01 January 2003
The malting process
Briess derives many different malt extract products from basic grains. Barley malt can be converted into a number of different products, depending on the time, temperature, and water volume called for in each recipe stored by the WinCC system.
From the main control room, an operator can initiate the process starting at the grain receiving area just outside the building. A typical batch includes 18,000 to 20,000 pounds of barley, wheat, corn, or rice.
Trucks drop malted grain onto a conveyor, where it then goes to silos. Malt then flows inside to the milling process and is vacuumed into grist cases. The milled product pumps into an awaiting mash cooker vessel containing warm water.
Enzymes in the malt begin their activation upon hitting the water in the mash cooker. Temperatures rise depending on the enzymes intended for stimulation.
The enzymes will hydrolize the starches, then break them down into sugars, from complex to simple sugars, which is how the natural sweeteners are produced for beer or food.
After the mash has been held at temperature, some liquid will be removed for an iodine test. An iodine drop will turn purple in the presence of starch or gold if the starches were properly converted.
Once testing is complete, the temperature is raised a few degrees to activate the starches and stabilize the mash. The mash is then pumped to the filter vessel, where the husk material is separated from the sugar solution or wort. Husks removed from the wort are used for cattle feed.
Wort is moved along through the process by a variety of third-party pumps, motors, and instruments. Drives and other motor controls are located in a room off the main plant floor, all communicating to the HMI and motors (1-60 hp) in the extraction process over a single Profibus network cable. Once complete, a liquid batch yields 17 to 18 pounds of extract or 12,000 pounds in powder form.