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Old 10-07-2012, 08:05 PM   #1
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Default Malting barley - "animal feed" barley, useable?

Getting malt in my part of the world is a tad difficult, however, getting big sacks of barley leavings from the combine is not, especially if you promise the driver a liquid commission .

Thing is, this barley, though it appears to be two-row (no stalks to be found in the sack, so I can't QUITE be 100% sure), is the type that is intended for animal feed.

So I am guessing that would mean it is higher in protein, but apart from the potential for haze (not the end of the world), is that a problem in and of itself? Would this kind of barley also result in a poorer conversation/extraction?

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Old 10-07-2012, 08:48 PM   #2
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see this link
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/barley-malting-101395/

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Old 10-07-2012, 08:56 PM   #3
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Hmm, thanks, I think I had come across that thread, or at least the article that it quotes. There's no mention though of the issue of using animal feed barley, which is kind of my main question right now... I mean, there is a reason certain types of barley are grown for the brewing industry, right, but I wonder what kind of results can be gained from less-than-optimum barley like mine...
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:15 PM   #4
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There may be no difference between your animal feed and malting barley. Malting barley has to meet standards for plumpness and it ability to sprout. Try sprouting a bunch (100 or 200 seeds in a damp paper towel inside a plastic bar for about a week) and see what percentage of them sprout. If it's over 95% I'd try malting it. You probably will have to screen it to get the weed seeds out.

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Old 10-07-2012, 10:22 PM   #5
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subscribed to see what I can learn

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wait....what do you mean all the beer is gone!
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Old 10-07-2012, 11:04 PM   #6
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I've malted barley from feed stores without any problems. It may have more protein compared to the stuff grown for beer, but nothing too problematic. I usually use a protein rest with all my home malts anyways.

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Old 10-07-2012, 11:45 PM   #7
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...Malting barley has to meet standards for plumpness and it ability to sprout...
From my very limited knowledge, I thought this was affected by when the barley is harvested. And the effect was on it's moisture content: get it right and you can malt it effectively / get it wrong and you have animal feed.
That is what I took away from the Discoveries Channel's Megafactories program on the Guiness brewery.
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:30 AM   #8
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subscribed to see what I can learn
Just to point out you don't have to post to do that - there is a Subscribe option under Thread tools. Anyway, hopefully I can share something useful once I have done some experiments.

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There may be no difference between your animal feed and malting barley. Malting barley has to meet standards for plumpness and it ability to sprout. Try sprouting a bunch (100 or 200 seeds in a damp paper towel inside a plastic bar for about a week) and see what percentage of them sprout. If it's over 95% I'd try malting it. You probably will have to screen it to get the weed seeds out.
I guess you meant plastic bag..? Yeah, you're right, best way is to try. I have taken two cups of grain, washed as much chaff and stalks (found some stalks, yeah, think it's two-row) off as I could. You're right about the weed seeds, gah, there's a bit of what looks like goosegrass, but I'll worry about that later.

Think I will use the "soak for 8 hours, drain for 8 hours, soak again"-type method that gets recommended a lot.

If I get some serviceable malt at the end of it, I will try mashing it and see if I can get an idea of my efficiency. It's a small quantity but should still give me a rough idea if we're talking about 30% or 80%..!
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:34 AM   #9
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From my very limited knowledge, I thought this was affected by when the barley is harvested. And the effect was on it's moisture content: get it right and you can malt it effectively / get it wrong and you have animal feed.
That is what I took away from the Discoveries Channel's Megafactories program on the Guiness brewery.
Saw that program but must have missed that bit. Hmm, I didn't ask the guy who harvested it about that, hadn't heard of that. Not sure why moisture content would make a difference - I mean you are soaking it to get it sprouting anyway, aren't you..?
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:30 AM   #10
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When you harvest grains like barley or wheat it has to be drier than about 13% moisture to store. Lots of times it gets harvested too wet and the grain elevator operators have to dry it using heat which can destroy the sprouting ability making the grain only good for animal feed but most of the time it will be dry enough to store when harvested. That's why you do a germination test. If it got too hot from drying, you can't malt it.

Sometimes when I harvest, my grain is a bit too wet to store but I dry it by aeration without heat. If I can get it dry fast enough that it doesn't mold or heat up by bacterial action it will sprout just fine.

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