img_001

Slow And Steady Grows Better Spirits

Forget for a minute the brief heat wave this week. Looking back, this has been a mild spring and summer at the Rogue Farms barley farm in Tygh Valley, Oregon. Temps rarely cracked 80°F. The two varieties of malting barley we grow here, grow slowly in this kind of weather.


Just the way we like it. The journey from grain to glass is better when you take the slow lane.

When kernels form on malting barley ears they fill with a liquid-like substance called milk. Eventually the milk turns doughy and then hardens into malting barley seed. If barley seeds fill slow and steady, they also fill bigger, or plumper. That means more starches we can malt, roast, mash and distill.

Left: Green malting barley with milky heads. Bite on one and it will be soft and chewy. Right: Fully ripened malting barley. When the ears fall over like this it means plump, heavy seeds. Great for malting.
Left: Green malting barley with milky heads. Bite on one and it will be soft and chewy. Right: Fully ripened malting barley. When the ears fall over like this it means plump, heavy seeds. Great for malting.

Cool weather slows things down. But heat rushes things along and the seed ripens too quickly. Not enough milk, puny seeds. May not be worth malting at all.

The Risk™ malting barley is coming out of the doughy stage. Turning from green to brown. We’ll stop irrigating so it can ripen and harden. Harvest in about three to four weeks.

img_002

The Dare™ malting barley is fully headed and filling with milk. We’ll water it as needed. Last week’s inch of rain was a real blessing.

img_003