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Category Archives: Malt kilns

New Malt Kiln

This project was way overdue, maybe a few years overdue, but I finally built something to kiln in besides my oven. As I stated in the video using the oven just became too inconvenient. My wife also makes custom order cakes and she’s been getting more orders lately so I had to free up the oven.

So far I’ve only done one small batch of Brumalt in it and I was impressed by how well it worked. The temperature stayed consistent and with only two vent holes open the heat stayed in and there was plenty of airflow. I didn’t even turn the fan on and I think I might only have to when I’m doing larger batches over 5 lbs. This small 2.5lb batch of  brumalt dried within 6 hours which is quite fast and it was so nice to have it stew for 18 hours without having to worry about someone turning the oven on accidentally (which has happened).

One thing I might add is something to disperse the heat when I’m using screens. The hot plate sits in the center of the kiln and it seems that the heat is more concentrated in the center although I haven’t measured this yet. I’m not concerned when the perforated steel tray is in there because these holes give an open area of 40% so the tray itself seems to disperse the heat well enough. I may just add a spare piece of the tray material under the screen to disperse the heat.

I don’t have any carpentry experience so I’m sure there are better ways to build a box but here are the dimensions that I used.  The front and back are 24″ by 24″  The sides are 20″ by 24″  Because I’m using 3/4 ” plywood the top and bottom dimensions are 20″ by 25 1/2″.  It’s held together with 1 1/2 ” drywall screws with a little bit of wood glue. The 6 vent holes are 1 1/2 ” which I used a hole cutter bit on my drill to cut out. I pre-drilled some holes for the vent covers and then on the on the covers themselves I drilled holes wide enough to accommodate the 1 1/4″ screws so the covers could move without releasing the screw from the main lid. I had the cutting done at the Home Depot because it takes them a few seconds to get a perfectly straight cut. The piano hinge is also from the Home Depot. For the fan hole I used a jigsaw to cut a round hole and it’s not pretty, luckily it’s covered up by the fan. 

 

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Posted by on November 20, 2015 in Hop Oast / Malt Kiln, Malt kilns

 

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New malt kiln

Still on the quest for a more authentic diastatic brown malt. I was pretty disappointed with the soot that appeared on my last batch and I wanted to play around with using higher temperatures so a new kiln was in order. Unfortunately I live in a townhouse, otherwise I would have built one by now using cinder blocks or anything I could get my hands on. Instead I had to settle for something on a more portable scale. I had originally thought of using a barrel so that I could take it to a campsite close by and put it over a fire pit, that way I could try using straw as a fuel. Then I figured why not use the gassifiers in the barrel, it’s clean, very safe, and I get one hour of burn time for each load of pellets. Every time I try burning straw it burns faster than paper, I still don’t get how this was used in the early malt kilns.

As I mention in the video I just didn’t have the time to perfect the design and my malt was at 10% moisture level after air drying for two days, it was more than ready to be kilned. The temperature crept up to 250 by the end of the first hour, there was still steam coming off at this point. During the second hour the temperature rose to 275 and then to 300 during the third. I knew this would probably be too hot for the malt to have any diastatic power left to convert itself but I wanted to see how a faster and hotter kilning would affect the colour.  My results were most likely inaccurate because even though my oven thermometer read these temperatures the heat coming out of the small holes in the barrel was much higher. The 4 oz. test batch came up with a 1.020 original gravity after an 8 hour mash.

Well at least now I know I can make a pretty descent blown malt, check out the snapping action in the video. As well this would be a great way to roast your grain outside, you could easily do 7 pounds at a time this way.

 

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