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Old 12-18-2011, 01:18 PM   #31
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Awesome, I love to see others that like to do it ALL from scratch. I will be following this thread although I wish there were a better section to place it in. I have stated before and suggested that there be a seperate malt or malting section on HBT but it has yet to happen. I mean if it weren't for malt alot of this other stuff would be mute (Or at least alot different).

I would question your earlier statement that malting is easier than brewing however, I suppose it depends on what quality of malt you want to end up with.

Your planting method looks different (more tedious) than I've seen for any grain type product but to each his own, we use what we have right. I would have just broadcast with the same spreader you used for fertilizer or simply hand broadcast for that small of plot.

Good luck and keep us posted, the pictures are always helpful.

Brew on my friend

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Old 12-18-2011, 10:10 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by COLObrewer View Post
I have stated before and suggested that there be a seperate malt or malting section on HBT but it has yet to happen.
I also found it a little surprising! I guess fewer people grow barley or malt at home right now. Hopefully more people get into it in the future.

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I would question your earlier statement that malting is easier than brewing however, I suppose it depends on what quality of malt you want to end up with.
It's not hard to make very high quality malt at home.

Yes, it took some time and several batches of crappy malt, but I worked out the following procedure: soak grains to > 40% moisture, measured by weighing, then drain well using a grain bag. Then pour 4-5" deep into plastic bins in a chest freezer set to 51F. This keeps the malt close to 16C where it should be. Mix daily and spray with water if grains begin to dry before malting is finished. You can also just spread out a tarp on your basement floor and spray with water every day. Even if the malt goes over 16C, it will still make decent quality. Quality drops as temperatures climb over 25C, because the malting becomes uneven, and if moisture precipitates on the grains, you can get fungal growth.

Do a low temperature rest (40, 50, or 60C, depending on the type of malt) before kilning using your mash tun and a fermwrap heater + temperature controller. Commercial Pilsner malt is dried at 40C, Munich malt undergoes a wet 50C rest before kilining, and crystal malts undergo a wet 60-70C rest. It will be hard to get up to 70C using the fermwrap, so I just hit 60C and do a long rest. You don't need to dry with heat like the pros do, since you're not really concerned with the throughput of your malthouse. Just do the low temp rest for 3-4 hours, then dry with a box fan at room temp for 2-3 days.

For the kilning stage, I'm lucky that my gas oven can achieve the temps (80-120C) required. It might be difficult if I didn't have the right oven.

Remove rootlets after kilning by placing malt in a tied pillowcase and running in the dryer with no heat for 10 minutes. Pour malt in front of a fan outside to blow rootlets away.

I haven't noticed that the quality of the beer I make with my malt is any less than what I can make from commercial malt.

The big exception is roasted malts, which really require a roaster to get right. I would have to play around with a coffee roaster -- I only know that it's very hard to get a consistent result with aluminum foil and a propane burner!
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:21 PM   #33
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COLO,
I just read your thread about malting at home -- time to insert my foot in mouth! I see you know exactly what you're doing when it comes to malting, and I could probably learn a thing or two from you.

Anyway, for higher throughput, like the 50 lb you started with, I agree that malting is not easy. But it would not be easy to brew 40 gallons of beer in a single batch either. You'll need lots of equipment.

I have only had an easy time with smaller batches of 15 lbs of malt. Enough for a single 5 gal batch of beer.

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Old 12-18-2011, 10:46 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by COLObrewer View Post
Your planting method looks different (more tedious) than I've seen for any grain type product but to each his own, we use what we have right. I would have just broadcast with the same spreader you used for fertilizer or simply hand broadcast for that small of plot.

Good luck and keep us posted, the pictures are always helpful.

Brew on my friend
Thanks for the encouragement! Good to know I'm not the only crazy person trying to do it all at home!

A lot of people seem to have a problem with the rows. But making them didn't take much time or effort (one hour with a seeder), and they allow me to walk through the field to weed, fertilize, and do things I didn't even expect, like put up netting. You can still walk through a broadcast field, but you crush plants under your boots.

Maybe the question is more about why I would want to bother with increasing my yield in the first place? Well, that's because I don't have a big plot. If I had a big space, like a half acre or more, I could afford to broadcast and take a hit to weeds and predators. I'd still get plenty of grain.

But if you have a small space like I do, you really want to get the most out of it. It's essentially a large garden, and I've been trying to give it the attention a gardener would give their vegetable crop. With a small plot, I think you want to spend more time, not less, bothering with potentially tedious stuff like weeding.

But again, making the rows themselves took one hour with an Earthway seeder -- not too tedious.

COLO, did you ever make malt from the barley you planted in your thread? And did you ever make try making roasted malts at home?
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Old 12-18-2011, 11:07 PM   #35
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. . . . . . COLO, did you ever make malt from the barley you planted in your thread? And did you ever make try making roasted malts at home?
I only grew a couple of plants to determine variety so no I haven't malted anything I grew myself.

The roasting is on page 12 of the hapiness thread.

Keep on malting my friend
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Old 12-19-2011, 12:00 AM   #36
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Awesome! So it looks like you used a normal electric oven, but you placed it outside and and turned the malt frequently by hand. Is that right?

It sounds like the smoke is the biggest thing keeping me from doing this in my plain old oven.

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Old 12-19-2011, 01:25 PM   #37
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Awesome! So it looks like you used a normal electric oven, but you placed it outside and and turned the malt frequently by hand. Is that right?

It sounds like the smoke is the biggest thing keeping me from doing this in my plain old oven.
Correct on all accounts, it is an old oven that stays outside by the shed, works great. If I ever get my "all-in-one" malt rig set up I will be able to do the roasting in it as it slowly rotates.
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Old 12-20-2011, 06:43 PM   #38
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I don't think the predation is happening any more. Every plant I see that has been chomped has damage to the first and second leaves, but the second leaf is always longer.



In normal plant growth, the first leaf grows quickly, then slows down as the second leaf grows. So either the predators always eat the first leaf down further (unlikely), or all this chomping happened in the past.



If the predation were still occuring, I would expect to see some plants with both leaves eaten down to the same extent, and I don't. That's good news!



I still don't know what caused it, so I'll leave the netting up for now.



Most of the Conlon in the middle plot, which was seeded at 2x density and is in partial shade, is at the 2-3 leaf stage:



But in the lower plot, which has 1 x Conlon density and far more sunshine, some plants are farther along,



like this guy that has three leaves, a coleoptillar tiller, a leaf-1 tiller, and what may be the prophyll of a leaf-2 tiller.

Overall, the plants are taller than they were last week



but growth seems to be happening slowly. It is December after all, so you can expect growth to be slow. But how do you know if growth is slow because of the temps, or if there's another, more fixable cause?

There is a heuristic that farmers use to evaluate and predict the growth of crops called Growth Degree Days. GDD is just the time-integral of temperature, and not surprisingly, it has units of Degree*Day. It's usually expressed in Fahrenheit in the States, and it's calculated by taking the average of the high and low temperatures for a day, subtracting a baseline temp (usually 5.5C or 40F for barley), then summing up the adjusted mean for each day in a period.

For example, the GDD for barley yesterday in Palo Alto was (60F + 42F)/2 - 40F = 11, and for the past two days the GDD was 11 + (55F + 32F)/2 - 40 = 14.5

In practice, just use this calculator to make things easy.

All other things being equal, GDD is roughly proportional to the developmental progress of plants. So you can compare the progress of plants grown in different climates and at different times of year by checking how far along they are with respect to their GDD. If they're behind where they should be, this helps you identify water, disease, or nutrient stress.

I can compare my progress to Merit, another malting barley variety. Merit had 2 leaves at 177 GDD since emergence, and 3 leaves plus tillers at 277.5 GDD. I'm not really sure when my plants emerged since it happened over the Thanksgiving weekend, so I'll say it was Dec 1, the first day I saw them above ground. Then, I've had 168 GDD since emergence.

It has taken me 3 weeks for the slower Conlon plants in the middle plot to match the progress that Merit made in 9 days, but my GDD (168) is about the same as Merit's GDD (177) at the 2 leaf stage. The Conlon in the sunnier lower plot and the bere seem to be closer to the stage Merit achieved after 277 GDD.

So even though the plants are growing slowly, they're well on track given the cold temperatures we've had. At least it isn't frosting hard at night!

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Old 12-20-2011, 06:50 PM   #39
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Oops, it turns out that when calculating GDD, temperatures below the baseline do not count as negative GDD. Any temps below 40F are just set to 40F. In the example I gave, the GDD for the past 2 days should be 11 + (55F + 40F)/2 - 40F = 18.5

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Old 12-20-2011, 07:45 PM   #40
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That small damage shouldn't do much to decrease yeild with such a young plant. It appears to be insect damage. If it were eaten off completely, then you may have some problems.

Nothing against rows, but ceral grains really aren't grown that way. Think of barley as grass. If you had a yard with grass in rows, you would have tons of weeds inbetween them. By broadcasting or drilling the barley in high population, you could grow multiple times more in a very small plot. This also controls weeds by shading and discourages pest damage, but I admir your efforts. The seedlings look excellent.

P.S. if I could figure out how to post pictures on BN. I would have put it there. Good Farming!

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