Monday, November 30, 2009

In Praise Of 6-Row Barley

Six-Row barley.

The Brewer's Handbook: "Generally, six-row barley has a higher enzyme content for converting starch into fermentable sugars, more protein, less starch, and a thicker husk than two-row barley. ... The husk of the malt is high in polyphenols (tannins) that contribute not only to haze, but also imparts an astringent taste."

Brewer's Market Guide: " outside North America most of the world's brewing nations exclusively use two-row barley for malt. Six-row barleys, if produced overseas at all, are largely used only for feed. ... Modern American brewing practices have relied on six-row barleys, partly because they were better adapted to many regions. ... The historical preference for two-row barley is based on the fact that two-row barley yields malts with 1-2% greater theoretical extract, meaning that brewers can brew more beer. ... Today, North Dakota and Minnesota produce the majority of the six-row malting barley in the United States, with lesser amounts produced in South Dakota and Idaho. Two-row barley production predominates in Montana, Idaho, Washington, Colorado, and Wyoming. Both climatic and qualitative differences contribute to the split. ... When western or European two-row cultivars are grown in the Midwest, they generally yield less and have fewer plump kernels than adapted six-row varieties. This is because the western two-row varieties were developed for areas that may get hot during the day, but that have cool nighttime temperatures that allow the plants to "recover"; the difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures is not as great in the Midwest as it is in the West. ... Disease pressure in the Midwest also limits the yield of many two-row cultivars. ... Before the breeding breakthroughs of the 1970s, the extract from six-row malts was as much as 4% below those of two-row malts. The release of the cultivar Morex (so-named because it has "more extract") in 1978 marked a trend toward higher extract levels for six-row barley. Currently, six-row malts are only 1-2% lower. ... A high protein level often indicates a thinner kernel with less starch available for conversion to malt extract. Acceptable six-row malting barleys may range from 12 to 13.5% protein, whereas two-row cultivars range from 11 to 13%; barleys with greater than 13.5% protein are rarely used for malt. ... Six-row barleys are generally believed to have a higher husk content because they tend toward thinner kernels, but husk content varies with growth environment. High husk content barley can mean more phenolics end up in the wort, thereby contributing an astringent flavor to beer. Oxidizable polyphenolic substances react with proteins and may contribute to haze formation. ... Because the protein in corn or rice adjuncts is largely insoluble, it is possible to replace a portion of the malt with adjunct and thus dilute the overall level of wort-soluble nitrogen. Cereal adjuncts can be used to replace up to 40% of six-row malt grist without adversely affecting fermentation performance. ... Six-row malts contain higher levels of the DMS precursor SMM, presumably because of their higher protein content. ... The high protein and enzyme content of six-row barley makes it unlikely that a brewer producing an all-malt beer would wish to use exclusively six-row malt."

6-Row Barley Varieties

Brew Your Own: "The interesting fact about 6-row barley is that it is only grown in North America. ... The other thing about 6-row barley is that it has become a symbol of what the European brewers don’t use."

Central Waters Hop Harvest

Lakefront Local Acre

South Shore All-Wisconsin

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