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Barley Harvest



What is barley?

Barley is a basic cereal grain, or grass seed used for making beer. There are three major types of barley, all of which are differentiated by the number of seeds at the top of the stalk. Barley seeds grow in two, four and six rows along the central stem. We grow six-row barley at the Empire Farm Brewery because it has a higher concentration of the enzymes needed to convert starch into sugar, and is actually more economical to grow.

When is the barley ready for harvest?

We must ensure that the grain is ready to harvest. The first indicator is simply visual, barley turns from green to golden when it’s ready to harvest. The color change indicates that the barley is beginning to lose its moisture and should be cut soon. Harvest time for barely can range from August to early October. The weather during the growing season can significantly impact harvest dates. Moisture level however, is the most important factor when considering harvest. Barley is ready for harvest when the moisture level is below 18%.

Ready, set, harvest!

The combine passes over the barley, cutting the stalks from the ground, and internally processing the grain. In a matter of seconds the barley has gone from stalks in the field to berries, or hulled barley seeds. At this point, the grain is nearly ready for beer production.

Where is the barley being tested?

The 5 1/2 ton totes of grain are hauled away to Pioneer Malting Inc. in Rochester, NY for testing. Pioneer Malting Inc. is a craft malt house that produces malted grains for the brewing and distilling industries. As a smaller malt company, Pioneer Malting Inc. can create a malt specifically customized to the needs of our brewers at Empire Farm Brewery. Regular malt testing is just one of the steps Empire Farm Brewery takes to ensure the quality and consistency of every Empire craft pint. Cheers! IMG_4703