Conservation Training

Creating a Modern Heirloom Variety

May 11, 2023

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Location: Webinar

The term “heirloom barley variety” resonates with many brewers, conjuring visions of unique beer flavors and aromas. Maris Otter is one such heirloom. A child of ‘66, it challenges the definition of “heirloom”, and its reputed properties are inextricably bound with terroir (it can legally be grown only under contract in England) and process (floor malting). Maltsters and farmers may not embrace the heirloom idea as wholeheartedly as brewers – unless compensated for yield penalties and process challenges. In this panel discussion, we will describe our voyage toward creating a modern heirloom variety – the New World Otter Lontra. Panelists will share perspectives on barley and climate change, ongoing beer sensory analyses, pneumatic malting vs. floor malting, and prospects for commercialization of the variety. We will leave ample time for questions and discussion.