Day 27

In Ingredients, we had a visit from special guest Matt Lepke, National Sales Manager of Canada Malting, the largest barley maltster in the country. Although Matt sits on the advisory committee of the Brewmaster program, he wasn’t in our classroom in an advisory role–he was there to open our eyes to malt analysis. Canada Malting spends millions of dollars a year doing physical and chemical tests on every batch of malt that comes out of their kilns, but apparently there are brewers out there who simply stick the analysis sheet in a drawer when the malt arrives.

That seems short-sighted, since the analysis can reveal so much:

  • Are the kernels roughly the same size (easy to set the mill to the proper size)?
  • Are the kernels plump (good growing season) or thin (drought)?
  • Will the kernels mill properly–are they too crunchy (will crunch into powder) or  not crunchy enough?
  • Did the malting process modify the barley enough to break down cell walls and synthesize enzymes?
  • Do the kernels have the proper package of protein, starch, and amino acids that  will ensure healthy happy yeast?
  • Will the wort flow well, or will it be too viscous and clog up the lautering tun or filter?

And that’s only a few of the revelations the malt analysis can reveal. No doubt mastery of a malt analysis is part of brewmastery.

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