At Simpsons Malt, our malt production process is designed to only produce the very best malts for our brewers – now is your chance to find out exactly how we do it.
To answer the most popular questions we receive about our malting process, we are taking you through every production stage each week in July – from choosing the perfect grains to delivery of the final product.
Last time, we explored the intake stage, so take a look there to find out how the malting process is started.
We continue to reveal the secrets of our malt production in this week’s blog, which is all about steeping.
After we’ve made sure that we are using only the finest-quality grains, we move on to the first of the three stages known as the ‘wet process’ – steeping.
Steeping involves soaking grain in large tanks to ensure that the moisture content is at an optimal 45% – the perfect level to create our premium quality malts.
The aim of steeping is to get every grain to the same moisture content and ready for germination to begin.
This step is super important – if the target moisture content isn’t reached, then germination isn’t possible.
Within the steeping process, there are two or three cycles of wet periods followed by dry periods, which are called air rests. This soaking is essential as it signals the start of the active malting process.
Once the grain has been submerged and moisture levels are up to around 32%, we drain the water and give the grains an air rest. During the air rest, fans supply fresh oxygen to the tank and remove the CO2 caused by grain respiration.
It is crucial that the air used in this step is the correct temperature so it doesn’t impact on the temperature of the steeping grain, which should be between 10 to 15 °C.
Once the grain is soaked again, the moisture levels peak quickly to reach the optimum moisture content of 45%. We carefully monitor the moisture content to make sure every grain is perfectly prepped for the next stage of malt production.
At the end of the steeping stage, the grain is cast-out to be germinated, either as a wet mixture or as moist grain during an air rest.
Our grain is then ready for the next step of the malt production process – germination!
Learn all about germination in our next blog. In the meantime, if you’ve got a question you’d like to ask about the steeping process, get in touch with our team, or speak to us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.