18/11/2017
by Deborah Mitchell

Malt Harvest summary 2017

Lower Yield on total crop and higher nitrogen levels, do not dis pair as Crisp have taken the lead and ensured premium quality is available for Craft customers

Not the best news for next years Malt prices but the solution to the quality means the best option is available for Craft Brewers in Ireland with Crisp Malt

So we like to keep our customers informed about the products we supply, Geterbrewed put alot of effort into working with the best suppliers and that involves getting to know the supply chain. So we trace our malt right from the Red Tractor Scheme through to the every stage data collecting from entering the maltings which then translates to Batch analysis of each individual sack of malt. Every Sack now has a QR Code which has full traceability and scientific analysis, this date is essential for professional brewers wanting to achieve an industry accredited scheme like SALSA or BRC.

Genuine traceability is very important, I say genuine as we have local suppliers who are saying they have traceability from the field but in fact they don't, some even ship Irish malt to the UK to be malted with other varieties and claim that it is Irish malt, that is misleading at best, it then brings up the question of what exactly you are receiving? If the price is too good to be true then I'd want to see genuine traceability, technical brewing data shows these options, well for what they are....We let the malt do the talking and trials in Ireland to date have shown higher effciencies, better aroma and flavour.

UK Malt harvest was average at best. The UK mainland usually projects a surplus of 800,000 tonnes malting grade spring of barley. That entire surplus crop (which usually goes for export) has been wiped out due to 2 factors; too high nitrogen and pre-germination of the crop. These facets were largely weather driven where we experienced a very dry spring overall (well below the 30 year average) and a wet harvest. The dry spring had the rest of lower yields so the nitrogen was diluted over a smaller tonnage and the wet harvest meant the grains were physically sprouting before they could be harvested.

The supply side pressure has resulted in a £25 premium on farm which translates into a £35 premium in malt. Maltsters and farmers work together to ensure everyone gets a fair price in the market.

In Ireland the market is controlled by Boortmalt. 70% of the malting barley purchased goes to Guinness so Boort are able to suppress the price through an effective monopoly. (Hence the protests this week outside Guinness....) So farmers are not getting a great deal in Ireland.

Crisp Malt is who we officially represent in Ireland and they have worked with the same farms for decades, some even, have supplied the company for generations.

Norfolk is an especially good area for growing barley so we work with Norfolk farmers to grow the best barely.

This years spring barley (propino, concerto, odyssey) in the UK are all up in nitrogen.

Therefore Crisp have made the decision to supply winter barley (flagon) to craft bag customers which is lower in nitrogen than the springs and so this will be much easier to process. Think; increases finings, increased lauter times, shelf stability issues, haze issues with spring barley.

So, if you’re Malt buying this year watch for;

- Nitrogen levels

- Extract

- Crush

Crisp have selected the right barley grade to make it work in small breweries (600 craft customers in the UK). Crisp and Geterbrewed work together to ensure crush consistency for optimised run off and efficiency. If your brewery needs technical support we have qualified brewers to assist with this, we aren't just interested in the sale we provide the support you need and most importantly genuine traceability. We will be publishing some more reports in relation to this in the coming weeks