Wednesday, August 1, 2012

About Barley: From the Elevator to the Malting Plant

When Malting Barley leaves the Prairie Castle or Palace Elevator, it goes to a Malting Plant. 
Since our Barley is raised on contract with Anheuser Busch, it was a treat to tour their Malting Plant. 
We were asked not to take photos on our tour. So, although I will explain the malting process, this is all you will see of the Malting Plant. 
And yes, they have their own beautiful Barley field just outside their door. We were given a handout that explains the beer making process in four steps.
 The first step is Barley processing:
From the Barley field, to the elevator, then transported by truck or rail to storage at the malting plant. In this step the barley is cleaned and graded to provide a clear expectation of the barley quality before malting begins. The science of beer making is more complicated than I imagined.
The malting plant is led by a Brew Master. I don't know why that surprised me, but it did. The Brew Master and his team are responsible for the flavor of their product. There is precise science involved in the malting process, but before the malt leaves the plant, it is tasted. Despite variance in quality and Barley varieties, Anheuser Busch requires a consistent malt flavor. That is the responsibility of the Brew Master.
The malt processing begins with steeping. The steeping involves water, lots of water . This is where the  quality of the kernels can be impacted, but improving less than top quality barley is expensive and improvement is limited. Thus the strict quality standards.
Next the barley germinates. The malt process requires a live barley seed. The sprouting is halted in the kilning. The kiln heats the kernels and stops the seed from growing. This is followed by malt cleaning, aging, blending varieties and flavors and more cleaning. 
When the Brew Master and his team are sure that the barley has made satisfactory malt, it is shipped to the Brew House.  
From there Brew Masters turn it into beer and can, bottle or keg their product. Budweisser does have tours of their breweries which you can investigate on the link if you are over 21.
 We followed this tour up with a tour of the distributer where we learned about flavor profiles and craft beers. I know more about beer than I ever intended. 
Back in GriggsDakota we are combining barley.

No comments:

Post a Comment