Malt Sensory: The Hot Steep Method

Quality is at the core of Grouse Malt House’s mission, and we believe that every step in the malting process contributes to delivering an exceptional product to our customers. In 2016, we adopted the Hot Steep Method, a revolutionary sensory technique authorized by the ASBC (American Society of Brewing Chemists), to ensure that our malts consistently meet the highest standards in brewing. You can read more about our quality program here. Today, we’re excited to revisit this commitment to quality and share why the Hot Steep Method has become an integral part of our malting QA process.  

The ASBC Hot Steep Method: Developed by scientists Cassie Liscomb and Lindsay Barr, the ASBC Hot Steep Method provides a more accurate and representative profile of malts, allowing the tester to truly taste the essence of the malt’s flavor. This method has become a best practice at Grouse Malt House for every batch of malt we produce, serving as a crucial step in our quality check to guarantee that our customers receive malt with high quality and consistency.  

Why Hot Steep? Traditional sensory methods like chewing or smelling malt fall short of capturing the true flavor profile that will emerge in a brew. The Hot Steep Method, on the other hand, mimics the brewing environment more closely, offering a comprehensive understanding of how our malts will contribute to the final product. By utilizing this method, Grouse ensures that our malt characteristics align with the ASBC Malt Flavor Maps, providing transparent and accurate information to our customers. 

Enhancing Brew Consistency: Consistency is key in brewing, and the Hot Steep Method enhances our ability to deliver malts with a consistent flavor profile. This not only empowers brewers with predictability but also contributes to the overall success and uniqueness of their brews. 

Performing a Hot Steep Sensory: For those curious about the Hot Steep Sensory, we encourage you to explore the method and information outlined below. It serves as a testament to our dedication to transparency and quality assurance: 

  • Heat Water: Bring water to a specified temperature range. 
  • Add Malt: Introduce the malt into the heated water, allowing it to steep. 
  • Sensory Evaluation: Assess the malt’s flavor profile during and after the steeping process. 

Further details of this process are shared below. Other resources include a video of the Hot Steep Method.  

Get Involved: If you have any questions about the Hot Steep Method or want to dive deeper into the world of malt flavor profiles, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at info@grousemalthouse.com. Your curiosity and engagement contribute to the collective pursuit of excellence in brewing!  

At Grouse Malt House, quality isn’t just an end goal; it’s a daily journey, and we invite you to join us in savoring the difference that exceptional malts can make in every brew. Cheers to elevating your brewing experience with Grouse quality! 

 

Method 

Hot Steep 

Application of method: sensory evaluation of extractable malt flavors and aromas 

Target audience: sensory panels, brewers 

Supplies  

  1. Whole kernel malt 
  2. DI water 
  3. Thermos ®, insulated, stainless steel, 24 ounce volume 
  4. Thermometer, standard, 0-200°C 
  5. Heating apparatus, capable of heating water to 65°C 
  6. Funnel, plastic, short stem, 16 cm in diameter or similar 
  7. Filter paper, fluted, 32 cm in diameter (Ahlstrom No. 515 or similar) OR size 03 Coffee Filters  
  8. Electric Grinder, 3 ounce volume, 200-watt (KRUPS F203 or similar) 
  9. Glass Beaker, tall, 600 mL volume 
  10. Graduated cylinder, 500 mL volume 
  11. Analytical balance, capable of weighing 50.0 g (+/- 0.1g) 

Place approximately 52 grams of malt in electric grinder. Close lid and grind for 10 seconds, or until a course flour consistency is achieved (see Notes 1-2). Weigh 50 +/- 0.1 g malt flour into Thermos ®. Pour 400 mL of 65°C distilled water into Thermos ®. Cap and vigorously shake contents of Thermos ® for 20 seconds to ensure malt grist is completely wetted and mixed into solution. Let Thermos ® sit for 15 minutes. During this time, place filter paper inside funnel and wet paper with deionized water to minimize aroma contribution. Position filer and funnel over mouth of 600 mL glass beaker where it will remain for wort collection. When 15 minute timer ends, vigorously swirl contents of Thermos ® for 20 seconds to bring settled particles back into solution, then uncap and quickly pour all of the mash liquid into the filter (see Note 3). Collect and pour first 100 mL of filtrate back into the Thermos®. Swirl Thermos ® to collect any grist that remains inside, then gently re-pour back into the filter. Allow wort to filter to completion (see Notes 4-6).  

Notes 

  1. Evaluate base and specialty malts with 50 g sample (100% inclusion), buckwheat malts with 12.5 g of sample and 37.5 g of pale base malt (25% inclusion), and roasted specialty malts with 7.5 g of sample and 42.5 g of pale base malt (15% inclusion).  
  2. If different malts are to be milled, clean electric grinder with a dry rag between samples to prevent cross contamination.  
  3. Entire contents must be poured through filter at once so that the grain bed can settle without being disturbed. Filter paper should be free of aromas and large enough to hold the entire contents of the Thermos ®.  
  4. Filtration rate and sample yield will be influenced by malt type and modification level. Approximately 300 mL of wort can be collected in 30-45 minutes (serves 6-8 tasters).  
  5. In the event that a large batch of wort is needed to accommodate more than 6-8 tasters, the method can be scaled up by a factor of X, with X being equal to the amount of Thermos ® containers, filter papers, funnels, and glass beakers that are required. Blend the wort collected to obtain a homogenous sample.  
  6. Perform wort sensory evaluation within four hours of filtration. Serve at room temperature.