something I meant to do for quite a while was roast my own malt, so I finally gave it a go, and tried a few different things. A recent group buy with some of the folks on the ICB meant that I had bags of ale malt that only cost me about 85c per KG. Speciality malt on the HBC costs more like €4.50 per KG though. This means that if I make anything other than a blonde ale, my costs go way up. So I lined two baking trays with foil, and I set the oven at 100°c, for 30 minutes. This was the drying phase. I raised it to 175°c, for 40 minutes, for the roasting phase. Finally, I gave one tray 15 minutes at 200°c, and the other 45 minutes at 200°c. The one with less was to be a sort of amber malt, the darker roast, I simply called… em, “roast malt”. You can see on the crush pictures how they compare to the original roast malt.
I had one further idea. I have recently been roasting my own coffee beans from green, and although I used a popcorn popper for a while, as is popular among home roasters, I burnt out the motor one day by overloading it, so I reverted to the method I was originally using, which was quick and regular stirring in a wok over a gas flame. I decided to give that a go with the malt, in the hope of getting something dark like a chocolate malt. I used 300g, and I tossed them on a low heat, raising to medium after a while. All in all I woked them for about 25 minutes. The result was a wonderfully brown malt, which looked like chocolate malt, to me at least. It had quite a bitter roasty flavour when chewed. Here is a picture of it compared to some unroasted malt.
Roast malt, like home roasted coffee beans, require some time to develop their flavour. Apparently some of the harsher flavours dissipate during that time also. So I left the grain in some paper bags for a week or two before brewing with them.
I brewed what I called a harvest beer using this home roasted malt, and I bottled it this evening. I have had a few sneaky samples, and the maltiness is incredible. The smell is nutty and toasty, without being too bitter. The taste really comes through also. I don’t know whether this is the roast malt or the wok malt. I will be very interested to see how this fares after a few weeks in the bottle.