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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Technology of malt production

Malt technologyBefore even thinking about technological processes used in brewing malt one must emphasize on the extraordinary importance it has being one of the basic raw materials for processing beer.
With its properties and qualities, malt is directly involved in the shaping of the character of each and every beer, whatever it is.
The following technological processes are to present a general but sufficiently clear overview of the nature and specifics of malt production.
Malt itself is a grain material, which may be the result of malting mainly barley or wheat. Since in Bulgaria only barley is processed the details will be on it in particular.
Production of brewing malt is realized in specialized factories or workshops called malt houses. They can exist as independent enterprises or be individual plants to breweries themselves. Over the last few years the trend is towards their separation from the breweries and their shaping as separate entities.In general, the technological process of malt production goes through these main phases:

Inspection of barley

Purification and sorting of barley

Storage of purified barley

Soaking of barley

Germination of barley

Drying of green malt

Separating roots from dried malt

Storage of produced malt

Inspection of barley

At this first stage , brewing barley is enrolled in the malt production facility trough railway or automobile transport and there is an initial mandatory quality checking of certain technological features- specific mass, absolute mass, equality of grain size, humidity,protein content,etc.
These parameters give clear information about the possibility of a certain batch of barley to be manufactured into malt.

Purification and sorting of barley

As different batches of barley contain a certain amount of impurities, that have no place and role in the technological process, then their removal is normally necessary. That is achieved through special grain cleaning machines, which remove the light and heavy particles. It`s important to note that there is a magnetic separator, which removes any metal pieces that could damage the following machines.
After the purification of barley follows it’s sorting by sorting machines. This is needed because barley grains are differing by their size, and that, subsequently could affect the soaking process in an unwanted fashion. The different-sized grains absorb water in a different way. The larger ones are more slowly soaked than the smaller ones and this is why sorting barley and dividing it into fractions is a mandatory task which provides evenness in the processes.
After the above-mentioned cleaning and sorting barley is transited to storage in the enterprise`s silos. During this storage barley is overcoming post-harvest ripening, which according to the specifics of the malt house could be during its arrival and inspection. Post-harvest ripening is of great significance, because it gives the barley the ability to absorb an extra quantity of water and subsequently to sprout.

Soaking of barley

Since the transformation of barley into malt is completed trough a series of complex biochemical reactions, for the flow of which is required a significant amount of water, and then an unrepealed stage of the technological process is the soaking of barley. The natural strive of every plant is to provide itself with a reserve of nutrients trough congestion of active enzymes and their effect on the reserve nutrients in barley are skillfully utilized by man in malt production. Barley grain is a living organism and its normal moisture content - 11-12% ensures the maintenance of vital functions of the fetus only at a calm state allowing the grain to germinate, respectively, to initiate its conversion into malt, it is necessary to activate it. This can only be achieved by intaking an extra amount of water. In nature this occurs naturally when barley grains are in the soil. In malt production, however, the additional supply of water is achieved through artificial saturation of grain with water, i.e. soaking. In this soaking, the moisture content increases to about 42-44%, which already allows the germ to activate, respectively, to germinate. Infiltrate water serves for reconstitution of the available nutrients in the grain and transport to the germ, which ensures its rapid development.
During the soaking process of barley it is initially washed and then subsequently soaked. It is performed in special purpose facilities, as methods may vary. It is found that alternating air and water pauses can affect the process positively, and of course this leads to a significant economy of a valuable resource-water.

Germination of barley

Once the barley grains have reached their optimum moisture levels and the cereal germ is activated, complex processes begin. To make a sufficient supply of new nutrients, there begins accumulation and activation of different enzymes that break down high molecular substances - starch, protein, etc., and turn them into soluble compounds that serve as food sources for the fetus. All of this begins with steeping barley, where conditions are created, and continues the next stage of germination. In this period we begin to use the term "green malt"
Germination itself is carried out in a special apparatus which creates all the necessary conditions for the flow of vital activity of barley grains. These conditions consist in maintaining optimal humidity, temperature and agitation of the grain mass. Humidity and temperature are maintained through the feeding of the so-called conditioned air and the shuffling is done by another type of device. Germination apparatus may be from different systems, and in Bulgaria there are mainly two types of them.

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