I pretty much taught myself malting from experience growing sprouts in the kitchen.
I drilled a bunch of holes in a bucket, dumped in grain, poured on water.
The bucket took a few attempts to get it right. See Homebrewd Equipment.
Charlie Papazian gave me a starting regimen in his wonderful book, The Joy of Homebrewing.
It goes like this:
The first forty hours, soak the barley in water for eight hours. Drain the barley for eight hours,
soak for eight hours, drain for eight, soak for eight, drain. Five times eight is forty hours. Three soaks.
Then, give it a complete rinse and drain every time you think of it, at least six times a day,
For maybe four to six more days. Decide when it looks fully modified, too long and you're using
potential for growth, not long enough costs you enzymes for starch conversion.
Everything about homebrewing is about balancing. Like choice of barley to grow:
The variety with six rows in the heads gives more pounds per area planted, The two row variety
yields more sugar per pound. I do 2-row.
I found about six pounds of grain is a comfortably sized batch for the equipment I use.
See Homebrewd Equipment. That dries to a little more than five pounds of malt.
Drying can definitely take more time than the sprouting. I spread it out on screen trays in the
greenhouse. Timing depends on weather. For some specialty malts, I can dry it faster.
For crystal malt I can dry in steel trays in a low oven in just a few hours.
The brown malt I use for red and amber ale I can put the screen rack over my woodstove overnight.
After drying I rub the malt on a screen to remove the sprout radicles. The powder that sifts through
the screen is a good non-nutritive fiber. Use it to thicken things, or add a little fiber to your diet.
It tastes like breadcrumbs.
The dried malt should be cracked before putting it in hot water to begin the mash.
I am lucky again, to have a Corona hand-cranked flour mill. I can use that at a loose setting.
So it just cracks the malt without grinding it to malt flour. Then into the mash bucket.
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