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II. History of Malting Barley Production in the United States
MALTING BARLEY IN THE UNITED STATES
North America were brought to the Atlantic seaboard colonies by the earliest settlers from the Old World. Records show that barley was grown on
Martha’s Vineyard and the Elizabeth Islands as early as 1602. These early
colonial varieties primarily were produced as a raw material for the production of beer and were cultivated types from the home regions of colonists from England and Continental Europe.
The first production of barley along the Atlantic seaboard was not particularly successful since growing conditions were unfavorable. Also, the
late-maturing, two-rowed varieties from England, such as CHEVALIER and
THORPE, were not well adapted to the area. A more favorable environment
for barley was encountered by settlers moving into western New York.
The two-rowed variety, HANNA, and the six-rowed varieties of the European continent were better adapted to this area than the two-rowed varieties from England. The combination of a favorable environment and
adapted varieties caused New York to emerge as the leading barley-producing state. Nearly two-thirds of the total United States barley production
was estimated to have been grown in New York by 1820. New York continued as the dominant barley producing state until‘l849.
Barleys of North African origin were introduced into southwestern
United States by Spanish settlers. from Mexico in the 1700’s. These varieties of the Coast group were grown near settlement areas as a feed grain.
The discovery of gold in California in 1848 caused an increased demand
for barley by the brewing industry and resulted in increased acreage. This
increased production, used both for feed and malting, moved California
ahead of New York as the leading barley-producing state. By 1889, California produced more than one-half of the nation’s total barley.
Concurrent with the dominance of California’s barley production was
a persistent movement of centers of production westward from New York
as agriculture advanced into the Midwest. The demand for malting barley
stimulated production around population centers such as Detroit, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Chicago. During the period from 1889 to 1919, the
total United States barley production increased dramatically, from
80,790,000 bushels to 225,067,000 bushels. Important regional redistribution of barley production accompanied the increase, and the North Central
States produced nearly 63% of the nation’s barley by 1920. Southeastern
Wisconsin, southeastern Minnesota, and western Iowa developed as three
very important centers of barley cultivation. In the 1890’s, the malting
industry began to build additional facilities in Wisconsin and neighboring
states to meet increased consumer demands and to be close to centers of
barley production. Areas in eastern Oregon and Washington and northwestern Idaho were growing barleys of the type found in California during
this time. Also, northwestern Kansas and central Nebraska developed as
barley production areas. The major movement of the total barley acreage
G. A. PETERSON AND A. E. FOSTER
began to develop arqhe turn of the 20th century. First, an acreage increase
occurred in western Minnesota and eastern South Dakota; however, by
1919 the Red River Valley and adjacent areas in North Dakota, Minnesota,
and South Dakota had become one of the major regions of barley culture
in the nation. The six-rowed varieties of the Manchurian type grown in
the heavy producing areas of the North Central States were the primary
source of malting barley for the industry.
The areas of barley production remained stable during the two decades
between World Wars I and 11, partly because new frontiers for agricultural
production were no longer abundant. However, the national barley acreage
expanded locally, and production increased to 31 1,278,000 bushels in
1940. An advance in barley varietal improvement was a major factor contributing to the increased barley acreage in the United States. During the
period, winter barleys of the Tennessee Winter type increased in the South,
and both dryland and irrigated production expanded in the intermountain
areas of the West. However, production in these two areas was minor compared to the continued dominance of the North Central States.
A second westward movement of the major areas of barley production
began about 1940. In the North Central States, barley acreage was reduced
in Wisconsin, Iowa, and in southern Minnesota and South Dakota while
the crop became more firmly established in the agricultural programs of
the Red River Valley and adjacent areas. The “acceptable” six-rowed malting varieties were the types generally grown. This northwesterly movement
of the barley acreage was caused by several factors, among them, the competition from the expanding use of hybrid seed corn and the new crop,
soybeans. Also, damage from diseases reduced barley yields and its competitiveness with other crop alternatives. The susceptibility of both barley
and corn to scab (Gibberella spp. and Fusurium spp.) discouraged the
inclusion of these two crops in the same rotation, and decreased barley
production in the Corn Belt areas. Spot blotch (Helrninthosporiurn sutivum
Pam., King, and Bakke) was very destructive in 1943 and 1944 and discouraged the planting of barley in the more humid areas of the North Central States. The continued development of irrigation in the intermountain
areas of the western United States provided the opportunity to expand production of suitable two-rowed malting barleys. This second westward
movement of the barley production area generally stabilized in the mid1950.’~and has continued until the present time with seasonal variations
but only minor acreage shifts. Since 1955, the national annual production
of barley has been near or above 400,000,000 bushels. The malting industry in the United States purchases approximately 25 to 30% of this
production annually, but the amount depends upon total production and
suitability of the crop for malting.
MALTING BARLEY IN THE UNITED STATES
The present major areas of supply for the malting industry are North
Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota in the Upper Midwest, and California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Idaho, and Montana in the West.
The average production of barley used for malting, shown in Table I, was
estimated for the period 1963 to 1967 by Fraase and Anderson (1970).
Estimated Annual Supply of Malting Barley by State, Average Bushels
for the Period 1963-1967"
Area and state
8 8 ,2 3 7 ,1 2 9
North Central total
2 0 ,8 0 8 ,6 3 3
2 ,6 7 3 ,9 3 7
1 ,3 4 1 ,7 5 0
8 $ 5 0 5 ,5 9 8
1 ,1 7 9 ,9 3 6
1 ,6 1 6 ,4 7 9
4 ,7 6 6 ,0 4 4
Total estimated US. supply
3 ,5 0 0 ,0 0 0
Total supply of six-row and two-row barley 118,908,656
4 ,6 8 2 ,8 7 1
2 ,2 0 4 ,8 0 0
3 ,1 5 5 ,2 2 9
2 ,7 4 7 ,1 4 0
Adapted from Fraase and Anderson (1970).
The estimate includes barley produced in the United States and also that
which is imported from Canada and other countries. Although an increase
of approximately 10,000,000 bushels of barley over the 1967 estimate,
or 128,300,000 bushels (Katz, 1971), are used for malting at the present
time, the proportionate production within the various states is similar to
the estimate. The principal areas of malting barley production in 1972
are shown in Fig. 1.
G. A. PETERSON AND A. E. FOSTER
The Malting Process
Malting involves a series of chemical and physical processes which convert the barley grain into malt. Although different techniques are used by
various maltsters, there are certain common basic steps. These steps are
discussed to illustrate the importance of some of the requirements of barley
used in the production of malt. A more extensive review of the malting
FIG. 1. The principal malting barley producing areas in the United States in
process is available in six chapters of a book, “Barley and Malt” edited
by Cook (1962) and from other sources (Kneen and Dickson, 1967; Reid
et al., 1968; Witt, 1970). A flow diagram of the steps involved in a malthouse operation is given in Fig. 2.
All foreign material must be cleaned from barley to be malted because
malt is used in products for human consumption. Thin and broken barley
kernels are removed, and the barley is sized by kernel width into two or
three assortments to assure uniform steeping and germination. New crop
barley usually is stored for at least three months before malting to permit
an afterripening process during which obscure chemical and physical
changes take place.
MALTING BARLEY IN THE UNITED STATES
The cleaned barley of uniformly sized kernels from individual varieties
is placed in steep tanks to raise the kernel moisture level to 42-45%. In
addition to supplying water to the barley, steeping also allows removal
of any remaining foreign material from the barley. The rate of water absorption and time of steeping are influenced by temperature, type, and variety of barley, and physical characteristics of the kernel, such as size, endoDUST
WEED SEEDS, ETC.
FIG. 2. Flow diagram of the steps in a malthouse operation. (Reproduced from
Fraase and Anderson, 1970).
sperm texture, degree of skinning, and hull adherence. Respiration increases with increased moisture content, and aeration is provided to prevent loss of germinating ability.
The steeped barley is transferred to compartments or drums for the
germination step of the malting process. Germination proceeds under controlled conditions of moisture, oxygen supply, and temperature. The primary reason for germinating the barley is to produce or activate enzymes
which are important for subsequent uses, without a substantial loss of dry
matter from respiration and growth. The rate of production and the quantities of the several enzymes developed are influenced by malting conditions
0. A. PETERSON AND
(Shands et al., 1942; Dickson et al., 1947; Kneen and Dickson, 1967).
Germination is allowed to proceed until the coleoptile of a majority of
the kernels has grown to about seven-eighths of the full length of the kernel. Germination requires 3-6 days for six-rowed barley and longer periods,
up to 10 days, for two-rowed types. The length of the germination period
depends upon the variety of barley (Shellenberger and Bailey, 1936;
Kneen and Dickson, 1967), the temperature, moisture, and oxygen supply
under which the barley is germinated, and the characteristics of the malt
desired. Germinating barley kernels which have reached the desirable stage
of development but still retain the rootlets and relatively high levels of
moisture are called “green” malt.
The green malt is moved to kilning compartments, or kept in the same
compartment in the fleximalt system, for drying and stopping germination.
Kilning proceeds through various stages, and kernel moisture content is
reduced from about 45% to 3.5-4.0% with initial drying temperatures
of about 90°F and final temperatures of 175O-195OF for brewer’s malt.
High temperatures cause chemical reactions between sugars and amino
acids which produce the aroma and flavor of the kilned malt as well as
considerable enzyme destruction. Color of the solubilized products of malt
also is enhanced by the use of high temperatures in the kilning schedule.
The subsequent use of the malt determines the time schedule, usually ranging from 48 to 72 hours, and temperature used in kilning to obtain a balance among aroma, flavor, color, and enzymes.
Finished malt is cooled, then moved through malt cleaners to remove
rootlets, loose hulls, and dust before storage. Sometimes the malt is stored
prior to cleaning. The finished malt is stored for several weeks to several
months to develop uniform moisture levels among kernels and to allow
other desirable changes, which are not well understood, to take place.
Separate binning of malt of the several sizes from each of the several types
or varieties, areas of production, or specific malting procedures is practiced.
Individual lots of malt are blended according to purchaser’s specifications
Uses of Malt
About 85% of the malt produced in the United States is utilized by
the brewing industry, slightly less than 10% by the distilling industry, and
MALTING BARLEY IN THE UNITED STATES
slightly over 5% for food uses (Dickson, 1969). The most important uses
of malt and by-products are given in Table 11. The “screenings,” or barley
kernels considered too small for malting, and other “cleanout” are sold
Classification of Cultivated Barleys of the United States
A classification of barley based more on physiological characters rather
than morphological, given by Wiebe and Reid (1961), has been useful
TTses of Barley hlalt and Malt By-Productsa
Beverages-beer, ale, malt extracts
Brewer’s grains for dairy feeds
Brewer’s yeast for animal feed, human food, and fine chemicals
Distilled spirits and whiskey
)for livestock and poultry feeds
for breakfast cereals, sugar colorings, dark beers, and coffee substitutes
Malt-enriched food products
Malted milk concentrates, malted milk beverages, and infant foods
Malt flour for wheat flour supplements and for human and animal food products
Malt syrups for medicinal, textile, haking, breakfast cereals, and candies
Malt sprouts for dairy feeds, vinegar manufacture, and industrial fermentations
Reproduced from Reid et al. (1968).
in categorizing malting varieties (Kneen and Dickson, 1967; Reid et al.,
1968). A description of each group follows.
The varieties in this group are believed to have originated in Manchuria
or neighboring countries and to have been introduced at various times into
the United States and Canada through Europe. The first introduction probably was in 1861 (Harlan and Martini, 1936), and distribution to farmers
was made by the Wisconsin station in 1873 (Harlan et al., 1925). Intro-
G . A. PETERSON AND A. E. FOSTER
ductions from this group, improved selections, and later varieties of hybrid
origin have been grown extensively in the major barley-producing areas
of the Midwest. Approximately 90% of the malt in the United States is
made from the midwestern six-rowed barleys of this group. The varieties
LARKER, DICKSON, and CONQUEST account for practically all the present
The varieties comprising this group are spring-type, six-rowed, awned
barleys with intermediate kernel size. The plants generally are medium to
tall in height, midseason in maturity, and with lax, nodding spikes. The
varieties shatter badly when grown in a dry climate. The better samples
of these varieties are medium-to-high in kernel protein, vigorous in germination, and produce high enzymatic activities when malted. These barleys
are used for both brewer’s and distiller’s malts, the higher protein lots
being selected for the latter. Malts for food uses also are made from these
Varieties of the two-rowed group are of two types: the HANNCHENtype of European origin and the COMPANA-SMYRNA type of Turkish
origin. The HANNCHEN-HANNA type was introduced into the United States
near the beginning of the 20th century (Harlan and Martini, 1936), but
the acreage and number of varieties did not increase markedly until 1950.
Introductions such as PIROLINE, BETZES, FIRLBECKS 111, MoRAVIAN, and
HANNCHEN, and the two new varieties, VANGUARD and SHABET, are grown
in the Northwest and intermountain areas for use in malting. The
COMPANA-SMYRNA type is used for feed.
The varieties of the HANNCHEN-HANNA type used for malting are tworowed, awned, spring-type, intermediate in height, and midseason to midlate in maturity. Desirable samples of these varieties have large kernels,
thin hulls, and relatively low protein content. They germinate vigorously
and produce malts intermediate in enzymatic activity and high in extractable materials, primarily starch. Malts from two-rowed types are blended
with malts from midwestern six-rowed types for brewing, mainly to increase extract yield.
The first varieties of the Coast group were introduced from arid sections
of North Africa into southwestern United States and California. Prior to
World War I1 large quantities of this western six-rowed type, grown in
California, were exported to England for malting. At present, relatively
small amounts of this type grown in the central valleys of California are
malted and used in blends with midwestern-type six-rowed varieties for
brewing. The Coast or Bay Brewing varieties were grown earlier, but have