Rick Jensen’s Thirsty Thirsday

Rick Jensen’s Thirsty Thirsday, Featuring the Bongo Zeptobrewery (4/4/13) – click to download

In case you missed it, I was on Rick Jensen’s Thirsty Thursday (WDEL 1150AM) last week. I had a great time talking about beer! Check out the podcast, and be sure to check out Thirsty Thursday on WDEL every week at 3pm. Check out his other podcasts.

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Crack that Grist

Crack that Grist

Not all malt is created equal…

I’ve been starting to get a more custom feel for my Monster Mill (MM-2).

A factory default gap will do just fine, but here are some things to consider when setting your own gap.

First of all, I’m still waiting for a feeler gauge to measure the size of my crack. You heard me! It’s in the mail.

You obviously don’t want to turn the malt into a flour, or it will not lauter well. But if you don’t crack it fine enough, it will not convert well. You want the white starchy endosperm to be well exposed, but with still a large enough husk to act as a filter.

Even after I found a good gap size for my base barley malt (85% efficiency!) I realized that the gap should still be adjusted for different malts.

First, consider highly roasted barley malts. You don’t generally even need to mash them, you could just steep them. Because their innards don’t need as much exposure, and since they have bitter husks, and also because the kilning process has left them brittle, you should go easier on them in the mill – they are more likely to be pulverized into a powder.

But where it makes the real difference is with other types of malt. Rye and wheat both have smaller kernels than barley – and they’re all shaped rather differently. Wheat is somewhat squat and round, while rye is quite narrow.

If you run wheat and rye through the same setting for barley, you’re going to end up with malt that has not been cracked as well. Lower efficiency. Lower extraction and flavor.

So please, separate your malts and get a feeler gauge so you can go back and forth between optimal settings.

Hop Jar

Hop Jar

I had been concerned lately that there were off flavors coming from my hops. Part of me was thinking, maybe I just wasn’t using them properly, but I was using them the same way I did before when I experienced success. I knew storing them in the freezer was good for preventing spoilage, but then it me – frozen foods can often take on the ‘flavor of the freezer.’

Wrap it up tight – a mason jar is good for an air tight seal. If I didn’t brew every week, I would slip the jar into a vacuum sealer for better protection.

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