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Yesterday my brewday started with 3.2 ounces of water in a spray bottle rather than the traditional few gallons of strike water in the boil kettle.  In case you missed my first posting I wanted to make a run at conditioning my malt before crushing it which basically means wetting it down so I can get a better crush while leaving the hulls of the grain intact to help with lautering.  The spraying and stirring went easy and afterwards the grain had a wet and leathery feel to it rather than the it's dry usually texture.  I took this as a good sign so I went ahead with the milling which was more difficult than usual.  Perhaps it was due to the wetness of the grain but I experienced more trouble getting the drill to supply enough power to the mill without over doing it.  It was a constant state of squeezing and releasing trying to find the right balance which is noticeably more work than under normal circumstances.  

After milling I took a look at the crushed grain the first thing I noticed was that it was more fluffy in appearance and less powdery than usual. Upon closer inspection the hulls appeared to be more intact as well which led me to checking to see if any remained un-cracked.  There were none so I started up the strike water and went into prep-mode like any other brewday.  

This is were the story gets more interesting. For whatever reason my mash in temp was five degrees lower than I wanted.  I added some boiling water but only got it up another two degrees so I ended up mashing at 151 instead of 154.  Oh well right?  Same story with mash out; added what Beersmith told me too and missed by about six degrees.  Lautering however was alright which is what is important here in my malt conditioning experiment.  With nearly 30% Rye in my recipe the first runnings came out easily enough until it gummed up after the water dipped below the grain bed.  I don't think I left much in so I guess I was successful in this regard.   

Either through user error or some Beersmith fail (which I've found rarely happens so I'm guessing user error) I wound up with too much sparge water so I had to leave some behind due to the limited size of our boil kettle.  I also had a boil over and lost a bit of wort to trub in the boil kettle so I wound up with 4.75 gallons instead of five and still missed by a few points on my starting gravity.  All in all I guess it was an ok brewday considering it was 93 degrees outside and I was struggling to keep up with everything.  

So was it worth it?  Honestly I would have to say no at this point but I'm going to try it one more time just to be sure.  Considering the extra struggle with the grain mill, a slightly stuck sparge and no uptick in efficiency I don't really see the benefit at this point but considering the user error with the sparge water and every other little mishap it would be worth it to try again on hopefully a more smoothly routine brewday.  

First thing I realized is that it is hard to get a decent shot of grain on a cheap camera but here it is. You can kind of notice the way the hulls look almost unbroken in this picture.
A slightly better picture outside in natural light. Again, hard to tell but it is noticeably more fluffy and has less flour than usual.
First runnings. Has nothing to do with malt conditioning but I had the camera and I like this picture.
60 minute bittering charge of Centennial Type hops. Again, nothing to do with malt conditioning so know I'm just wasting your time and mine.
8/1/2012 02:30:52 am

Rye malt has no husk, so you can't condition it. It is also much smaller than barley, and can/should be milled finer. It sounds like the barley husks got too wet because the rye didn't absorb anything. When I brew with rye and wheat, I basically turn them into flour and add rice hulls to compensate. Don't give up on malt conditioning; my efficiency jumped 8-10% when I started conditioning and grinding finer.

8/1/2012 05:34:28 am

Ah haha.... I knew there was a reason I was doing this. Again, I never claimed to be an expert and now that you mention that it makes perfect sense because I knew somewhere in my head that Rye Malt had no husk. I guess I was mostly looking for an excuse to try this and have had trouble when using lots of Rye in the past so I got everything mixed up without thinking about it.

Thanks for that comment! I was going to give it another go on my next brew anyways.

10/5/2013 07:06:50 am

First time here at your blog and wanted to say hi.


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