Flaked Barley

Journal of the Institute of Brewing  December 1941

By F. E. B. Moritz and D. H. F. Fuller

Attention has been drawn to the fact that although the past season has produced a fair crop of barley, most brewers may find great difficulty in obtaining supplies of malt adequate to their needs.  This is partly due to the absence of imported barley and of flaked maize and rice and to restriction of sugar supplies, but it is also due to shortage of labour in maltings and to shortage of malting space.  This condition of affairs was anticipated and for that reason investigations were put in hand to discover possible malt adjuncts which could be prepared from home-produced crops.  For this purpose the possibilities of such starch producing crops as wheat, barley and potatoes were considered, and, as an outcome, a product is being manufactured commercially in the form of flaked barley.

This material is mode from whole barley corns: crushed, cooked and dried; the starch contents are gelatinised by the cooking but all enzymic activity is, of course, destroyed.

Of several samples which have been analysed, and considered to be satisfactory, the results came as follows:—

Moisture          from     9-6   to  13-0 per cent, (on sample).

Extract            from     82-4  to  88-9 per 3381b. (on sample).

Oil                   from     1-05  to  1-12 per cent. (on sample)..

Total Nitrogon   “        1-84  to  1-18 per cent, (on dry matter).

Permanently Soluble Nitrogen from 0-114 to 0-245 per cent, (on dry matter).

The samples from which these figures were obtained came from various sources and presumably represented the products of several different parcels of barley, but in all cases the barley was of good quality and was understood to be barley which could not be malted, not because it was unfit for that purpose but because of the absence of malting facilities.

Flaked barley is an extract-yielding material and, like flaked maize or rice, is devoid of diastase; consequently—again like flaked maize—it is to be used as a malt adjunct and not as a malt substitute.  The proportion in which it can be so used will vary as between different breweries, but provided it is of reasonably good quality there is every reason to suppose that at  least 6 per cent, and at most 15 per cent, could be used without detriment to the resulting beer.

The value of the material to the brewer is mainly dependent on the extract it yields on delivery, and that will depend primarily on the starch content of the barley from which it is prepared and also on the moisture content of the flakes as delivered.  The starch content of barley varies within certain limits but a minimum extract of 80 lb. and a maximum of 90 lb.(calculated on a moisture content of 12 per cent.) can be considered acceptable.

As regards moisture: it would seem reason able to adopt much the same standard as in the case of flaked maize, consequently it should not materially exceed 12 per cent, at the time of use.

Apart from the extract and moisture of samples, determinations should also be mode of the oil and nitrogen.  Samples so far examined show that the material compares favourably with other grist constituents; on the average the oil content of flaked barley is slightly higher than that of flaked maize and about the same as that of malt, while the permanently soluble nitrogen is decidedly lower than it is in malt.  The total nitrogen is practically the same as that of the barley from which the flakes are made; but the permanently soluble nitrogen does not constitute any definite proportion of the total.

Flaked barley has been used in several breweries and satisfaction has been expressed by most brewers who have used it.  Its use is still only in the experimental stage and, in normal times, it would not be recommended for general use until the necessary time had elapsed to establish its full merits and limitations; but these are not normal times and the position appears to be such that, unless brewers are prepared to take the small risk entailed and to supplement their existing supplies of malt by using at least a small proportion of it in their grist, they may find themselves in a very awkward position indeed before the next harvest is in.  The hypercritical may not consider flaked barley an ideal material, but there is every reason to suppose that it will fulfil its intended function adequately.

Emphasis should be laid on the fact that flaked barley is non-diastatic and must, therefore, be used in limited proportion with malts of the best quality available.  The use of flaked barley may necessitate some slight, though important, adjustments in the mashing programme, and it will probably be found desirable for each brewer who uses it to do so experimentally at first.  In most cases, however, the ordinary mashing programme will probably be found to require no material alteration—if, indeed, any alteration at all.

42a, Buckingham Palace Road,
London, S.W.I.
November, 1941.

By W. V. Elwell

Having been allowed to see the above Communication, it would appear that experience in the use of flaked barley in practice may not be without interest.

Any difference between the use of this material and flaked maize or rice, is not obvious, like them it needs no milling, and only requires feeding into a grist elevator or other suitable spot by means of a mechanical shaker to ensure perfect mixture with the malt grist.

Its behaviour in the mash tun is also similar, and its use for some weeks up to 15 per cent, of the grist, has caused no trouble without rakes, though attempts at using 17½ per cent, nearly brought about a set mash and was not repeated.

No alteration in fermentations was noticeable, and yeast reproduction was improved, though this may be due to the recent cold dry weather.  The condition, brilliancy and flavor of the beers call for no criticism, though there can be no experience of their keeping properties in practice, for war-time conditions do not allow of this.

Extract is considerably cheaper per lb. than most malt at the moment, and is quite as high as is shown by analysis.

At its present price, here at any rate, it is regarded as a very useful malt adjunct.

Griffin Brewery, Chiswick.
November, 1941.

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