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How Do They Process Barley?

There are 5 steps in processing barley.  These steps are:

1.    Barley Grading.

2.    Steeping.

3.    Germination.

4.    Kilning.

5.    Malt cleaning and grading.

I will endeavor to explain them one at a time.

Barley grading, barley is subjected to sieving and fine grading into
uniform size based on length and thickness.  It is passed through machines such as indent cylinders to remove broken grains, which in the process would not germinate. It is then passed through a de-stoner to remove stones and dust particles, then finally the output from the de-stoner is passed through a fine grading machine to grade the barley into even thickness.  The barley is then conveyed into batch silos.

Steeping, or soaking in water is the first stage of malt production. Steeping typically takes between 12 to 24 hours during which 1 or 2 times water is changed and corresponding air rests takes place. At the end of the steeping period the grain will contain approximately 38-40% moisture.

Germination. Upon completion of steeping, the barley seed is allowed to grow. During germination two major changes takes place:
1. Hormones are produced which stimulates the production of enzymes by the aleurone (or endosperm) layer.
2. Groups of enzymes are produced which act during the malting process and later during mashing.

Kilning. During this stage of the malting process, water is removed from the green malt. The malt becomes stable and can be stored without deterioration. It can also be slightly roasted to give it color and flavor. The combination of high grain moisture and high temperatures would normally destroy the enzymes developed during germination. Some of the enzymes must be preserved. The malt kilning process is manipulated so that the malt is dried at a relatively low temperature using high flows of air. Then when the malt is dry with moisture content of around 10%, the kilning temperature is increased so that the malt develops color and flavor. At the completion of kilning, the malts’ moisture content will be 4-5%.

Malt cleaning and grading. After kilning process, the malt needs to be cleaned and the rootlets developed during germination removed. These rootlets are removed by the machine called a Deculmer and the malt is then cleaned and graded before the final storage and dispatch to the respective buyers.

I hope you found this barley processing 101 interesting.

Source - The Malting Company