Category Archives: Spelt

Ancient grains update


This is the beer I made with malted Emmer, Spelt, Khorasan and caramel Khorasan. It’s got a bunch of modern hop varieties in it Citra, Galaxy, Mandarina Bavaria and Azacca. I usually only add a couple of different hop varieties to a beer but this day was a “what the hell” kind of day. This beer actually cleared up after a few weeks after starting out rather hazy.dsc02870 You can almost read the label on the back of the glass in the picture above. The head is big and lingers till the end and as of now, no gushers. I was expecting a few because of the fusarium I saw in the Khorasan. Luckily it was not bad enough, I’ve gone through about half of them and so far so good. Flavour: tart, really tart, underneath is the earthy spiciness of cloves. I used Wyeast Weihenstephan 3068 fermented on the cool side at 18C or 64F. On top is a lot of fruit from the hops, so much that it reminds me of POG, that Hawaiian drink that consists of passion fruit, orange and guava juice . At first, I thought the spicy fruit combo was weird and I thought it would have been better if I fermented warmer to get more banana esters. But it’s grown on me and if there were banana notes it might just taste like a fruit salad (which might be worth a try next summer) As it is it takes some time to detect all the flavours going on. It definitely has body, it’s like eating sourdough bread so it’s a slow drinking beer that demands a couch and an ottoman, or something to support the “wheat belly” I’m working on.


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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