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Malting your own grains?

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YogiBearMead726

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Edit: I am not sure if this thread is in the right spot, so if not, moderators please feel free to move it as appropriate. ;)

Well I know I've read of a few people on here using some unmalted grains (like quinoa, rice, and a few others). My main question on this malting process is how to dry the grains after sprouting them, while avoiding temperature above 120F, to save the enzymes (I'm looking to make pale malt, and will toast/roast from there for other malts). Does anyone have a process for this using heaters/oven that only goes down to 170F/clothes dryer?

The reason I ask is that my searches elsewhere have yielded either DIY projects beyond my skill/tool-set/budget or very vague proceedures with lots of room for interpretation (and potential failure). I'd love to get a good feel for the concept before I invest in some barley to attempt malting with, so any advice would be appreciated. Thanks! :)

P.S. Temps have been pushing 75-80F lately, so I guess sun drying would also be within my ability. I just hesitate on this option because of concern of contamination.
 

akueck

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Both myself and BBBF have threads in the beer section discussing malting quinoa, amaranth, millet, and buckwheat. WayneB talks about malting rice in the patron's section. I just used my oven, nothing fancier than a cookie sheet. I did home-build a soaking chamber out of a plastic bucket with a cordless drill.
 

YogiBearMead726

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Both myself and BBBF have threads in the beer section discussing malting quinoa, amaranth, millet, and buckwheat. WayneB talks about malting rice in the patron's section. I just used my oven, nothing fancier than a cookie sheet. I did home-build a soaking chamber out of a plastic bucket with a cordless drill.
Thanks for the tip. I'll check those out.
 

mccann51

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http://www.scientificsocieties.org/jib/papers/2007/G-2007-1126-501.pdf

Hey, Yogi. Not sure if this is useful to you, but I figured I'd post it here since this is the most recent quinoa mashing thread. They don't really go into how to how they kiln it, and obviously a stove will go well above 65 or 70F. Perhaps just turn on the stove at the lowest setting, leave the door open, and monitor the temp with a thermometer?

Is there any reason that you couldn't just mash right after malting without kilning? Obviously toasting it adds flavor, but perhaps you could mash right away with some bulk malted quinoa and then have some "specialty" toasted and roasted malts of it.

EDIT: I just reread your OP and realized your not necessarily looking to malt quinoa, but were just using it as example of unmalted grain. Sorry about not paying attention.
 

YogiBearMead726

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http://www.scientificsocieties.org/jib/papers/2007/G-2007-1126-501.pdf

Hey, Yogi. Not sure if this is useful to you, but I figured I'd post it here since this is the most recent quinoa mashing thread. They don't really go into how to how they kiln it, and obviously a stove will go well above 65 or 70F. Perhaps just turn on the stove at the lowest setting, leave the door open, and monitor the temp with a thermometer?

Is there any reason that you couldn't just mash right after malting without kilning? Obviously toasting it adds flavor, but perhaps you could mash right away with some bulk malted quinoa and then have some "specialty" toasted and roasted malts of it.

EDIT: I just reread your OP and realized your not necessarily looking to malt quinoa, but were just using it as example of unmalted grain. Sorry about not paying attention.
Thanks for the input. I think either door-open oven or door shut with constant on and off to keep it around 100, since this is where the built in thermometer starts reading change. I'll just shut off as soon as it changes above 100F.

As to why not just mash after sprouting, the drying/milking process kills off the plant's growth and "fixes" those enzymes for use later (ie during the mash). The clock is basically ticking between time the grain sprouts to when you dry it. If left for too long, the chemistry will start to change and I'll either loose the enzymes for mashing, or the plant will start using up the converted sugar inside. Also, the outer husk must be removed to allow for better sugar extraction during the mash, and dry seeds seem easier to crush/mill than soggy wet ones, IMHO. ;)
 

mccann51

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As to why not just mash after sprouting, the drying/milking process kills off the plant's growth and "fixes" those enzymes for use later (ie during the mash). The clock is basically ticking between time the grain sprouts to when you dry it. If left for too long, the chemistry will start to change and I'll either loose the enzymes for mashing, or the plant will start using up the converted sugar inside. Also, the outer husk must be removed to allow for better sugar extraction during the mash, and dry seeds seem easier to crush/mill than soggy wet ones, IMHO. ;)
Got it, thanks.
 

YogiBearMead726

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Got it, thanks.
No problem! To be honest, it's all really new info to me too. I've been reading everything I can get my hands on regarding brewing, and still am sorely lacking in a lot of the knowledge. It's a very unique, and fun hobby. And it gives me something to create/tinker with/drink while my mead ages. ;D

I have to say, brewing/mead making has been fulfilling a childhood fascination for creating or tinkering with things to see how they work. I also loved chemistry, so I guess it's been a fun process re-learning it for something I actually can care about...not that chemistry isn't interesting anyway...:rolleyes:
 

akueck

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Malt is usually "rested" for a time after kilning as well, not used immediately. I know some things off-gas, other things might be slowly changing, etc. Another reason to dry and kiln is to remove the rootlets, which are not generally beneficial to the wort.

Wet malt actually crushes better than dry malt, if you have the means to do it. Well, moist more than wet. The husk takes up water and becomes flexible, leaving them more intact to form a better filter bed. Dry husks tend to shatter. Apparently you can do this at home by freezing the malt. The moisture it picks up while warming up before crushing goes right into the husks. Go figure. (Disclaimer, I haven't tried it myself, so YMMV.)
 

YogiBearMead726

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Wet malt actually crushes better than dry malt, if you have the means to do it. Well, moist more than wet. The husk takes up water and becomes flexible, leaving them more intact to form a better filter bed. Dry husks tend to shatter. Apparently you can do this at home by freezing the malt. The moisture it picks up while warming up before crushing goes right into the husks. Go figure. (Disclaimer, I haven't tried it myself, so YMMV.)
Ooh...definitely something to try. I'll try this with some of my home-made and post results. That's pretty cool in concept though. :)
 

BBBF

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I have two dehydrators, which allow me to dry 6 lbs of grain.


My biggest fear of sun drying is animals getting into the malt. Bacteria isn't a fear. There's bactieria on the malt that you buy in the store too. You kill it when you boil your wort.
 

YogiBearMead726

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I have two dehydrators, which allow me to dry 6 lbs of grain.


My biggest fear of sun drying is animals getting into the malt. Bacteria isn't a fear. There's bactieria on the malt that you buy in the store too. You kill it when you boil your wort.
Good to know. As to my fear, I think I meant mold, but I suppose that could be prevented by proper turning and aeration. But again, I'll check out a dehydrator, and use my proposed oven technique until I have a better, more controllable method.

I'm really excited about trying this out...I think I'll buy some pale malt from my LHBS to experiment with roasting techniques before I try to make some with the homemade stuff.

Thanks to everyone for their input! It's been very helpful. ;D
 

akueck

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Mold was an issue in my oven due to low air circulation. If you have a convection oven though, you might be ok.
 
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