Author Topic: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning  (Read 4849 times)

Offline Kaiser

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2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
« on: March 26, 2010, 07:32:52 AM »
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

Offline tygo

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Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2010, 07:48:57 AM »
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.
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2010, 08:50:57 AM »
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

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Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2010, 11:22:58 AM »
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.
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2010, 12:03:13 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

Offline blatz

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Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2010, 12:14:03 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.
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Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2010, 01:27:38 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....;)
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Offline blatz

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Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2010, 01:34:26 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.
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Offline rabid_dingo

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Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2010, 07:32:26 AM »
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...
Ruben * Colorado :)

Offline Slowbrew

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Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2010, 01:26:30 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
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Offline kuphish

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Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2010, 06:51:18 AM »
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.

Offline euge

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Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2010, 11:55:31 PM »
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.
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Offline sienabrewer

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Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2010, 01:33:13 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.

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Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2010, 01:37:24 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.
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Offline blatz

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Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2010, 01:51:28 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.
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