Hot Steep Training with New Glarus


Recently I had the opportunity to travel with Penny Pickart to New Glarus Brewing and perform Malt Sensory Training.  It was an intimate class with about seven attendees from the brewery’s operations, quality, and sensory evaluation teams. I introduced the group to the Hot Steep Method (HSM), explaining how this method provided more insight to a malt’s flavor beyond a whole kernel chew test. In the whole kernel chew test, a taster can determine if the malt is fresh and crisp or if it is stale and slack. However, the perceived flavors from the whole kernel chew test do not accurately reflect the extractable flavors that a malt will contribute to wort. The HSM gives brewers the opportunity to taste a malt in a way that is more relevant to the context of beer.

Set up for Hot Steep method.

New Glarus is fortunate enough to be able to perform nano brews with malts they are considering for their beers. They use approximately one-liter batch sizes to bring a new malt to the final beer state for testing and sampling. However, the HSM illustrated how they could narrow the selection of possible malts down prior to nano-brewing. For example,  if a dozen new malts are being considered for evaluation via nano-brews (which are time-consuming), the HSM procedure can help to narrow down the malt candidates to fewer samples. This increases efficiency as the HSM only requires approximately 30 minutes to complete.

A very common response I get when performing the HSM training is that the whole kernel malt flavor and extractable malt flavor can be quite different, especially for specialty malts. I always enjoy these types of outings and educating brewers and homebrewers about practical malt sensory methods that anyone can perform with minimal investment.

About Cassie Poirier

Cassie PoirierCassie earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, and a Master of Forestry from Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI. Prior to joining Briess, Cassie was a Chemist at MillerCoors providing support to the Hop and Cereal Chemistry Labs. She performed pilot malting and RVA testing for their barley breeding program along with EPR/ESR analysis for flavor stability monitoring. During her time at MillerCoors, she also served as an Official Taster on the Milwaukee Corporate Taste Panel. In July 2015 she attended the Sensory Panel Management course at Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago, IL. In her current role at Briess, she provides technical support services for quality assurance, quality control, and R&D projects. Cassie has also taken on the responsibility of enhancing and managing the Briess Malt Sensory Panel.

Posted in On the Road, Technical & QC | Tagged , , , , , , , .
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