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
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