western caramel malt on top. My malts on bottom.

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 2, 2015 in Caramel malts

Threefrenchs: A Fermented Exploration

Booze, Travel & Food (and maybe a few surprises)

The Meandering Meadery

Cultivating fermented food and drinks one jar at a time


They Who Drink Beer Will Think Beer

Untitled RSS Feed

Growing, malting and brewing beer

Creative Brewing

by Scott Ickes

A Brewer's Wife

Law librarian, brewer's wife and mom of three girls (not necessarily in that order)

From Plants to Beer

The real route of beer

My Own Home Brew

My record and experience in brewing

Romping & Nguyening

Romping around the world and Nguyening since March 2014.

Brewing Beer The Hard Way

Growing, malting and brewing beer

Five Blades Brewing

F' Everything, We're Doing Five Blades

The Jax Beer Guy

This Guy Knows Beer -- Also visit

East Happyland Homebrew Garden Louisiana

Gardening hops, grains, vegetables, and brewing beer in South Louisiana. And they said it couldn't be done....

The Apartment Homebrewer

Brewing small batches of craft beer in a 650 sqft apartment

Bishop's Beer Blog

Just another site

The Quest for Edelstoff

Making Liquid Bread

Home Bruin

The homebrewing adventures of a Boston sports fan

If Not Now, When?

Anthony N. Chandler Photography