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Report - The Bass Maltings, Sleaford, 19th July 2009

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by layz, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. layz

    layz Conquistador d'Wolverton
    28DL Full Member

    Sep 21, 2008
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    Hey guys,

    I have already written a report on this place, and commented on the history so there is little use in repeating myself. Therefore in this report I hope to explain more about the malting process using pictures of the structure, for the benefit of those who visit here and wonder what everything is. For more information on the history please refer to my earlier report.

    The aim of the malting process is to convert starch (in the form of barley gain) into sugar (in the form of malt). Malt is one of the key ingredients for ale. This process involves various stages of drying, washing, germinating and washing again.


    Green barley grain arrives via train to the north centre of the site. The grain is hoisted to the top storey of a granary where it is passed into the barley kiln. This kiln is heated from underneath to achieve a specific temperature for the malting process. The adjustable louvers in the roof control the humidity.
    After this process the dried grain is stored in the central granary where it is transferred via conveyor to the 8 adjacent and identical buildings, (4 to the west, 4 to the east). These 8 buildings are all arranged in the same manner and work in the same way. Their number enabled malts of various flavours to be produced constantly.

    The crane which lifted the green barley sacks off the train:

    The Kiln, where the green barley was dried, note the adjustable louvres:

    The Kiln and central granary exterior, 'underneath the arches' the furnace was lit. Also not the remains of the conveyor to the adjacent building:


    The dried grain arrives via a conveyor to the floor above the germination level. Here machinery running off belts connected to a drive shaft cleans the grain. The grain is then transferred to the top conveyor and taken to the ‘steeps’

    The cleaning floor, note the drive shafts for the cleaning machines:


    The clean grain arrives via a conveyor to the top of the towers ’steeps’ situated on the south of these buildings. Here the grain is fed via gravity into the ‘steeps’ which are large iron tanks designed to soak the grain over a period of 2-3days.
    The wetted grain or ‘piece’ is then piped to the 3 germination floors which characterise these buildings.

    The top conveyor for the clean and dried grain:

    The top of the 'steeps':

    The steeping tanks:


    This wet grain is spread thinly over the concrete floors and allowed to germinate for 4-5days. Regular turning and raking of the piece allowed for aeration and prevented the grain from growing shoots.

    An example of the germination floor, in the fire damaged building, Ironically this floor has allowed for germination of a variety of plant life over the past 30years:

    How it would have looked:


    From the germination floors the piece is moved to a malt kiln in the centre of the building. Here the germination process is stopped by heat and the excess moisture driven away. These rooms are comprised of tiled floors with holes to allow heat to rise through the kiln, baking the piece. Here the malts of various flavours and colours can be produced by altering the conditions.

    The kiln room, note the air bricks and adjustable louvres:

    Final Preparation

    Finally the malt is moved to the northern granaries where it is ‘prepared’ by removing roots and weighing before being transported back via railway to Burton.

    The preparation floor, situated to the north of the kiln:

    The exterior, showing the 8 identical buildings and the water tower:

    Hope you guys enjoyed this report, took me a few hours and I hope I can provide some insight to those who visit the place.


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