Crystal malt corn

All about grains. Malting, smoking, grinding and other preparations.
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shadylane
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Crystal malt corn

Post by shadylane » Sun May 10, 2015 4:50 pm

While searching the web I came across this information.

by George de Piro
Crystal malts are kilned in such a way that they are actually “mashed” in the husk. The temperature rests used by the maltster are exactly the same as those used in the brewer’s mash tun because the same enzymes are utilized. The wet grain is heated to 122 °F and rested for a short time in order to break down proteins. The vents in the kiln are kept closed during this time to keep the malt wet.

The wet malt is then heated to around 150 °F, again while the vents are kept closed. At this temperature the starchy endosperm is converted to sugar. After an hour or two the temperature is raised to the final kilning temperature of the malt, but the vents are not opened immediately. This causes the damp malt to expand, sort of like popcorn, and the Maillard reaction produces lots of caramel-tasting melanoidins. After a time the vents are opened fully, allowing the malt to dry and causing the sugary endosperm to become glassy.


It got me to thinking about malting corn and converting it into crystal malt.
Would this work or would the starches in the corn be too difficult to convert to crystal malt?
Could it be used with added enzymes?
I'm trying to find a way to use corn without dealing with the corn goo mess.

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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by Bohunk » Mon May 11, 2015 4:15 am

What a great idea, but I don't think corn has enough enzyme to convert it's own starch to sugar. That's why we have to use barley malt, for extra enzyme. That being said, I would love to have some carmel, crystal corn malt. Ummmmmm.
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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by Bobdoe » Mon May 11, 2015 12:38 pm

This looks like a cool idea. From a quick search, I see that the mashing step is more of a stew, with the kernels kept very wet during the process. Since corn kernels are larger than barley, I bet this would work fine as long as there is enough water to help the enzymes along, but not so much that nutrients that the developing cells that make the enzymes get leeched out before the starch is converted. Looks like more research and another series of experiments!

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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by shadylane » Mon May 11, 2015 3:30 pm

I've got a feeling this will be one of those experiments that will be time consuming and prone to failure.
Sounds like a good excuse to give it a try :wink:
First step will be to malt some corn. I'm getting pretty good at malting.
Soak grain for 4 hours followed by 20 hours of resting. Do this twice, drain and spread the grain on my malting table.
Keep the grain cool and moist. After a couple of days of gently stirring, we have green malt.
The fun will begin when I try to heat the malt to 150f without drying it out too much.

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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by firewater69 » Mon May 11, 2015 5:50 pm

I may try this tomorrow night, just finishing 20lbs of malt, what ratio of crystal to malt would you try Shady? I have 5lbs dried & 20 that I will start drying. I could put some on a baking tray and cover it with another tray to hold in moisture.
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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by shadylane » Tue May 12, 2015 2:23 pm

FW69 If I was making beer 10-20% crystal malt.
Since I'm just experimenting I'm going to use 100% corn crystal malt
20lbs corn was soaked for 4ish hours today and it's now on the malting table resting.
The quality of the corn left a lot to be desired, I'd guess 10% of the kernels were busted and can't germinate.

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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by firewater69 » Tue May 12, 2015 3:08 pm

Thank for the reply,I may give it a try on a small scale.
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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by Bobdoe » Sat May 16, 2015 1:01 pm

I have the following experiment underway:
Four glass flasks containing 60 cc of malted corn.

Flask 1: added 15 cc water
Flask 2: added 30 cc water
Flask 3: added 60 cc water
Flask 4: added 90 cc water

Sealed tightly with foil and held at 64 deg C. After 24 hours, it was clear that Flasks 3 and 4 had way too much water, which was brownish due to a lot of material being extracted from the kernel. The point is to obtain conversion in the kernel, so these two samples were a bust.
Flask 1 had almost no water left and Flask 2 had a few cc of unabsorbed water. So as of now, I feel that the 15 cc volume of water, for 60 cc of kernels, is about right. Maybe even a little less. I plan to let them sit another 24 hours at 64 deg C, then will kiln.
More later!
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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by shadylane » Sat May 16, 2015 3:20 pm

BD keep us posted on your experiment.
I wasn't planning on adding any additional water to the malted corn when making crystal malt.
The water inside the corn was all that was going to be used.
When the corn is finished malting I plan on letting it air dry for part of a day.
While the malt is still slightly moist it will be heated to 150F for a couple of hours in a sealed container.
Then I'll kiln samples at different temps to see what works best. After this I'll winnow out the chaff and grind.
Alpha and Gluco will be used on part of the crystal malt samples.
The protocol I'll be using is probably flawed but I have several months to practice before the fall corn harvest.

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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by woodshed » Sat May 16, 2015 3:31 pm

This will be fun to follow. Great thread.

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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by Bobdoe » Sat May 16, 2015 7:57 pm

Yep, this is going to be interesting. I had already dried my malted corn so had to add some water, which is why I set up the experiment the way I did. We will see!
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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by shadylane » Tue Jun 23, 2015 6:54 pm

Update the crystal malt corn experiment worked fairly good.
We probably got carried away with the temps and drying on the corn. It was definitely crystal corn malt.
The malt was ground coarse. Then alpha and gluco was used to fermented on the grain at 1.75 lbs per gallon.
The important part was, it was easier to squeeze the liquid out of the spent grain than compared to strait corn.
But a mash tun wouldn't drain it :cry:

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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Wed Jun 24, 2015 3:46 pm

How'd I miss this thread? Got some corn soaking right now. I'm gettin in on this one.
Shady, do you think the "mash in the kernel" worked for you? Was your crystal corn malt sweet in a way that's different from normal malted corn?
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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by shadylane » Wed Jun 24, 2015 5:39 pm

I don't have any hard numbers to share with you'all on this experiment.
Just guessing, I'd say the mash efficiency was low compared to regular corn malt.
The hearts had a smooth light corny flavor with a slight glycerin sweet taste.
We only made a small batch but agree it's worth trying again.

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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:21 am

I'm trying to understand what this can do.
It seems like there are a couple opportunities here.

If we take our malted corn and put it in an oven at 150F for a while, the starches could convert in the kernel. Then dry this out and clean up the sprouts and roots. At this point they would be little sugar kernels that could simply be ground up and added to water at pitching temps. No need to mash with hotter water. This might (or might not) make it easier to sparge to ferment off grain, or make fermenting on-grain easier to strain later.

Another thing could be to roast the kernels at higher temps to make the crystal corn malt. Once the malt has been at 150F for a while, and persumably converted in the kernel, we could immediately increase the temps to caramalize some of the sugars just like crystal malted barley. This would render some of the sugars unfermentable, but also would change the flavors that would go into the beer. I've use some specialty barley grains like crystal and special B, and they definitely carry over to the finished spirit. I would expect crystal corn flavors to carry over too. No idea what temps would give the best crystal corn profiles, but I'm going to try roasting at higher and higher temps to find out if there is a corn lovibond that I like.

I'm also malting some wheat, and I'm going to try the same process with that.
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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by shadylane » Thu Jun 25, 2015 3:01 pm

I think wheat might be a better candidate for crystal malt, since the starch in corn is more difficult to gelatinize.

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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by still_stirrin » Fri Jun 26, 2015 11:22 am

shadylane wrote:I think wheat might be a better candidate for crystal malt, since the starch in corn is more difficult to gelatinize.
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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Sat Jun 27, 2015 3:34 pm

Quick update. The wheat has malted first, like wheat does, and I got about 90% success with the sprouting, very happy about that. Acrospires about 3/4 to same length as hulls.
I kinda got ahead of myself and I'm not really sure what to do with this 50# of malted wheat now. I think my plan is to dry half of it and "kiln" the rest in 3 batches. The first batch I put in the oven this morning, in a covered aluminum roaster pan. It took about 3 or 4 hours to get it up to 150F at low heat, but I got it there. At those low temps I'm hoping that some conversion happened in-husk. I took that batch out and put it in an insulated box, and put the second batch in a few hours ago and it is just now coming up to 150F. I think my plan with this second batch is to open it up and start to roast it at 350F to make some "crystal wheat". Something fairly light, though, like a light crystal malt.
3rd batch in oven will get a more aggressive roasting, like a heavy crystal malt, golden and glassy.

Corn is coming along nicely and will probably be ready to start in on a similar process tomorrow. Looking forward to tasting this stuff as it cools down.
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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by shadylane » Sat Jun 27, 2015 5:08 pm

Just a thought, don't overheat the crystal malt like I did and caramelize all the sugar.
If you do, the sugar will be unfermentable

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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Sun Jun 28, 2015 5:42 am

I'm already prepared to declare a partial success. The grains that I mashed in the oven at 150F are dark and sweet, with a flavor much more complex than the straight up dried wheat malt.
I put the damp grain, straight from the malting bucket, into roaster pans. I had a thermometer in the oven, and another one in the middle of the grain pile.
oven 01.JPG
Here you can see the difference in color after cooking at 150F:
grain color.JPG
The darker grains have had nothing done to them except the cooking in the oven at 150F. No roasting beyond that. Wondering if the color and flavors are some kind of Maillard reaction? Is 150F hot enough for that?
The next batch I'm going to do at 150F for an hour, then take it up to about 200F to deliberately induce some Maillard if I can.
A third batch is getting a roasting treatment at 350F with regular stirrings to try to heat the grains uniformly. Not easy to do, an oven is definitely not a kiln. Sounds like a next project....

I've got to wrap up my oven work with the wheat today because the corn malt looks like it will be ready tomorrow!
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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Sun Jun 28, 2015 7:55 am

Shed smells good today!
Roasted "crystal wheat malt" at 350F until dry and a little crunchy. Went just past a grape nuts stage into dark toffee caramel. Stopped well short of a roasted barley taste.
If this won't provide sugars I don't care, I will just eat it out of a bag.

top left: crystal wheat @ 350F
top right: "mashed" wheat @ 150F
bottom: drying malted wheat, no heat
grain colors.JPG
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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:36 pm

I did some experimenting with the roasted crystal wheat today.

I mixed some with water at 2lbs/gallon and heated it up to about 150F but added no enzymes. Very strong unsweetened chocolate smell, like baking brownies. Added no enzymes. Got SG 1.04. I've pitched some yeast to see how much of that might be fermentable. Tasted mildly sweet, chocolate, a little coffee roast.

I mixed some with water at 2lbs/gallon and did a full mash on it with liquid enzymes. Again with the chocolate smells, got SG 1.062. Tasted much sweeter, strong chocolate wheat, no more roasty.

This was the malted wheat that I cooked at 150F for several hours, then roasted at 350F for a while, stirring it up to try to keep it heating evenly. Stopped when wheat was crunchy and starting to taste like toffee.

Interesting that I could roast the wheat to such high temp, generating tons of flavors and aromas, and still get such a good SG, will see how much ferments out.
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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:48 am

I think the "mashing in grain" idea works somewhat with the wheat, but not as much with the corn.

I cooked the wet malted wheat in the oven at 150F for several hours and it came out tasting quite sweet. I did the same thing with the corn malt, and while it does have a sweet roasty taste, there is obviously a lot of unconverted starch left in the kernels. I'm going to experiment today with drying the corn out at different temps to see if I can make a version of corn like crystal malt. Without the conversion of the starches to sugars first, not sure how successful it will be.

I am very happy with my wheat though. The stuff I roasted will make a good intense flavoring grain, and the stuff I toasted tastes much better than the raw untoasted malt. Only drawback to the toasting is that I've most likely denatured all the enzymes in the malt. I'm going to mix this up with some malted barley, so that won't be a problem when I do the mash.
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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Tue Jun 30, 2015 3:30 pm

Well, I can't do anything clever with this corn. I've tried cooking it at mash temps, maillard temps, and roasting temps. Corn just is what it is. I haven't been able to make it taste much different with any of those temps.
Time to just grind it up and make whiskey.
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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by shadylane » Tue Jun 30, 2015 4:01 pm

Sounds like the crystal malt corn, idea wasn't as good as I hoped.
But the experiment wasn't a failure since it led to a better grain.
I'm soaking a small batch of wheat to test the germination rate.
MCH keep us posted on how the mash works out.

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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Tue Jun 30, 2015 4:07 pm

Will definitely keep you posted on the wheat, I'm really looking forward to it. Even the lightly toasted wheat malt smelled like unsweetened chocolate when I ground it up.
I ended up combining all of the wheat except about 10# of the heavy roasted stuff, I'm keeping that out for some other recipe experiments. I do think the "crystal malt wheat" was a total success, I think it will lend a lot of character to a batch in relatively small quantities.
I had great luck with the viability of my wheat and corn both. Very few grains of either that didn't sprout.
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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by shadylane » Sun Jul 05, 2015 3:07 pm

Something I hadn't thought of but my friend Bubba pointed out.
Since crystal malt has been exposed to higher temps, there's much less of a chance of infection while fermenting.
One other drunken debate we had was. How high of temp can you heat sugar to before it becomes unfermentable ?

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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by shadylane » Sun Jul 05, 2015 3:15 pm

MichiganCornhusker wrote: I do think the "crystal malt wheat" was a total success, I think it will lend a lot of character to a batch in relatively small quantities.
Kinda what I was thinking. Maybe use the crystal malt for extra sugar, nutrients and flavor on partial mash.
In other words add it to a sugarhead.

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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Fri Jul 10, 2015 12:34 pm

MichiganCornhusker wrote:I did some experimenting with the roasted crystal wheat today.
I mixed some with water at 2lbs/gallon and heated it up to about 150F but added no enzymes. Very strong unsweetened chocolate smell, like baking brownies. Added no enzymes. Got SG 1.04. I've pitched some yeast to see how much of that might be fermentable. Tasted mildly sweet, chocolate, a little coffee roast.
I mixed some with water at 2lbs/gallon and did a full mash on it with liquid enzymes. Again with the chocolate smells, got SG 1.062. Tasted much sweeter, strong chocolate wheat, no more roasty.
This was the malted wheat that I cooked at 150F for several hours, then roasted at 350F for a while, stirring it up to try to keep it heating evenly. Stopped when wheat was crunchy and starting to taste like toffee.
Interesting that I could roast the wheat to such high temp, generating tons of flavors and aromas, and still get such a good SG, will see how much ferments out.
Update:
This roasted wheat malt fermented out to FG 1.011.
The way I'm interpreting this is that the roasting did produce sugars in the grains. Simply dissolving the ground up grains in warm water gave me an SG of 1.04.
There were still untapped starches there, so the liquid enzymes were able to take it up to 1.062. In the end, both samples fermented out to 1.011, so not much lost by roasting the grains, and maybe a lot to be gained in flavors from the roasty sugars produced.

I also did this same fermentation with the grain that I "toasted", drying the grain in a hot oven just until it started to be crunchy and turn color. That batch started at about the same OG 1.064 and fermented almost dry to FG 1.001.
Again, I think this might change the flavor of the resulting spirit. Just eating samples, I can say the toasted malt tasted much nuttier and wheatier than the air dried malt.

Though I didn't notice much change either way with the corn malt, I did roast it all in the oven to dry it out. I dried it until it was brittle and the kernels were starting to turn color. No noticeable change in taste, but it sure did burn off all the sprouts and roots. Will be interesting to compare this to other batches I've made with my corn malt to see if there is any difference to be had in the final spirit.

All in all, I have definitely become a fan of kilning my malt. I think my toasted wheat will turn out better than my air dried stuff, and the roasted wheat will definitely be a good flavoring "specialty" malt.
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Re: Crystal malt corn

Post by Brutal » Sat Jul 18, 2015 8:37 am

Love the ideas an info!
Steam injection rig http://tinyurl.com/kxmz8hy
All grain corn mash with steam injection and enzymes http://tinyurl.com/mp6zdt5
Inner tube condenser http://tinyurl.com/zkp3ps6

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