This is the second installment in the All-Grain Brew Day Walkthough, which started with a post on strike water preparation.
Once your brewing liquor has been made, tasted, and is being heated towards strike temperature, it’s time to turn your focus to your grist. The first thing you should do is take a few kernels of your base malt and chew them. Most importantly, ensure that the malt has not gone stale. Secondarily, note any impressions you have of the flavor or aroma. If you’re new to brewing, you may find it hard to describe what you are sensing, but you will get better when you have other malts to use for comparison.
You may also want to chew a few grains of the lighter specialty malts, such as crystal malts. Darkly-roasted grains — such as chocolate malt or black malt — are much harder and often very bitter when tasted alone. I usually just smell them to see if their aroma is good.
Record your observations in your brewing notebook or brewing software, and it’s time to mill the grain.