Making Crystal Malt

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Making crystal malt at home is very easy and straightforward. It is a very rewarding process, and creates crystal malt that can be much more flavorful than is commercially available.

The Process

  1. Select a base malt.
    1. This could be basically anything as long as it has enough diastatic power to convert its starch to sugars.
  2. Rehydrate the malt.
    1. Soak the malt in chlorine-free water for 12-24 hours. The object is to get the moisture content to about 50%.
  3. Perform in-hull saccharification.
    1. Strain the rehydrated malt to remove excess water.
    2. Arrange in a baking dish so that the depth of the grain is about 2 inches (5cm). It is important that the bed is of uniform depth.
    3. Place a temperature probe in the middle of the grain bed, and place aluminum foil loosely over the top.
    4. Place the dish in the oven, and set the oven on the lowest setting, and heat until the probe reads 158F (70C).
    5. Regulate oven as necessary to maintain 155F-165F (68C-73C) for 90 minutes, stirring every 20-30 minutes. It is important that the temperature does not exceed this range to prevent enzyme denaturation.
  4. Roast the malt to desired color.
    1. Remove foil and set oven to 225F (107C), and roast for about 2 hours (stirring every 15 minutes) until dry. The malt should be about 20L at this point.
    2. If desired color is darker than 20L, raise temperature to 350F (177C) while continuing to stir every 15 minutes.
    3. Each time you stir, take a grain and cut in half to examine the color. When it is dark enough, remove grain from oven and let cool. The best way to do this is to have a small amount of the target malt on hand to make a direct comparison.