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Old 02-29-2008, 05:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rurounikitsune
EvilTOJ, sounds like a good plan... I have been wanting to do this ever since I first tasted homebrew. I am a very old-fashioned type of guy. Old European ladies used to brew beer from scratch and sell it out of their houses - I should be able to do it too!
Yes they did but I don't think it actually resembled the type of beer we brew today. The malts would have been very inconsistent and the beer probably was infected so they drank it young before it would turn too sour. I brewed a batch of beer that tried to replicate an early 1800s beer by mixing pale, amber and brown malts. The idea was to replicate the inconsistent kilning that would have happened at that time. In addition you will probably have to deal with undermodified grains and your brewing process will have to adapt to accommodate them.
I think you can achieve your goal of brewing beer entirely from homegrown ingredients but you may not be able to produce a really good beer using these techniques.

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Old 02-29-2008, 06:36 PM   #12
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Craig,

To plant five acres of barley would require over 600 pounds of seed. Conlon two-row has only about 9-10000 seeds per lb and there are ideally one and a quarter million plants in an acre.

But after some thought, discussion and reading, I think I will put the acreage into something else this year and plant four hundred square feet of barley. This will give me enough to practice and experiment on so if I fail completely or find that the cost is far too high I won't have tons of barley sitting around. It will also give me an idea of the yield I can hope to expect. You may be right in that several acres of barley would be too much to try to use in 200 gallons of brew. Even the high gravity stuff I'm looking at. Though I bet I could break even selling chem-free two-row to ambitious would-be maltsters...

You're probably right that I won't have a very consistent brew. But that's going to be part of the charm! Unless it tastes awful! Then it won't be charming at all!

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Old 02-29-2008, 07:05 PM   #13
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you could also look at using the space you have to plant a bunch of hops and try turning a profit off of those so that you can buy the kiln that you would like and any other epuipment you need for malting.

just my thoughts

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Old 02-29-2008, 07:49 PM   #14
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Justbrewit, that's actually something I hadn't considered. There may be a market for fresh hops for aroma and flavor. I wouldn't be able to sell them for bittering to anyone who wanted to follow a strict recipe, because you need some chemistry know-how to figure out the AA%. SWMBO could do it with a nice lab but it's really a lot of trouble to be able to mark the AA%. But I could grow some aromatic hops, more than I could use, and sell them to homebrewers "as is" for aroma and flavor. They'd be very fresh. Nice idea...

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Old 02-29-2008, 09:43 PM   #15
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I'm shure at this point you know more about malting than I do, I can only add, Keep It simple. As others have said, start by making a base malt, make some beer with it. I wouldent worry about doppelbock or any other style untill after that...

I would assume that you are brewing AG now, right? If not start brewing now so you are familiar with the process & know if your malt is acting "right"

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Old 03-01-2008, 10:14 AM   #16
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Here's some info on home malting I found on usenet from Dan Listermann.

************************************************** ****

I have done it quite a few times, but you should only try it for the joy of doing it. You are not going to save money and putting more effort into something does not guarantee that it will be better.

First the biggest problem is finding malting barley. We sell it for $0.60 a pound and we only have about 20 pounds in stock.

I use a 10 gallon cooler with a Phalse bottom in it. This makes draining it easy. You have to wash the grain by running water through it and skimming off the junk until it runs clear. The grain should steep for at least 48 hours and the water will have to be changed. Some drain the water and allow the grain air exposure for 8 hours before refilling. I just hook up the shop air to the bottom and bubble air through the grain. If you don't do this, anaerobic bacteria will take hold and it will smell bad enough to make you puke.

After 48 hours I pile the grain, now know as a "piece" ( don't ask me why) on a 24"x48" screen box with a thermometer stuck in it. After a day or so the thermometer will show a rise in temperature and you will notice the grain "chitting" in that the rootlets will start to emerge. I then spread the piece out to a thickness of about 2 to 3". You must mix the piece at least once a day or the rootlets will tangle into a malt brick. After a few days the rootlets will have grown to about 1.5" long and if you split the corns with a razor, you will see that the acrospire ( beginnings of a leaf) will have grown about 2/3 to 3/4 along the length of the corn. The malt is now known as "green malt" and it is time to dry the piece.

I set the screen box on top of two box fans and enclose the rest of the area under the box with cardboard so that the fans will suck air down through the malt. This can take a few days to dry to the point where it is difficult to crush the corns with your fingers. I never did work out a decent kilning method. It is very sensitive to excessive temperatures that will destroy the enzymes. My malt is what is called "wind malt." It was used to make a lot of Belgian beers.

I used SWMBOs dryer to knock off the "clums" or rootlets when she was at her mothers. A jean pant leg makes a very durable bag.

There was nothing magical about the beers I brewed with my malt.

I have made crystal malt in the microwave. I put green malt into a mason jar with a saucer on top and set the microwave to its lowest setting for 35 minutes. It made really cool huge amber crystals.

************************************************** ****


This sounds completely doable. Sure it's labor intensive, but then again, so is all-grain brewing.

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Old 03-01-2008, 01:12 PM   #17
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It's way too complicated! Don't even try it.. The maltsters of old had PHDs. Way to complicated. Of course with that kind of attitude nobody would be home brewing today..? Give it a shot. Live your dreams and have fun.

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Old 03-01-2008, 02:12 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rurounikitsune
Craig,

To plant five acres of barley would require over 600 pounds of seed. Conlon two-row has only about 9-10000 seeds per lb and there are ideally one and a quarter million plants in an acre.

But after some thought, discussion and reading, I think I will put the acreage into something else this year and plant four hundred square feet of barley. This will give me enough to practice and experiment on so if I fail completely or find that the cost is far too high I won't have tons of barley sitting around. It will also give me an idea of the yield I can hope to expect. You may be right in that several acres of barley would be too much to try to use in 200 gallons of brew. Even the high gravity stuff I'm looking at. Though I bet I could break even selling chem-free two-row to ambitious would-be maltsters...

You're probably right that I won't have a very consistent brew. But that's going to be part of the charm! Unless it tastes awful! Then it won't be charming at all!
You are correct. I mis-estimated the amount of seed required to plant that much barley. However have you considered the expected crop from that much barley. I think you can expect up to 1.5 tons per acre or 7.5 tons. Even making some really big beers you would need less than 800 pounds to produce the legal limit of 200 gal. What are you going to do with the other 7 tons?
A few hundred square feet makes alot more sense until you get more experience.

As a cash crop using mostly manual labor, vegetables or fruits usually produce a better return than commodity items like barley that is much more efficiently harvested with large equipment. I would keep you barley growing to a hobby level of less than 1/2 acre unless you want to invest in the equipment.

Definitely report on your results next fall when the first crop comes in. I am interested though I will not be following your steps.

Craig
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Old 03-01-2008, 03:50 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rurounikitsune
Craig,

To plant five acres of barley would require over 600 pounds of seed. Conlon two-row has only about 9-10000 seeds per lb and there are ideally one and a quarter million plants in an acre.

But after some thought, discussion and reading, I think I will put the acreage into something else this year and plant four hundred square feet of barley. This will give me enough to practice and experiment on so if I fail completely or find that the cost is far too high I won't have tons of barley sitting around. It will also give me an idea of the yield I can hope to expect. You may be right in that several acres of barley would be too much to try to use in 200 gallons of brew. Even the high gravity stuff I'm looking at. Though I bet I could break even selling chem-free two-row to ambitious would-be maltsters...

You're probably right that I won't have a very consistent brew. But that's going to be part of the charm! Unless it tastes awful! Then it won't be charming at all!

600 lbs for 5 acres? Putting it on thick I see. Do you have irrigation?

Not to be a party pooper, but may I ask how you plan on harvesting 400 square feet? That much won't even fill the header on a combine.

Do you live anywhere near Montana. I'll get you all the barley you could ever want.
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Old 03-01-2008, 06:02 PM   #20
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Fifelee, I will be harvesting 400 sq ft the old fashioned way. Sickle and threshing floor. It won't be too hard for that small amount. It will just be one small piece of our 10,000 sq ft garden. And I live in lower Michigan... If you have access to two-row malting barley seed, I would buy it through the mail in a heartbeat.

Craig, you're right about too much barley coming from five acres. I thought about becoming a bona fide gov't licensed microbrewer. All natural bottle conditioned microbrewed fine aged beer "from dirt to bottle" in small batches on one piece of land - there must be a market for that kind of thing. But you're right that grains are not feasible to make money on in a small-scale operation unless I have a real market for a rare commodity. Hopefully my yield will be high enough that I won't have to put too much land into the barley growing operation.

Wort*hog, SWMBO has a Master's... I figure it's close enough!

EvilTOJ, that's good info! I hadn't heard of "wind malt." I will probably end up trying that technique first and seeing how the brew turns out. I'm not necessarily looking for special amazing beer... just MY beer from start to finish. And the barley in the dryer tied up in jeans... I can definitely try that!

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