Thursday, 21 April 2011

Coloured malts in the 1920's (part two)

Time for the remainder of Ross Mackenzie's discussion of coloured malts. I bet you've had a few sleepless nights waiting for it.

"Patent, Roasted, or Black Malt. — The first name was given because a "patent," or licence, was required for its manufacture when the malt-duty was in force. It should be plump and not too black ; the malt exhibiting a brownish fracture is the best. It is roasted in a large revolving cylinder. Owing to the necessity of buying these malts in larger quantities than are required for one operation, they are generally used in far too slack a condition for perfect success. A large part of the aroma certainly gets lost, and accordingly, the late Mr. Stopes pointed out the advisability of using patent malt fresh, giving the following detailed method of producing it on a small scale.

The apparatus consists of a perforated cylinder, turning easily on bearings, and fitted above a fireplace enclosed in sheet iron, which is extended upwards, so as to form a chimney to carry away smoke, steam, or fumes. The cylinder holds one or two bushels of corn, and should be kept revolving steadily. There should be a low coke fire at first, and afterwards, as the steam passes away, a brighter one. In thirty minutes a fine aroma steals from the malt, which should be inspected five minutes later, by which time a good chocolate tinge ought to have been acquired. In forty minutes tho operation will be completed, and the charge may be turned out to mellow. Mr. Stopes also pointed out that slack pale malt may be more advantageously used in this way than by redrying it for ordinary use.

This plan certainly involves trouble, but the advantage of using the roasted malt fresh is very great. Manual labour for turning would perhaps prove somewhat expensive, but moderate hydraulic power would perhaps do better than power got from the ordinary shafting.

The Manufacture of Black Malt.— Black malt is manufactured by placing ordinary malt directly into roasting drums and scorching it to the desired type of colour, without any previous moistening. According to practical experience it is advisable to have the black malt drums of such dimensions that about 2.5 cwts. of malt may be scorched in one operation. The drums may be heated by open fire, and for carrying off the gases of the lower one. The material is first heated in the upper drum, revolving about 9 to 10 times a minute. When the malt begins to show the first tints of scorching, the process is continued and finished in the lower drum over the direct fire until the desired depth of colour is reached. The lower drum makes 11 to 12 revolutions per minute.

In black malts roasted dry in this manner the husk is strongly overheated, which causes a profound modification of the husks. These black malts thus often acquire a burnt or empyreumatic odour and taste. To avoid these faults it is considered expedient to prepare black malt not from dry but from moistened malt. Instead of moistening malt it is just as good to use half finished kiln malt. In fact, black malts prepared from malts with a higher moisture content show a more uniform browning of the mealy body. The taste also remains milder, the husks being modified to a less degree and hence less quantity of bitter substances formed."
"Brewing and Malting" by John Ross Mackenzie, 1927 , pages 255 - 256.
Wondering what "slack" means in this context? Damp. That's the problem with roasted malts: they're hygroscopic. Leave them lying around too long and they'll soak up moisture. It's not the first time I've seen a recommendation for buying in a small stock and using it quickly. But recommending slack pale malt be recycled in this way is new for me. I suppose it makes sense.

Empyreumatic. There's that word again. I seem to remember last time it came up that we agreed it means burnt. Odd that it's considered a fault. I thought black malt was meant to taste burnt. Crispy golden black. just like bacon.


Ed said...

There's a fine line between black malt and charcoal but if the black malt is burnt it's no good.

Spencer said...

I was out for a drink with some colleagues the other night. One ordered a stout. Another said "You know how stout got started? It was because they burnt a batch of hops." I just sat there with my mouth (metaphorically) gaping in surprise. But I said nothing. It really wasn't worth it trying to correct such a huge misconception.

Has anyone else heard that particular myth?

Gary Gillman said...

That is wrong but it sounds like a misinterpretation of a story that might be true, namely that malt might have been over-kilned at one point, used instead of being discarded, and found to make a beer people would drink. Personally, I think that it was done originally to cover the defects of sub-standard grain, perhaps mouldy or otherwise off in flavour. Kilning to a high degree of colour would have disguised off-hues and part of the ill taste.


StuartP said...

There are also people who will tell you that curry was invented to cover up off meat.