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Barley stalk in my malt?

I just purchased the Belgian Strong Golden Ale all grain kit from NB and as I was milling my grain I noticed a piece or two of what appeared to be barley stalk about an inch or so long. I pulled them out and tossed them.

I just mashed in and it seems at there was a lot of stalk in with the malt. Thankfully they floated to the top and I was able to pull 30 or pieces out of my mash. Not wanting to lose more temp than necessary I got most of it out and shut my cooler. I’m pretty sure I didn’t get it all… is this something that is going to impact my beer? I’ve done upwards of 80 AG batches and have never seen stalk in with the malt before… even when I’ve purchased entire sacks of grain.

Can someone tell me to relax? Or do I need to get my hands back in there?


Definitely relax. I’m not sure what it could do to your beer, but opening your mash tun to mess with will definitely affect your mash temp. Worst case I see is your yield is low as you had enough stalks to throw your weights off.

That’s funny, you found stalk, I take that as a good sign, not too far from the field perhaps. When I read your post it reminded me of a time when I was waiting tables at Wolfgang Puck and a customer couldn’t believe that they had found a bone in their chicken dish. It was one of those, “maybe we will get something free out of this” moments. I just asked them if they had ever ran across a bone at McDonalds, and left it at that.

Stalks are light compared to malt so I don’t think it’d affect weight. Does sound like you got a batch that was a little less cleaned than it should have been. I don’t think it will affect anything though. I think I’d rather have some stalks than a lot of fines, you get that out of the bottom of a sack.

I made the all grain Patersbier kit a few weeks ago and I noticed the same thing. A lot of dark stalks in the mash. As I was reading the OP post I was watching a big green John Deer combine drive down the road out my window. Just wondering if the combine is supposed to completely separate the barley kernels from the chaff. It always amazes me how little field debris there is in the harvested grain.

My guess is that the stalks just got moved along in the malting process and even the light kilning that Pils malt gets is enough to really darken the stalks. I wasn’t too worried about it but now that I think of it I wonder if all those dark stalks in my “supposedly” very pale Patersbier will darken the brew? I am racking it out of the bucket this week end. We’ll see…

Also I wonder if we should let NB know about this issue with their Pils supplier???

I recently had the same issue with a sack of Crisp Maris Otter. Quite a few 1" - 2" pieces of stalk in with the grain. I picked them out as I saw them, but didn;t go out of my way to clean them all out. I haven’t noticed the slightest difference in the end product due to barley stalk pieces in the mash.

I’ve found stalks and a small piece of shale (?) in MO. Like gregscsu, I only pick out what I see. Slightly related topic, what about leaves in whole hops?

I only pick out the stems and leaf pieces I see from my hops. Again never noticed a difference in the end product.

Never had a problem with a little leaf material in hops. Theres a little chlorophyl in hops anyway so its not like the leaf stuff is bringing something new to the kettle.

Cool. I figured they probably get ground up when they make pellets. Mike

Stalks don’t affect anything in mashing, except for the tiny amount of space they take up.

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