“So you just throw it out on the FLOOR?”, a friend asked me during a recent beer travel.
Yes, to answer the question that sits at the back of everyone’s mind as we describe our process, we JUST throw it out on the floor. However, it’s much more than that -- floor malting requires knowledge of biochemistry, a good deal of patience, and a whole lot of physical hard work.
Floor malting is a traditional method that has deep European roots and was the main method of malting up until the 1850s. Happening on that floor is a transformation of the grain from raw material to an ingredient with the available sugars and starches to aid the fermentation process once in the brewer or distillers’ hands.
What we’ll dive into in the next “Floor” editions of Farm, Floor, Kiln are the two steps - and the science happening during those steps - that lead to these grains being ready for our kiln. During the first day or two of the process we steep the grains followed by the germination process which takes 3-5 days depending on grain type and variety. Here, the most critical stages of malting occur. The effective hydration of each kernel during steeping is paramount to the malting process and is the deciding factor of whether it develops into a quality malt. The germination process is where the modification within each kernel occurs creating digestible starches and enzymes for the yeast to transform into alcohol.
So what looks like a mundane, or crazy, process when we have barley strewn out on our malting room floor is really the most intricate and scientific part of what we do at TexMalt.
View on to take a peek into that process a little further and we’ll be back with more stories from Farm, Floor, Kiln.