Barley- Growing Hops and Barley


325 bottles in a US Barrel of beer.

24/25 lbs of malt to make a barrel. Lots of water added.

31 gallons in a us beer barrel. 118 litres.

What is malt?
Malting is a controlled process of seed germination. During malting the seed is soaked in water to raise the moisture content and promote germination. The seed is then allowed to germinate for 4 to 5 days, after which it is dried (kilned). Virtually any seed can be malted, but brewers discovered long ago that barley is easy to malt and produces the best beer. Wheat and rye malts are sometimes used in the production of specialty beers. Today malted barley is also used in the production of ‘coolers’, alcoholic lemonades’ and other ‘flavored alcoholic beverages.

Why is malt used in beer?
Malt is the source of ‘extract’ in brewing. Barley contains about 65% starch. Enzymes that develop during the malting process convert this starch into fermentable sugars during brewing. The yeast, in turn, converts the sugars to alcohol and carbon dioxide during fermentation. Compounds in the malt also contribute to beer color, body, flavor and foam.


Coming from a farm, and having a job in the agriculture industry, I will try to throw some numbers at you.

Malting barley (before malting) usually weighs 48 lbs/bu. In commercial farming, barley will yeild up to 70 bu/acre (Canadian weather, not irrigated).

Let’s cut that down a bit, say 45bu/acre, which would be fairly easy to achieve. 48lbs/bu x 45 bu/acre = 2160 lbs of barley from 1 acre.

Now there will be clean out and sizing for plump and thins. Use a high number here (10%), you are still left with 1950 lbs of barley from the acre plot.

There will be a weight loss from the malting activity, not sure of the exact number here, but let’s use 10% (high end), you still have 1750lbs of malted barley.
Now this is assuming that the quality is there for what you harvested to be malt. Just because you seed a registered malt variety does not mean that you are harvesting malt barley. The weather and any diseases will get you that.

Quality Requirements
The Brewing and Malting Barley Research Institute says a good malting barley will have the following characteristics:

Pure lot of an acceptable variety
High per cent germination and vigorous growth 95% or over (3 day test)
Fully mature
Free from disease
Free from frost damage
Not weathered or deeply stained
Less than 5% peeled and broken kernels
Free from heat damage
13.5% moisture or lower is desirable
Not artificially dried
No desiccants
Free of primary insects, large oil bearing seeds, ergot, treated seeds, smut and odour
Plump kernels of uniform size
Low to moderate protein content – 10.5% to 13% dry basis



Winter barley in Ontario:

Beer has four ingredients; hops, yeast, malt and water.

Two of the ingredients, hops and barley, can be grown in most gardens. Hops is a herbaceous perennial vine that can grow up to a foot a day. There are now hops cultivars that are hardy in most growing zones. Malt is made from barley, an annual grain. Barley is classified into two-, four- or six-row barley. The rows refer to the rows of seeds growing on the seed head. Only two- and six-row barley are used to make beer. The hop flower, referred to as a bine, is used to make beer. Hops does not affect the percentage of alcohol in the beer; rather, it is used to improve taste. Does this Spark an idea?

Things You’ll Need

  • Hops vine hardy in your zone
  • Commercial fertilizer or well-rotted manure.
  • Mulch

Show (2) More


  1. Growing Hops

    • 1

      Choose a sunny location with well drained, loamy soil with a soil pH of 6.5 to 8.0. The location chosen will need to accommodate a trellis or other vertical support system.

    • 2

      You will need to plant both male and female plants for bine production. Plant your hops vine after all threat of frost has past. If you are working with a plant, dig a hole the same width and depth as the container the plant is in. If you are working with rhizomes, place the rhizome horizontally, approximately two inches deep, in the soil with the buds pointing upward.

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    • 3

      Fertilize your plants with a commercial fertilizer or well-aged manure. You will need to fertilize every spring after buds have opened.

    • 4

      Once the hops vine has emerged, you will need to mulch heavily around each plant.

    • 5

      Select two or three of the strongest vines and attach to the trellis. Prune the remaining vines to ground level. In July, prune off all lateral branches and leaves to a height of four feet. You can either wrap the vines around the trellis, which is traditional, or attach the vine using plant ties.

    • 6

      Hop flowers are usually harvested in mid- to late July. Expect one to two pounds of dried flowers per plant.

    • 7

      In the North, you can overwinter your hops vine by trimming all vines to ground level and covering the roots with loosely mounded straw or wood mulch.

    Growing Barley

    • 8

      Choose a plot of land in full sun.

    • 9

      Broadcast seed barley in spring after the ground has warmed. Try to distribute the seeds evenly over the ground.

    • 10

      Roll or rake the seeds into the soil.

    • 11

      The barley is harvested in the fall after the seed heads turn gold.

Read more: How to Plant Barley & Hops for Beer Making | eHow


BARLEY (Hordeum vulgare)

Requires six hours or more of strong, direct sun per day. Full Sun
Requires six hours or more
of strong, direct sun per day.


Barley (Hordeum vulgare)This grain was one of the first cereals to be cultivated by man, and is grown over a large extent of the world. There are varieties of barley that will even grow in the Arctic Circle. As a feed for livestock, barley compares favorably with corn, and in regions where corn is unadapted, barley is successfully used for fattening cattle and swine.On the average, barley contains 3 percent more protein than corn and can be substituted for corn in feed mixes. Some people prefer the taste of barley-fed beef.

Planting and harvesting barley

Grow barley as you would wheat. Some varieties are spring planted and some are fall planted. Barley ripens sooner than wheat; spring-planted barley ripens in 60 to 70 days, fall-planted barley about 60 days after spring growth begins. Barley thus fits well into a double-cropping scheme and a variety of crop rotations and as a cover crop. Be careful when planting barley with a drill because bearded varieties may cause planting tubes to clog.

Planting barley

To plant barley follow the rules of good soil preparation when preparing a seedbed, then rake, disk or harrow the soil. Broadcast the seeds and lightly rake the surface. That’s all you have to do until harvest time. On a small plot, you can broadcast the seed by hand, but larger plots can be planted more efficiently if some sort of mechanical device is used.Barley should be planted when the moon is in the 2nd Quarter (i.e. waxing) and in one of the following Zodiac Signs: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces, Libra, Capricorn

Varieties of barley

There are two botanically distinct types of barley: six-row and two-row. The six-row varieties are more common and are divided into three families:

Six row barley

Malting Barley, grown in the upper Midwest, tall, bearded and spring planted; the Coast Group, grown in California and Arizona as a fall crop; and the Tennessee Winter Group, grown east of the Mississippi as livestock feed.

Two row barley

The Two-Row barleys are grown in the Pacific Northwest and on the northern Great Plains, spring planted, and used for feed and for malting.Because of the different purposes of the grain, there are many varieties of barley available and new ones are being constantly developed. Most new varieties are bred to be stiffer strawed to prevent lodging. There are varieties adapted to every area.

Barley types

Barley may have bearded heads or be beardless. Bearded barley has a slender bristle about three inches long, called an “awn,” attached to each seed. Beardless varieties are generally preferred for forage, but the bearded varieties have proven resistant to deer in Pennsylvania.

Barley diseases and pests

Yellow dwarf virus, an aphid-transmitted virus, attacks barley at the seedling stage, and damages older grain, but is not very common.

Fungus diseases of barley

Fungus diseases do bother barley, especially in humid parts of the South. Resistant varieties have been developed, so the best thing to do is to check out which varieties are more resistant to the diseases encountered in your area.

Insect pests that attack barley

Greenbugs and corn leaf aphids both attack barley, but infestations are usually not severe. Even commercial growers do not use chemicals, but rely instead on natural predators for organic insect control.

Harvesting barley

Ripe barley is harvested the same as wheat: cut, bundled and shocked to dry. Wear a shirt when harvesting barley as the awns can irritate your skin. Barley may be stored in the bundle and fed to stock without threshing.

Barley uses

Barley as animal feed

Barley can be stored and used in a bundle for stock feed. Animals like it less than wheat because of the hulls, and will consume more if the barley is ground. You can feed sprouted barley to chickens with good results. The grain can be easily sprouted if the head-end of the whole bundle is soaked in water until the grains sprout. Allow about five days at 60°F. (15.56’C.).You will soon learn how fast the barley sprouts and how many bundles you’ll have to keep soaking in order to have a constant supply of the sprouted grain. The chickens will eat the sprouts right out of the heads, and the straw will provide good bedding.

Beer and barley

Sprouted barley can also be used to make malt for brewing beer.


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