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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: Kaiser on February 09, 2010, 09:20:20 PM

Title: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: Kaiser on February 09, 2010, 09:20:20 PM
I just listened to Chris Colby’s BBR interview about malt conditioning and his techniques for conditioning malt seem much more complicated than the spay and mix process that I proposed? Steaming in the mash tun or using a partner to sprinkle the malt with hot water? Is he just trying to avoid my technique? BTW, if you pour water over the malt you will get it too wet and gum up the rollers. I’ve tried that first.

James referenced my work but Chris didn’t I doubt that he hasn’t come across malt conditioning when searching the web.

I haven’t come up with this but like to get some credit for bringing it up to the home brewers attention here in the US.

(http://media.libsyn.com/media/basicbrewing/bbr02-04-10condition.mp3)

Kai
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on February 09, 2010, 09:23:17 PM
Kai,

When I saw the title I thought it will be interview with you.
How disappointed I was that it was Chris Colby.

Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: Kaiser on February 09, 2010, 09:29:35 PM
When I saw the title I thought it will be interview with you.
How disappointed I was that it was Chris Colby.

I think that Chris just had to plug his article and was trying to avoid my spray bottle technique. I can't see myself steaming grain in the mash tun or running hot water over it. Way too much work. I know not conditioning is even less work but if you try to adapt commercial techniques for home brewing you you also make it simple for a home brewer. Steaming might be easier and more controllable for a large brewery but not for me.

Kai
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: denny on February 09, 2010, 09:56:35 PM
Kai, why not write a BYO letter to the editor and ask why he's using such a labor intensive technique when a much simpler one suffices?  I'd do it, but since I haven't tried conditioning, I don't know how much weight it would carry.
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: bspisak on February 10, 2010, 12:42:04 AM

I think the steaming method sounds pretty easy and also pretty quick. No spritzing and turning, spritzing and turning. Put it in a bag and steam - what could be easier? The water needed to create enough steam to get a 2% increase in moisture is minimal and would come to a boil very quickly. You can let that happen while you're weighing the grain. He says 1 - 2 minutes of steaming with a short rest. Pretty quick.

Perhaps there are other advantages to steaming?  Do you get better saturation of the husk with steam and thus less breakage during milling? Definitely sounds like it could give more consistent results. Steam is the same temp every time, and you time how long the grain is exposed. Very repeatable. Stirring once or twice eliminates variables due to grain quantity.

Not knocking the bucket method, I just don't think steaming is that big of a deal. I can even do it in my cooler since I use a steam infusion manifold for step mashing.

Just my 2 cents.
Brian
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: hopfenundmalz on February 10, 2010, 01:03:04 AM
I saw wet milling at Sierra Nevada in September and Scott Jennings explained how to do it on a homebrew scale.  Gordon Stong covered this in his article in Zymurgy on what the homebrewers learned.

In the good old Homebrew Digest they covered this way back in the day.  HOMEBREW Digest #3344 Tue 06 June 2000 came up in a Google search.  There were more.

When Kai posted it, I said, yeah I should get around to that someday, as it was alway one more thing to do.  Have tried it a little bit on a Vienna.  Worked pretty good.
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: bspisak on February 10, 2010, 01:20:17 AM
I saw wet milling at Sierra Nevada in September and Scott Jennings explained how to do it on a homebrew scale.

I too first heard about this from a post about a Sierra Nevada brewery tour. I believe he even suggested using a spray bottle and a cookie sheet or bucket as well.  Sorry Kai....

Brian
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: bo_gator on February 10, 2010, 02:20:48 AM

How disappointed I was that it was Chris Colby.
If I had a nickle for every time I had said that over the years ;) ::)
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: mashweasel on February 10, 2010, 04:40:58 AM
I don't see this as a personality problem but one that has been around as long as home brewing. The vast majority of brewing subjects have been expounded upon at great length in scientific articles, books and journals since the turn of the 20th century. Polish, German, English, French, etc etc. Many great ideas, techniques and science has been done. Over the last 5 years I've seen a massively disturbing (to me) amount of home brewers doing 'kitchen science' repeats of original experiments and claiming them to be their own or in the least feeling they have any type of ownership on the idea or concept. Any repeated experiment in any aspect of science is just that. Its the original owners. Most people like to use a few data points, drop them into excel and have new data. Its not. Its old data missing the vast majority of controls and specific conditions. The part that really turns my stomach is that nearly 99% of this 'science' doesn't even cite a single source, let alone the/a original one. To my point, in Encyclopedia of Chemical Processing and Design: Volume 4 (1977, pg 137), they describe in adequate detail wet milling. Not an original source in the least but I chose this source for two reasons; 1) I was born in 1977 and it was over 30 years ago and 2) The very last sentence of that paragraph is of such critical importance that Im flabbergasted to find it is not mentioned. 'Good cleaning practices...are mandatory to prevent microbial growth'. They arent talking about spoiling of the malt, they are talking about the massive amount of bugs that, once wet, will grow and multiply in that environment.

Point short, if people are going to repeat experiments performed previously, please use proper citations. The handful of you that do use citations, keep it up the good fight but stop treating it so much as your research rather than being the light bearer of the idea.
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: Kaiser on February 10, 2010, 05:25:21 AM
You guys made good points and I appreciate that. Maybe it is that this technique is not widely used and thus not discussed often enough for me to have noticed that it has been brought up many times before. I guess me trying to claim credit for "bringing it to home brewer's attenuation" was a bit too much and I take that back. I should have done some more research. But I never claimed to have come up with it myself and I do properly cite my sources.

As for the kitchen sink experiments, I don't think repeating previously done experiments is a problem. And in most cases I'd love to be able to cite previously done work but in most cases it is very difficult to get access to that work for a home brewer. In fact in many cases it is easier for me to repeat experiments than paying many 100$ for memberships to journals. If I know of existing work and have a citable source I'm happy to cite it mostly because it gives the work more credibility.

What bothers me more than the lack of citations is the posting of conclusions or theories w/o publishing how this data was obtained. I.e. the conditions under which the experiment took place which makes peer review difficult.

Brian, good point on why you think the steaming is better. My concern with that technique is that grains at the bottom or outside of the bag will receive more moisture than the ones inside the bag which may make mixing necessary anyway. Commercial malt conditioning systems to mix the grain during the conditioning process.

Kai
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: mashweasel on February 10, 2010, 06:00:51 AM


...w/o publishing how this data was obtained. I.e. the conditions under which the experiment took place which makes peer review difficult.

Kai,

Amen brother! I should have added this one to the stuff above!
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: hopfenundmalz on February 10, 2010, 12:57:12 PM
Kai, I enjoy reading your page on the brewing experiments.  The sections on decoction are super, and helped me finaly do one for a Pils.  Your water chemistry for different Geramn styles is very useful.  Keep up the good work.
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: nyakavt on February 10, 2010, 12:59:02 PM
You guys made good points and I appreciate that. Maybe it is that this technique is not widely used and thus not discussed often enough for me to have noticed that it has been brought up many times before. I guess me trying to claim credit for "bringing it to home brewer's attenuation" was a bit too much and I take that back. I should have done some more research. But I never claimed to have come up with it myself and I do properly cite my sources.

I don't know, Kai is the only one I heard talking about it, at least to us homebrewers on the forums.  HBD was something that was a little before my time in homebrewing, so I don't know if I would have found out about conditioning without Kai's posts and site, and certainly not in as much detail.  I can at least give him credit for introducing me to malt conditioning, and I think his site is responsible for bringing conditioning to a much wider audience, at least if the recent forum threads here and on the NB forum are any evidence.
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: Kaiser on February 10, 2010, 04:03:57 PM
I saw wet milling at Sierra Nevada in September and Scott Jennings explained how to do it on a homebrew scale.  Gordon Stong covered this in his article in Zymurgy on what the homebrewers learned.

I took a quick glimpse at that article before I had to head out of the door this morning and what is described there is wet milling in an inert atmosphere which is different from malt conditioning. Since both methods add water to the malt they are commonly confused. Wet milling is impractical for the home brewer since it requires a special mill. Maybe Claudius has one or is working on building one ;). Based on what I have read in current text books it has also fallen out of favor in German brewing. Milling with malt conditioning is still considered dry-milling. It is oftentimes referred to as dry-milling with malt conditioning to distinguish it from dry milling w/o conditioning and wet milling.

Malt conditioning also provides preservation of the husks but can be used with existing mills. All you need is a conditioner that treats the malt is moisture before it is fed into the existing mill, This simplicity over actual wet milling might be the reason why malt conditioning is favored. Here is a link to a commercial system: http://www.schmidt-seeger.com/en/products_processing2.html

Kai
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: hopfenundmalz on February 10, 2010, 06:26:29 PM
Scott Jennings,the Pilot Brewery at SN, said that homebrewers could condition the malt with a spray.  He said an airbrush spray would be ideal, and one would spread the malt out, spray and turn.  The object was to get the husks moist so that the husks would become more elastic, and less brittle.  If only a few grains would stick when you ran your hand through the malt, that was about right.  If your hand was covered with grain, then it was too wet.

I will have to go back and see Gordon's article and what it says.
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: Kaiser on February 10, 2010, 06:30:46 PM
Scott Jennings,the Pilot Brewery at SN, said that homebrewers could condition the malt with a spray.  He said an airbrush spray would be ideal, and one would spread the malt out, spray and turn.  The object was to get the husks moist so that the husks would become more elastic, and less brittle.  If only a few grains would stick when you ran your hand through the malt, that was about right.  If your hand was covered with grain, then it was too wet.

Yes, that's the technique I have proposed and that I'm using. Not that any of us took it from the other. It's just an obvious thought when you think about how to best intoduce mosture into the grain evenly.

Kai
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: hopfenundmalz on February 10, 2010, 06:43:19 PM
Kai, if you search the HBD archives for "malt conditioning", or "tempering", there is a period in Oct 2003 where this was covered in some detail.  Jeff Renner was even involved, so that may be why I remembered it.  They cover the amounts to use in metric and imperial units along with results.  Dr. Pivo's was in some detail, and he commented on how there was no dust, and how the crush looked.

Go to hbd.org and the search is on the left side, or just do a Google search in the hbd.org domain.
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: Kaiser on February 10, 2010, 09:03:11 PM
I think this is Jeff Renner's HBD post that started the 2003 discussion: http://hbd.org/hbd/archive/4379.html#4379-7
There was also a HBD mention in 2000.

After reading through most of it, wow. The same thing I have been seing and saying since I tried it. "rolled oats" look, gummed rollers when too wet, let it sit to dry it out, kernels may not feed as easily into the mill ....

I feel like having resurected a ghost here since I have not once heard about its application in home bewing ever since I started reading home brewing forums in 2005. I guess it never made enough difference to gain popularity. We'll see how long this phase will last.

The same might be true for the fast ferment test, another favorite of mine. I have seen references to it on HBT and in a NHC presentation. I still don't fully understand how such a useful test is not seen as essential for at least lager brewing. By maybe I'm thinking too much of an egineer here.

Kai
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: a10t2 on February 10, 2010, 09:33:20 PM
Kai, my thinking on the FFT is that it's very useful the first time you brew a recipe, but not so much the second, third, etc. Maybe all you're seeing is that at the level where people write things about brewing (or can get them published/read, anyway) a lot of them are brewing recipes they're refined over dozens of brew sessions, and it simply doesn't have as much benefit for them.
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: babalu87 on February 10, 2010, 11:19:42 PM
Here is what I know about malt conditioning.

Prior to trying it I would have painfully slow run-offs with wheat beer grain bills.
Rice hulls were a must.

I now condition my grains (the way Kai suggests) and havent bought/used rice hulls in nearly a year.

As for the FFT, I cant understand NOT using it especially with lager brewing. It requires NO effort.
I guess what I really need from someone is the reasons they dont use it.
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: denny on February 11, 2010, 04:09:57 PM
As for the FFT, I cant understand NOT using it especially with lager brewing. It requires NO effort.
I guess what I really need from someone is the reasons they dont use it.

In my case, laziness, plain and simple.  In addition, most of the time I just don't need that info. But I do it occasionally just out of curiosity.
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: babalu87 on February 11, 2010, 05:04:10 PM
As for the FFT, I cant understand NOT using it especially with lager brewing. It requires NO effort.
I guess what I really need from someone is the reasons they dont use it.

In my case, laziness, plain and simple.  In addition, most of the time I just don't need that info. But I do it occasionally just out of curiosity.

Here is what I do (might help with the laziness issue :D )

I'm taking a gravity reading when its going into the fermenter (I run that into a plastic measuring cup)
I'll pour that into the hydrometer tube and note that reading.
After pitching the yeast (eswpecially with lagers) I'll have a container that has more than enough yeast left stuck to the sides after pouring the slurry into the fermenter.
The hydro sample goes in that container (though I must confess I get extra energy I need to burn off and I'll pour into another container)
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: denny on February 11, 2010, 06:29:05 PM
That does sound pretty easy....now I just have to come up with a reason to do it!  Curiosity might be enough, troubles with fermentation certainly would be.
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: babalu87 on February 11, 2010, 07:13:47 PM
That does sound pretty easy....now I just have to come up with a reason to do it!  Curiosity might be enough, troubles with fermentation certainly would be.

Its great to know when a lager is done/ready to be racked.
I've played around with lager fermentation recently and have been gettting good results, shorter lag times and faster fermentations.
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: Kaiser on February 11, 2010, 07:43:12 PM
I think that home brewers should be taught how to perform and interpret a fast ferment test as well as performing and interpreting a proper iodine test on chalk. Once they found in their brewing that it does not provide them useful information they may stop using it. But those tests are very useful when you start out brewing and are trying to troubleshoot your process. Some brewers may decide to keep using the FFT in particular as it allows them to use more elaborate techniques when it comes to priming for example.

Kai
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: denny on February 11, 2010, 07:51:22 PM
I'm in complete agreement, Kai.  And it's entirely possible that my beers might be improved by using both of those methods.
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: bluesman on February 11, 2010, 07:56:10 PM
Kai,

Maybe this isn't the proper place to ask, but could you post a procedure for the FFT and iodine tests. Maybe you could start a new subject.  :-\
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: stout_fan on February 11, 2010, 08:16:05 PM
I just double crush and adjust the gap.
The poor man's approach to a multi roller mill.
I only use it with very high gravity beers when I'm pushing the limits of the tun.
5% extra efficiency really helps in that case.
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: Hokerer on February 11, 2010, 08:25:40 PM
Kai,

Maybe this isn't the proper place to ask, but could you post a procedure for the FFT and iodine tests. Maybe you could start a new subject.  :-\

Kai's got them on his wiki site.  Fast Ferment Test...

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Fast_Ferment_Test (http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Fast_Ferment_Test)

and the starch/iodine test...

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Starch_Test (http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Starch_Test)
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: Kaiser on February 11, 2010, 08:31:52 PM
and the starch/iodine test...

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Starch_Test (http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Starch_Test)

Thanks for posting that. I have to update the iodine test article to make the test on chalk the primary and preferred method. Testing in a white dish, as we all have been taught, can too easily cause false or ambiguous readings which has given the iodine test the reputation of not being reliable.

I have shot the pics already and played around with iodine test solutions. I found that mixing Iodophor with rubbing alcohol, instead of water, gives a test solution that works better for the iodine test.

Kai
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: babalu87 on February 11, 2010, 08:34:21 PM
My daughter took the white chalk back.
I need to get more ...................................
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: Kaiser on February 11, 2010, 08:45:29 PM
drywall works too. but I find the sidewalk chalk easier to work with since you can just cut off the part that has been stained.

Kai
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: Hokerer on February 11, 2010, 08:48:44 PM
drywall works too.

I can see it now...

Wife: "Honey, what the heck are you doing slinging iodine all over my walls?!?!?!"

Brewer: "Kai told me to."
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: babalu87 on February 11, 2010, 08:56:49 PM
drywall works too.

I can see it now...

Wife: "Honey, what the heck are you doing slinging iodine all over my walls?!?!?!"

Brewer: "Kai told me to."

ROFL

I thought the wall patterns in Kai's basement were just a cool painting technique he used  ;D
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: Kaiser on February 22, 2010, 10:50:52 PM
What a coincident. My article on malt conditioning is in the current issue of Zymurgy. Including some pictures that are not on my website. The article is also much better written then what you find on Braukaiser.com. That's courtesy of my wife who cleans up bad style and grammar.

Kai



Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: bluesman on February 23, 2010, 12:26:11 AM
Hell...a sheet of drywall will last you for years.
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: babalu87 on February 23, 2010, 01:40:05 AM
What a coincident. My article on malt conditioning is in the current issue of Zymurgy. Including some pictures that are not on my website. The article is also much better written then what you find on Braukaiser.com. That's courtesy of my wife who cleans up bad style and grammar.

Kai





Ha!

Thats great that both articles will be out there for everyone to see at the same time.

Do you enjoy the occasional Rauchbier?
Title: Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on February 23, 2010, 04:31:52 AM

Do you enjoy the occasional Rauchbier?


I do. It will be on tap soon :)