Monthly Archives: September 2016

Hulled Barley Malt and Debittered Black Patent Malt

I’m often asked “How soon can I use my malt after kilning it or roasting it?” I’ve read a lot of literature that states the malt needs to rest before being used, but I haven’t found a really good answer as to why or what changes happen to the malt during this resting period.  In John Malletts book Malt he states that “Freshly kilned malt has poor performance in the brewhouse (most likely because of uneven moisture distribution throughout the batch)”. Apparently, milling and lautering are easier when moisture levels have “equalized”.  Jean  DeClerck in  A Textbook of Brewing describes claims that freshly kilned malt is said to saccharify less and give a turbid wort and may also give rise to a poor fermentation and colloidal haze in the beer. He goes on to state that there is not much scientific data to back this claim but theorizes that it might have something to do with the slight re-absorption of moisture. He also points out that there has been shown to be a rise in diastatic power during the storage period and suggests that this is due to the liberation of amylase enzymes from “some kind of combination.” Recently I came across this article from1979 by H. Rennie and K. Ball on the Influence of Malt Storage on Wort Seperation. By measuring the pressure of flow through the mash beds of new malt vs. aged malt they concluded that there is a significant difference in wort separation after three weeks of aging.  Personally I haven’t noticed any problems using malt soon after kilning but  I haven’t done any side by side comparisons so I can’t really say for sure if it makes a difference, this might be worth another blog post. But if you can wait  the three weeks, then why not it, won’t hurt.

However for roasted malts I can say with certainty that using freshly roasted malts will give you better flavour than anything you can buy in a store. I often use freshly roasted malt and barley and I think it has greatly improved my beers. The flavour of malt or barley right after it’s roasted is rich and bold. The flavour of most of the roasted stuff I’ve bought in comparison is cardboardy and stale. If you had the choice of drinking coffee made from freshly roasted beans or from a can of store bought coffee, I think most would agree, the freshly roasted stuff is going to be better.

In this video I make debittered black malt by using hulled barley. This is barley that has had it’s husk removed. Not the same as pearled barley, that’s processed even further.  It was hard to find, I had to drive 40 minutes to get it but it should make for a few experiments. The tea I made with it tasted really good, it’s an even better caffeine free coffee substitute than roasted barley because it’s smoother.

For the hulled barley malt:

  • Steeped to 42% at 10C 50F
  • Germinated 5 days at 13C 55F
  • 24 hours with fan at room temp 21C 70F
  • 2 hours at 175F  (79C)
  • 1 hour at 185F  (85C)
  • 2 hours at 190F  (88C)

Debittered Black Patent

  • Hulled barley malt roasted at 375F for 1 hour then 30 min at 450F (232C) for a Carafa II style roast 1 hour at 375F then 15 min at 450F (232C).


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Malting Spelt, Emmer and Khorasan (Kamut)

I picked up these ancient grains at a health food store. Unlike modern wheat, Spelt and Emmer retain their husks and need processing to have their husks removed. Khorasan is a free threshing variety.  There are differences when malting a hulless or hulled grain compared to barley. Firstly, they absorb water faster. 1- 8 hour steep and another 2 hour steep was all I needed for the Spelt and Emmer. The Khorasan required 1- 8 and 1-4 hour steep due to it’s larger size. The acrospires are exposed so you have to be careful not to break them off. Lastly, they dry much faster than barley.

The Spelt and Emmer were easy and malted without any problems. The Khorasan was a different matter. My first batch only had a 69% germination rate. Anything less than 90% is not worth using. The unmalted grains are susceptible to mould and rot and will affect the flavour of your malt. So I threw it out and bought some more from a different store. This batch had an 86% germination rate (close enough?).  Khorasan also seems to be a very slow growing grain. The problem with this is that the longer the grain spends growing the more chance you have of growing mould and this is what happened. On day 6 I noticed bright pink spots on a few grains. This is a type of fusarium fungus. A biproduct of Fusarium fungus is the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol, referred to as DON. At high levels this toxin can make you sick. It can also survive the brewing process and cause gushing or excessive foaming in your beer. Here’s an informative webpage about Fusarium I picked out all the pink kernals I could find. I thought about throwing out this batch as well but instead I’ve decided to risk it. if I get some gushers I’ll know why but if not, then I’ll know that I can tolerate a few mouldy grains. Even though it probably was not modified enough I decided to dry it out so the fungus wouldn’t spread. In the end the Khorasan also ended up being very hard and difficult to mill which could be because it wasn’t modified enough. So, as a malting grain Khorasan gets a big thumbs down, unless you’re growing your own or you have a source for a higher quality grain than what I had, I wouldn’t recommend it. Heck, after seeing all the rotted grains in the first batch I wouldn’t even eat the stuff.

Here are the times and kiln temperatures I used to malt these grains:

  • Emmer – 42% moisture content
  • 4 days germinating 13C (55F)
  • 24 hrs with fan 28C 82F
  • Moisture at or below 10%
  • Cured at 175F 2 hrs (79C)
  • 180F 1 hr. (82C)
  • 185F 2 hrs. (85C)


  • Spelt- 42% moisture content
  • 6 days germinating 13C (55F)
  • 24 hrs at 24C 75F with fan
  • Moisture below 10%
  • Cured 170F 1 hr. (77C)
  • 175F 1 hr. (79C)
  • 180F 1 hr. (82C)
  • 185F 2 hrs. (85C)
  • 190F 2 hrs.  (88C)


  • Khorasan 40% moisture content (recommend higher moisture like 45%)
  • 6 days germinating (Also recommend longer germination if possible)
  • 24 hrs at 21C 70F with fan
  • 4 hrs 35-40C 95-104F ventillated but no fan
  • 2 hrs 40-50C 104-122F
  • 3 hrs 50C  122F
  • Cured 1 hr 175F  (79C)
  • 1 hr. 180F (82C)
  • 1 hr. 185F  (85C)
  • 2 1/2 hrs. 190F  (88C)


  • Caramel Khorasan 40% moisture content (recommend higher moisture like 44%)
  • 6 days germinating (Also recommend longer germination if possible)
  • Covered with tin foil on baking tray
  • 2 hrs. 140-158F (60-70C) (malt temperature) expect kiln to be 160-175F (71-79C)
  • 2 hrs  158F (malt temp) still covered (70C)
  • 2 hrs. 175F (kiln temp) uncovered and on a screen for airflow (79C)
  • 1 hr. 225F  (107C)
  • 30 min 250F  (121C)

Update: Just brewed with these malts today and achieved conversion with a 30 min protein rest at 123F and 1 hour at 152F. O.G. was 1.058. It was an awesome brew day, except for when I spilled the malt all over the kitchen floor.

Update to the update: Did not end up with as much beer as I thought I would, not sure where it all went. I think these grains might hold on to more of the wort than barley, or I miscalculated somewhere, perhaps I should have sparged more. Unfortunately, this changes my efficiency quite a bit, down to around 70% instead of the 80% I was bragging about before.

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