RSS

Monthly Archives: February 2017

Some clarification on the history of air rests in malting

I thought I’d have to dig through a bunch of old texts to find out when the inclusion of air rests in steeps started. The only mention of it in any old text that I had read so far was in Henry Stopes Malts and Malting An Historical, Scientific and Practical Treatise 1885. On page 332 he describes the newly adopted practice in Bohemia of Steeping for 24 hours followed by a 24 air rest and then a shorter steep of 8-10 hours (the date on the citation for this is 1874) He also describes the use of spray steeping on the continent.

As it turns out I didn’t have to look much further than this article by D.E. Briggs: Accelerating Malting: A Review of Some Lessons of the Past from the United Kingdom. 1986. In this paper Briggs describes the many methods used in the past and present to accelerate germination rates. Listed are methods such as abrasion to light crushing, low moisture squeezing as well as warm steeping and using additives like hydrogen peroxide and giberellic acid.

Any summary I could write about this article wouldn’t do it justice so I won’t try, but here are just a few interesting points  in a very, very brief summary form.

Briggs does confirm that air rests were adopted by maltsters in Germany in 1875 but also mentions the traditional Norwegian practice of steeping  barley in sacks submerged in streams and taking them out at intervals to drain and rest. Check out this old footage of traditional brewers in Norway from this awesome blog Larsblog shared by my friends at Spowtmalt.com  I’m not sure what they’re saying but it’s fascinating to watch.

Interestingly Briggs notes that the practice of air resting fell out of use in the U.K. in the early 1900’s but was re-introduced in the 1950’s  when it was recognized that an air rest after the grain had reached a water content of 35-37% overcame water-sensitivity and the grain could then be steeped again to a final moisture content between 41-46%

There is also a great description of how early chitting in the grain, which occurs with spray steeping and to a certain extent with air rests can affect the water uptake due to the more rapid absorption of water from the embryo over the starchy endosperm once the grain chitts. This can leave the inside of the endosperm dry even while the overall target moisture content is reached which can be detrimental to modification.

Briggs concludes by stating that despite all the new techniques and methods utilized in modern malting that each new batch of barley brings it’s own problems in production. He suggests that malt could be made more rapidly if there were a better understanding of various aspects of immaturity and vigor or dormancy. Also that further studies need to be done to improve methods that characterize the degree of maturity in grains. As well it would be advantageous to find methods other than prolonged storage to hasten grain maturation.

This article is well worth reading and sheds a lot of light on the recent history of the steeping process.

 

 

Advertisements
 
3 Comments

Posted by on February 22, 2017 in History, un-aerated malt

 

Un-aerated steeping Part 1

Ok, mind blown, and I don’t know how I’ve missed this key piece of information. Sometimes I feel like the world of malting is shrouded in so much mystery that you have to be a detective to figure it out. The data in the Scotch Bigg Report provided the biggest piece of the puzzle that was missing for me: that long germination times are only possible with un-aerated steeps. The report gives us actual recorded steep times, which are shockingly long 40-118 hours. What may be even more important was the observation in the report that some maltsters only changed their steep water once or twice and some not at all. But how is this possible? Most texts I’ve read state that the grain will die if submerged for over 24 hours, I’ve told people this myself (my apologies). In fact, I believe it’s only been in the last 150 years that aeration has been used in the steeping process – but I’ll have to do some further investigating to confirm this. In part one of this project, I do a side by side comparison of malt steeped with air rests and malt steeped for 72 hours without. Results in a nutshell: the un-aerated tastes better, but I haven’t brewed with them yet, that’s part two. One factor that may skew the comparison is that I malted these barley samples at the same temperature, which was lower than I would normally malt aerated barley – this may have affected the flavour of the aerated malt. This will be addressed in part three – how does historically malted barley compare with modern malt (malted at warmer temperatures – 15C, 59F)

 
19 Comments

Posted by on February 12, 2017 in History, un-aerated malt

 

Tags: , , , , ,

 
The Meandering Meadery

Cultivating fermented food and drinks one jar at a time

Sprowt

Home Malting Equipment for the Home Brewer

Brülosophy

They Who Drink Beer Will Think Beer

Immaculate Brewery

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

F Words I Love

Fresh. Frugal. Fermented. Free.

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 www.JaxBeerGuy.com

East Happyland Homebrew Garden Louisiana

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

Bergfast bryggeri

Et lite kjellerbryggeri blir til

The Apartment Homebrewer

Brewing small batches of craft beer in a 650 sqft apartment

Redneck Brewing

Because good beer doesn't require sophistication.

Bishop's Beer Blog

Just another WordPress.com site

The Quest for Edelstoff

Making Liquid Bread