- Malt Silos
Tuesday, August 02, 2005 10:06 AM
Subject: Re: Malt Silo
Steve - Just
Save your back, save time, and definitely read the article I wrote,
"An Efficient Grain-Handling System."
The New Brewer 11 (1), 1994. It was the transcript of the speech I gave at the
1993 Craft Brewers Conference in New Orleans, and it analyzed several methods
of moving grain prior to mashing in. A silo and auger system were by far the most
efficient and had the least impact on a brewer's physical health.
past, some grain suppliers had silo-purchase programs where you could pay off
your silo by paying the bagged price on bulk malt, and the difference would pay
off your silo loan. Since you'd have been buying bagged malt anyway, the pain
of purchase is zilch. At 1,500 barrels, I estimate you'd probably pay off that
silo and auger in about 2 years, depending on your installation costs, etc.
If you had a 15,000 lb grain silo, at 1,500 bbl per year, you would be getting
it filled about every 1.5 to 2 months, depending on seasonal demand. This is the
size we have in Eugene, for a similar annual barrelage. Find out if your bulk
malt supplier requires minimum deliveries, or if you can split deliveries with
other local brewers. Then size your silo accordingly. Don't get too large of a
silo; you don't want the contents to last six months! And try to knock out ALL
the husk clinging to the cone (and sides), or at least as much as possible between
deliveries with an extra long-handled broom. (Do this safely with goggles and
dust mask on, and ropes and a spotter, as per OSHA requirements, if you are on
top of the silo.) Grain beetles and other varmints like to hang out in the husk
material because it has a higher moisture content than the rest of the malt. You
can save that husk material and substitute it for rice hulls later - to help out
your grain bed when you're making a huge wheat beer or other beer with a lot of
I have no idea if freezing presents a problem mechanically.
It freezes here once in a while, but I've never noticed a mechanical problem.
The only thing I can think of, is that normally your silo is outside, so the grain
is super-cold when you go to mash in. If you've got a grist case, mill the night
before you brew. That way your grain has a chance to warm up before you mash in.
Otherwise you'll need hotter liquor back water in the winter.
in Oregon like crazy, so we silicone caulk the silo and create a line of silicone
around the cone, part-way down, for a "rain skirt". This keeps the water
from running down into the junction where the cone meets the auger.
a huge proponent of silos, augers, and bulk malt. I recommend you go for it, and
don't think twice!
advice still stands: Just do it. Automating your grain-handling will not make
your beer any less "hand made." However, it may keep you in business,
keep your back in good shape, and keep you from having to pay Workman's Comp on