Barley in the northwest can be planted in the fall (like winter wheat)..
Beer can be made from different types of barley:
Two-row and six-row barley
Spikelets are arranged in triplets which alternate along the rachis. In wild barley (and other Old World species of Hordeum), only the central spikelet is fertile, while the other two are reduced. This condition is retained in certain cultivars known as two-row barleys. A pair of mutations (one dominant, the other recessive) result in fertile lateral spikelets to produce six-row barleys. Recent genetic studies have revealed a mutation in one gene, vrs1, is responsible for the transition from two-row to six-row barley.
Two-row barley has a lower protein content than six-row barley, thus more fermentable sugar content. High protein barley is best suited for animal feed. Malting barley is usually lower protein (‘low grain nitrogen’, usually produced without a late fertilizer application) which shows more uniform germination, needs shorter steeping, and has less protein in the extract that can make beer cloudy. Two-row barley is traditionally used in English ale-style beers. Six-row barley is common in some American lager style beers, especially when adjuncts such as corn and rice are used, whereas two-row malted summer barley is preferred for traditional German beers.
This was a local event.
Mount Vernon Winter Barley Field day
June 29, 2010
Pat Hayes, a barley breeder from Oregon State University discusses winter barley varieties being trialed at the Mount Vernon REC.
On a cool summer afternoon, around 50 brewers, maltsters, bakers, distillers and current and aspiring barley growers met at the WSU Mount Vernon Research and Extension Center. Participants came to learn about barley varieties that are currently available, to learn about small grain research currently underway at NWREC, and to forge connections with other interested parties. Speakers included barley breeder Pat Hayes from Oregon State University, PhD student Jeffrey Endelman, and experienced small scale maltster and grower, Mike Doehnel from British Columbia. Winter barley seems to be an especially promising crop for Northwestern Washington because it fits well into existing crop rotations.
Jeffrey Endelman, a WSU PhD student, spoke about research he is conducting in spring grains, including barley, wheat and rye.
THERE IS A LOT OF RESEARCH UNDERWAY
A barley wine typically reaches an alcohol strength of 8 to 12% by volume and is brewed from specific gravities as high as 1.120. It is called a barley wine because it can be as strong as wine; but since it is made from grain rather than fruit, it is, in fact, a beer.
There are two primary styles of barley wine, the American which tends to be more hoppy and thus more bitter with colors ranging from amber to light brown and the English style which tends to be less hoppy and thus less bitter with more variety in color ranging from red-gold to opaque black.
Until the introduction of amber coloured Whitbread Gold Label in the 1950s, British barley wines were always dark in colour.
Writer Michael Jackson referred to a barley wine by Smithwick’s thus: “This is very distinctive, with an earthy hoppiness, a wineyness, lots of fruit and toffee flavours.” He also noted that its original gravity is 1.062.
Martyn Cornell has been quoted as saying “no historically meaningful difference exists between barley wines and old ales“. He later clarified, “I don’t believe there is actually any such meaningful style as ‘barley wine'”.