The Commodity Barley for the Production of Beer

Last Updated: 13 Jan 2021
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Barley is the basic ingredient of Beer and therefore, it would be pertinent to familiarize with this commodity. Its biological name is Hordeum Vulgare and it is a member of the grass family Poaceae. It is a major food and animal feed crop. It is mainly starch or carbohydrate source from nutrition considerations.

It contains close to 60% starch. In 2005, barley ranked fourth in quantity produced and in area of cultivation of cereal crops in the world, with total production being approximately 137 Million Metric ton and area under cultivation was approximately 560,000 square kilometers (wikipedia).

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It is cultivated mainly on land too lean or two cold for wheat cultivation. It is used primarily as animal feed for beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine and poultry. The entire barley kernel is rolled, ground or flaked for preparing animal feed. To some extent, it is also used as human food, for that the barley is pearled i. e. its hull is removed by using abrasive rollers. However, the major use of Barley for human consumption is in the form of Malt. Malt is used in beer, liquor, malted milk and flavored food.

Approximate chemical composition of Barley is given in following table. Barley was one of the first domesticated cereals. It originated, most likely in the Fertile Crescent area of the Near East. Many references to barley and beer are found in early Egyptian and Sumerian writings that are more than 5000 years old. Archaeological evidence of barley cultivation has been found dating back to 8000 BC in Iran. There is now considerable evidence that the initial cultivation of barley in China and India occurred at a later date.

Cultivated barley is one of 31 Hordeum species, belonging to the tribe Triticeae, family Poaceae. It is an annual diploid species with 2n=14 chromosomes. The genetic system is relatively simple, while the species is genetically diverse, making it an ideal study organism. Molecular evidence has revealed considerable homology between barley, wheat, and rye. Among the wild Hordeum, there are diploid, tetraploid, and hexaploid species. Many are perennial. The species are native in various parts of the world. Barley has a single floret in each spikelet.

There are three spikelets at each node, alternating on opposite sides of the barley head or spike. In two-rowed barley, the central floret is fertile and the two lateral florets are sterile, resulting in a single seed at each node, giving the head a flat appearance (picture below). In six-rowed barley, all of the florets are fertile (picture below). The central seeds are round and fat, but the laterals tend to be slightly asymmetric. A single head of barley can produce up to 80 seeds. Currently the wild ancestor of barley (H. vulgare subsp.

spontaneum) is thought to be a subspecies of cultivated barley, and cultivated barley is classified in the subspecies vulgare. Wild barley has a brittle rachis and occurs only in the two-row form. Cultivated barley has a nonbrittle rachis and may be two-rowed or six-rowed. H. vulgare subsp. spontaneum may be a transitional form between the true progenitor of barley and the cultivated species. Barley generally has several stems or tillers. The Barley tillers are round and erect, with conspicuous nodes and internodes. Like many grasses, the stem is hollow. The straw of barley is generally weaker than wheat.

The ability of the barley plant to send up new tillers in response to favorable environmental conditions is a useful mechanism for adapting to changes during the growing season. Two-rowed varieties usually have a higher number of tillers per plant and larger, heavier seed than six-rowed varieties. Six-rowed varieties on the other hand, usually have more seeds per inflorescence. Thus the compensatory effects of yield components lead to similar levels of yield potential. When one talks about the wide adaptability of various cereal crops, barley is the champion.

It is grown in a range of extreme environments that vary from northern Scandinavia to the Himalayan Mountains to monsoon paddies. It is particularly noted for its tolerance to cold, drought, alkali, and salinity. Its rapid growth enables it to compete well with weeds and other grasses. It is earlier in maturity than wheat and other cereal crops. It is not well adapted to acid and wet conditions. Requirements for inputs, particularly nitrogen, are relatively low. Barley should be grown under moderate nitrogen fertility conditions because high fertility will reduce kernel plumpness and increase lodging.

The grain protein target for malting barley is 11. 5% to 13%, which must also be considered in determining appropriate nitrogenous fertilizer levels. Barley favors cool production conditions (15-30 °C) and moderate rains (500 - 1000 mm annually). Cultivars that are photoperiod sensitive require long days to flower. Both winter and spring habit types exist. For winter barley, a vernalization period of two to ten weeks below 50 °F is necessary. In general, spring barley genotypes are not as cold hardy as winter wheat.

Highest commercial yields tend to come from central and northern Europe, where yields of 10 t/ha can be obtained under intensive management. No barley variety is adapted to all environments and, in fact, very different gene pools have evolved in the major barley production areas of the world. The gene pools may be defined by essential physiological parameters that determine adaptation to a production environment - such as vernalization and/or photoperiod response - or they may be defined by evolutionary bottlenecks and the accidents of history, such as regional preferences for two-rowed or six-rowed varieties.

2. 1 Types of barley The barley can be classified on different basis like no. of rows of grains or seeds, based on the type of hull the grains have, appearance, color, grain size etc. Some commonly talked of types are listed below. Feed and malt types: This classification is based on end use of the barley. The feed barley is consumed by beef cattle, poultry and swine. This has less plump content than the malt barley, which is used for malt production. Malt is a value added product from barley and used mainly for beer production and other food products for human consumption.

Among the growers there is tendency to produce more of malt barley as it fetches more than 65% price over the feed barley. Hulled and hulless varieties Hulled types – In hulled barley the lemma and palea remain attached to the seed at maturity Hulled barley is the predominant type in the US and many other parts of the world. Hulless types - the seed threshes free of the lemma and palea (hull). Hulless barley is produced for various food and beverage uses in East Asia mainly in China, Japan, and Korea.

This barley is an important subsistence crop in the Andes and Himalayan regions and in Ethiopia. In Canada, hulless varieties are commonly grown as feed for swine. Awned types predominate Rough and smooth awn types Hooded (modified awns) are used for silage and green chop Awnless types exist Aluerone color variations Colorless, white, yellow, blue Waxy starch type (100% amylopectin) used for specialty food and feed Dwarf types are common; Taller types are used in rain-fed production regions

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The Commodity Barley for the Production of Beer. (2016, Jul 22). Retrieved from

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