The Malt Kiln

The Malt Kiln

 

The malt kiln comes from V.Ulslev and was moved to the Open-Air Museum in 1925. From the outside, the kiln appears in its original form, but inside it has been reconstructed partly according to evidence found and partly from the owner's description.

 

"Water on its own was a despised drink, but became quite different when malt and hops were added.", or "malt and hops are wasted on him". These old sayings taken together with the fact that farmhands and maids checked up on the nature of the beer on the different farms when they changed jobs tells us that the quality of the beer was an important issue for people in the country in the olden days.

 

On most of the farms, the food the family and servants ate was rather monotonous, so a good and tasty mug of beer at the meal was important. Water was often undrinkable - especially because the dung heap on many farms was placed in close proximity to the well.

 

Beer was brewed domestically on the farm several times a year by the mistress of the house, so the taste could vary over the year, but also from farm to farm, as every mistress had her own brewing method. A part of the process in brewing beer was drying the malt. This took place immediately after the barley grain sprouted from the base, as if the top shoot appeared first, the malt would lose its sweet taste. Care with the drying was all important, as the taste and appearance of the beer
could vary according to how much heat the barley had been given or what sort of fuel had been used.

 

Malt could be dried with the help of heat without smoke on top of the subsidiary oven or in the baking oven, but larger quantities had to be dried by hot smoke in special "malt kilns" - a fireplace especially designed for this purpose. Here, the malt was spread out in the chimney stack on so-called "floes" that were either wickerwork frames or iron plates with very small holes that the smoke could penetrate.

 

The malt kiln could be built into the open chimney in the dwelling house, but due to the great risk of fire this engendered, one often chose to place the malt kiln in a free standing little house, as is the case with the museum's malt kiln from V.Ulslev. Several farms and houses could combine to have a common malt kiln.

 

The drying process had to be watched over night and day - the fire must burn evenly, but not too fiercely, partly so that the malt was not scorched, and partly to prevent fire from breaking out.

 

The malt kiln comes from V.Ulslev and was moved to the Open-Air Museum in 1925. From the outside, the kiln appears in its original form, but inside it has been reconstructed partly according to evidence found and partly from the owner's description.

 

Thanks to a donation of 40,000 crowns from the Trade and Industry Association in Maribo, the malt kiln in the Open-Air Museum was provided with a fine new thatched roof in 2006.