What Does the Malting Process Look Like?
Some of our brewers and distillers don’t need to know the details when it comes to the production process behind the malts we sell—they just want quality grains that are going to set the stage for extraordinary craft beers and spirits.
We get that, and you can always rest assured that we carefully tend to each batch of malted grain to ensure you’re receiving a consistently superior product.
But for those of you who are as passionate as we are about each and every meticulous detail that goes into the grain you’ll ultimately put into your mash, here’s a closer look at the process in one of our world-class malt houses.
We begin the malting process by placing grains into steep tanks. It is then submerged in water, carefully calibrated to the proper temperature according to the water sensitivity of the particular grain.
The grain soaks for 24 to 48 hours, allowing the water to break down its starch cell walls and proteins, increase the water content of the grain and remove carbon dioxide in the process.
This steeping period prepares our grains for effective germination activity.
Germination of the grain takes place in climate-controlled vessels, where temperature, carbon dioxide and humidity are automatically adjusted, and the grains are carefully churned over a period of four to five days.
The individual grains sprout rootlets, and small leaves begin to form during germination.
By the end of the process, the grain is now termed green malt and is ready to be transferred to a kiln.
The germination process is halted by drying the grains in a kiln with warm air, gradually increased in temperature from 130°F to 185°F.
This max temperature is sometimes lower or higher for certain specialty malts, some of which are subsequently roasted to achieve the desired flavor and color profile.
Kilning the grain drastically reduces its water content and prepares each Prairie Malt product for consistently outstanding performance in your mash or wort.