Back in November of 2014, i was out of malt for brewing beer and i was so extremely low on money. So, i thought, that it would be fun to try to make my own malt. So i went to a local feed store and bought a 5kg of feed barley. Surprisingly it wasn’t very dirty with foreign seeds and stuff. Of course information about source or variety of the barley was out of the question.
Anyway, i took it home, gave it a very good rinse and weighed 4kg. I didn’t measure at that point the original moisture content of raw barley, but i assumed it to be 12%, which is a logic number, i guess.
I did 8-hr steeps followed by 8-hour aeration phases and i was measuring each time the weight of the lot
||T~13C. Outside on my front portch, with tap water in a big bowl
||T~19C. I moved it to my basement, for some reason i didn’t note. Aeration time.
||T~13C. Again, outside of the house, covered in water.
||T=15. The barley had started to chit now. I moved it to my fermentation chamber, at my basement and split the quantity.
Half of it went into a rotating plastic vessel, from water container, and the other half in a large baking pan.
After a few days, i checked for degree of modification, and at some point i decided that the conversion was completed. Drying was very difficult.
At first i put the grain inside my fermentation chamber (an old fridge), with a floor heater-blower, regulated by an STC-1000, at 50C. It didn’t do much because the air flow wasn’t correct and the sealing of the fridge couldn’t let moisture out. Frequently i was opening the door in order to let the moist air out and let new dry inside, and wiped all the surfaces of the fridge which was dripping wet!
After 10 hours or so i moved the malt to my kitchen. It’s a very old model, without a fan, and with a very bad thermostat. I tried to regulate it by manually and hours of attention but the temperature frequently was rising over 50C. Finaly i decided to terminate the drying-kiln phase with an hour at 80C.
It was obvious that the moisture was not down to at least 10%. The rootlets couldn’t fall off the grain. So a large amount stayed attached.
After a few days i did the final test, a brew with this malt. At the time i had no crusher, so i tried to crush them with a kitchen food processor. The crush was far off ideal, since i had lot’s of flour-like material and at the same time whole uncrushed malt. Nonetheless i tried it in a mash.
It was a very long mash, with multiple steps, in order to be sure that my mash schedule helped the low quality malt i produced.
- 200’@64-67C followed by mashout
- Boiled the wort for 90 minutes with addition of 15g Magnum@60 minutes and 15g Saaz @10minutes.
- OG:1.030 at 11.5l
Efficiencies according to biabacus excel spreadsheet:
- Efficiency into kettle: 56.5
- End of boil efficiency: 52.0
- Efficiency into fermenter: 45.0
I coold the wort with a copper chiller and then pitched a yeast i had harvest from previous fermentation US-05. It was smelling funny, but i pitched it anyway.
After fermenting was over, FG was 1.013 but i think i has an infection for sure:
It was smelling kind of funny as well. I think it’s the harvested yeast to blame. But bottled it, since i had nothing to loose and that was the colour of the beer, right after bottling. I guess i had kilned the malt at higher temperatures, that gave it this colour:
I did try it once it had some weeks to stablize. I had no foaming from the bottle, carbonation was as expected and the taste was not very off from a light ale. I didn’t drink this batch.
The whole epxerience was very fun and educational. Future malt batches will be improved!