Whiskey from scratch
Malting is fundamentally controlled germination and is stopped before the grain shoots start to grow. This stage is broken up into three sub-stages; steeping, germination and kilning.
Steeping is where the grain is soaked with water because the grain embryo will only grow immersed in water. The water used in steeping must be alkaline to help prevent bacteria souring of the water. Steeping is usually done for 48 hours at 14 °C and the moisture content is increased from 12 % to 45 % (Boulton, 2013).
Germination is where the alpha and beta amylase (enzymes) are produced. Also in this stage protein modification takes place and the grain becomes softer. The enzymes break down the endosperm starches and proteins in the grain into sugars and amino acids. This is food for the growing plant. Germination is usually done for 4 to 5 days at 7 °C (Briggs, 1981).
Kilning is where the “green malt” is dried; the moisture content is reduced to 5 %. Some of the enzymes are unfortunately destroyed. The kilning takes place in 2 phases, the first phase is for 24 hours at 32 °C and the second phase is for 12 hours at 50 °C. The “green malt” is then transported to the milling stage (Lewis & Young, 2001).
Milling takes place in a roller mill where the grain is cracked open to improve water absorbing during the mashing stage. Grain must be dry before the milling stage can begin (Lewis & Young, 2001).
The mashing stage can be broken up into smaller stages. There are two types of proteolytic enzymes that operate in the first stage. The first enzyme helps with the conversion of the medium sized nitrogen proteins into amino acids and works best between 45 °C and 50 °C. The other enzyme helps with the conversion o...
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