Described as the first of its kind to be built on a commercial scale in the UK, the plant will enable Crisp Maltings to roast cereals more evenly and consistently.
Originally developed for processing seeds and nuts for the food industry, it will be used for processing both malted and unmalted grains, including wheat, rye and oats, as well as the more usual barley.
The operation is to rely on vibration to mix and transport the grains as they pass through phased conditioning and heating zones. It also has the facility for water injection – vital for the stewing-stages of some speciality malts.
Crisp director Rob Moody said the “exciting” aspect of the new plant was the precision it offered.
‘True consistency across batches’
“The roasting and colouring of each individual grain will be extremely even, and the exactness of control means there will be true consistency across batches,” he said. “The design offers great potential for new product development.”
Moody claimed Crisp would be able to create speciality malts with more nuances of colour, flavour and texture than ever.
“Brewers and distillers seem just as excited as we are about the possibilities it opens up,” he added.
Crisp – part of Anglia Maltings – has also installed a new bagging line as part of the investment. Running at 800 bags an hour, it will support the ever-growing number and varieties of malt demanded by the craft brewing and distilling sector – both in wholegrain and crushed grain versions.
Brewer open day
Brewers and distillers visited the plant in Great Ryburgh, near Fakenham, as part of an open day last month.
The itinerary included a visit to the nearby barley field, where a representative from local seed merchant H Banham talked through the technicalities of growing specialist malting varieties. Visitors also heard from one of the select farmers who produces trial crops for Crisp.
“There was a huge amount of interest in the trip to the fields, particularly from urban brewers, who have less opportunity to observe cereal farming close at hand,” said Moody.
Meanwhile, the slow-releasing energy properties of malt have been shown to serve as a vital way of counteracting tiredness and boosting energy levels, a study has found.