Malt conditioning

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Kaiser

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I have been asked to write an article about the malt conditioning that I oftentimes use to enhance the crush I get from my 2-roller mill. I put it on the Wike here.

Since I'm not getting dramatic results from it and it takes some additional effort, I cannot recommend this as a must in your brewing process. It's just an additional tool that you could try.

I'm not completely done with this article yet. I plan to take some more pictures when I brew again and want to write something about conditioning wheat malt.

Kai
 

WBC

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I do not think this is worth rusting your mill (steel rollers). If you have stainless rollers you could try it I guess.
 

WortMonger

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I have always wanted to damp crush my malt. I wouldn't dare with my crankandstein, I need to make a larger diameter roller mill. I think if you got it big enough you could smash the crap out of the grain and still maintain husk integrity. What would a, say 12 ", set of rollers do with a minimal spacing to the grain?
 

SuperiorBrew

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I might have to fire up Frankenstein & try that, I have never actually chushed with it, just plugged it in to make sure it worked. It needs a little clean up first, it has 6"x24" ss rollers. I got it with a bunch of stuff from a guy that no longer brews.
 

WortMonger

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Dang, that is scary looking isn't it? LOL, bet it can smash anything. Fire it up and see what happens, then take pictures and show us. LOL
 
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Kaiser

Kaiser

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WBC said:
I do not think this is worth rusting your mill (steel rollers). If you have stainless rollers you could try it I guess.
There is not enough moisture to cause rusting of your mill. I don't think mine has SS rollers and there no rust developing after about a year of conditioning malt before crushing it.

Kai
 

WortMonger

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Kaiser, do you use a smaller roller spacing when you condition your malt? I was wondering if you could maintain husk integrity better and could do so to get a better efficiency?
 

Dr Malt

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Unless you are having lautering problems and you have tried everything else to rectify the situation, I would not recommend "conditioning your malt" by adding water to raise the moisture. As you have said, adding water to the malt just before grinding makes a mess and the moisture is mostly on the surface of the kernel. I also can not see how this can be any good for your mill, one of your more expensive pieces of homebrew equipment.

When the maltster kilns base malt, they shoot for a finished moisture of 3.8 to 4.2% moisture from the kiln. The malt is then held in a bin for a period of time, often a month, for the moisture to equalize in the kernel. Being a bit hydroscopic, malt will pick up a little moisture from the air during most seasons (not the dead of winter when it is very cold and little moisture in the air) to end up at about 4.5 to 4.7% moisture. Unless you have your mill rollers set very narrow, this should give you a good grind with most hulls in good condition for lautering. As homebrewers, we are not trying to maximize our yield so forcing the gind to more of a flour for higher extraction is not necessary at the expense of the hull and runoff in the lauter.

If you feel the malt is too dry and powdery from you LHBS, let it sit out for about a week before you brew to let it pick up moisture from the air and equalize in the kernel.

Dr Malt:mug:
 

mrkeeg

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Dr. Malt... that might work in the pacific NW, but if I leave my malt out even overnight it dries out appreciably, doesn't hydrate!
 

rabeb25

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Well, I will bring this one back from the depths.. here are my results...

Excerpts from a few different posts..

Ok results from today's tests:

Let me just preface with I was a solid 83% (250 batches) with the stock gap of the barley crusher. Any tighter I would get mad grainbed compaction recirculating with my pump (HERMS system). Even at this crush I would have to keep the mashtun ball valve only open about a 1/4 turn. I am also a batch sparger. I looked into grain conditioning, not to increase efficiency, but to help with sticking, I brew a lot of wheat beers and rye beers (notoriously sticky)and would have to add rice hulls or I would literally not get a drip. I have been malt conditioning for about a year, but I never messed with gap, because all I wanted was flow. Recently (a few batches ago) I decided to start messing around with gap just for the heck of it. I brewed a beer with the gap set at .035 and netted about 95% efficiency with no hamper in flow (1/4 turn on ball valve) what so ever. I thought why not push it more..Today I brewed a beer with the gap set at .030 and netted about 98% efficiency, still without a hiccup in flow. Me being me, I wanted to push it even more. Mid way though the mash, I stirred everything back up and opened up the valve wide open, pumping about 5 gallons a minute(about the rate of a fully open garden hose)...guess what..IT NEVER COMPACTED! so I left it run wide open for the rest of the mash, mash out, and sparge. Now I am not really an efficiency nazi, but I found it pretty neat. The only down side so far that I can see is I ended up with a lot more "bits" of grain in the boiler even after a 60 minute recirculation and a solid 10 minute vourlauf (at 5gpm).


Bryan

Wayne is coming over to brew tomorrow, and I am setting my brewhouse efficiency at 96%!
Well Wayne came over and we brewed an amber cream ale. I figured efficiency at 96%, we conditioned the malt and went out to crush. Wayne actually confirmed my gap at being around .024 to .026 ( I was using the feeler gauges wrong). Well to make a long story short we hit 100% mash efficiency. We did a 10 gallon batch with 11.5lbs of grain! (10 2row, 1 c60, .5 carafaIII). We ended up with 13 gallons of wort at 1.041-42 (shooting for 12 gallons). We did some playing around in beersmith and found out that going from 75% to 100% is about 15 more gravity points from the same grain bill. Now as with my other batch of beer I ended up with a lot of grain bits in the boil kettle, even after the 60 minute recirculation, and a solid 20 minute vourlauf. I did have a slightly stuck sparge recirculation(quick stir and we were fine). All valves though were wide open again. We sampled the wort, and we did not pick up any off flavors, tannins, or anything. I am curious how these batches are going to taste..good, bad, or indifferent, since we are kind of pushing the envelope.

Wayne if you have anything to add, go for it.


Bryan
Well, I don't really follow a rule, I go more by feel. I spritz and mix the grain. Its kind of hard to explain, but I go for a moisture content of, grabbing a handful of grain and squeezing it, then dump it out. I look for some grain to stick to my hand, then i go just a little bit more. It's not THAT critical to get prefect in my opinion, just more of a ball park thing. I use room temperature water in a spray bottle (100% RO). I have done it overnight, and right before. I usually do it right before I start heating my strike water.. so it sits there conditioning for about~30 minutes.
Thread here
and here


PICTURES
Malt: Marris Otter
Barley Crusher motorized at 160RPM, crush set at .024-.026
Grain conditioned for about 10 minutes

Here is a Side By Side: (Left is Non-Conditioned, Right Conditioned)


Non-Conditioned Malt in Hand:


Non-Conditioned Close up:


Conditioned in Hand:


Conditioned Close up:


Hi-res pics here
 

chefmike

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How was the flavor on those beers, if you recall.

This technique is useful on the pasta roller mills, as the gap setting is preset in increments. Going to the one that is slightly too fine a crush and conditioning the malt gives excellent crush.
 

rabeb25

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I should also add this cream ale had an addition of brewers grade corn syrup in the kettle (to get to the pre-boil of 1.037, sg of 1.042), and the preboil reading from the mash was 1.029, verified with 3 refractometers and 2 hydrometers.
 

rabeb25

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How was the flavor on those beers, if you recall.

This technique is useful on the pasta roller mills, as the gap setting is preset in increments. Going to the one that is slightly too fine a crush and conditioning the malt gives excellent crush.
They are still fermenting. I am really anxious to try these though. Thats why we picked a light cream ale. Wort samples tasted great!
 

chefmike

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They are still fermenting.
Sorry... I thought this was referencing an old brew (the digging it up from the depths comment).

Do check back in and update this. I am curious.

Now back to brewing the first bavarian weiss of the year. :ban:
 

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