• We have implemented the ability to gift someone a Supporting Membership now! When you access the Upgrade page there is now a 'Gift' button. Once you click that you can enter a username to gift an account Upgrade to. Great way to help support this forum plus give some kudos to anyone who has helped you.

Growing Barley for brewing

Aussie Home Brewer

Help Support Aussie Home Brewer:

drtablet

Active Member
Joined
24/12/13
Messages
39
Reaction score
19
Location
Blue Mountains NSW
Hello all,
I'm looking to plant some barley seeds in the next week or so.
I have an area that is 6m x 6m ready to go.

Would anyone know where I can get suitable seeds to plant and know the seed to area ratio?

many thanks
Craig
 

good4whatAlesU

Well-Known Member
Joined
3/6/16
Messages
1,244
Reaction score
402
Hi Craig, great project.

This article might help with the seeding rate:

http://www.farmweekly.com.au/news/agriculture/cropping/general-news/seeding-rate-questioned/2671037.aspx

Traditionally grains are a winter crop in NSW (sown just before Easter (?) - harvested summer) but you might be alright. Sorry I don't know where you can buy small seed grain volumes, anyone else help?

Edit; A quick search on old threads reveals some people use feed grade barley from a farm produce store. If there's one near you maybe drop in and see what they have.
 

sp0rk

Mayor of Pooptown
Joined
14/2/11
Messages
4,164
Reaction score
1,042
Location
Muswellbrook
Do you have the setup/ability/patience to malt the barley as well drtablet?
 

RdeVjun

Well-Known Member
Joined
19/1/09
Messages
2,340
Reaction score
171
I'm very supportive of anyone having a go at home grown, self sufficiency, off grid, all that sort of thing, however can I just share a bit of reality for a moment to put the project in to some context.
A reasonable barley crop might yield say 1.6t/Ha, given that the planned area is 6m2, expect a bountiful harvest of:
6*6/10000*1600=5.8kg
Ok, so that may be enough for a single batch if the malting process and other losses are kind.
It's been well over a decade since I turned a sod in anger so my agronomy numbers might be a bit rusty, but I believe this should get you in the ballpark.
I don't want to seem cynical, I'm really not, but I sense its worth scoping out the project some more, might avoid some later disappointment.
Anyway, agricultural seed & grain merchants, stock & station agents should sell you a sack of certified seed barley, there are defined varieties for malting grade, other varieties are used for fodder. Sowing rate is 20-50kg/Ha, while nutrition and growing conditions will impact on suitability for malting, simply sowing a malting variety doesn't necessarily mean that your crop will be malted, it's not a given outcome as there are many factors that impact on malting characteristics. In fact much barley that sown with malting grade in mind ends up as stockfeed, but if it does meet the criteria then it attracts a premium.
Hope this helps!
Some resources:
Seed: https://eldersrural.com.au/farm-supplies/plant-genetics/
Agronomy: https://grdc.com.au/Research-and-Development/GRDC-Update-Papers/2015/03/Barley-agronomy-and-varieties
 

good4whatAlesU

Well-Known Member
Joined
3/6/16
Messages
1,244
Reaction score
402
Dry-land (rainfed) yes 1-4 tonbe/ha but irrigated grain can go 12 tonne/ha.

Irrigated 36m2 could get 20kg if everything goes right. My mate tried to do it in his backyard but his crop got rust (which farmers spray for if necessary).

I know a quite a few farmers could help you out with grain seed, but the cost of driving to where they are would be 1000x the value of the grain.

Just go down to a local Ag store and buy some feed quality grain.
 

Benn

Well-Known Member
Joined
5/12/12
Messages
950
Reaction score
462
What is reasonably achievable on a homebrew scale?
If Drtablet yields 5-6kg from his/her backyard would it be easier to roast the barley rather than attemp to Malt it to Pilsner/Pale specs?
Having 5kg of your own "House Roast(s)" could be useful during stout season.
Similar to growing hops, far easier just to buy them but...
 

good4whatAlesU

Well-Known Member
Joined
3/6/16
Messages
1,244
Reaction score
402
Sounds great! Home grown roast barley. Yum.

Craigs problem in the blue mountains will probably be avoiding late frosts which may damage the crop. Also if irrigating, keeping an eye out for rust etc.
 

drtablet

Active Member
Joined
24/12/13
Messages
39
Reaction score
19
Location
Blue Mountains NSW
thanks to all for your council.
Yes I know its a bit bonkers to grow your own. Certainly, its not to replace malted barley bought.

So looks like we can get about 5kg per 6mx6m plot, assuming that all the barley that comes off it is worthy of malting.
Sounds like a trip to to the feed store and then depending on the success roasting some for a nice Porter I make.
I will try and home malt at some stage, most likely "before" this crop so I don't waste this precious crop on malting.

Its a project for interest and fun. I like to try my hand at as many useful skills as possible before the zombie apocalypses comes.
 

good4whatAlesU

Well-Known Member
Joined
3/6/16
Messages
1,244
Reaction score
402
Couldn't help but get interested in this. I found out that our local feed store sells whole barley, so I grabbed a 20kg bag today ($13.50).

I'm going to try and malt half and sow the other half and see how it goes. Will try and germinate a handful over the next couple days to check the seed is viable.

wp_ss_20170311_0001.png
 

luggy

Well-Known Member
Joined
8/3/14
Messages
468
Reaction score
133
I wouldn't bother trying to malt it, barley that isn't suitable for malting is sold as feed grade barley
 

good4whatAlesU

Well-Known Member
Joined
3/6/16
Messages
1,244
Reaction score
402
It's a learning process at the end of the day.

If you never try anything you won't learn much. This won't cost very much and is a bit of fun. Better than watching days of our drearies on the telly.
 

good4whatAlesU

Well-Known Member
Joined
3/6/16
Messages
1,244
Reaction score
402
Two six hour soaks (barley wrapped in cheese cloth and dunked in a cup of water) with an 8 hour drain in between and the barley seed has begun to 'chit'.

I think the feed grain may work okay.

wp_ss_20170312_0003.png


wp_ss_20170312_0002.png
 

good4whatAlesU

Well-Known Member
Joined
3/6/16
Messages
1,244
Reaction score
402
... last night a fair portion of the seeds sprouted and we can see the radicles all popping out:

As this was just a germination test (handful of grain) I will ditch this lot and now do the same thing again with a few kilo's and under more controlled temperatures.

WP_20170313_06_55_11_Pro.jpg
 

klangers

Well-Known Member
Joined
10/9/14
Messages
738
Reaction score
301
Grain can be classified as feed grade for many reasons.

One reason is that the grains are of non-uniform size, or are not plump enough. These would cause headaches for the maltster whose plant it would clog up.

The other reasons are for protein levels etc, but it would still be worth giving a crack.

Almost certainly not worth attempting to malt for anything other than a learning experience.

Roast barley would be a good use for it.
 

good4whatAlesU

Well-Known Member
Joined
3/6/16
Messages
1,244
Reaction score
402
Here's 5kg going in to seep.

Used a Coles fabric bag so I can pull it out after 6 hours to drain. It's in an air conditioned room about 20C.

WP_20170313_09_13_28_Pro.jpg
 

good4whatAlesU

Well-Known Member
Joined
3/6/16
Messages
1,244
Reaction score
402
The grain got a bit warm overnight during the drain - mid 20's? .. so I've whacked it in the fridge to cool down to temperature (15 degrees or so) and added water for the second seep.

Controlling germination temperature at 15C is going to be tricky.
 

drtablet

Active Member
Joined
24/12/13
Messages
39
Reaction score
19
Location
Blue Mountains NSW
good4whatAlesU loving your hijacking of my post.
Equally loving the pics, keep them coming.
I'm gonna join you in grabbing a 20kg bag of barley. I'm going over-seas for the whole of autumn and winter, so I'll sow them and mulch them and see what kind of yield I get when i come back.
Then for fun I'll go down the soaking and germination path as you have. Would be interested if you've been able to separated any grains in the food grade that you think could be worth malting, more than just for trying out the technique.
 

good4whatAlesU

Well-Known Member
Joined
3/6/16
Messages
1,244
Reaction score
402
Thanks DrT.. ahem yes sorry for using your thread!

The grain looks pretty good. . If the malting works I'll be brewing from it for sure.

Professional brewers can only take so much barley, much of the rest that goes for "A grade feed" is still very good quality.

To be honest, it's probably better than what they used back in the early days of brewing anyway (before industrialised fertilisers, herbicides etc.).
 

good4whatAlesU

Well-Known Member
Joined
3/6/16
Messages
1,244
Reaction score
402
Second soak seems to have done the job .. although I should have liked to rinse it a couple more times as it looks a bit "frothy" .. but anyway.. . the best laid plans and all that.

I took it out and rinsed it, put the grain in two foil tins and it's back in the fridge chilling to 15 C to begin germination (should take 4 - 5 days??). Hardest part now will to be controlling the temperature with esky bags and ice bricks. . what could go wrong?

WP_20170314_13_38_41_Pro.jpg


WP_20170314_13_39_54_Pro.jpg


WP_20170314_13_54_52_Pro.jpg
 
2

Latest posts

Top