Some Remarks on Flaked Malts


Mr. Harold Trinder in the Chair.
The following paper was read and discussed:—

Some Remarks on Flaked Malts
by J. A. Fawcett, F.C.S.

The terra malt is not restricted to germinated barley, but has also been applied, for many years, to any sort of grain which has been allowed to germinate and subsequently dried. Experience has shown, however, that barley is the fittest form of grain for malting, but no matter whether malt is made from barley, maize, wheat, rye, oats, or any other grain, the natural process is practically the same. The grain is first moistened with water whereby some of its constituents, and more especially the diastase arc brought into activity. Diastase has a double function, the first being to erode the starch cellular envelope, and the second to convert the starch into maltose and dextrin; on this account it is believed by some that there are two diastases. Besides the conversion of starch into maltose and dextrin other reactions proceed during germination—notably the conversion of the albuminoid matter of the grain into peptones, which is brought about by a substance, belonging to the same class of compounds as diastase, called peptase. These peptones, in conjunction with the mineral matter of the grain, assist largely in nourishing the yeast during fermentation.

Now as we have seen that malt is germinated grain, it would appear that we are not justified in applying the term linked malt to flaked grain. I think, however, that there is some justification for using the term flaked malt, for the starch contained in these substances has been modified to some extent and rendered easily accessible to the converting action of the malted grain which is used in conjunction with them in the mash-tun; and as we have seen the conversion of starch is one of the principal processes which occur in malting grain. Indeed, the chemical action proceeding in the mash-tun is regarded by some as a continuation of the malting process.

According to the results of a brewer who has investigated the subject, one quarter of flaked maize of British manufacture yields rather over 5 bushels of wet grains, whereas one quarter of average barley-malt will yield about 9 bushels of wet grains, and of course it is more advantageous to the brewer to have an increase of soluble extract and fewer grains than a light extract and more grains. But thin raises the question, Does the brewer get more soluble extract from the so-called flaked malts? For if not, and he buys barley-malt at the same price as flaked malt he must be a considerable loser unless there is some other advantage to be obtained by the use of the flaked malts. The consensus of opinion is, however, that flaked malts (particularly flaked rice) do yield 15—20 per cent, more soluble extract than average barley-malt although I am bound to admit that many brewers deny they get more extract, and some of these assertions cannot in fairness be over-looked. I have studied this matter for a long time and come to the conclusion that well and properly made flaked malts, used in conjunction with a barley-malt of fair diastatic capacity, should give an extract of 100—105 lbs. soluble extract per quarter of 330 lbs., and I am convinced that in cases where this extract is not obtained there are some local causes operating against the brewer which probably careful investigation would reveal. There are, however, well authenticated cases where the extract suddenly drops down, and this receives singular confirmation from the researches of Messrs. Lott and Hudson (this Journal, 1895, 1, 403). The experiments conducted by these gentlemen show that in one case, under conditions exactly similar so far as they actually knew, the extract went down, and they admit that they were unable to explain the phenomenon, although they suggest a possible reason, but one which is, however, scarcely likely to be correct, because in other experiments before and after this one, taking the order in which they are given, the extract exceeded that of the barley-malt alone. Other flaked grain besides rice and maize can be successfully used, but not with so much certainty. For when the oily matter is extracted from maize it has about the same proportion of starch as rice, and in materials, possessing so high a percentage of starch there is a proportionate absence of the nitrogenous constituents, and of these, I believe, gluten is frequently the cause of cloudiness in beers. In referring to the advantages of using flaked rice or flaked maize it should not be overlooked that beers brewed with a proportion of these materials “come to” quicker, and the soluble extract, not being so albuminous, the attenuation can be carried further, also a beer of lighter gravity produced, which is now becoming more in demand by the public. A case came under my notice in which a brewer employed malt from home-grown barley, and found that his beers would not attenuate sufficiently, or brighten properly. He was, therefore, induced to try a proportion of flaked malt, and immediately his difficulties disappeared. I have often been asked if flaked malts alter the flavour of the beer. They are practically flavourless themselves and take the flavour of the barley-malt, but if 15 per cent, of flavourless flaked malt is added to 85 per cent, barley-malt, clearly there must be a proportionate dilution or weakening of the barley-malt flavour, and this is still more apparent when there is a further addition of sugar. I do not overlook the fact that beers are affected by the character of the yeast, or that the beer has been treated with hops, which of course give the flavour peculiar to them, and this probably explains the fact that scarcely any alteration in flavour is perceptible in the finished beer. It has been found that the use of flaked malts at first tend to stimulate the yeast, and the crop is greater, but when, as is sometimes the case, the fermentations become sluggish, it is desirable to try the effect of a change of yeast or an occasional change of brew to an all malt (barley-malt) or malt and sugar wort. I am acquainted with a brewer who uses in some of his ales as much as 40 per cent, of flaked malt, but is compelled to employ a yeast food, otherwise his yeast becomes weak.

Before going farther I should like to again briefly refer to starch and diastase. Pure starch is an exceedingly stable substance. It may be unknown to some present that if dry rice, which contains so large a percentage of starch, be heated to a temperature of something like 250° F., and then allowed to cool; it may be heated even a second time without undergoing any change. It has been found that wherever in the growing plant starch is required to sustain life, diastase is always present. So far as we know diastase is inactive as long as there is a sufficient supply of glucose; when, however, this fails, it commences to convert the stored-up starch into sugar (maltose) to feed the young plant.

In reference to the manufacture of barley-malt substitutes, the brewer should possess all the knowledge he can of the nature and treatment such materials have undergone. He knows well the characteristics of barley-malt, and the same remark applies, although perhaps in a somewhat lesser degree, with regard to the sugar he uses, and it is only fair, proper, and just to him that if he is expected or desires to use a proportion of these prepared materials, he should be furnished with at least sufficient knowledge to be a safe guide for him, particularly having in view his responsibility to his customers and the vast interests he has in his keeping. I believe the absence of this knowledge has operated to make many brewers reluctant to use flaked molts, and where such has been the case I could fully sympathise with them. Indeed, I have been told by brewers that they would not introduce into their brewings materials the nature and manufacture of which they were not fully acquainted with.

Many patents have been taken oat bearing upon the use of raw grain and the manufacture of flaked malts, and I propose to make a alight reference to some of them. All the processes arc substantially alike in their general or leading features, and, briefly speaking, amount to this: Cleaning of the grain and subsequent damping, steaming, rolling into thin flakes, and drying of the flakes. In the case of maize the process is more complicated and difficult because of the germ and oily part, which is best removed by mechanical means. This oily portion forms a rich and valuable food for cattle. It must not be supposed all the oil is extracted, as it exists throughout the grain in more or less proportion, but well-made flaked malts should not contain more oil than is found in barley. I believe in America maize is specially grown of a variety which contains a small percentage of oil.

The following values were obtained with an ordinary mixed maize of commerce, which was carefully treated with the scalping knife and divided into four portions:—

These values support my contention that oil exists more or less throughout the entire maize-grain.

The late E. S. Southby was aware that preparations of grain could be used in conjunction with barley-malt for brewing purposes, if such grain was previously subjected to a temperature corresponding to that at which barley-malt was treated, and this was necessary to ensure a sound wort. In the early days of the free mash-tun, Southby took out several patents, including one for rolling or flaking the grain and subsequent drying of it by kiln or apparatus. Messrs. Gillmann and Spencer patented a process for exposing the unlimited grain to steam pressure with a view to bursting the starch cells before crushing or grinding the grain (English patent of 1881, No. 344). Lionel Varicas took out n patent in 1882, No. 3896, wherein is described a process used in America. I think I cannot do better than quote from his specification, but as his patent claim is for the use in the mash-tun of the maize-malt (so far as I know he was the first in this country to call this product maize-malt), it may be assumed that this process of manufacture was known or had been published in this country. I may say all the patents I have referred to have lapsed, so that these methods or processes are public property. L. Varicas Says “The maize-malt is made as follows:—The maize having been thoroughly winnowed, is passed through a suitable mill for removing the hulls and germ, and granulating the remaining portions of the kernels. The purified granular material (grits) is then subjected to a steaming action in any suitable vessel to effect a softening and toughening of the granules. The damp mass suitably drained or otherwise treated, to free it from the greater part of its moisture, is then passed between warm rollers, which will simultaneously dry and flatten the granules, so that the resulting product will be in the form of thin dry flakes. The percentage of this maize-malt to be used will necessarily vary according as the brewer desires to make one quality or another of malt liquor. As high as 65 per cent, by weight of it to 35 per cent, by weight of barley-malt may be used. The maize-malt is mixed with the barley-malt, and the mixture is steeped and mashed precisely the same as if barley-malt alone were used. No previous boiling or mashing of this maize-malt is required, because its proper reduction is as easily accomplished as the reduction of barley-malt.” L. Varicas also goes on to say (and his experience is from America, where the mash-tun had long been free): “It has been found in practice that the yield of extract from a maize-malt greatly exceeds that from maize-meal, whether ground from hulled or un-hulled maize.”

“Besides, previous boiling and mashing is dispensed with. All but about 10 per cent, of it is reduced or converted. It has been found furthermore) that the fermentation of the wort containing an admixture of extract from the maize-malt is much more uniform and perfect as compared with that of wort containing an admixture of extract from maize-meal.”

It is seen, therefore, that L. Varicas relies upon warm rollers for imparting sufficient heat to the thin flakes, that they will without farther treatment dry of themselves, and I believe this is the usual method adopted in America, but it has been found advantageous to dry the otherwise finished flukes, and to do this some form of apparatus mast be employed. In reference to this I may quote from Southby’s patent (No. 1269, 1884), for he recognised the advantage of further drying: “The crushed (rolled) grain can be dried and cured in various ways. Thus, the drying and curing may be effected on an ordinary malt-kiln, or revolving cylinders may be used with heated air passing through them. Or the crushed (rolled) grain may be placed in a case with a perforated false bottom and the heated air blown or sucked through the grain; in the two latter cases it is generally advisable to use a fan blower or other analogous apparatus to force or suck the heated air through or over the grain. The air may be heated by passing it over heated pipes or directly through a fire of coke, blind coal, charcoal, or other smokeless fuel, or in any other analogous manner. When steam pipes with steam at a low pressure or hot-water pipes are used no special means are required for regulating the temperature of the heated air, but if the pipes which heat the air are heated by direct fire-heat or steam at a very high pressure, or the air heated by passing it through a coke or other smokeless fire, special means must be adopted to regulate the temperature of the air, and keep it within due bounds before it reaches the crushed (rolled) grain.” Then follows some description of an apparatus fitted with valves for admitting cool air as desirable. Mr. Southby claims—”First: The preparation of grain for brewing and analogous purposes by passing it through a roller mill while it contains sufficient moisture to render it tough, so that each corn shall have its structure disintegrated while it still remains in the form of a crushed (rolled), but generally adherent, mass, and then drying this crushed (rolled) grain, and finally subjecting it to such a temperature as is necessary to produce a wort from it when mashed with malt of the quality and soundness required. Second: The carrying out of this by means of a roller mill and a kiln with the temperature regulated in the manner herein described.”

Granting that yon do not give the grain, subsequently to be flaked, a prolonged steeping, which is not all-important, but very desirable in the case of rice, you will see from foregoing description the process of making flaked malts is a rapid one compared with the time occupied in making barley-malt. Indeed it is possible to convert maize into so-called maize-malt in two hours, and the process is longest in the case of maize, because it has to be treated mechanically to remove the oily portion. It is advocated by some, and I believe substantiated, that there is an advantage to be gained by warming barley-malt shortly before it is used for mashing; and it has been asserted that the yeast crop is greatly improved by this process, and a change of yeast very rarely required. It seems to me that as flaked malts come more and more into use, which I believe they will, brewers following the lines they have in relation to malting for themselves, will also make their own flaked malts, and when they do this they can run the hot flaked malts into a hopper, with their barley-malt or barley-malt grist, and thus impart considerable heat to their grist, raising the mixture in temperature 20° to 30° F., according to the quantity of flaked malt used, the temperature of the mashing water being, of course, correspondingly reduced. By this method they would counteract any slackness their barley-malt may have acquired.

Since flaked malts are so quickly made, and during the whole process of manufacture are exposed to a high temperature, say, 170—200° F., there is no danger that they will develop moulds or bacteria; hence, in this respect, they will compare favourably with barley-malt, which has been, say 8 to 12 days upon the working floors, exposed to temperatures very favourable for the development of spores and mould fungi. It has been observed that when rice or maize is not properly cooked it leaves a raw flavour in the finished beer. This is not quite accurate, for it is the drying after cooking which is inefficient, and the same result would arise from using green or air-dried barley-malt, for you not only get by the drying process a malt or material likely to make sounder beers, but one far less likely to taste raw. I would, therefore, venture to advise or recommend all brewers who value the flavour of their beers to be careful to get well-cured flaked malts, even if they get a slightly less extract than by using a more soluble material. These remarks will also apply to the use of grain, when such is boiled or steamed in a separate vessel and made into a gruel; such grain should have first been exposed to a temperature corresponding to that at which the barley-malt has been heated in the curing process; but in the case of maize, the oily portion must be first removed, which with the aid of modern machinery is a simple process.

Probably you would like to know something of the cost of manufacture of flaked malts. First of all I would say that maize, wheat, barley, in fact all the cereals in the natural condition, contain about 10 to 15 per cent, of moisture.

The following table shows the average percentage of moisture in various grains, and is compiled from analyses of a large number of samples.

Flaked malts when properly and carefully dried should not contain more moisture than barley-malts, say, 3 or 4 per cent., that is, a difference in moisture between the natural grain and the finished malt of something like 10 per cent., which is a total loss of weight in moisture. Then there is a loss in the winnowing and cleaning process which, if the cleanest and best grain is used, will not be much, and the cost of manufacture, which will not exceed the usual charges for making barley-malt. Taking the dry and cleaned grain, you can obtain from rice 90 to 95 per cent., and something like 75 to 80 per cent, of maize as finished flaked malts, and, of course, in the case of maize, as I have before pointed out, you hare, as by-products, 20 to 25 per cent, of valuable feeding stuff rich in oil.

All malts and preparations of grain used in brewing should be frequently tested to ascertain the amount of moisture they contain. For the purpose this small inexpensive apparatus (exhibited) will be found valuable and useful.

Maize and maize-malts should also be tested for oil, which can be done by the other process.

To regard, as some do, beers brewed from rice, maize, and other grain (flaked or otherwise), in conjunction with barley-malt and hops as impure, is at variance with the teachings of science. Flaked malts will continue to be used as a brewing material, and beers brewed with them are, if possible, purer, and in many cases better than if brewed with barley-malt only. Those who assert the contrary overlook the fact that raw barley can be used in brewing as well as unmodified malt, that is, the portion of the grain which bag not come under the diastatic influence, and is known as the steely portion, is constantly used.

I now desire to draw your attention to the possible effect of the re-imposition of the malt duty regulations and laws in their entirety, as they were when repealed, but in addition allowing the maltster special facilities for malting foreign barleys, since under the late law in this respect he could malt barley by weight, that is to say, he could make a declaration that his barley weighed under 56 lbs. per bushel, say 50 or 53 lbs. per bushel, and the malt duty charge was calculated upon these weights, and worked out on a basis of 56 lbs. per bushel, and all the maltster had to do was to provide a bushel measure and scale and weights, so that the excise officer could test the declared weight of the barley, and also provide a wire covering, 2 in. mesh, for his cistern. The re-imposition of those laws and regulations in their entirety would not, therefore, help the British barley grower. Should our fiscal system require it, or should it be thought desirable to re-impose the malt tax or duty, I hope the advocates of such a change will be honest, and not try by side issues to brand an important industry with turning out impure beers.

The following is a summary of an article which appeared in The Brewers’ Journal more than nine years ago in reference to the Pnre Beer Bills :—

The Pure Beer Bills are more in the agricultural than in the public interest. Beer made from rice and maize in conjunction with barley-malt is as pure, and, if possible, purer, than beer made from barley-malt only, and the most delicate tests and analyses known to science have failed to detect the difference in the finished beers. But this argument was lost upon these advocates, and they relied upon popular prejudice. British barley was in many cases too highly nitrogenous to make malt which would brew the bright beers demanded by the public. No one desired more that restrictive measures should be brought to bear upon the British brewers than the foreign farmer and exporter to this country, as they well knew that more of their barleys would be wanted, and at the same time the foreign brewer, who well understood the use of these adjuncts, would be undeterred from using them because of the impossibility of detecting them in the beers. Hence, the foreign brewer could produce a bright and acceptable article at less cost than his British competitor, and so undersell him on the home markets.

I may quote at this stage the opinion of Dr. James Bell, the late head of the Inland Revenue Laboratory, Somerset House, who said, in reference to the contention of those who advocated that brewers should be made to declare the materials used in their brewings, and who asserted that beers could be analysed to detect these adjuncts (rice and maize), “I fear that those who expect analysts to be able to prove or disprove the truth of such declarations overrate the present capabilities of chemical science.”

The writer I have quoted also says:—If British brewers were compelled to declare the materials from which they brewed their beers, it is but logical and fair that other manufacturers should be put on corresponding or similar conditions. The corn miller who uses foreign grain in the manufacture of flour and the producer of woollen goods should also be made to declare when foreign or colonial wools or other materials were used in their manufactures. Under the old malt duty regulations the brewer was compelled to crush or roll his barley-malt on smooth or plain rollers so that the excise officer would be able to detect the use of un-malted barley, as it was well known to the authorities that barley as well as barley-malt could be used in the brewing process, and, further, if the British brewer was compelled to use barley-malt made from home-grown barley too rich in nitrogenous constituents, he would have to brew beers of high alcoholic strength as a means of giving stability to his beers, thus we should be further than ever from attaining the great desideratum, viz., a light pure beer, refreshing yet possessing less intoxicating qualities. The writer concluded by boldly asserting that beer was amongst the purest if not actually the purest article of drink offered to the British public. This was after the free mash-tun had had several years of trial. I have ventured to give you these references, because it appears to me they were far-seeing in character and subsequent events have proved their truth.

Mr. Marriott said he should like to have an explanation of the apparatus for estimating the moisture in malt which Mr. Fawcett exhibited. He should also like to hear a further explanation of the process of extracting the oil from maize grain.

A Member inquired if there was a greater percentage of oil in maize than in rice.

Mr. A. Rogers said that the paper was one of great interest, and especially that portion dealing with maize, which was the most economical substance from which beer could be brewed. He believed that rice had become almost extinct in brewing; it gave a thin taste. The author had dealt with the manufacture of maize-malt by brewers themselves, and that had been very successfully adopted by a firm known to the speaker.

Mr. Hipwell asked if any colour was produced from maize.

Mr. Fawcett, in reply, said that the apparatus he had brought with him was a simple kettle with a vessel fitting inside it. Water was placed in the kettle, and a previously weighed quantity of the malt to be tested placed in the inner vessel. The water in the kettle was then boiled, and the malt in the inner vessel heated thereby. The malt was never carbonised, because the temperature of 212° F. could not be exceeded. The process was continued until the malt ceased to lose weight. Maize consisted principally of two portions, one of which was very hard and the other very soft; when flattened by suitable machinery the hard portion was cracked and broken up into grits, and the soft portion was pressed into a cake, then simple sifting and treating with the blast would separate the two parts. The amount of oil in maize was about 5 per cent., whilst that in rice was under 1 per cent. No colour could be obtained from maize.

Mr. Marriott proposed and Mr. Lixley seconded a vote of thanks, which was carried, and the proceedings terminated.

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