Over the past few weeks we’ve been hard at work making some much needed improvements at the malt house. The main focus (as always) has been the kiln. This little room has caused many a sleepless night for us, as there is no “textbook” method of designing, building, and operating these things at our scale. Our first design/build worked well, but didn’t give us the capacity we need to meet demand (or turn a profit!).
As the orders started to stack up in early March, we knew it was time to take to the next step forward. We enlisted the help of our friends Andrea and Christian at Valley Malt. After speaking with numerous engineers across the country who just didn’t “get it”, it was a welcome change to have an in-depth discussion with Christian. These discussions generated several upgrades to system…better ventilation, more air flow, etc. All of which will translate into larger, more consistent batches of locally grown malt!
Game plan in hand, we purchased a new fan/motor and scheduled our subcontractors to install the new duct work. Installation of all of this new equipment halted malt production for several weeks, but we are back online and moving fast!
The next phase of improvement will involve the installation of process controls. These gadgets will allow us to program temperature and fan speed settings for each style of malt we produce. We’ll even be able to adjust humidity and temperature from our smartphones…pretty cool, huh?