Evaluation of the malting, brewing and distilling qualities of new barley varieties in Scotland - 1991


Cereals & Oilseeds
Project code:
01 August 1989 - 31 July 1991
AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds.
AHDB sector cost:
Project leader:
D. A. S. Cranstoun The Scotish Agricultural College- Edinburgh, Crop Systems Department, Bush Estate, Penicuik, Midlothian, EH26 0PH



About this project


This project continues as part of the recommended list project for evaluating the quality of new barley varieties. This report covers the 1991 harvest results in detail and summarises the three year results and achievements. The technical results have led to published statements in the Cereal Recommended List for Scotland governing malting quality, approval for malting and comment in the thumbnail sketches. This includes comment on recently recommended varieties Bronze, Chariot, Derkado and Sprite.

The technical results have enabled limited and expensive micro-malting resources to be targeted on those varieties in recommended list trials that are likely to provide growers with a malting premium. The availability of sound micro-malting data from NL1 has enabled SAC staff to be more selective in the choice of varieties for subsequent recommended list testing.

The germination energy results have led to the exclusion of unsuitable varieties from further testing in Scotland. In the past this information became available after growers had sown commercial seed e.g. Doublet. This project has facilitated a number of important indirect objectives.

The open exchange of results by the malting laboratories on common samples and the accompanying statistical consistency ratios have highlighted some of the variation that currently aggravates the malting barley market. Laboratories with outlying averages or poor consistency ratios are examining their techniques to improve the uniformity of analysis; this will affect premium offers and rejection at harvest. Of particular note was the between lab variation in screenings. There was some evidence that worn screens and incorrectly sampled or sized new screens were partly responsible.

For some years delays in gaining IOB approval for malting have meant that farmers were denied an early message on the commercial potential of new varieties. Based on NL1 and NL2 micro-malting results, bulks of Chariot and Derkado were booked for commercial scale malting during the first year of recommended list trials. These first commercial results have supported the micro-malting indicators and allowed the IOB to grant provisional approval in the first season following recommendation. Likewise Moray Firth Malting's experience with Dallas was sufficient for it to feature on their buying list at a very early stage.

The allocation by McCreath, Simpson & Prentice and JP Simpson, of commercial bulks of Sprite at an early stage to their competitors allowed the industry to gain a year in its acceptance of this winter barley. The spirit of co-operation engendered by this project together with the micro-malting results contributed to this useful outcome.

The various laboratories include those with the primary interests of distilling, brewing and scale maltsters. In addition to core micro-malting tests, the laboratories include their own tests to check whether new varieties are especially suited or not suited to their requirements. Work done by United Distillers as part of this project is being used by breeders as well as maltsters to ensure that new varieties meet the future market requirements for distilling.