Firstly today, I would like to apologize for any typos in this blog post. I am currently typing on my iPad from a bouncy bus after doing more taste testing than I would normally do.
Today was a much more fun day than anticipated. We rode up to Chilton, Wisconsin for a tour of the Briess acting facilities. I can't disclose too much about the trip because we signed a non-disclosure agreement before the tour. Apparently, maltsters are very protective of their processes. On the way up, we had 3 hours, during which most people either studied or slept. I opted to study the previous two days of curriculum. It was nice to have some alone studying time to focus on enzymes that I haven't paid attention to in the past.
When we got to Chilton, we stopped at a community college to have a lecture on specialty malts before visiting the maltster in person. I was fortunate to be in a group with the head of malting operations, so we got to go into more depth than the other groups did. It was fascinating to see the steeping vessels, germination vessels, and the kilns and roasters. We got to sample some freshly roasted caramel 120 as well as some germinating two-row.
After the tour, we had a Q&A with the Briess staff. My question pertained to malt substitutions and how closely related a blend of caramel 20 and caramel forty would be to Caramel 30...the answer was "pretty close." However, caramel 60 and caramel 20 might not equal caramel 40. The description related to groups of caramel malts containing similar characteristic flavor with different colors. When I have more time, I look forward to making a blog post dedicated to this discussion.
We are on our way back to Chicago now, with a few coolers of beer to keep us entertained on the way back home. Cheers!