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Specialty Grain Evaluation

From Ground to Glass: Evaluation of unique barley varieties for western Washington craft malting, brewing and distilling

Farmers in western Washington are interested in integrating cereal crops into farm operations to interrupt pest and disease cycles in vegetable-intensive systems, and additional opportunities for value-added feed, brewing and distilling grain. This study will utilize a breeder-extension-farmer-craft brewer/distiller collaboration to evaluate barley varieties for organic production and value-added processing. We will test for unique flavors among the diverse germplasm in the WSU barley breeding program that could be of interest to craft maltsters, brewers and distillers. Nine barley breeding lines and/or varieties will be evaluated for valuable agronomic and end-use characteristics important to maltsters, brewers, distillers and farmers. This project supports biologically intensive crop rotations such as grain-vegetable integration, evaluates barley production and end-use characteristics in organic production, and will hopefully result in novel marketing opportunities, provide ecological crop rotation tools for managing pest populations, and spur social engagement between farmers, processors, and consumers. Project impacts include the potential for immediate release of new WSU barley varieties for the first time specifically suited to the needs of craft brewers, micro-maltsters, and local distillers. We hope to provide farmers with agronomic information about locally-adapted varieties when integrating barley into crop rotations. Additionally, if the 2017 growing season is successful, whiskey will be evaluated at sensory evaluation events, demonstrating to decision-makers, processors, farmers, and consumers the potential of regional organic barley production for value-added markets.

For a full project decription click here: WSU BIOAg proposal – 17.05.11_for website