Purchase the best malt. A bushel of good malt will weigh from 41 to 43 lbs. Weight, however, is not always a criterion of value, for if a portion of the grain remains unmalted the weight will be increased, because a bushel of good malt when newly dried weighs about three-fourths of a bushel of the raw grain. Good malt is made only from the beginning of October to the beginning of May. Avoid that which is made in summer, and never use any which has not been kept perfectly dry, for dampness will injure its quality. Malt very recently made is not desirable for use; it requires an interval of a few weeks after leaving the kiln to cool and mellow it. Obtain a sample of the malt before it is crushed. The grains should be pale and bright in color, uniform in size, round, thin-skinned, break easily, and be full of a soft white flour, having a sweet, mellow, and very agreeable flavor. The grains should be as tender, and crumble as easily, at the ends as in the middle, and when broken and drawn on a board leave a trace similar to that made by a piece of chalk. The sample should always be tested by throwing about a hundred grains into a tumbler of cold water : the well-malted grains will float on their sides on the surface of the water; the half-malted will float endways, and the unmalted will sink to the bottom of the glass.
Brewmasters seldom used malt in which about one-fifth of the whole did not either sink or float endways, it may be otherwise with the very finest samples: this test will not apply to the 6 blown ‘ malt (a kind of brown malt) sometimes used for brewing stout and porter, for that will always swim on the water, in consequence of the greater abundance of air inside the husk, caused by the great and sudden application of heat when on the kiln. The malt should be crushed by the mill crushing is preferable to grinding examine closely the samples taken from each sack, to see that none of the grains remain unbroken, those which will be valueless. If the grains are of unequal size the lesser ones will pass the roller without being broken, or else the larger corns will be broken and drawn on a board leave a trace similar to that made by a piece of chalk, crushed to powder there will, however, be some flour, but the less the better, provided every grain is cracked. The malt should not be crushed longer than a day or two before it is used.