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The Malt Board: September/October 2016

Always Take a Close Look at Your Barley!

By Aaron MacLeod, Director, Center for Craft Food and Beverage, Hartwick College. 

Harvest season is well underway or completed in many parts of the country, so many of you are in the process of selecting barley to purchase for the upcoming year. Laboratory testing can provide critical information for identifying barley that will perform well in the malthouse but the lab reports do not tell the whole story! [READ MORE]

NDSU and the CMG Announce Joint Deoxynivalenol (DON) Testing Project

By Paul Schwarz, Director, Institute of Barley and Malt Sciences, North Dakota State University,  and Jackie Billings.

The Craft Malt Guild and North Dakota State University have initiated a joint research project that will provide information on DON levels in craft malts. [READ MORE]

Maltsters, Musings, and Michigan

By Andrea Stanley.

A friend recently shared an African proverb, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” [READ MORE]

Introducing: 2016 ADI Scholarship Recipients!

By Jackie Billings.

The Craft Maltsters Guild is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 American Distilling Institute Scholarships to attend the North Dakota State University Malt and Barley short course! [READ MORE]

Member Corner

Take a look at our member corner for announcements, reminders, and updates! [READ MORE]


Always Take a Close Look at Your Barley!

By Aaron MacLeod, Director, Center for Craft Food and Beverage, Hartwick College. 

Harvest season is well underway or completed in many parts of the country, so many of you are in the process of selecting barley to purchase for the upcoming year. Laboratory testing can provide critical information for identifying barley that will perform well in the malthouse but the lab reports do not tell the whole story!

It is equally important that you conduct a thorough visual assessment of any grain samples that you are considering for purchase.  Visual characteristics of a sample can reveal much about its quality.  Never purchase a barley lot based on a lab report alone. Always ask for a sample and take a close look at the physical condition of the grain.

Some things to watch for which can have a detrimental effect on malting quality:

  • Skinned kernels can be caused by rough handling of grain post-harvest, improper combine settings, or very low moisture content which can make the hulls brittle and susceptible to damage and loss.  The hull provides protection for the acrospire during malting, and the brewer needs the husks intact for lautering.  Barley selected for malting should have less than 5% skinned kernels (missing or broken hulls).
  • Mold damage or blighted kernels contribute to a number of problems. These result from poor growing conditions or improper storage. Such diseased kernels reduce the storage potential of the barley and lead to reduced or uneven germination. In addition, affected kernels result in off flavors or the presence of mycotoxins which are not acceptable in end products. Mold on kernels can grow vigorously during the malting process compounding these problems.  DON is routinely measured as an indication of the presence of Fusarium, but low DON levels do not guarantee the absence of other species of fungi or mold.
  • Foreign matter such as stones or earth pellets, ergot bodies, treated seeds or fertilizer pellets are not permissible.  Tolerances levels for these in barley for malting are very low.  Nobody wants any of this material to get into the brewery.
  • Seeds of other grains such as wheat, oats, etc. can be difficult or impossible to remove using standard cleaning techniques, and will negatively affect the composition of the finished malt.
  • Live insects are not something that you want to bring to your malthouse. Evidence of insect or weevil damage in grain can appear as holes or tunnels which have been bored into the grain.
  • Odors can also be an indication of problems with quality.  Sweet or damp odors can indicate high moisture content, which can make the grain lose quality during storage. Musty odors indicate mold or mildew from field conditions, high moisture, or poor storage.  Trust your senses!

The USDA Grain Inspection Service has visual reference library on their website that can be useful in helping to identify these factors:  https://www.gipsa.usda.gov/vri/barley_1.aspx

Remember that good quality malt can only come from good quality barley.

Happy malting!

 

NDSU and the CMG Announce Joint Deoxynivalenol (DON) Testing Project

By Paul Schwarz, Director, Institute of Barley and Malt Sciences, North Dakota State University,  and Jackie Billings.

The Craft Malt Guild and North Dakota State University have initiated a joint research project that will provide information on DON levels in craft malts. The presence of the mycotoxin DON is serious problem facing producers and maltsters in many regions of the country. In years which Fusarium Head Blight is prevalent, a challenge will be the production of malts with low to non-detectable levels of DON.

“There is strong evidence to suggest that FHB infected barley samples do not behave uniformly in malting in terms of DON levels,” says Dr. Paul Schwarz, Director of the Institute of Barley and Malt Sciences at NDSU. “In addition, FHB infected barley, wheat, and rye seem to behave differently.”

As part of this project, members of the CMG may submit paired samples of grain and malt for DON testing. Testing will be performed at the subsidized rate of $30/sample pair, with the understanding that some information may be shared with the Guild for educational purposes. Member name and location will remain confidential. This is a great opportunity to be involved in research that will directly benefit our community! For more information on the project, you can contact Dr. Schwarz at paul.schwarz@ndsu.edu.

 

Maltsters, Musings, and Michigan

By Andrea Stanley.

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Our intrepid travelers pose with John Mallett’s epic vanity license plate at Bell’s Brewery.

A friend recently shared the African proverb, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” The power of these words resonated as I stood waiting eagerly for a silver car to approach the arrival lane at the Detroit Airport. It was 9:00am and the friendly, familiar face behind the wheel was Twila. We hugged, scrambled luggage into the trunk, and departed on our short, but malt-filled journey throughout Michigan. Twila and I glanced at each other and smiled at our feat. Escaping from a malthouse and family is about as hard to execute as a trip to the space station. Our mission? Explore the beauty of Michigan, meet maltsters, and drink beer.

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Andrea, Ashley, and Twila with Dan and Tom of Motor City Malt. Not pictured: sandwiches. 

First stop was one hour away in Shelby. We met up with Ashley McFarland to visit with Tom and Dan at Motor City Malt. The malthouse tour was awesome, and we talked about winter barley, discussed debearding, and left with our bellies full of toasty malt and cold cut sandwiches. Next stop was Kalamazoo for a talk about Taste of Place at Bell’s Brewery. The flavor that comes from a region, like Michigan, can be distinct, and we tasted that in the malt worts made from Bell’s farm’s malt. Compared to a commercial 2-row Metcalf blend, this malt was complex and had notes of vanilla, a perfume-like aroma, and a ruby rich color. While drinking beers afterward, talking about the local impact of Marris Otter in the UK, a brewer chimed-in to say that this was just the beginning of a bright future of Michigan made malt and beer.

Twila hangs with the guys from Pilot Malt.

Twila hangs with the guys from Pilot Malt.

The next morning we slid into the Honda, figured out how to get a better music situation going in the car, and took off for a long day of driving and visiting malthouses. First stop was Pilot Malt, right outside of Grand Rapids. The guys at Pilot have grown over the past few years and their malthouse was another one to marvel at. Lots of beautiful barley from this year’s crop, getting stacked up and stored and a thoughtfully assembled lab that many maltsters would love to have. As we traveled north the roadside became dense with trees, the temperature cooled, and the landscape demanded our attention. Empire Malt was our next stop, nestled in the otherworldly place of Sand Bear Dunes on Lake Michigan. Alison greeted us and showed us inside her malthouse. Situated on a farm with hops, barley, hay and fruit growing around it, this malthouse is a piece of art welded together with skill and love. Alison also had beautiful barley grown from this part of Michigan and is just getting started making delicious malts that showcase the beauty of this land she loves. We three women stood for hours as the sun went down, sharing the passion we share for malting. This passion was expressed with talk about airflow rates, beta glucanase, and steep schedules. As fast friends do, we pinky swore to stay in touch.

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Andrea, Twila, and Jeff from Great Lakes Malting show off their friendly smiles

The fresh cool air and waning moon provided us with everything we needed to sleep deeply that night. We awoke to the sunrise, played in the dunes and then made the quick ride to Traverse City to visit Jeff at Great Lakes Malting. With a friendly smile, Jeff handed us safety glasses and started showing us around his malthouse under construction. It was dreamlike. Shiny stainless everywhere and turners, yes turners, in both of his 2-ton germ/kiln beds. Jeff has other enviable equipment like a diaphragm pump, water treatment systems, and lots of automation. There is no doubt that great malt will be made there.

As we pulled into the departure line at the airport, Twila and I hugged and smiled. It was a whirlwind but epic adventure and one that pressed a re-start button for each of us. Energized our malting spirits. At times, running a malthouse can be exhausting, beat at your spirit, and make you question, “Why am I doing this?” By taking the time to step outside of our own malthouses and connect with our fellow maltsters we clearly saw that the frustrations, the accomplishments, and the vision is not ours individually, but a shared experience with a broader community of people. We are going together. We are going far…

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Introducing: 2016 ADI Scholarship Recipients!

By Jackie Billings.

The Craft Maltsters Guild is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 American Distilling Institute Scholarships! These scholarships provide support for maltsters, or aspiring maltsters to attend the Malting and Barley Short Course put on by the Institute of Barley and Malt Sciences at North Dakota State University.  The goal of these scholarships is to support maltsters in producing high-quality malts by helping to cover some of the costs of attendance for this excellent course.

We have a great group of recipients this year with varied backgrounds and unique perspectives. Please join us in congratulating the 4 recipients:

Mark Emmons

Mark Emmons is a partner in Sprowt LLC, a company that is working to develop affordable, high-quality micro-malting machines. For the past year and half, he has been learning about barley and malting at a manic
pace, contracting barley, growing out heirloom grains, and building a lab capable of processing grains from combine to keg.

“I’ve been able to learn a lot about barley and malting from reading and my own experiences,” says Mark, “but I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity provided by the ADI/CMG scholarship. The NDSU Barley and Malt Short Course will allow me to dive into the world of malting by learning directly from its experts.”

JessicaJessica Johnstone is the Quality Manager at Grouse Malting and Roasting in Wellington, CO, where she ensures the quality and consistency of their exclusively gluten-free malts. She is also a full-time student with a desire to understand the mechanisms that allow for agriculture to become more responsible and sustainable.

“I have a year’s experience malting, but I still learn something new every day. I sought the ADI scholarship because I have considered similar courses, but as a full-time student, those courses are often out of reach. At the Grouse malthouse, we malt exclusively gluten-free grains, so I’m looking forward to both learning more about barley, and sharing my special set of skills.”

KipKip Stevenson left a career in high tech manufacturing after 16 years to start a new business venture focused on providing quality assurance for the craft beverage industry. He is also an aspiring craft maltster, hoping to develop regionally sourced craft malts for brewing and distilling in partnership with family members in Washington state.

“My goal is to gain a much deeper and broader understanding of Malt Barley Science and the Malting Industry.  I look forward to forging new connections with other maltsters and barley malt experts, so I can learn from them and also share my knowledge to help influence this emerging industry.”

Neil

Neil Hoover is from a third generation family of farmers in Northwest Ohio that has been making their own beer and malting barley for a number of years.

“I sought out this program because the NDSU department of Cereal Science has a great reputation in the industry and I felt this program would help my family and I learn more about efficiencies that can be found in the production of malted barley. We have been malting barley for a number of years for personal use. We wish to understand what is necessary to potentially scale the hobby into a business.”

 

Members Corner!

  • Take our Annual Survey! This is a reminder to everyone on our mailing list, member and non-member alike, to take our annual survey. This survey is meant to help us to improve our resources, and is an opportunity for you to have a voice in the growth and direction of the Craft Maltsters Guild.
  • Upcoming Events: Here is a rundown of some upcoming events that may be of interest! If you have an event that you would like listed on our website, please contact Jackie Billings.
    • Hartwick College Advanced Craft Malting Course: January 30 – February 3, 2017, Oneonta, NY. Hartwick College and IFBM are partnering to offer a one week intensive class in craft malting technology. Join Aaron Macleod and Patrick Boivin for a course aimed to give both starting and experienced craft maltsters theoretical and practical knowledge in malting technology.
    • HACCP and PCQI Training: February 3-4, 2017, Oneonta, NY. We will be offering our second HACCP training exclusively for maltsters. More details will be coming soon!
    • Farmer Brewer Winter Weekend: February 4 – 5, 2017, Oneonta, NY. The CMG is teaming up with the Center for Craft Food and Beverage at Hartwick College to bring you an immersive experience for established and aspiring farmers, maltsters and brewers to learn from industry experts as well as each other.
  • Join the Guild! If you are a current or aspiring, Craft Maltster, a brewery or distillery that wants to secure local malt for your production, a farmer, or a fan of craft food and drink, join the Guild today.