November 19, 2005

Burghead Maltings

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Barley intake at the maltings.


This is a photo from a tour of the Burghead Maltings, Burghead, Scotland. I tried to get a tour of the Roseisle Maltings last spring but couldn't due to Health and Safety regulations, so I contacted the ICBD, Heriot-Watt, and they arranged a tour at Burghead for me (nice, huh?). I was in Scotland for two weeks, this is about the only thing I did there besides work this time.
The tour was excellent. A couple of the managers there are taking some of the same modules from the ICBD that I'm taking. I was able to read up on the maltings process in a couple of my textbooks before the tour, so a lot of questions I had were answered, and actually seeing the machines and processes helps me to understand the text better. This particular maltings uses separate steep, germination and kilning vessels.

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Barley in the "first water" (steep vessel).


After the barley is loaded into the intake it is cleaned and stored in a silo until ready for processing. The first part of the processing is the steep, where the barley is soaked in cool water for about two days. It's soaked, then drained and left to air damp, then soaked again, aired, and soaked and aired (3 times total), in order to let the grain take up water, swell and begin to grow roots. This steep vessel holds 30 tonnes (metric tons; 1 tonne=1000kg=2204.62lbs), and they operate two steeps as a pair, simultaneously. When the steep is complete, the two 30 tonne steeps are dumped into a 60 tonne drum for germination.

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48 Steep Vessels, 30 tonnes cap. each.


Burghead Maltings has 48 steep vessels, each with a capacity of 30 tonnes, which operate in pairs. It has 48 drums with a capacity of 60 tonnes. The steep cycle lasts about 2 days, the germination cycle about 4 days. Adds up, doesn't it? Then it's off to one of 7 kilns. Four of their kilns can hold 60 tonnes, the other three can hold 120 tonnes. Kilning takes about one day. About 2000 tonnes of barley is processed into about 1700 tonnes of malt every week.
So that was a fun tour. Informative, too. Like I said before, I didn't do too much else that trip. I did make a couple of other contacts, though. One guy I met offered to take me duck/goose hunting the next time I was up during the season. Another guy I met said if I brought my fly rods that he'd take me flyfishing. Think I'll do that.

Posted by phanvey at November 19, 2005 10:31 AM
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