On The Drying And Qualities Of Malt

I shall here give a few observations on malt, which was my principal

reason for introducing this work to the public, well knowing that many

who profess the art of brewing have very little knowlege of the nature

and quality of the malt and hops they brew with.

Malt is dried with coke, coal, wood, furze, and straw. The best and

sweetest malt is dried with coke, or welch coal; because the coke, or

coal, give
a regular and gradual heat. Malt dried with coke, or coal,

will be of a bright, clean colour, because the fire is free from smoak.

It is also to be observed that malt dried with coal, or coke, is

generally well cured, that is, sound dried, because the coke or coal

fire is fierce and strong.

If malt is dried with a wood fire it greatly depends on the wood being

housed in a dry season; for if the wood is dry it will produce a clear

fire, free from smoak, and the malt will be of a bright colour; but if

the wood is wet and sugged, the fire will not be fierce, but will be

smoaky, and will certainly cause the malt to be of a dull colour; and

the beer brewed from such malt will consequently have a smoaky taste:

therefore it depends on the attention of the maltster, in housing his

wood in good order, for without that attention he cannot serve his

customers with good, bright, well cured malt.

I have seen very fine malt dried with straw, it being less subject to

smoak than malt dried with wood; but this mode of drying is very

tedious, because a person must always attend the fire. In those

countries where it is straw-dried, wood and coal is dear, therefore

straw is used as a substitute for coal, &c. However, if care be taken,

malt may be well cured with a straw or wood fire, but not to equal

welch coal, or coke, because the fire may always be kept up so as to

produce a regular heat.

Fuel being much dearer than formerly many maltsters are too sparing of

their fire; and here arises the principal cause why we have so much bad

beer; for if malt is not well cured, that is, sound dried, it will not

produce good and wholesome beer.

Malt may appear to be of a fine amber colour, and this may be done by

making a strong fire a few minutes before the kiln is shifted,

therefore the colour is not at all times a rule for its being well

dried. No malt should be used till it has been off the kiln a month, at

least; at the end of that time, if the malt bites quick and crisp, you

may conclude it is well dried.

It will be very necessary when you give orders for a brewing of malt,

to request your maltster to send the malt well dried; this caution may

induce him to pay more attention in the drying of his malt.

When a brewing of malt is ordered by private families, perhaps no order

is given respecting any particular sort, that is to say, whether pale,

amber, or brown, for these are the three sorts of malt; but many retail

maltsters in the country have but one sort of malt, and, in fact, one

sort is sufficient, provided care is taken to dry their malt sound, of

a fine amber colour.

Now I again repeat that the principal reason of our having so much hard

and sour beer, is owing to the malt being under dried; for malt is the

fundamental article in brewing. If a guile of beer is made from under

dried malt it will not be of a fine bright colour, and an extra boiling

of the worts will not have the desired effect: then you are under the

necessity of using finings and other nostrums, which are only

temporary, for no other ingredients whatever can be so beneficial to

beer as malt and hops, and if those two commodities are in a good and

genuine state, you will not have occasion to seek for any other art or

device whatever. Another considerable advantage will arise, for each

bushel of sound dried malt will produce a gallon of wort more than

slack or under dried malt; this is proved by brewing two sorts of malt,

that is, malt perfectly dried will discharge the wort freely, and the

grains will be dry and light; when, on the other hand, if a brewing of

beer is made from under dried malt, the grains will be clammy and

heavy, owing to the raw state of the malt, therefore a part of the wort

cannot discharge itself, which is a sufficient voucher that the

perfectly dried malt will produce a greater quantity of wort of an

equal degree of strength.

I hinted before that malt should not be brewed till it has been off the

kiln a month; but if malt is six or seven months old it will be the

better, because it will become mellow, and your beer will be much

softer and better than if used immediately from the kiln.

Between michaelmas and christmas the retail maltster's stock of old

malt generally lays in a small compass, and will be slack; I should at

this season recommend part old and part new, for the one will help the