Author Topic: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic  (Read 3245 times)

Offline alikocho

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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2011, 02:08:33 PM »
Can anyone verify that European malts are actually made with European barley? N. America grows more 2-row than anywhere else. I know Italian pasta is usually made from wheat from the Dakotas. I suspect the same thing happens with malts. Grown here, shipped there, malted there, shipped back here.

FWIW, here in Montana, two-row malt is grown on the Fairfield Bench, malted in Great Falls, Montana, then sold to us under the name, "Malteurop"......

http://www.fiftypoundsack.com/products/Malteurop-2-Row.html#reviews

Warminster (my local maltster) confim that all of their malt is grown in the UK and almost all of it comes from within 50 miles of the maltings. Thomas Fawcett in Yorkshire told me much the same thing.

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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2011, 04:55:33 PM »
Why not take it one step further and go organic? I have been using continental malts but maybe this will encourage me to stick closer to home, I just found a guy in Reno that malts barley grown in colorado and it's all organic so hey maybe we are good to go. Might have to make my own specialty malts though.
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Offline nateo

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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2011, 06:10:53 PM »
I read an article about some study they did in the UK about transport costs vs growing costs in terms of carbon. It was much worse for the environment to grow tomatoes in the UK than to grow them in Spain and ship them to the UK. Shipping is surprisingly efficient and fertilizers and such are surprisingly inefficient.

Don't remember where the article is exactly, but it was on the BBCnews site.

My family came to America from Holland and Germany via Russia to be dryland farmers in Kansas. Quite a bit of my family still grows winter wheat that way. It's pretty cool stuff. Very low input.
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Offline denny

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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2011, 06:44:20 PM »
Why not take it one step further and go organic? I have been using continental malts but maybe this will encourage me to stick closer to home, I just found a guy in Reno that malts barley grown in colorado and it's all organic so hey maybe we are good to go. Might have to make my own specialty malts though.

AFAIK, most continental malts are organic.
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Offline gsandel

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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #19 on: July 25, 2011, 08:21:07 PM »
I made the decision to "settle" on domestic years and years ago....with EKG as my only exception in brewing.  I keep Americans working, keep profits in the United States, and don't employ as much (no matter how little) foreign oil to get it to me.

PS My car is domestic, appliances when I can get them, too.  My beer choices (when not at home) are 90% domestic, 80% from my home state....probably 75% made within 100 miles of my house (most within 10, but I am lucky to live here).....again, keeps my neighbors employed, keeps profits here to get spent here....this also keeps me employed.  Oh, and my LHBS get most of my business, too.

I can't wait to get an all electric car from GM or Ford so I can further snub foreign oil.

So maybe I won't win Ninkasi anytime soon with this decision, but hell, excellent beer can be sourced from local products.  I could even learn to live without EKG I suppose.....this choice is deeply personal (to me)....to each their own.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #20 on: July 25, 2011, 09:28:10 PM »
Why not take it one step further and go organic? I have been using continental malts but maybe this will encourage me to stick closer to home, I just found a guy in Reno that malts barley grown in colorado and it's all organic so hey maybe we are good to go. Might have to make my own specialty malts though.

AFAIK, most continental malts are organic.

that would be great! I appreciate trying to keep it local and do so at every opportunity. And I am not the kind of organic snob that needs to see the little seal. I will take a farmers word that they are not using chemicals or minimizing the inputs and just can't afford the certification, if I can talk to the farmer. Where do you get your info about continental malts? I know there are plenty of organic continental malts and I do buy them, am planning a all organic german malt hefe soon. In fact the only North American organic malt I can find that I really like is gambrinus which is canadian, again, not a made in USA snob in particular. I prefer closer to home but will take what I can get.
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Offline denny

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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #21 on: July 26, 2011, 08:44:52 AM »
Where do you get your info about continental malts?

That's the tricky bit...I can't recall where I read it!  Consider it a possibly fact based rumor at this point .  I'll try to verify, but feel free to check into it yourself and please post any info you might find.

ETA:  I just checked Weyermann's website for an example.  While it looks like their "regular" malts may not be organic, they also say they can produce any malt organically upon request.  They also appear to make all their base malt in organic versions already.  Info can be found at http://www.weyermann.de/downloads/usa/Weyermann_Product_Information_USA_12_2010.pdf .
« Last Edit: July 26, 2011, 08:52:12 AM by denny »
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #22 on: July 26, 2011, 08:52:03 AM »
Where do you get your info about continental malts?

That's the tricky bit...I can't recall where I read it!  Consider it a possibly fact based rumor at this point .  I'll try to verify, but feel free to check into it yourself and please post any info you might find.

will do. I know there are alot of wineries that are actually organic (particularly in france) but don't put it on the label as they see it as bad marketing. 'If you are selling the organic nature it is only because your wine is bad' is the mentality. Can't say I disagree as I have had some really mediocre organic wines that commanded a $20+ price tag.
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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #23 on: July 26, 2011, 08:55:25 AM »
In addition to the regular malts, Weyermann has the line of organic malts.  These have BIO on the bag, at least in Europe.  The requirements for certification are different here, as I have been told.

http://www.weyermann.de/ger/produkte.asp?idkat=9&umenue=yes&idmenue=2&sprache=1
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #24 on: July 26, 2011, 09:17:26 AM »
I think malt is alot like most any other ingredient, in that it varies from region to region and year to year. For example grapes, they vary from region to region and year to year based on weather conditions among other things. This is also goes for Florida vs. California Oranges. The seed has alot to do with it as well.

As far as malt goes, I think there are subtle differences from region to region. Some of the variance can occur from regional weather conditions during a particular crop year or even during the particular maltsters mating process, among other things the genome of the particular barley can affect the overall flavor quality, etc...

Whether these differences from barley malt to barley malt, region to region, and maltster to maltser have a significant impact on the flavor of the final product or not is a good question, as I have not done any side by side blind tastings. I'm in the camp of thinking that there are subtle differences in flavor but I can't verify that.
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Offline timberati

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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #25 on: July 31, 2011, 09:30:28 AM »
I think H. L. Mencken might have been on to something, "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." There is nothing clear cut about how to save the planet.

Organic/conventional farming techniques have pluses and minuses. For instance, fossil fuels allow conventional farming to use less land than organic methods. “By spending not much energy to make fertilizer and run machinery — and trivial amounts of energy to ship the stuff we grow from the places it grows best,” writes Stephen Budiansky, a former editor of the scientific journal, Nature, “we have spared and conserved hundreds of millions of acres of land that otherwise would have had to be brought into agricultural production. That’s land that protects wildlife, that adds scenic beauty.” In other words, we spare wetlands, grasslands, forests, and rainforests from being cleared for agriculture.

For Budiansky's take on organic see: http://budiansky.blogspot.com/2010/08/energy-or-land-pick-one.html

By 2070 there will be around 9 billion of us sharing this planet (then the population will begin to fall, the rate of growth has been dropping since 1960 or so), we need to have enough barley for beer! That's my priority.

Feel free to contact me by email and I'll be happy to discuss this more. timberati at normbenson.com
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Offline newrocset

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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #26 on: August 01, 2011, 12:55:08 AM »
This thread makes me wonder about the actual practices that go into making high quality conventional malt....
do you get a better malt when the grain is obtained through using less fertilizer?  Just as a quality winemaker wouldn't want to poison his grape-growing soil with fertilizers that may influence the character of the grape...does the same go for the grain that a malster would select for market?
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Offline narvin

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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #27 on: August 01, 2011, 07:27:52 AM »
This thread makes me wonder about the actual practices that go into making high quality conventional malt....
do you get a better malt when the grain is obtained through using less fertilizer?  Just as a quality winemaker wouldn't want to poison his grape-growing soil with fertilizers that may influence the character of the grape...does the same go for the grain that a malster would select for market?

Fertilizer is just nutrients (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium, among others) that need to be in the soil.  You can go organic, but to be honest I don't see how some elemental chemicals would influence the character more than a big pile o cow poop  ;)

Maybe you are talking about pesticides and herbicides?
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #28 on: August 01, 2011, 12:45:50 PM »
This thread makes me wonder about the actual practices that go into making high quality conventional malt....
do you get a better malt when the grain is obtained through using less fertilizer?  Just as a quality winemaker wouldn't want to poison his grape-growing soil with fertilizers that may influence the character of the grape...does the same go for the grain that a malster would select for market?

With grapes you want to make the vine suffer so the grapes are smaller and the flavors more potent.  With barley I'd think you would want to provide all the nutrients it needs so it fills the kernels out nicely.  Treating it poorly would mosts likely get you less grain, and more husk/less starch.

I'm not a big proponent of organic.  Nothing wrong with it, but I'm not too worried about the ag chemicals (especially fertilizers). 
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Offline newrocset

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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #29 on: August 01, 2011, 05:38:31 PM »
I'm a fan of smart farming and sustainable agricultural practices....whether it's organic as defined by USDA standards is really a non-issue to me.

What concerns me is when fertilizer/pesticide makes a negative impact by getting into our streams and water supplies and contributing to algal blooms, acidification, etc....I would rather have a product that came from naturally healthy soil, rather than something that was innoculated with fertilizer's, pesticides, etc....

And my core question is whether a grain that is grown in a regionally healthy soil that has not been over-fertilized, but maintained intelligently, makes a superior product.  In other words, if the soil is healthy, and the ecosystem is healthy, do you get a more well-rounded malt than if the grain was grown on an industrial farm that uses a lot of fertilizers and pesticides to cheaply yield a product?
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