Happiness is: Home malting

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During my soak/air rest phases I didn't really stir it around to much. Had a bucket with holes drilled inside a bottling bucket that I would fill for two hours then leave drained for 8-10 hrs. Wondering if the grains at the bottom maybe suffocated without being stirred enough.
Mate, if it helps in any way, I was doing pattern of 8 hours soaking in water followed by 8 hours of rest, and repeated this two times. Never during that time I was doing any stirring.
Almost all of the seeds germinated, and they were all at least 12months old seeds.

Even if I don't really have much experience about malting barley, I would theorize that if there was anything to blame in your case... it would be the quality of the seeds themselves.
Maybe finding another source of barley would be the best thing to do in your case. I got mine directly from a farmer, straight after the harvest so no pesticides for storing (and the guy said they do spray them before storage).
Yeah I just bought it from an animal feed store and they had to order it from somewhere else so no idea on the quality, age, etc. I'll try the eight hour series next time see if that helps. Also need to build a bigger dehydrator as fans/oven/sun didn't really dry it quick enough and the first batch went rotten. Need one of those for drying hops anyway. Appreciate the feedback I'll post back with results at some point
Subscribed..incredible post..lot of info for my DIY drum malting automated equipment and barley growth project here in Italy
Just few pics..building details post will follow


Sent from my Nexus 7 using Home Brew mobile app





Subscribed..incredible post..lot of info for my DIY drum malting automated equipment and barley growth project here in Italy
Just few pics..building details post will follow


Sent from my Nexus 7 using Home Brew mobile app

This looks great! How's it coming along?
The project unlucky has been stopped for personal issue
Hope In the future I come come back an complete the development


Today I dug four holes in my yard, mixed the dirt from them, and took a soil sample from it. The sample was dropped off at a lab for analysis, and those results will help me amend the soil and prepare it for barley.

I've been inspired by this thread, and have embarked on my own barley growing/malting adventure. I've ordered a two-row winter malting barley from the University of Idaho, I'll plant 200 square feet of it in the yard, and I'll take a few cracks at malting the left overs. Next year I'll harvest the garden and hopefully have malting working well by then.

By the end of the week I plan to have the barley in the ground, and I'll start my first try at malting some of the left over barley. Wish me luck!

(Sorry if this is necromancy, I didn't find any more recent threads this extensive and informative.)
A friend of mine is from Uganda. We brewed a porter together a few weeks ago and got talking about homebrew in his country. It starts with growing and harvesting millet. Then burying the grains with some water to germinate them. Then toasting them on a barbecue to complete the malting. He said the women managed the malting process, not the men. All sounded very interesting.

As much as I love all grain brewing there is a lot of work that happens to get the grain malted. So kudos to you wanting to do some proper "from scratch" brewing.
"Keep malting" seems to be the motto for this thread, and that struck me as commendably encouraging in the face of all the forums and blog posts which point out how hard home-malting is. That kind of determination and optimism in the face of challenges really stayed with me as I was reading this thread.

I feel like I've gained a lot of information to prepare me to grow, malt, and brew barley. I've been over countless threads, I've read scientific journal articles, I've consulted with professors, and I've found friends who can help me. I bet my first batch still turns out crummy, but I'm determined to get this right eventually.

I have a bar in my house, and a big yard, and live in an excellent area for agriculture (South-east Washington state). I've always wanted to be able to serve guests a fully home-made beverage, and this is how I'm tackling that goal. I'm excited to share my progress and get any help I can!
More progress today. Here is a picture of my back yard:

You can almost see the outline of the area that I attacked with the sod cutter. Yesterday I went out with the shovel to finish the job and pull up the cut sod:

When it was all done it looked like this:

That is 200 square feet of dirt, which will need about 1/3 pound of barley to seed. If my yeild comes out good, I should be able to get 20-35 pounds of barleycorn out next summer.

I'm now waiting for the lab results to get back. Once I have those I can add any ammendments to the soil, till it up to mix it, and bury the seeds. I should have the results in today, and the barely by the end of the week. I'll post when there's news.
Do you know if your neighbors treat their lawns with any sort of pesticide/herbicide that could affect your barley? Looks like you might want a small buffer of space or another plant back there...
Good question, Don. He uses weed and feed frequently, so I'll have to ask home to watch out when he applies it. We are planning on building a fence soon, so it will only be a temporary problem.

My barley came today! 25 pounds of winter malting barley from the breeding program at University of Idaho, specially tailored for our climate.

I didn't get the test results, though, so I'll have to wait until the weekend to plant, since my next few nights are busy. I can't wait!
I got the soil test back on Thursday, and calculated that I needed to add about 1/3 lb of phosphorous, 1/10 lbs of both nitrogen and potassium in my 200 square foot patch.

I found an organic fertilizer that had the ratios of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, and bought two bags.
I rented a tiller, and tilled up the soil after I applied the first bag of fertilizer. This took about a minute, but I still had to rent the thing for 2 hours.

I calculated I needed 1/3 pound of barley, pictured here. But I ended up using about 1.5x that amount. Barley has an excellent ability to "tiller", or send off shoot to fill I space around them if under-seeded. However, I'm a little concerned that the late planting and planting depth will thin out the viable seeds.

After sowing the seeds and raking the dirt around, I could see a number (~1/3) of the seeds at ground level. They are supposed to be 1" underground, so I spent about 40 mins adding handfuls of dirt on top of the hundreds of seed that were exposed.
Here is the final product:

Almost all summer I've been dreaming about having barley planted in the ground, and now I've finally got it in place. All I have to do now is wait, add nitrate in the spring, and pull some weeds.

I have about 24 pounds of barley left over, which I'll use to practice malting 12 lbs batches.
Aaaaaaand I've got barley coming up!

I'm so excited! This is day 5, when emergence is expected based on the charts resulting from a google image search for "winter barley growth". There aren't very many of them yet, maybe a fifth of the 25 per square foot, so I'll plant some more by hand on Sunday if it still looks shoddy. I have 24 pounds left.

I wanted to talk a little more about my fertilizing regiem, in case anyone else tries this. I contacted the University of Idaho and got some fact sheets from them, but this website has good info: https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/plants/f...ld-crops/barley/planting-nutrition-harvesting

Basically, you want around 70 pounds per acre of P2O5 (16 ppm), 100-180 pounds per acre of nitrogen from nitrate or ammonium or urea, and potassium should be like 250 ppm, which is around 120 pounds per acre for potassium. The nitrogen is complicated, since your target levels are proportional to your expected yeild, but 1.2-2 pounds per acre per bushel were the estimates I ran into. To further complicate matters, too much nitrate will make the barely have too much protein and be low quality, while too little will hurt yeild. I assumed I could get between 100-150 bushels per acre based on the literature on the Endevour barley I was planting, and assuming I'd be watering it and fertilizing it proper.

This was useful to me in coming up with the 100-180 pounds per N per acre:

I have a 200 square foot patch, so all of my targets were multiplied by (200/43,000), to get the amounts for my 200 square feet. You can see above the results from my soil test. It gave me 7 pound N from nitrate, 3 pounds from ammonium (another form of nitrogen), and 20 pounds for existing organic matter (grass roots) that could decompose and give up nitrogen. This added up to 30 pound already in the ground, and is need to add another 70-150 pounds per acre, or between 0.3 and 0.7 pound.

Advise from the literature was to add only 20 pounds with the seed, and the rest in spring. I found a fertilizer that was mostly phosphorus and part N, and added about 0.2 pounds N and twice that amount of phosphorous (which should be planted with the seed), plus some potassium. Now in spring I'll add about another 0.4 pounds of nitrogen and call it good.

I hope a) I did all these units right, and b) this is useful to someone.
Thanks, Passed! Colo is definitely a big reason that I'm even trying this. There are so many naysayers, and this thread he started is brimming with solutions and encouragement.

I'm going out of town this weekend, to Leavenworth's Oktoberfest. When I get back I'm going to buy an air stone and a 5 gallon bucket and start my first attempt at malting.
It's time to start malting!

I had a look at the food dehydrator that I borrowed, and I could only fit about 2 pounds of barley on each of the 4 trays it comes with. That means that 8 pounds per malting batch would be pushing what I could dry in one go, so I decided to start with a 6 pound batch to malt.

I wanted to know how much the seeds weighed, since the change in water content (and thus weight) of the kernels is an important indicator at several steps of the malting process. I counted out 400 barleycorns and found they weighed 18 grams. Now if I want to know my water weight I can just count out a number of kernels and weigh them, if the whole batch is too unwieldy.

Next I got my two Home Depot buckets, one of which I bough specially for this purpose last night, and cleaned them out good. I used a bleach solution on the old bucket that's been caked in mud after scrubbing it out well. I don't know if that's important, but after rinsing it half a dozen times I figured it couldn't hurt.

I used a drill to put about 20 holes in the bottom of the new one, and set it in the intact one. I can now easily drain the barley between soaks.

Finally, I weighed out 6 pounds of my Endeavour barley, added it to the buckets, covered it in water, threw in some ice cubes, and added a air stone:

The air stone was $20 and it to help the barley seeds not run out of oxygen and drown. I'll be leaving the seeds in the water for around 8 hours today, so I can't have them run out of oxygen.

The temperature of the water was 70 F when I got it from the sink, and the ice cubes took it down to around 62 F. The room (my bar) is 63 F this morning, and stays in the 60's. I've read where 55 F is the temperature you're aiming for, but I've heard of folks getting by at closer to room temp.

I'll let this soak and breath for 8 hour steps until the barely has gained 35% mass, bringing it up to 39-45% moisture, changing the water each time. Then it will be time to set the barley in mats to germinate.
Besides the barley I'' malting, I did some work on the barley I'm growing. Yesterday I noticed that there were bare spots in my barley patch, so I went out and filled it in a bit. I used a screw driver to put holes in the grown, set a seed in each, and covered them up again snugly. I put down maybe 100 more seeds, and now the barley should be pretty even in the patch.

It's getting late in the season to be planting anything, but I have plenty of seeds to spare, and it didn't take long. This October (2016) is supposed to be very mild for Eastern Washington, so the new seeds should have a month or more before a heavy frost makes them go dormant.

The seeds that I planted last week are coming up quite well, where they've taken. They are over an inch tall and looking green and healthy.
Paps, I'm not sure. The plants get about three feet tall, and you get around 10-15 pounds of barley per 100 square feet. Could you make hydroponics that large?
I let the barley soak for 8 hours yesterday, then drained it and let it sit for about 4 more. I replaced the water and started a second soak, with more ice this time and started at ~65 F. The bar room was 70 F, which is a good 5 degrees more than it's been this past month despite cooler weather and the heat never kicking on. Not sure what that's about.

After five hours in the second soak, I woke up in the middle of the night and decided to drain the barley. I was anxious that the water was too warm to hold oxygen and the barley would drown. It sat draining for another 4 hours until morning. At that point it was 70 F in the barley, despite the room being 68 F. Was the barley heating up?

Here is the bucket 'o barley after the two soaks and drains:

I could see small white nubs that looked like proto-rootlets. That and the heat encouraged me to think the barley seeds were still alive. Now to check the water weight.

Barley should be ~45% water after soaking. It starts with ~8% water weight (even though it feels bone dry), so it should pick up ~35% mass during soaking. I weight the entire bucket plus damp barley and subtracted the weight of the intact Home Depot bucket. The calculated barley weight was 8.75 pounds, for a gain of 45% mass. That's more than I expected, but there was water still in the bucket, so the true value might be closer to the 35%.

To double check my weights, I counted out 400 kernals like yesterday and weighed them. The surfaces of these kernals dried out a little in my hand and the air as I counted them out, as that took ~15 minutes. They were 26 grams, for a gain of 44% mass from yesterday. Given that my scale could be off my a gram for each measurement, the possible range is (26+1)/(18-1) = 59% gain to (26-1)/(18+1) = 32%, with a median of 45% gain. Looks like the barley gained a large amount of water.

Regardless of the weight gain being more than I expected, it is time to let the germination process being. I laid the damp barley in four baking trays, each about an inch deep:

I gave them a sprits of water before heading out to work. The bar room is 70 F again this morning, so I adjusted the house temp down a few degrees. I'll be home after work in 8 hours to stir them and spray them again.
I'm very pleased at how things are going, but the truth is I'll be a little nervous until I put the barley in the dehydrator to dry. I'm worried that the temp in the bar is too high, or that the seeds will dry out, or get moldy.

I'm pretty sure I'm being a worry-wart, since I've read of folks germinating just fine at 70 F, and I've set the house to cool off a bit, and I've only ever heard of like one guy having mold. Still, dealing with growing things is tougher for me than dry barley that won't grow roots and run off on you.
Did you wait for the acrospire to develop during the malting? I don't know much about this, but I thought that the max enzymes (and resulting diastatic pwr) are developed when the acrospire appears. Then the acrospire falls off during drying.
Paps, I'm not sure. The plants get about three feet tall, and you get around 10-15 pounds of barley per 100 square feet. Could you make hydroponics that large?

Was that 2-row or 6-row barley? I'd think 6-row would give you a lot more (3x?) barley per sq ft. Do you have pics of the barley mature and still on the plant?
Passed, the barley is still on day 1 of germinating after soaking yesterday, so I'll have to wait 1-5 more days until the acrospire has gotten to be 75-100% of the length of the grain. It's maybe 25% right now. So you're right that they need more time to grow.

Little roots bud out of the seeds, while the acrospire is growing inside. These roots will get to be around 2-3 times the length of the seed (or something like that) and they will fall off after drying. While it's easy to see signs of life by observing growing roots, the critical indicator is the acrospire.

My barley is a 2-row called Endevour: https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/jpr/abstracts/3/2/124?access=0&view=pdf
While some loose trends exist, the two or six row character of barley says nothing for sure about the yield or malting quality of barley. My selection of Endevour was at the recommendation of the professors at U of I, and was based off my climate. Their breeding of a winter barley was to take advantage of our milder winters, and avoid summer die-off. The fact that it is two-row is based off what stock they were starting from for convenience. The yield should out-perform other malting barley available.

My barley was getting on the dry side when I checked on it around mid-day. The temp read 71 F. I sprayed it with water, stirred it up, and rearranged the trays (I was as much consistency grain-to-grain as possible). Then I decided to lower the temp and raise the humidity by placing trays of ice cubes above the barley dishes. I added a blanket over the edge of the couch and the temp is now reading 66 F. I think I'll keep this mothod up, as it seems do be working well after several hours.
While some loose trends exist, the two or six row character of barley says nothing for sure about the yield or malting quality of barley.
I thought it was pretty widely agreed that 2-row made better quality malting barley, 6-row would only be preferred if you needed the diastatic power to convert adjuncts...
Here's a Beersmith podcast on the subject of barley genetics: http://beersmith.com/blog/2015/10/2...tics-with-dr-pat-hayes-beersmith-podcast-114/
These are pretty decent podcasts.
The barley that Europeans used of malting has mainly been two-row. It's a bit like the color of a cow: a black cow in an American ranch is likely to be a beef cow, while a black-and-white cow is likely dairy. However, there isn't anything intrinsic about the color than affects the cows' properties.

Here is the 24-hour mark of germination. The bar temp was 68 F last night, a bit lower after I unplugged one of the two mini fridges. The seeds were 69, so not a lot of heat generated. After being unsupervised for 9 hours while I slept they were not dry, but the grains in the bulk of the trays have longer rootlets than those at the surface.
At the 48 hour mark the acrospire length is 60%, plus or minus less than 10%. The rootlets are double or triple the kernal length. The hulls are soft and yield with the kernal without cracking hardley. The rootlets are getting quite entangled, almost forming mats. The volume of the seeds have doubled, due to the volume of the rootlets.

That last point is important. I gave myself enough room in the trays to be able to stir the seeds without spilling, but now I have to be careful while I stir because the seeds take up so much more space, and I didn't account for that kind of growth originally.
The barley that Europeans used of malting has mainly been two-row. It's a bit like the color of a cow: a black cow in an American ranch is likely to be a beef cow, while a black-and-white cow is likely dairy. However, there isn't anything intrinsic about the color than affects the cows' properties.
I think these are very distinct aspects of genetics. Animals of different hair color/patterns that mate usually produce some sort of blend of features. If you grow 2-row next to 6-row will 50% of the seeds be 4-row? The number of seeds a single stalk has to produce likely influences the the chemical make-up of those seeds...
You'd think, but apparently it's an independent gene, according to the guy in that podcast.

In other news, I checked the barley late last night and was surprised to find that nearly 1/5 of the kernals had acrospires bursting from the hulls, and the grain temperature was 79F. The germination was complete and the grain was ready to dry. I had checked it only four hours before and only saw one burst acrospire, with the rest at 70-90% of the kernal length. Those few hours were apparently enough to allow a lot of development.

I fired up the dehydrator to 95 F, but only 3/4 of the grain fit. The rest I spread out on the glass dishes and put in the top oven section. Leaving the door open, I heated the top section to ~150 and then turned it off. The bottom section I left on at 350 F for about 15 mins, and left the light on. The upper section with the grain got to 104 F and seemed to hold there. Having to be up at 3:30 am in the morning, I went to bed.

In the morning I found the oven, powered up with only the light and with the door opened slightly, holding at 89 F. The top two dishes of the dehydrator were dry, so I put the slightly moist grain from the oven into the bottom racks of the dehydrator and put what had been to bottom racks into the top of the dehydrator. Germination seemed to have stopped, even in the grains that were still a little damp over night.

In a few hours I'll be back home and will rearrange everything again. The seeds that did dry last night have lost most of their rootlets, so when the rest have dried I think they will all fit in the dehydrator and I'll take it up to 130 F for 12 hours to get to 4% moisture. Then it will be time to roast some malt!
Barley in the dehydrator at the 24 hour mark:

The dehydrator and oven (powered by light) containing all the barley:

It's all been at 95 F (the oven), 104 F (top rack of dehydrator), or 100 (bottom of dehydrator) for a day now. The rootlets are small and brittle. I'll need to build mesh screens for the dehydrator and then separate out the rootlets, then add all the now compact barley into the dehydrator and start cranking up the temperature.

Back in the bar, my humidity reader is giving me a background level of 60%. The highest I saw when germinating was 80% right at the end when I was spraying a lot and had two trays of melted ice in there. As far as spraying, I was giving the six pounds about four spray bottles (4 x 350 g) of water per day. Also, I did some arithmetic and based off 27,000 g barley (6 pounds) with 400 grains weighing 18 g, I'm going through 60,000 barley seeds in this batch.
The first six-pound batch of barley is dried, so the second batch has begun!

This morning I finally cleaned out the two buckets with bleach and lots of rinsing, re-weighed the inner container, and added six pounds of raw barley to it. I rinsed it with water, then filled the bucket with water from the hose outside (which must have been around 45 F), added the aerator, and left it in the bar room. My oven thermometer has picked up a ~10 degree F bias, so when it read 75 F in the bucket, I assume it's something like 65 F. I'll let it sit the 8 hours I'm at work and school, and then let it drain for a few hours tonight.
My second batch of six pounds is dry! It germinated for three days at about 65 F in 60% humidity, being spayed with water and mixed about four times a day.

I'm posting just to let you (CAD) know your posts are being appreciated. You're a hero in my book. I'm really loving it. I wish I had a nice spot to grow barley like that.

Have you considered ways to step up the size of the batches you are malting / drying?
It's nice of you to say, Passed. I've received so much inspiration and information from this thread, I'm happy to have something to contribute now.

As to scaling up my malting, the only problem there is drying. My dehydrator only has room for about 4-5 pounds of expanded barley (with the rootlets, about double the volume or bare kernels). I've read about pillowcases in the drier working well, but I haven't checked the temperatures on that yet. If I really wanted to scale up, I'd fill a pillow case with malted barley, run it through the drier for a while, and see how warm it gets. I'd use malted barley as an analogue for green barley, since green barley needs to be dried gradually and temperatures up towards 170 F might fry the enzymes, while malted barley needs to go higher than that before you start loosing power.

It's probably worth looking into. The two giant tupperwares you see in the above photo are the first six pounds with the roots removed. The oven is shown holding two racks of drying barley, which I rotate through the oven and the dehydrator. The dehydrator works really well, so I rotate the barley through it about every 8 hours as I dry, leaving whatever doesn't fit in the oven with the light on.

My drying regimen has been 100 F for about eight hours, then 125 F for another few, rotating the trays around whenever I think of it. When it's good and dry you can tell because the roots fall right off with the slightest agitation.

Drying barley smells so good, too!
By the way, here is my barley patch:

It hasn't seemed to have grown much in the last few weeks. We had the lightest of frosts a few weeks back (which I was assured it would not be bothered by), and temperatures haven't fallen below 45 F since then. It seems healthy now. I'm not really sure what to expect.
On Thursday I'm going to roast my barley.

This means that I'm going to need to finalize my recipe, so I've been trying to do that today. I want a chocolate-y stout with a smooth, viscous mouthfeel. I also want to keep it relatively simple,since this is my first time.

To that end, I'm going to roast up nine pounds (64%) of a pale malt (but go a little on the brown side, maybe 180 F), a pound and a half (10%) of a Munich malt, and a pound and a half (10%) of a chocolate malt. I'll combine that with a pound (7%) each of oats and flaked barley, both toasted lightly.

I know that this might be a little heavy on the chocolate, so I might demote half a pound of that down to the pale malt.

I'll probably use WLP007 yeast, which seems popular for stouts, and whatever bittering hops the store recommends. I'm going to use the brew-in-a-bag method, since it seems simple.

I hope the flaked barley gives it some good flavor and a solid head, and the oats add thickness. I want a pretty solid final gravity, so I won't mash too low. The good news is that being a stout, I can pretend to have planned whatever ends up happening.

Any advice on this?
The dark roast will indeed have zero enzymatic power, but it only makes up 10% of the bill. There should be more than enough power in all the pale malt to convert the sugars of the dark malt, oats, and flaked barley. I do have to make sure not to roast the pale malt too much, but I want to give it a little flavor if I can.