Most Medieval Beer Part III: Malting the Barley

So we’re coming down to the line here concerning the parts. So far we’ve dealt with the hops, the adjunct sugars (beet sugar) and now the barley. Truthfully I am not skilled enough to do 10 lbs of Barley malting and then use it to brew beer in the amount of time I have. Nor do I have the space for 10 lbs of barley to be spread out and malting on my floor. So I did a small scale batch as an example:

One pound of Barley was spread on a cookie sheet and evened out before water was poured into the grains. The grains were stirred thoroughly and I made sure there was no excess water by tipping the edge to let the excess drain out. We then proceeded to let the barley do it’s thing. This process continued for 2.5 days and we slowly saw the barley start to sprout:

After 2.5 days I didn’t want the “beard” to get any longer so the grains were collected, dried as best as possible and then dried in a low temp oven over night to kill the barley and stop any further growth. By this point the starches should have converted to sugars. The result would be a browner appearance and once ground up, a tablespoon should have a sweetish taste to it.

Sadly, this was only partially the case. Although it wasn’t a completely starchy flavor, the sweetness left a lot to be desired. I’ve come to the conclusion that maybe another day of sprouting would have produced a stronger sweetness. Grains from malthouses look like this:

Regardless, we blended it with the remaining grains and the grain bill is completed and ready for the brewing process:

See how the Barley I malted shows compared to the professional malted Barley.

Our next posting will be the most involved and conclusion to the Most Medieval Beer Project. Stay tuned: