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General Category => Zymurgy => Topic started by: Kaiser on March 26, 2010, 02:32:52 PM

Title: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: Kaiser on March 26, 2010, 02:32:52 PM
Let me continue this with providing a place to discuss malt conditioning. I know we have discussed this many times. But maybe there are still some lingering questions about this.

Kai
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: tygo on March 26, 2010, 02:48:57 PM
I thought the article was great Kai.  I liked that you provided a suggested ml/kg ratio for the water.  I agree though after doing this several times that you can tell by feel when you're around where you should be.
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: Kaiser on March 26, 2010, 03:50:57 PM
I thought the article was great Kai.  I liked that you provided a suggested ml/kg ratio for the water.  I agree though after doing this several times that you can tell by feel when you're around where you should be.

That’s how I do it. I go by feel and the only time I really measured how much water I used was to give other brewers an idea how much to use.

I also have 2 sealed mason jars at home where one contains malt milled with conditioning and the other malt milled w/o conditioning. At some point I hope to evaluate how the added moisture affected the malt during extended storage. I don’t think that there is much of a concern since most malt has only about 4% moisture content and the conditioning raises this to about 6%. From what I heard, this should still be a safe moisture content for storage.

Kai
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: denny on March 29, 2010, 06:22:58 PM
Kai, as someone who hates expending effort that might not be necessary, I've been trying to decide if conditioning is something I should undertake.  Of course, I should just try it and see for myself, but I'd like to know what specific benefits you've found from it.
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: Kaiser on March 29, 2010, 07:03:13 PM
..but I'd like to know what specific benefits you've found from it.

I noticed that I get a faster run-off than I was able to get before with my crush. Aside from that I haven’t had the time to do much experimentation to evaluate its effect on beer quality. At this point I have to go by my intuition which tells me that it most likely doesn’t hurt the beer quality. Only recently have I found data in brewing texts that show reduced tannin extraction when the malt is conditioned. But the effect must be small b/c there are many beers brewed w/o this technique that don’t show a problem with tannins.

Maybe others would be willing to conduct a side-by-side experiment to see if malt conditioning affects the flavor of the beer.

Kai
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: blatz on March 29, 2010, 07:14:03 PM
Kai, as someone who hates expending effort that might not be necessary, I've been trying to decide if conditioning is something I should undertake.  Of course, I should just try it and see for myself, but I'd like to know what specific benefits you've found from it.

not kai, but frankly denny, I was as skeptical (and as lazy) as you are and really did not want to try it.  just try it once and see if you like it.

Reluctantly, about 6 weeks ago, I gave it a test, and while I was doing the 'spray-spray-spray' then 'stir-stir-stir' I was cursing a bit (maybe even at kai, I can't remember  ;)) and swore I would never do it again.

then I saw the crush - most beautiful crush I'd ever seen and almost no flour left on my mill.  then I saw how quickly the runoff cleaned up during vorlauf.  then I saw how fast the runoffs came out into the kettle.

I've since done this on 3 other brews though I have only tasted one - can't say that there is any improvement in taste (the one I've tasted is my dortmunder, which would be hard to improve  ;D ) but the ease of the milling and lautering makes me 'buy into' the extra effort.  Seems like from a time aspect, I make up for it in the runoff times.
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: denny on March 29, 2010, 08:27:38 PM
Thanks, Kai.  I have no doubt that it doesn't hurt beer quality!  But my runoffs are already super fast, so I think I'll wait to see if there's some other benefit I may be missing out on.

Paul, that's what this question was about...I honestly have to say that if the benefits are a quickly clearing runoff, a quick runoff, and a "beautiful crush", then I don't think I need it.  But that's probably just me being a curmudgeon....;)
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: blatz on March 29, 2010, 08:34:26 PM
Paul, that's what this question was about...I honestly have to say that if the benefits are a quickly clearing runoff, a quick runoff, and a "beautiful crush", then I don't think I need it.  But that's probably just me being a curmudgeon....;)

you probably don't need to try it then. 

before I tested it, I'd asked most of the folks that rave about it as to whether there was any benefit to the final beer, and the answer was a "well, not really".   

I'll know in a few weeks if I notice anything different about the beers I've used malt conditioning on, but for me, if it only helps the process as mentioned above, then its worth it for my brewhaus.  Sounds like you already have those issues taken care of, so the benefit of malt conditioning, if any, may be minimal at your house.
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: rabid_dingo on March 30, 2010, 02:32:26 PM
Kai, as someone who hates expending effort that might not be necessary, I've been trying to decide if conditioning is something I should undertake.  Of course, I should just try it and see for myself, but I'd like to know what specific benefits you've found from it.

then I saw the crush - most beautiful crush I'd ever seen ...

...I've since done this on 3 other brews though ...


Same here. I like the look of the crush. I just recently took appart my mill for some much needed maintenance,
cleaning and lube. I set the mill at .028" and I get full husks and a medium to fine crush on the rest. My grain
bed volume was clearly more than the older crush and process. All in all it is a small time investment added
to the weighing of the grain bill and preping for the following day. No real added expenditure of effort or time for
me.

The way I see it, it can only help not harm...
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: Slowbrew on April 06, 2010, 08:26:30 PM
I agree that I have not noticed any differences in beer flavor or clarity.  The much better crush and faster runoff was enough to make me continue doing it.

I had been adjusting my mill's gap smaller and smaller and was beginning to have inconsistent runoffs and an occasional stuck sparge.  I haven't changed the mill since I started conditioning my grain and my run offs are much quicker and clean up faster than before. 

To each there own (and then some) but it works for me.  Even on my Denny ConnTraption cooler mash tun with braid.   :D
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: kuphish on April 15, 2010, 01:51:18 PM
I use a corona mill and have found malt conditioning to be very beneficial because it largely eliminates the shredded husks that such mills are often criticized for producing.  Instead, the husks are fluffy and intact while the grain is crushed nice and fine.
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: euge on April 16, 2010, 06:55:31 AM
I did it back when I was steeping and grinding my grain in an old hand-crank grinder that I normally used to make sausage. It's got a blade for grain. I didn't spray water but poured and tossed and mixed the malt until it was uniformly dampened. Seemed like it made the husk stretchier.

The thought of doing this with 25# of grain... :-\ I can say with the BC I get mostly whole husk as it is. A tiny amount of flour. My brewday is already lengthy. :P

Originally I got the idea from reading that Sierra Nevada practices this method. However I was told that this was to keep the dust down. It fell out of favor once I got the mill.
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: sienabrewer on April 19, 2010, 08:33:13 PM
The first time I tried it, I over-watered the grain and it gummed up the mill severely.  I was pissed to say the least because I had to run out and get an entire bag because I ran out of grain.  The next time I tried it I used far less water and got far better results.  I do not think it adds anything in terms of flavor or beer quality.  However, being a clean freak I do love how it makes little to no dust.  I also like how it clears the vorlauf much faster and I get noticeably less grain material into the kettle.  Quite frankly, I don't really see how it adds much work, or takes any more appreciably effort, at all to the brew day.  I put a little water in, mix, and let it sit as I set up my mill.  Would my beer be just as good without it?  Probably, but I like the benefits it gives me that I have noted.
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: denny on April 19, 2010, 08:37:24 PM
Dammit, you guys are gonna convince me yet!

BTW, anybody heard from Kai lately?  He seems to be MIA on all forums he usually posts to.
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: blatz on April 19, 2010, 08:51:28 PM
Dammit, you guys are gonna convince me yet!

BTW, anybody heard from Kai lately?  He seems to be MIA on all forums he usually posts to.

i just spoke with him on Wednesday of last week - he will be offline until Monday the 26th.
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: babalu87 on April 20, 2010, 02:55:34 PM
Dammit, you guys are gonna convince me yet!

BTW, anybody heard from Kai lately?  He seems to be MIA on all forums he usually posts to.

i just spoke with him on Wednesday of last week - he will be offline until Monday the 26th.

Yeah, we'll have to ask him how he liked Mickey  ;D
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: Hokerer on April 20, 2010, 03:47:14 PM
Yeah, we'll have to ask him how he liked Mickey  ;D

Oh, the poor guy
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: dbeechum on April 20, 2010, 04:40:46 PM
Oh, the poor guy

Nothing wrong with people liking Mickey. Makes me happy!
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: bluesman on April 20, 2010, 05:04:11 PM
Oh, the poor guy

Nothing wrong with people liking Mickey. Makes me happy!

+1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDybu6CxFiI
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: babalu87 on April 20, 2010, 05:21:10 PM
Oh, the poor guy

Nothing wrong with people liking Mickey. Makes me happy!

Its all about the kids

Wife and I went there before kids and had a BLAST
Though we did spend too much time in Merry Ole England and Germany at EPCOT  ;D
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: Kaiser on April 28, 2010, 01:28:46 AM
BTW, anybody heard from Kai lately?  He seems to be MIA on all forums he usually posts to.

I'm back. But in the last few weeks I have also gotten much more busy at work. This meas less time for browsing forums :(

Kai
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: denny on April 28, 2010, 03:44:52 PM
We'll miss ya!  Hope you had a great time with Mickey!
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: bluesman on April 28, 2010, 04:44:43 PM
Welcome back Kai!

How was the trip to Disney?
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: Kaiser on April 28, 2010, 04:50:22 PM
How was the trip to Disney?

Less relaxing that it should be. Too many people for my taste, but the Kids had fun and that counted.

Kai
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: skyler on November 15, 2010, 06:45:35 AM
I actually tried malt conditioning for the first time recently and had my first stuck sparge in an all malted-barley beer. This is what I did:

I sprayed with tap water and stirred/shook the stainless steel stock pot full of grain (Cargill 2-row and TF Medium Crystal) until a few grains stuck to my palm when i grabbed a fist-full. Then I waited 20 minutes and milled. I poured the crushed grains into my Denny-style mash tun, then closed the lid and went to bed. The next morning, I mashed in at around 10:00 am. Ended up giving it a very long mash (nearly 2 hours @151F), because I had to run an errand. Then, boom, stuck sparge. My guess is that the weight of the moistened crushed grain sitting on the steel braid overnight eventually caused the braid to flatten or collapse. Regardless, I have been hesitant to try it again. Did I do something wrong?
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: tygo on November 16, 2010, 02:33:21 AM
Except for putting it in the mash tun overnight I do it exactly the same way as you do and it works for me. 

Do you have lautering issues when you don't do it?  I originally started doing it because I was having problems with my runoff and now it's just habit.  One of these times though I'm planning to not do it to see if I still have the same issues.  It's one more step in the brewing prep and if I could get away without doing and not compromise anything I would.
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: skyler on November 16, 2010, 04:26:11 AM
I generally only have lautering problems with wheat or rye beers. I wanted to malt condition so I could crush finer. I'll try malt conditioning one more time before I decide it's not for me - this time I won't let it sit in the tun overnight.
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: Kaiser on November 22, 2010, 09:28:19 PM
Did I do something wrong?

Based on your description I don't think you did anything wrong. How much finer than usual did you mill the grain? While conditioning the malt allows you to mill finer you can still mill too fine.

Kai
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: skyler on December 08, 2010, 07:39:20 AM
Sorry, I forgot about this thread. When I conditioned my malt, I crushed to .030. The mill is relatively new (I previously used various HBS mills). I have since been crushing to .035 without conditioning and have been getting great results and consistent 80-84% efficiency, regardless of gravity so I don't plan on crushing any finer. I will be brewing an Imperial Rye Stout in a little while, so I would really like to get as much help lautering as possible. I will try it out again crushing all the barley at .035 and crushing the rye at .025 (the finest crush my mill can give me).
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: rabid_dingo on February 18, 2011, 09:47:33 AM
I have a bit of an update/question.

Kai,
Do you think that there is a possibility of over conditioning? Here is the situation I encountered and
now wonder about. I conditioned my malt as normal. I maybe was heavy handed with the spray bottle
a bit and I figured it was minimal. I waited about 20-30 minutes as my strike water heated up and milled
as normal. Here is where it got weird. After milling I noticed a large amount of grist that looked like it
was untouched by the mill. There were complete grain kernel in my milled bucket.  :o But then I
re-inspected what was going on. The mill did its job the grain husks where whole!!! Completely
"un-touched" when I pinched a few they quickly gave with no resistance and some powder and
crushed malt poured out. Again  :o!

My efficiency suffered. I was expecting 1.070 ish and only got about 1.056...I can only assume that
the fully encapsulated crushed grain did not let any sugars out. Is that a possibility? That the husks
actually remained too intact. What are your thoughts?

On a side note I did not jam the mill or have any issues that one would expect with wet milling...
Title: Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
Post by: Kaiser on February 18, 2011, 12:55:28 PM
I guess that is possible when the husks are too moist.

Some large commercial mills have a first set of rollers that have teeth and rotate at slightly different speeds. They would be able to slice these kernels open.

Kai