At this point I’m going to assume you are familiar with the basic principles of brewing. You know what malt, hops and yeast are and have a basic understanding of fermentation. If not then take a look at the earlier categories such as “Brewing with Malt Extract and Hops” where these topics are covered.
In this section we will look into more detailed aspects of brewing, in particular how to process ingredients from their raw state into beer just as a commercial brewery would.
Malting From Barley to Malt
Fermentable sugars are required to make beer, and Barley is the most common choice to provide fermentable sugars and has been used for many hundreds of years. It has a number of attributes that make it ideal for brewing and one of those is the ease of which it can be processed (malted) then utilised by the brewer by mashing to create an ideal habitat for yeast to turn the sugars created during the mashing process into alcohol.
Barley is the seed of a grass. Of all the cereal grains Barley is one of the hardiest and can tolerate a fairly wide range of growing conditions. The kernels grow in rows along the head of the stem in either 2, 4 or 6 rows and you will often see this noted when you come to buy malt. Two row is primarily used in Europe whereas 6 rows of grains clearly yields more barley so is a lot more economical to grow.
The grains are harvested when they reach full ripeness and are stored until the moisture level drops from around 20% to below 14% when they become ready for malting.