The barley varietals represented in this 4-pack were grown in Maker’s 2020 Variety Trial. They were planted in the same field on May 4th, 2020, grown using the same agronomic practices and harvested on August 17th. The malting process was completed at Maker’s malt house during the spring of 2021. They were malted with the same protocol targeting a light Premium Pale malt that preserved a taste of place – Saskatchewan! Test batch beers were developed at Maker’s and brewed commercially by the team at High Key Brewery. The beer recipe was kept static including using the same yeast and hops in an attempt to let the malt drive the flavour profile.
The root of this project lies in wanting to connect the consumer to production. Many of us know the grape used in our favourite wine (Shiraz for me!), but would be hard-pressed to even name one barley variety. This in the province of Saskatchewan, home to the best malt barley ecosystem in the world! Another goal was to showcase new barley varieties that were developed on the prairies using conventional breeding techniques. These varieties have superior agronomic qualities and are better for the farmers that grow them. The malting and brewing industries have struggled with adoption of new varieties because the large maltsters/brewers have been unwilling to risk change. Craft brewers are willing and having a craft malting house in Saskatchewan unlocks the final piece to commercializing this innovation.
We hope that you enjoy drinking this 4-pack and looking for the unique flavor profile each variety evokes.
Trials were seeded on May 4th at a high rate of 160lbs/acre. Fertility was applied at 40-65-1-0 aiming for a mid-level protein/yield balance. The field was swathed on August 13th and harvested on August 17th.
Raw Barley Specs:
|Moisture||Protein||4ml Germ||8ml Germ||1000 k wt.||> 6/64||> 5/64|
Malting was performed at Maker’s during the spring/summer of 2021. The malting regime took aspects from both our Pilsner and Premium Pale (2-row) malt recipes. A slightly early “steep-out” and germination to ~90% modification was targeted. A light kilning regime was performed targeting ~2.0 SRM.
The recipe was developed in-house by our co-maltster/brewer Steven Maier. The nuance of the barley varietals was paramount so hop and yeast profiles were subdued. “Crystal” hops were selected from JGL Shepherd Farms in Moosomin and “Cali Ale” yeast from Escarpment Labs in Ontario making this a nearly provincial and fully Canadian beer!
This was a 16-month project from seeding date to beer release. The project is extremely unique and we’re not aware of anything quite like it anywhere in the world. It would not have been possible without the vertically integrated growing/malting at Maker’s and the great Saskatchewan brewing ecosystem.
The project works better as a “thought experiment” versus pure research, as there are many uncontrolled variables. These are exacerbated by the fact that we only had one shot at malting and brewing each new variety. They were magnified by the fact that production demands at the malt house meant we had to work the batches into an exceedingly tight production schedule over the course of a spring to summer seasonal change. Steven’s recipe design had one shot to go from his 20 gallon home brew set-up into the 7 barrel system at High Key where their brewer Dan had to adapt Steven’s recipe to his production realities. Production at High Key was staggered to allow them to continue normal production, so each beer has had a different time in the can. There are many other things I could comment on and please get in touch with any and all questions!