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Old 03-16-2008, 08:28 PM   #1
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Default Malting Issues

I am currently malting some Sorghum and Millet for the African Beer I posted about on this thread a while back. I have been using the malting instructions found at So far, I have soaked it for two 6 hour stints, and it's starting to have a bit of a rotten smell to it. Is this normal? If not, is there anything I can do about it? Am I screwed?

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Old 03-16-2008, 09:27 PM   #2
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What you are doing is not easy and unless the website you speak of has all the information it will be very hard to get it right. Do they respond to email on the subject? There may be someone on this board who has done this but I sure don't know the answers to your questions but would be interested in what you learn in the future about this.

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Warning on the website you listed:

Health Warning - Sorghum when germinating and growing makes a hydrogen cyanide precursor in the seedling and roots. During mashing (or digestion) highly toxic prussic acid (hydrogen cyanide) is produced. The level of this toxic compound likely to be produced varies widely depending on variety. This is why its important to clean your malt well. You should remove rootlets and any acrospire growth, as this is where this chemical resides. Note that this warning can be found on page 731 in ¨Malts and Malting¨ by D.E. Briggs. I have also seen personally warnings about not eating sprouted sorghum as the sprouts are poisonous.
We have had our sorghum beer tested for cyanide levels, and less than 1mg/litre was detected. This is well below the allowable level. Our sorghum malt is machine cleaned, which removes some but not all of the root and acrospire. This and fermentation reduces the level of prussic acid to safe levels.

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Old 03-17-2008, 03:16 PM   #3
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If it smells rotten, I'd bet you've got some anaerobic fermentation going on. Seeds need O2 when germinating or they will die. I'd add an aquarium bubbler or better would be to use a wide shallow container and add only enough water to not quite cover the seeds. You just want to provide enough water for the seeds to imbibe with. Too much water and you run the danger of drowning the seeds. The seeds just need to be kept reasonably moist during this time.
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