A number of homebrewers, even advanced all-grain veterans like Denny, don't own a mill at home. Many depend on the mill at their homebrew supplier. (Denny uses a friend's mill.) They buy their grains crushed courtesy of their store of choice. Naturally, life happens after we've crushed our malt and everyone is afraid of the ticking time bomb that is crushed malt. Naturally, since we're homebrewers we don't want to waste our
money ingredients if we don't have to - so can we use that pre-crushed malt? The belief is that malt, once crushed, is prone to rapid staling leading to reduced quality brews. Lots of various reasons but ultimately the cause is cracked malt is prone to moisture absorption and oxidation. How long is too long? At what point do you need to chuck the malt and start fresh or at least get your brewing act together. (See this is why Drew has a mill - he can't get his act together to depend on getting to crushed malt in time)
Brewing Sessions Needed:
- This requires some foreplanning and two sessions - so bust out your control factors!
- Buy two batches worth of malt for the target recipe
- Crush one batch 1 month ahead of the brew day
- Crush the other batch on brew day
- Brew these beers as close together as possible to reduce other factors (e.g. weather)
- Note any differences between the two brews in terms of gravity, clarity and color. Part of the theory is that staled malt will produce darker, less clear beer.
- Note the weather during the storage period - temps/humidity/rain/snow
- Purchase two batches of the target recipe - Experimental Wheat.
- One (1) month ahead of your brew day, crush one batch of malt and store in a paper sack in your normal brewing space
- After aging, brew the recipe, following all relevant instructions.
- In a timely fashion, brew the recipe again using freshly crushed malt
- Ferment both batches in the same space and under the same conditions, especially temperature. Match the fermenters and other equpment.
- After fermentation subsides, record the length of fermentation and the final gravities.
- Package the two beers in exactly the same fashion. (Bottle primed with sugar, kegs and force carbonated, etc) - Record packaging methodology
- Perform a triangle test and record the results
- Ask the testers for their observations on the samples. DO NOT Reveal the Difference between the samples
- Discuss the results and record any further observations