Wheat, oats, rye, potatoes, and other amalyceous or starchy materials contain starch insoluble in water and to render it soluble, and to change the starch to maltose they must be mashed with a certain small proportion of malt,— or grain in which germination has been artificially induced and then interrupted at a certain stage. This increases the diastase contained in the grain so germinated, and this diastase is able to transform starch into soluble form. Hence, malted grain gives lightness and liquidity to the wash, and prevents the starch falling to the bottom of the mash tub or "back," and also prevents the starch falling to the bottom of the still and consequent burning.
While all varieties of grain including rice are suitable for the preparation of malt, barley is preferred to all others, and is most commonly used.
The best barley for malting is that having the following characteristics; a thin skin; a mealy interior; grains of a uniform size; of the greatest -weight; which has been stored for three months. Barley on harvesting has but slight germinating
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