Pre-Industrial Base Malt with a 20 Day Germination

02 Mar

At 20 days this is the longest germination I’ve ever done. I actually wanted to kiln this a couple of days earlier but it was pouring rain so it had to wait. It was already spread out to wilt so a couple of days of wilting is actually more historically accurate anyway.

What I was worried about was mold developing and this did happen on a small handful of grains. Wherever the husk had split, mold grew on the exposed starch and there were also a few pink grains indicating some fusarium mold but not a big deal I just picked them out.

The temperature in the garage couldn’t have been more perfect for the whole 3 weeks with a maximum temperature of 14C. It stayed between 12-14C most of the time. I started with a 44 hour steep changing the water once after 24 hours. If you’ve read my earlier posts you’ll know that an unaerated steep is necessary for a long slow germination. The moisture content was only 40%, slightly less than my target so I weighed enough water to add another 2% and added that while turning over the next two days.

The barley I was using was the 24 lbs. of Chevallier I grew last summer. I lost about three of my beds to animals of some kind, most likely rats or mice and maybe the odd squirrel. This happened only in the beds that did not have the chicken wire support and because they were not supported there was some lodging. When this happens it’s much easier for the critters to access the seed heads. This only happened a few weeks from harvesting. Quite disappointing but it was my own fault for not having enough chicken wire.

Continuing the drying of newly picked grain at home.

Here’s how the germination went:

  • Day 3 – Chitting visible
  • Day 6 – Acrospires at 1/2
  • Day 12 – Acrospires at 3/4 Roots starting to wither a little
  • Day 17 – Barley spread out to wilt
  • Day 20 – Moisture at 27% Kilning day.

Kilning looked like this:

  • Day 1 10 hours at 45C (average malt temp)
  • Malt brought in at room temperature overnight 20% moisture
  • Day 2 6 hours at 45C. 14% moisture
  • 1 hour 60C 1 hour 70C 2.5 hours 80C  175F (average malt temp)

I think it could have used another 4 hours at drying temperatures and maybe another 2 at curing temperatures, but this project was pretty exhausting since I didn’t actually know how long it was going to take. At least now I know for next time to set aside a minimum of 24 hours total time for kilning for this amount of malt. Unfortunately, historically this is a normal amount of time for a kiln directly fired and without fans, so I guess that’s kind of a win?

This malt has a nutty character with a very mellow smoke aroma. By mellow I mean the strength of the smoke is similar to the smell of clothes the day after being near a campfire. It’s present but not harsh or overpowering. This should make an awesome beer.


Posted by on March 2, 2020 in Pre-Industrial malt, un-aerated malt


2 responses to “Pre-Industrial Base Malt with a 20 Day Germination

  1. Demy

    March 2, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    Great! I noticed that acrospira barley grows a lot up to 1/2 or 3/4 then it starts to slow down.

    • jfdyment

      March 2, 2020 at 7:21 pm

      Yes absolutely, sort of made me wonder at what point did they decide it was ready for kilning. How can you really tell after 18 days if it needs more time?


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