The Chit #01: Barley Chit

Malting With Your Senses

Written by Christopher Abbott on July 27, 2017

This week, we wanted to explain the namesake of The Chit. First off, this content is a chance for us to chit-chat about malt. Secondly, chit is one of our favorite barley terms. The chit is the first sign of rootlet growth in a kernel. It’s a little white dot that appears at the bottom of the seed.

bucket of chitting barley

Maltster’s perform “chit counts” during steep to get a sense of how many seeds are starting to germinate. This just means looking at 50 – 100 kernels to see what percentage have chitted. Chit counts are one of the first chances to check on the grain. The goal is to have a 99%+ chit count after steeping. Pretty soon after the chit emerges, the rest of the rootlets appear, and you’ve got a little germinating seed!

image of chits at different levels of modification

Maltsters use lab analysis after malting to ensure quality, but, as a big or small malthouse, they rely on chit counts and other sensory analysis during malting.