Author Topic: Chris Colby on malt conditioning  (Read 3371 times)

Offline Kaiser

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Chris Colby on malt conditioning
« on: February 09, 2010, 02:20:20 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

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2010, 02:23:17 PM »
Kai,

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

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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2010, 02:29:35 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

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Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2010, 02:56:35 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.
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Offline bspisak

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Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2010, 05:42:04 PM »

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

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Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2010, 06:03:04 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.

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.
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Offline bspisak

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Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2010, 06:20:17 PM »
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

Offline bo_gator

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Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2010, 07:20:48 PM »

How disappointed I was that it was Chris Colby.
If I had a nickle for every time I had said that over the years ;) ::)
All views expressed in the above post are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of any other member of the AHA, BJCP, or home brew community at large.   


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Offline mashweasel

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Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2010, 09:40:58 PM »
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.
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2010, 10:25:21 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.

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

Offline mashweasel

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Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2010, 11:00:51 PM »


...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!
Egészségedre,

Kristen England, Ph.D.
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Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2010, 05:57:12 AM »
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.
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Offline nyakavt

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Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2010, 05:59:02 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.

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.

Offline Kaiser

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Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2010, 09:03:57 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.

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

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Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2010, 11:26:29 AM »
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.
Jeff Rankert
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