Author Topic: Newbie Malt Question  (Read 2563 times)

Offline Bill Wallace

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Newbie Malt Question
« on: August 18, 2014, 08:02:31 PM »
New to brewing.  Read a few books, but mostly I have been watching youtube videos, which are very informative.  Along with a few books, I pretty much have it figured out.

I have decided to skip the extract phase and jump right into all-grain brewing.  I'm confused by the term "malt" when used in all-grain brewing. 

Take the 2nd video in the series pinned at the top of this forum.  He references grains as "malt."  Does that mean that the grains have been malted by a maltster?  Or are these just regular grains?  I know you want to use a specialty grain for a particular beer. 

I have seen 50# bags of grains for sale at brewshops online.  Are these malts?  Is that what I use?  Or do I have to add malt somehow? 

Another question I had: could I buy grain at the local feed shop, which sells oats, barley, wheat, etc. and brew with that? 

I like being as hands-on as possible.  I'm going to start growing hops, since I do a lot of gardening anyway.

Thanks in advance for any and all replies.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Newbie Malt Question
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2014, 09:00:42 PM »
Malting is a process that develops enzymes required to convert starch to fermentable sugar.

feed store grain is not malted and will not work for brewing. there are unmalted adjuncts but you must have malt to make the conversion happen.

I commend your desire to jump in feet first but I would recommend trying an extract with specialty grain kit to start as it gives you an opportunity to get comfortable with the far more important aspects of brewing (yeast management and temperature control) before adding the additional confusion of learning the ins and outs of all grain brewing.
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Offline archstanton

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Re: Newbie Malt Question
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2014, 09:05:43 PM »
Yes  the grains have been malted, this is assumed unless specified otherwise.
Yes the 50# are malted. You will want base malts.
You can get raw grains and malt you own. Grow your own, whatever.

Here is a link to a great on line resource.
 http://www.howtobrew.com/section2/chapter12.html

Offline Three

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Re: Newbie Malt Question
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2014, 09:19:01 PM »
I commend your desire to jump in feet first but I would recommend trying an extract with specialty grain kit to start as it gives you an opportunity to get comfortable with the far more important aspects of brewing (yeast management and temperature control) before adding the additional confusion of learning the ins and outs of all grain brewing.

+1 morticaixavier is spot on here.  Brewing is a multi step process.  Running through the whole shebang with an extract-specialty grain kit several times will make your all grain endeavor's waaaay easier.  There are some really nice kits out there.  Order online or better yet, stop by your local HBS and they will gladly set you up.......
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Newbie Malt Question
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2014, 09:26:24 PM »
All malts are grains, but not all grains are malt. "Malt" refers to malted grains, and these are required for the majority of your mash. The malting process makes the required enzymes available for mashing. The majority of your mash should be made up of "base malts", which are malts that have enough diastatic (i.e., enzymatic) power to convert themselves, along with any adjuncts you use. These are malts such as Pilsner, Pale 2-row and 6-row, Pale Ale malt, and so on.

Even if you do want to jump into all-grain brewing right to start (and you certainly can if you understand all the steps involved), you should really start off with a proven recipe, or better yet, a kit.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Newbie Malt Question
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2014, 04:09:51 AM »
Maybe try brew in a bag to start with?  You can do that on a no sparge basis and if you hit the temps right, it could be a do-able first batch all grain experience.  But you have a lot of grains to deal with for a five gallon batch - scaling down to 2-3 gallons will make it a little bit more manageable.

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Offline Bill Wallace

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Re: Newbie Malt Question
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2014, 06:44:56 AM »
Thanks for all the replies so far.

Here's why I think I can handle all-grain right from the start:  Built a Harley from scratch when I was 17 in my bedroom and had it running on my 18th birthday; was a successful pit-trader at the Chicago Board of Trade for many years and hey, we traded wheat there, you know (bad joke); hobbyist turned pro furniture maker in my later years who builds fine furniture and $20,000 entertainment centers; and I do bodywork as a hobby.

Tedium is my life!


So the consensus is that if you do not use a malted grain, conversion will not take place.  Ok. To start, I will order grain like this and follow a recipe:

http://www.homebrewing.org/Grains-by-the-Bag-_c_197.html  (Is this a good deal, or can I do better?)

Any other advice? 




Offline theDarkSide

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Re: Newbie Malt Question
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2014, 06:50:45 AM »
If you are buying in bulk (50-55lbs), shipping usually kills you unless you are near one of these places.  Check out your local homebrew shop.  I get my bulk grains there and it's about the same as buying online and I'm supporting the local shop.

If you ever join a club, you could arrange a group buy and save a ton of money.

If you are just going to buy enough grain for a recipe, this shop would be fine, as would places like Morebeer, Williams, Northern Brewer/Midwest Supply, etc.

Good luck on your first brew!
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Online Steve in TX

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Re: Newbie Malt Question
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2014, 06:54:25 AM »
As others have said. I would start with a recipe kit. Go all-grain if that's what you want, I don't see anything wrong with that. Benefit of a kit is everything is already measured and crushed, plus it will come with some basic instructions. I recommend ordering a "clone" or a style that you like so you will be able to determine if you succeeded.

Join a local club too. Information is great here, but doesn't replace assisting with a brew day on somebody else's setup.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Newbie Malt Question
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2014, 06:57:50 AM »
sounds like you're all in. Look around online some more and compare. just remember, as with any foodstuff (or any craft really) if you skimp on ingredients the results will never be their best.

Read up on temp control, you want to be able to keep the yeast in the golden zone (low 60's for most ales, low 50's for most lagers). Also read up on yeast health and management, you will want to start with dry yeast or learn all about starters.

have fun! it's only beer.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Newbie Malt Question
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2014, 07:48:05 AM »
There's no reason why you can't start with all grain. Brewing AG is not that difficult. Just don't get side track with the way you make your wort and forget to research about proper fermentation - fermentation temp, yeast pitching rates, etc. Those are every bit as important as how you make your wort, maybe more important.
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Offline Bill Wallace

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Re: Newbie Malt Question
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2014, 07:51:56 AM »

Read up on temp control, you want to be able to keep the yeast in the golden zone (low 60's for most ales, low 50's for most lagers). Also read up on yeast health and management, you will want to start with dry yeast or learn all about starters.

have fun! it's only beer.

How do you keep the temps in the low 60's (right now I'm interested in ale's)?  I have a closet that probably gets that cold in the winter, but in the summer that would be hard without some kind of refrigeration.

Offline Bill Wallace

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Re: Newbie Malt Question
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2014, 07:55:22 AM »
On this site i posted above (here for your convenience):

http://www.homebrewing.org/Grains-by-the-Bag-_c_197.html

The grains do not look like they have been malted...or do they?  I thought when a grain is malted, it's wetted, then sprouted to break down the enzymes and then somehow the process is stopped?

Have the above grains been malted?  Unless they look different from the pictures when it arrives, that looks like the way grain comes out of the field.

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Newbie Malt Question
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2014, 08:00:29 AM »

http://www.homebrewing.org/Grains-by-the-Bag-_c_197.html  (Is this a good deal, or can I do better?)

You traded at CBOE and want us to tell you if it's a good deal?  ;D

I applaud the determination to jump in the deep end but you may want to spend a few more weeks reading and asking questions before you start buying bulk sacks.
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Offline denny

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Re: Newbie Malt Question
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2014, 08:02:14 AM »
While I commend your enthusiasm, I'm also willing to bet that the $20K entertainment center was not your first project.  You probably did some smaller projects first to learn about equipment and processes.  I recommend you approach homebrewing the same way in order to have the greatest chance of success.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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