Friday, March 30, 2007

Making Crystal Malt at Home

OK, What the heck is Crystal Malt?

Crystal malt is 'green' or undried malt that has been stewed in water at just the right temperature and time to get the amalyse enzymes to activate and convert some of the malt's starches into sugar. This stewing or mashing is exactly what happens in the mash tun when we are making a wort on brew day. By holding the temperature steady between 65 and 70ºC the enzymes come alive and start to work on the starch. After about 40 minutes, the malt is removed from the water (wort?) and dried to crystalize the sugars. After drying, the malt may be roasted to impart a variety of colors and flavors.

I was fortunate enough to stumble across Beeston Malting Company's description of Crystal Malt and gleaned the following procedure:
  • Air dry @50ºC for 5 minutes

  • Stew between 65 and 75ºC for 40 minutes

  • Air dry @80ºC for 40 minutes

  • Cure in oven @135ºC for 2 hours

  • Optionally, roast as desired

Mini-mashing the green maltHomestyle Crystal Malt
This is my homemade procedure with notes.

A quick air drying is pretty simple; just get it in the sun for 5 minutes. For the mini-mash I put the green malt in a pyrex mixing bowl and placed it in a pot of water. The water acts as a temperature regulator and has thermal inertia; so the temperature doesn't fluctuate so much.

I then brought the mini-mash temperature up to 70ºC and maintained it by adding boiling water from the kettle as the mash cooled. After 40 minutes I decanted the liquid and put the malt back in the sun to dry. The liquid tasted pretty starchy at this point, but has a slightly sweet taste when it cooled a bit.

I hope to have a roaster made for tomorrow.

Cheers and happy malting.


P.S. Today is HOT! 35ºC and strong breezes. It feels like a blast furnace in your face when you walk outside. Ahhh perfect for drying malt. :-)

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