Author Topic: Mecca Grade and other floor malts  (Read 629 times)

Offline Robert

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Mecca Grade and other floor malts
« on: April 15, 2018, 06:21:11 PM »
Thought I'd start a new thread as I'd rather not further derail the "things to do in Portland" topic. [See https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=31573.0] I hope Seth Klann will respond to this.  How do the floor malts coming from say Weyermann and other Czech maltings compare to Mecca Grade's process as far as depth of the piece on the floor or going into the kiln, consistency of the product, and so on, the aspects of your process that you note so distinguish MG from pneumatic malts? Are they similar, or somewhere in between?   I am familiar with the European malts, but have had no access to Mecca Grade.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2018, 06:31:52 PM by Robert »
Rob
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Offline KLANNS

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Re: Mecca Grade and other floor malts
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2018, 06:45:54 PM »
Rob; I just happened to be on here replying to another post concerning the term "Mechanical Floor Malting." Here's a good article written by Jeff Alworth on his visit to a Czech floor malthouse that produces Weyermann's Bohemian Floor Malted Pilsner:

https://www.beervanablog.com/beervana/2017/5/4/inside-a-czech-floor-maltings

I'm not sure what their production volumes are. When you take into account that most of this malt is probably going to feed the adjoining brewery, and you think about whatever little is leftover to sell as BoPils floor malt, I scratch my head. The few British floor malthouses that are still operational are maintained for tourism and as a facade.

I'm going to throw some gasoline onto the fire here, but...the problem with "modern floor malt" is that there is no governing body or statute that regulates what percentage a product has to be to even be considered floor malt. 100%? 50%? 1?%?

If you read between the lines, I think brewers would be shocked that the "floor malt" they purchase isn't really floor-malted at all. Maybe that's why it's easy to say there's no flavor difference between floor malt and more commercial malt...it's all really the same stuff!

The safest best is to buy from malthouses that are completely transparent with their process and ingredients. A great example of a small maltster making exceptional, traditional floor malt is Admiral Maltings in Alameda, CA. There are a handful of other craft maltsters doing it right across North America. There IS a pronounced flavor difference.

As far as grain bed depth in our floor malter: we don't exceed 12" when fully germinated, which isn't much deeper than the 8" of more traditional floor malting.

During germ, we advance the grainbeds 10 feet every 60 minutes so that in the course of 6 hours, both sides of the machine are completely flipped multiple times to mimic the physical action of someone turning the bed with a shovel. The machine is 80 feet long, 20 feet wide, and the only one of it's kind in the world.

It's pretty simple if you think about it...if you can make every single kernel be the same product, you end up with a tremendous depth of flavor over blended malts. The only way to do this is by using shallow beds, semi-continuous movement, and very tight process controls. Our goal is to make an even more consistent and high quality malt than traditional floor maltings by using the best of modern technology...hence: "Mechanically Floor-Malted."

Offline Robert

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Re: Mecca Grade and other floor malts
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2018, 06:56:30 PM »
Thanks for the response, Seth!  I really had wondered whether the "floor malts" really were just a blend, as I have found them excellent at times, and at other times I prefer the regular products. Also curious about another system.  A new malthouse has opened in my area using all local barley, a single contracted variety, on a Schulz drum system.  I suppose that they will achieve a similar degree of consistency throughout the batch to the unique mechanical floor malting? 
Rob
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Offline denny

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Re: Mecca Grade and other floor malts
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2018, 07:12:04 PM »


and the inside...


and the man himself....

« Last Edit: April 15, 2018, 07:15:21 PM by denny »
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Offline KLANNS

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Re: Mecca Grade and other floor malts
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2018, 07:35:38 PM »
Rob~

I know that some people roll their eyes when they hear the term grain "terroir," and they aren't entirely wrong. The only way we can definitively say that there is a flavor contribution from variety, growing environment, malting process...or a combination of all three...is by eliminating as many variables are possible from the entire process.

We are able to do this on our farm by growing only one variety (Full Pint), on very similar soil, under intensive farm management/irrigation, all within a 2-mile radius of our malthouse. If we're doing our job right as farmers, we're trying to minimize and/or balance the effects of stress so that "vintage" doesn't impact our grain going into the malter. This is how we define "estate malt", and we realize we are on the extreme end of the malt sourcing spectrum.

Sure, we could use flowery language to wax poetic about a challenging crop year, but instead we go above and beyond to be the best farmers producing the finest quality grain before it's even malted. If it's not the best, it gets sold for cattle feed. Same with the malt.

To answer your questions: In malting, a grainbed is a grainbed; whether it is in a drum or a box. If that grainbed can't be fully turned and is just as deep as a "standard operation", what is the difference? What is promising to hear is that they are using locally grown barley isolated by variety. If you are able to meet the grower and know that that grain is being sourced from them for sure, even better. Just make sure they don't pull a bait and switch on you. As a farmer (and maltster), I've seen it happen all up and down the supply chain.

I find myself geeking out and optimistic about the future of malt...the last piece of the puzzle when it comes to beer, and one that has been neglected for a very long time.

Denny~ thanks for the share. That event was a blast!

Offline BrewBama

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Re: Mecca Grade and other floor malts
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2018, 08:37:08 PM »


and the inside...


and the man himself....



I can’t see the photos. Is it tapatalk, my iPad, or is anyone else unable?  Thx.


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Offline tommymorris

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Re: Mecca Grade and other floor malts
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2018, 08:44:09 PM »


and the inside...


and the man himself....



I can’t see the photos. Is it tapatalk, my iPad, or is anyone else unable?  Thx.


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I can’t see them either.

Offline Robert

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Re: Mecca Grade and other floor malts
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2018, 08:58:46 PM »
FWIW I can see them; I'm on the forum via Chrome on my Galaxy.
Rob
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Offline BrewBama

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Mecca Grade and other floor malts
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2018, 08:59:02 PM »
Seth, has there been any thought given to flat rate shipping?  I believe in your product and would love to try it but shipping at 2x cost of the grain is a tough sell at my house.

Edit: Disregard. I found a link to a retailer with your products that sell by the lb and oz unmilled. Cheers!

Edit 2: The cost per lb of Mecca Grade is cheaper on Corvallis than other ‘premium’ malts (Baird’s, Dingeman’s, Thomas Faucet, and Sugar Creek on Great Fermentations for example). To support a homegrown American company appeals to me.

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« Last Edit: April 15, 2018, 10:59:10 PM by BrewBama »
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Offline denny

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Re: Mecca Grade and other floor malts
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2018, 09:01:42 PM »
I linked the photos via Google photos.  That may be the problem.  I'll get it fixed tomorrow.
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Offline KLANNS

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Re: Mecca Grade and other floor malts
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2018, 11:23:59 PM »
Seth, has there been any thought given to flat rate shipping?  I believe in your product and would love to try it but shipping at 2x cost of the grain is a tough sell at my house.

Edit: Disregard. I found a link to a retailer with your products that sell by the lb and oz unmilled. Cheers!

Edit 2: The cost per lb of Mecca Grade is cheaper on Corvallis than other ‘premium’ malts (Baird’s, Dingeman’s, Thomas Faucet, and Sugar Creek on Great Fermentations for example). To support a homegrown American company appeals to me.

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Offline BrewBama

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Re: Mecca Grade and other floor malts
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2018, 04:49:07 PM »
Got your note. Thx Seth. I look forward to it.


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Offline Robert

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Re: Mecca Grade and other floor malts
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2018, 10:37:19 PM »
FWIW I can see them; I'm on the forum via Chrome on my Galaxy.
Ok, today I can't see them either.  Could yesterday.
Rob
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Offline Robert

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Re: Mecca Grade and other floor malts
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2018, 10:52:54 PM »
Talked to the maltster/owner at the new malthouse in my area today.  They're not set up to do direct sales to homebrewers, but he says he could sell through a brew shop. Had a really good conversation about malt, brewing, localism, his process and raw material sources and philosophy, even a hop farm I was unaware of.  Pretty cool guy.  I'm excited about the prospect of local ingredients becoming more available.  Now I have an assignment:  talk to LHBS where I'm a long time customer and persuade them to distribute this guy's malt. They do already sell hops from one local farm.  Hope I can jumpstart something.

(Not that I'm not still interested in trying Mecca, just that I'd like to see this happening everywhere.)
Rob
Akron, Ohio

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Offline Stevie

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Mecca Grade and other floor malts
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2018, 11:23:49 PM »
I heard on Alex Jones that this malt will make terrible beer that will likely become sentient and feast on babies.