Saturday, 12 October 2019

A visit to Weyermann maltings

Weyermann are known for making an interesting range of malts. And they're clearly paranoid that their competitors will nick ideas from them as they didn't want us taking pictures in the maltings, and banned the maltsters on the study tour from visiting. It's just as well I no longer have the word "maltster" in my job title.

The company started out transporting goods and founded the maltings in 1879. The were making erzats coffee from roasted cereals and wanted to roast grains for beer but due to the reinheitsgebot had to malt the grains first. 

They moved away from floor malting when they build a pneumatic malting in 1904. They also have an extract brewery, where sinamar (the reinheitsgebot compliant way of colouring beer) is made. They malt barley, wheat, rye and spelt, making 85 different malts from the four grains.

They steep the grains at 20°C from 12% moisture to over 40%. Germination takes place in Saladin boxes and after that green malt goes to the kilns for base malts, the roaster for caramel malts and kiln then roaster for roasted grains. They have 4 x 60 tonne steeping vessels, 8 x 120 tonne germination boxes and 4 x kilns. Steeping to for 2 hours, then 20 hour air rest with spraying, then 2 hours steep.

The speciality malts they make include acid malt (bacteria are sprayed on during germination), beech smoked malt, oak smoked wheat malt and de-husked chocolate malt  called cara-fa i.e. caramel and farbe (colour). 80% of the husk is removed before malting in rotating drums. This has to be done carefully and they can't remove 100% of they will damage the grains embryo and the grain needs to be living to malt.

Fifteen to 20 trucks of grain arrive per day. They are tested on arrival for bugs, moisture, grain size and tetrazolium staining for seed viability (need over 96% from 50 grains). If the results are OK the truck can be unloaded. 

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