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Old 12-09-2010, 07:59 PM   #1
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Default Washer/Dryer Combo = Perfect Malting/Kilning rig?

I'm hoping to start going all-grain more frequently soon, but I need a better method of automating the malting and kilning of the grain. I played around with a few ideas in my head and here's what I came up with:

Malting:
All you really need is grains, water, aeration, and means of rinsing/draining the grain to prevent molds/bacterium from having a field day.

Kilning:
All you really need is grains, air, a heating element, a temperature sensor, and a humidity sensor.

Q: What has all those pieces?
A: A washer/dryer combo.

So the question that I wanted to bounce off of you guys is do you think something like this could work?

Ultimately a Washer/Dryer Combo (link) would have all the pieces you need. Stainless tub, fresh water supply, drains, air ducts, temperature and humidity sensors, and convenient form-factor. Obviously you would have to gut or hack into the controller board to make it work right (unless you can find one with a 'Malt Quinoa' setting). Seriously though, do you-guys think something like this could be made to work?

Washer = Malting:
Put all the grains in a ginormous grain bag, then I could see it partially filling the tub with water, rotating ever say 30 min, so that the grains all get enough water, emptying and refilling once every 8 hours. You could even add a small fish-tank heater to keep the temp of the water just right.

Dryer = Kilning:
Then when you're done malting you just switch over to kiln. All the water drains away and you apply hot air until the humidity equals some percentage. You could probably get a max temp in the 150-170F range, and since you replaced the hacked the controller you could likely program in certain kilning cycles. I doubt you could get this thing safely above say 250F, but still that would get you a pretty awesome variety of grains.

So let me know what you think, any tips or caveats would be appreciated and who knows, maybe I'll try getting a bunk one off of Craigslist and see if I can make it work.

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Old 12-09-2010, 08:07 PM   #2
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That sounds awesome. I don't know enough about malting to speak with authority, but if you could get some sensors into the dryer to monitor temp and humidity I don't see why the theory wouldn't hold together.

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Old 12-09-2010, 09:54 PM   #3
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sounds above my hacking skills, unfortunately.. but I could always learn! be sure to post it up in the DIY if you make something out of it.. sounds like an incredible project

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Old 12-09-2010, 10:40 PM   #4
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Subscribed. Keep us up to date if/when you do this. Very interesting stuff!

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Old 12-09-2010, 11:39 PM   #5
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I like the idea, I think it's great.

You would definitely need to put the grain in a large bag, wouldn't want it to slip through the holes there. I would think draining and letting the grains have an air rest would be pretty easy too.

I might consider giving the washer a quick rinse before I switched over to the kiln/dry cycle just in case...But if this works, that would be freaking awesome.

I'd like to get some all-grain going to, but I really don't have an easy way to malt and kiln some grains right now.

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Old 12-10-2010, 12:23 AM   #6
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One large bag for a front load washer, multiple bags for a top load washer?

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Old 12-10-2010, 01:17 AM   #7
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I'm not so sure about the wet-side but the dry-side may work. I would think that the wash cycle even after a controller hack would be too wet for sprouting. Spouting plants is usually performed by spraying small amounts of water to mist the seeds. Washers usually fill a bucket to soak clothing in a way that may drown any "baby barleys" before they can become malt.

If you could do the sprouting in a seperate aparatus though, the dry cycle could make a good kiln with the proper temp settings.

Either way, I'd love to see the results of any experiments. Should be fun.

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Old 12-10-2010, 01:23 AM   #8
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Are you planning on doing this because you want to try malting your own?

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Old 12-10-2010, 04:28 AM   #9
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All the home malting I've done was done with the grain completely soaked and submerged. The reason we're trying to figure out an easier way to malt is because there aren't any commercially available malted gluten free grains.

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Old 12-10-2010, 03:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravenshead View Post
I'm not so sure about the wet-side but the dry-side may work. I would think that the wash cycle even after a controller hack would be too wet for sprouting. Spouting plants is usually performed by spraying small amounts of water to mist the seeds. Washers usually fill a bucket to soak clothing in a way that may drown any "baby barleys" before they can become malt.
I was thinking that a front-load washer should allow for making a system similar to this:
http://www.trash.net/~stmoser/beerbrewing_main.en.html

You could give it a good soak for 24 hours, then do a rinse and drain every few hours afterwards. The advantage of using a front loader is that if I flop the grain around every now and then it should allow for decent aeration and prevent hot-spots in the malt.
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