Monthly Archives: January 2019

This beer was made without roasted malts!


Not yet fully carbonated but I couldn’t wait any longer!  This beer was made with a single malt sent to me all the way from Montana from Ryan Pfeifle at Farm Power Malt.  Ryan your “samples” are on their way!  I’ve been talking to Ryan about diastatic brown malt and the theory that a lot of colour can be achieved with a stewing phase at around 122°F 50°C. The question that I’ve been trying to find out lately is whether or not this was part of the malting process for brown malt back in the 18th century or was most of their colour achieved by high temperatures while there was some moisture present thereby partially caramelizing the malt like a Munich malt. This may be an impossible question to answer but it’s leading to some fun experiments.

Believe it or not, this malt was kilned under 200°F and does not have any caramelization.  However, it did undergo a proteolytic stewing phase at 120F 49C after germinating which obviously after kilning has produced a wack-load of melanoidins. Talk about rich wow! This beer is super malty, full of dried fruit flavours like prunes, raisins, and cherries which are covered in caramel. Unfortunately, I made the shameful mistake of underpitching my yeast and the fermentation stopped at 1.029 (O.G. was 1.075). It tasted great, not too sweet for me, so I bottled it. In hindsight, I should have given it a stir and another week. Luckily I reserved some yeast with some of the beer and I left this at room temperature to see if it would ferment down and it did! After one more week, the gravity is 1.018.

This sample fermented down to 1.018. Attenuation =76%

My numbers were very surprising. With 11.85 lbs. of malt used in this recipe my gravity should have been around 1.062 at 75% efficiency, according to my brewing software, but I ended up with a whopping O.G. of 1.075. With a potential final gravity of 1.018, my ABV would have been 7.45%.  As it stands now the ABV is at 6%. I gave it a one hour mash at 150°F. Note:  I started with a high kettle volume (7 gallons) and boiled for two hours leaving me with a final volume of just over 5 gallons.

The flavour reminds me of beer made with a lot of Special B malt which makes me think this malt would be perfect for a Belgian Dubbel or perhaps it would be well suited for a dark lager, smooth malty and dark but not roasty. Or perhaps since the flavour is so bold it would be great in a barleywine. At the moment this malt is still being developed so they’re still tweaking the recipe. Ryan’s got a very cool malting system which he built from scratch on their farm so be sure to check out their website!


Posted by on January 25, 2019 in Diastatic Brown Malt


New Improved Malt Kiln for Diastatic Brown Malt

So you want to dry your malt with a wood fire (because it’s awesome) but you live in a townhouse, what to do?

I recently received some questions about diastatic brown malt from Ryan Pfeifle at Farm Power Malt in Montana who is experimenting with making it on a larger scale. His interest inspired me to give it another go. It’s been a while since my last experiments and I’ve learned a lot since then. I also figured it was about time I fix this darn barrel kiln sitting in my garage. My next post will be about brown malt and the beer I’ve made with it, this one will just focus on the kiln which is working really well. The “air on” temperature sits solidly at 225F with one large gassifier. I’ll be tweeking this perhaps with some venting to make it more adjustable. The malt temperature did not go higher than 206F which is great, it’s where I want it, hot enough for colour but low enough to preserve the enzymes.

So this is more like how I imagined it in the first place. The top of the original barrel acts as the heat disperser and the new half barrel sits perfectly inside the outer rim. I placed 4 bolts 9 inches up from the bottom of the half barrel to hold the Webber grill which is a good width to fit in a barrel. You can buy these at the Home Depot, they’re a little pricey for what it is at $30 but since I didn’t have any other ideas for the “grain basket” I had to buy it. I placed the thermometer just under the grain bed to measure my “air-on” temperature and I’ll use my probe thermometer for the malt temp.

The insulation was also a little pricey, there are probably other options for insulation. The stuff I bought is called Fiberfax which I bought at Greenbarn. For the inch thick blanket it’s about $8.50 a linear foot (comes in 2′ wide rolls) For the 1/2 inch it’s about $5 per foot. It’s rated to 2400F so it’s definitely good enough for this application. I bought 6 ft. of the 1″ thickness but I would have been fine with the 1/2 inch stuff. Beware though that this stuff is seriously toxic, you can see the fine silica particles in the air when you handle it. I wore a respirator and goggles when I worked with it. I originally glued the insulation to the inside of the barrel with something called sodium silicate which worked but I wanted to protect the insulation and I wanted to protect my malt from any particulate matter that the insulation might impart so I bought some steel sheet metal thin enough to bend into a circle to cover it. The sheet metal is just sitting on three 2″ bolts.

Once I make or find a proper basket for the grain I’ll be really happy with this kiln. There are times in my life when I feel like Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters with the Third Kind, the part where’s he’s obsessed with constructing Devil’s Tower in his living room.  “Well I guess you’ve noticed something a little strange with Dad” That’s when I know I’m doing something worthwhile, at least that’s what I tell myself.


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Posted by on January 5, 2019 in Brown malt, Malt kilns


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