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Malting Grain

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  • Bennett, Mark E [TES]
    Probably not the closest thing to distilling but may be of interest to those into using grain. Recently I was given 50Kg of malting grade barley and not
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 3 7:08 PM
      Probably not the closest thing to distilling but may be of interest to those
      into using grain. Recently I was given 50Kg of malting grade barley and not
      knowing any better I decided to malt it. The process seemed simple enough.
      Add water to the grain, wait till it germinates (information at hand said 7
      days) and then dry it out. So on Saturday night I weighed out 6Kg of grain
      and poured it into a 20L pot and covered it with water. I did have the
      thought that 6Kg could be ambitious to start with but a few bourbons solved
      that problem. I left it to soak for 30 min then drained the grain in a
      large meshed cooking baskets poured the grain back into the pot and put the
      lid on and planed on using the next seven days to figure out how I was going
      to dry it. Sunday morning and Sunday night I ran with the same steeping
      regime and when I checked the pot on Monday before going to work I realised
      that the seven days to figure out how to dry the grain was going to be a
      problem. It had sprouted and by Monday night I realized that I would have a
      barley crop in a pot ready to harvest by Saturday and I had no idea how I
      was going to dry the grain and the one basket had turned into two. Ok, if
      god could create the universe in 7 days, drying out 6 kilos of grain and
      going to work should be easy for an atheist. On Tuesday morning I awoke
      with gastro (that solved the work problem) and after sitting on the can for
      an hour I checked the pot and yep you guessed it, time was up. I grabbed
      the grain poured it in to a couple of large meshed cooking baskets and put
      it into the gas oven @ 45C and left the door ajar. Leaving the grain drying
      in the oven for about 6 hours I realized that this was never going to work.
      Burning gas produces moisture and without some method of forcing air through
      the grain it would never dry. Back to the can for a rethink and clear away
      those stomach cramps. By about 6 pm I came up with a cardboard box and a
      fan heater. I cut a hole in the side of the box for the front of the fan
      heater and dropped a basket into the top. Apart from a lot of leaks the idea
      looked sound so down to workshop and half an hour later I had a box made out
      of 16 mm particle board with a fan heater mounted in the end and the two
      baskets sitting in the top. I set the fan heater on low (1000 watts) and
      fired it up. Now we were cooking you could feel the moisture rising out of
      the grain and see the grain shrinking (not real time). After about 3 hours
      my 2 baskets of grain had shrunk to one and when you chewed on the grain it
      had now gone hard again. It took another 3 hours to bring it back to it
      original 6 Kg of weight. The other interesting point is that when I started
      with the fan heater the temperature of the grain would only rise about 5
      degrees above ambient but after about 3 hour the temperature was up to 60C.
      My assumption here is that the high moisture evaporation levels held the
      temperature down and hopefully the higher end temperatures will not have
      denatured the enzymes as the grain is quite dry (If this is wrong can
      somebody let me know).

      My conclusions are:
      1. Malting grain may read like it is easy but it can get real complicated
      when you haven't got everything figured out
      2. Grain swells up during the malting process so you better have lots of
      headroom in your malting and drying containers
      3. Doing stuff like this makes your wife and kids think that you have
      completely lost the plot and should be sent of to the gulag for forced
      retraining on mowing lawns and putting out the garbage.

      Well one good thing is that the birds did not get this experiment unlike one
      of my early corn mashes. Hopefully this may be of some help to somebody who
      wants to have a go at malting grain. For the 6 kilos it's of to the crusher
      and into the mash tun to hopefully be turned into something completely
      different and more palatable

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