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Report - Sleaford Maltings 15/05/10

Rookinella

I should have danced all night
28DL Full Member
#1
Visited with Speed and Dweeb.

Speed and I went here a couple of years ago but since we were in the area, we decided a re-visit was in order because it's fantastic :thumb

Check this out for further reading: http://www.theheritagetrail.co.uk/industrial/bass_maltings.htm

This is how it's made!

The beer making process begins with the harvesting of the Barley Malt when the 'kernels' (grains) are effectively in a dormant state, and contain a high concentration of undegraded starches. Alcohol production from the malt requires two important ingredients; nutrients to promote yeast growth, and natural sugars like maltose. These are obtained through 'malting', an intricate process that involves 'steeping', 'germination', and 'kilning'.

Steeping, or soaking the malt in water, generally takes about two days to complete, and increases the water content of the kernels from approximately 10% to 50%, stimulating the metabolic processes. During this process, the water is periodically drained from the steeping tanks allowing fresh oxygen-rich water to be introduced, and the malt is turned to remove carbon dioxide from the respiring kernels. As soon as tiny white rootlets emerge (known as 'chitting') the process is deemed complete.

The next critical step is germination, when the wet Barley kernels are spread out on a malting floor. With strict temperature and humidity controls, this stage usually takes four to five days and involves regular turning to ensure streams of controlled air are introduced to remove further carbon dioxide, and to prevent the rootlets from becoming matted. Once the kernels begin to germinate, the starches gradually break down into simple sugars. These sugars need to be retained so germination is quickly stopped by 'kilning' or drying the malt to about 4% moisture. This is achieved by blowing hot air through the malt to arrest growth and, by varying the temperature at this stage, the colour and flavours of the final brew is determined.


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