March 20, 2016
peater for peating malted grains
burning peat to flavor malted grains
Grains over smoking peat
Grains after being dried

Yes, it’s exactly what you’re thinking … a device for adding peat flavor and aroma to malted grains.

At the end of malting, the process of conversion is stopped by drying the grains through low heat. The heat normally stays below 130° to prevent burning the grains which is also just enough for the peat to burn slowly and make lots of smoke. After about one hour of smoking, the grains should be dried and will have enough peat permeating the seed husk to give a nice flavor to the finished product.

Peating grains is especially important to Scotch distillers, some of whom trademark the peaty flavor of their whisky to protect their product’s distinctive flavor.

Although I like my peater very much, commercial distilleries use a kiln, to dry and heat the grains post-malting. The kiln maintains temperature and allows more volume than my converted barbecue grill.

What’s cool about peating is the flavor added at the end of malting carries through the phases of liquor production, including fermenting and distilling. Having completed the peating myself, I’m looking forward to using my malt to produce a smoky flavored alcohol.  I’ll keep you posted.

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March 6, 2016
grains moistened for malting
Grains sprouting acrospire during malting
grains growing an acrospire during malting
Grains fully sprouted during malting

Great whisky is made by distilling a fermented brew called distiller’s beer, made from grains including barley, corn, wheat, rye and oats.

Like any seed, grains need nutrients to grow. Nature provides nutrients for early growth in the form of starch that can’t be consumed without an initial conversion. Being difficult to consume protects the starch from bacteria and other organisms that would attack the seed.

Before fermenting, we convert the starch to an easily consumed state through a process called malting. The grains are brought to the start of germination until the seed embryo, called an acrospire grows out from the seed. Growth is stopped by drying the seeds and applying heat, leaving the remaining starch and enzymes from the seed.

Now the grains are ready for mashing.

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