Re-assessment of the half-grain modification method for assessing malt modification

Roberta M. De Sá, G. H. Palmer

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    The half-grain mashing (modification) method proposed by Palmer (J. Inst. Brew., 1975, 81: 408) was reassessed. The intention was to quantify the differences in malt modification in terms of ß-glucan breakdown and clarify the relationship between ß-glucan breakdown and overall modification of the endosperm during malting. This was carried out at 45°C as well as at 65°C, the percentage of weight loss was recorded and the endosperm residue was analysed for ß-glucan content. In general, weight loss was related to modification. Samples, which were modified at higher levels, lost significantly more material during the half-grain mashing procedure than those which were under-modified. At a malting process time of 96 h all the varieties had similar weight loss. After mashing the half grains, the ß-glucan contents of the grain residues showed an apparent increase because of loss of non-ß-glucan materials. However, over the malting period ß-glucan decreased. Chariot malted faster than the other varieties studied. The ß-glucan levels of this variety were reduced by 78% between 48 and 72 h of germination. Significant levels of ß-glucan were degraded and large quantities of starch and protein were released. During the same period of germination, the corresponding samples of Decanter did not show a significant reduction in ß-glucan levels. In contrast, Brazilian variety MN698 lost endosperm material and ß-glucan rapidly by 48 h. These early results suggest that during malting, extract solubilization may or may not accompany ß-glucan breakdown. Therefore, ß-glucan levels in malt cannot be used as an overall index of modification of the endosperm. © 2005 The Institute of Brewing & Distilling.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)176-180
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of the Institute of Brewing
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


    • β-glucan
    • Barley
    • Endosperm modification
    • Homogeneity
    • Malt


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