Views: 2 Author: Site Editor Publish Time: 2022-08-12 Origin: Site
What is Malt?
Malt is Grain that has been Steeped, Germinated and Kilned according to certain procedures. Malted Grain differs from Raw Grain in several ways:
Malt contains less moisture and therefore is more suitable for storage and grinding
The Endosperm of Malted Grain has been modified during germination and is more pliable, in contrast to the hard Endosperm of the original Grain kernel
Malted Grain has much higher enzymatic values than raw Grain
Malted Grain has flavour and aroma that differs from raw Grain - due to the germination and Kilning process - and these components can be readily extracted during the starch conversion and fermentation processes
Why is Barley preferred for Brewing and Traditional Whisk(e)y Distilling?
If we want to explore the real reasons for the original use of Barley, then this will turn into a History lesson about agriculture, climatic conditions, etc.
If we want to explore the reasons for the continued use of Barley, the it will be a discussion of Tradition, Marketing and Consumer Expectations.
But there are some technical reasons – less important than the others, but still relevant.
Barley is one of the hardiest of the cereal Grains. It can be Malted more easily than any other cereal Grain type.
Malted Barley provides flavor, enzymes and essential nutrients for yeast metabolism, and in the case of beer, color as well.
The Hydrolytic Enzymes developed in Malted Barley breaks down Endosperm Cell Walls, proteins and starches in both Barley and adjuncts (additional grains added into the Mash).
The physically protects the kernel during Malting, and it provides the filter bed for Wort Filtration in the Mash Tun
Now it is true that many (if not all) of these attributes are shared by other grain types as well, but one thing that cannot be denied is that the Enzyme concentration in Malted Barley is much higher than in other Malted Grains, and as such, when using Malted Barley, we only need to Malt a percentage of our Grain Bill, instead of Malting the entire Grain Bill when using other Grains.
What does a Barley Kernel consist of?
A Barley Kernel consists out of four main parts:
The Outer Layers – the husk, pericarp and testa – surrounding the endosperm and protecting the mature kernel from Microbiological spoilage
The Endosperm – the starch bearing portion of the grain, and the aleurone, a layer two or three cells deep, which is an enzyme source
The Embryo – the Germ Viable portion of the Grain – which is high in protein and nucleic acids. It contains the primordial root and acrospire of the young Barley plant and initiates the growth cycle when hydrated in the field or during Steeping
The Scutellum and Epithelium, which are additional sources of Hydrolytic Enzymes
How does a Distiller determine which Barley Cultivars are suitable for Malt Production?
Some varieties of Barley are bred solely for the production of feed, and some are intended for the production of Malt. Feed Barley varieties are bred for maximum agricultural yield (Agronomic reasons), with little attention given to the criteria that is critical for producing high-quality Malt.
In general, feed Cultivars or Varietals of Barley will produce Malt with higher protein levels and very poor enzyme yields and flavor characteristics.
The Varieties intended for Malt Production have been bred specifically for this purpose. They will Germinate well, withstand the Kilning process without excessive loss in enzymes, and provide a good and balanced combination of enzymes, carbohydrates and flavor will give the Distiller yield, successful conversions, and a flavorful product.
What factors influence the quality of Barley?
Many factors influence Barley quality. The most important are the Varietal, Climatic conditions, soil conditions and storage practices.
A cool, moist growing season will favor a plumper crop with lower protein content. A hot, dry growing season will produce thinner, higher-protein Barley, which will produce Malt with lower levels of extracts.
The timing of planting can also have a significant effect.
Planting early in the growing season may allow that crop to mature prior to the hot, dry portion of the summer and may avoid late season frost damage. In any Barley growing area, the quality of the crop may vary significantly, depending on when it was planted. Irrigation is increasingly being used by Barley growers, helping to produce more uniform, higher-quality crops.
Crop rotation can also affect Barley quality. Barley grown in a field that was heavily fertilized for a different crop during the previous growing season may develop unacceptably high levels of protein. Barley grown in fields that produced corn in the previous growing season may be subject to disease caused by Micro Organisms that can overwinter on corn residue.
Harvesting and storage conditions can also materially affect Barley quality.
If there is excessive rain during the harvesting period, Barley may be stained and sprout damaged. Improper storage of grain can also reduce Barley Quality. If Barley is harvested with a moisture content greater than 14%, storage stability will be a concern. The Germinative capacity may decrease more rapidly in high-moisture Grain than in drier grain, and high-moisture Grain is more susceptible to insect infestation and heat damage from Insect activity. Proper air-drying of high-moisture Barley and effective Insect Control during storage are some of the critical success factors in maintaining Barley quality.
How soon should Barley be Malted, and how is it stored?
Barley harvesting occurs over a period of one to two months. This supply of Barley must now last for at least 12 months. Freshly harvested Barley will usually not Germinate at its optimum, so it is common to store Barley for 1 to 3 months prior to full-scale Malting.
Storage bins or Silos are generally constructed of either concrete or steel. Steel bins have a bigger footprint and usually more conveyance than the more compact slip-formed concrete silos. Steel bins are also usually much less expensive to construct that concrete silos. Both storage systems work well for both Malt and Barley. The bins or silos are filled from the top by way of spouts. Grain is conveyed mechanically to a spout and drops into the bin under the force of gravity. Most bins have conical bottoms to facilitate easy cleaning. The bin or silo discharges from this conical bottom into a conveyor that leads to an elevator leg. This system can be used to turn or transfer grain for aeration and conditioning. Screw conveyors and drag conveyors are commonly used to transfer Barely. Belts and drag conveyors are preferred for Malt, because of its high friability.