Home Roasting Grains

Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:56 pm

Does anyone roast their own barley here? I have found it a good way to reduce the overall cost of brewing ingredients since I buy pale malts in 50 lb bags ($1.05/lb)

So far, I have tried making crystal(ish) and munich, taking instructions from the book "The Homebrewer's Garden" by Joe Fisher and Dennis Fisher. Here is what I did for my roasting:

Crystal:
Soaked 1 lb of pale malt grains for 24 hours in water in a closed container. Dried grains in oven at 170° F for 1.5 hours, stirring grains every 20 minutes. Raised temperature to 200° F and roasted for 1 hour, stirring grains at 30 minutes. Increased temperature to 350° F and roasted for 30 minutes.

Munich:
Preheated oven to 350° F. Spread pale malt grains on a baking sheet. Roasted for 20 minutes, stirred grains, and roasted for an additional 5 minutes.

Does anyone have any tips or comments regarding roasting?
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JoeBeer100
 
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Re: Home Roasting Grains

Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:17 pm

I haven't roasted barley, but I made crystal malt from malted millet. I found that I need to have a probe thermometer in the grain so I can watch the temp exactly. I think 170 is a little warm, since you are essentially mashing the grain inside the husk. I shoot for my grain to be about 155 for 1.5-2 hours, then I spread the grain out and slowly raise the temp to roast. I tried turning the temp right up to 350, but it seemed to have a much more harsh flavor.
mpcondo
 
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Re: Home Roasting Grains

Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:46 pm

I've done a lot of home roasting and smoking of grains. Use Randy Mosher's Radical Brewing as my starting point. Great for hings like Amber and brown malt that are hard to find.
"If God had intended us to drink beer, He would have given us stomachs."
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Elbone
 
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Re: Home Roasting Grains

Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:52 pm

mpcondo wrote:I haven't roasted barley, but I made crystal malt from malted millet. I found that I need to have a probe thermometer in the grain so I can watch the temp exactly. I think 170 is a little warm, since you are essentially mashing the grain inside the husk. I shoot for my grain to be about 155 for 1.5-2 hours, then I spread the grain out and slowly raise the temp to roast. I tried turning the temp right up to 350, but it seemed to have a much more harsh flavor.


I agree, 170 is probably too high for conversion. But it's the lowest setting on my oven. Once, I tried maintaining the oven at 150 for an hour or so, but that was very tedious. The 170 is the air temperature, so I don't suppose the grain gets to 170 (i.e. cook a chicken at 350° for an hour, and it gets to ~165° internally). The "crystal" turned out pretty sweet, so I think some conversion took place. I agree, the 350 may be a bit high. It was popping quite a bit for both the Crystal and Munich. I'll see how the beer turns out.

Elbone wrote:I've done a lot of home roasting and smoking of grains. Use Randy Mosher's Radical Brewing as my starting point. Great for hings like Amber and brown malt that are hard to find.


Sounds like Radical Brewing is a book I should pick up. Thanks for the reference.
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JoeBeer100
 
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Re: Home Roasting Grains

Tue Apr 16, 2013 5:57 pm

Hey guys, I've had a lot of success with home roasting grain, and in a few competitions the home roast (I feel) has given me the edge). If you you want to, I have several blog posts about the topic and I have recently written a short book on the roasting. Unfortunately, it's only in eBook format on Amazon, but you could download the free kindle app for Iphone or PC. The name of the book is "Roasted: A Homebrewer's Guide to Home Roasting Grain" and if you are interested in the book do a search on Amazon through the link on the BN army site, they will get a little kick back :), I only charge $2.99 for the book because it's a fairly short read. About 50 or 60 pages depending on the font size you choose. A link to my blog can be found in my signature if you want to look for the roasting grain posts.

With that self promotion out of the way, I have made crystal malts a few different ways, and like brewing processes, each worked well but produced slightly different results. I have done crystal malts in a very similar way that you have suggested in your first post. I have also done it where I have soaked the grain (I don't do it for 24 hours, I find the grain gets too soft and takes way too long to dry. I Soak until the grain is soft and wet, which for me is usually about 4 hours or so) then heated the water and grain to 150, and maintain that temp for an hour to 90 minutes, then drain, dry, and roast. But my favorite, and the method that produced some nice rich flavor was to soak the grain, do the mash, then actually do a mini decoction mash with the grain. Then of course, dry, and roast it if you desire. I find the last method produces a much fuller and rich caramel flavor. No worries about tannin extraction with the decoction when doing this method. First off, this grain will end up being a small portion of your end grainbill, and if you are using proper mashing chemistry the tannin extraction would me minimal anyway.
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barleypopmaker
 
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Re: Home Roasting Grains

Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:06 pm

barleypopmaker wrote:Hey guys, I've had a lot of success with home roasting grain...


I just bought a copy of the book, and I am looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the great tips on home roasting. It seems like you can make it as complex as you want it to be. But, it can also be quite rewarding.

BTW, I am now drinking my home roasted pale ale, and it's going down quite well. I would like to dial it in a little better though.
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JoeBeer100
 
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Re: Home Roasting Grains

Wed Apr 17, 2013 3:12 pm

Thanks JoeBeer! I hope you enjoy it. I am no professional writer by any means, but it was the most followed and linked to topic on the blog, so I thought there was some interest there. I thought I'd try to get a bit more in-depth information on the topic as I could think of covering. I'd welcome any criticism you have as well, if you can think of anything that would need more data or if something is hard to follow.
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barleypopmaker
 
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