Thursday, 11 February 2010

Barley varieties

I keep finding new books. It's great. Especially when I don't have to buy them. As was the case today. I have to thank Adrian Tierney-jones for tipping moe off about its existence. Thank you Adrian.

It's answered a question that had been bouncing around the empty halls of my mind for some time. What exactly were the all those barleys with exotic origins. Stuff like Smyrna, Cyprian and Ouchak (I now know that's North African, afrter a couple of years of wondering).

"The sub-species, according to the Linnaean classification, are :—

Hordeum hexastichum } six-rowed barleys
Hordeum vulgare }

Hordeum disticium } two-rowed barleys
Hordeum zeocriton }

Hordeum coeleste } naked barleys
Hordeum nudum }

If an ear of barley be examined, the axis, or spike which bears the corns, will be found to be divided into a number of internodes. Each internode bears three spikelets, the groups of three being arranged alternately on either side of the axis. These three spikelets may be fertile, in which case the barley is known as six-rowed, or only one spikelet is fertile, and a two-rowed barley is the result.

According to E. S. Beaven, the following types of barley are met with in the United Kingdom and in imported grain :—

Hordeum hexastichum, or six-rowed barley, is grown in England as a winter barley. It is used mostly as a forage plant. In France it is known as "l'Escourgeon."

Hordeum vulgare is known as "four-rowed," or " bere." It occurs as winter and spring barley in the United Kingdom, and is found in Smyrna, and other foreign barleys. This variety is commonly described as Hordeum tetrastichum. The name would suggest a distinct sub-species. Such, however, is not the case; as the two rows of spikelets issuing from one side of the main stem intersect and overlap the alternate set of spikelets, which issue from the opposite side of the stem. When the ear is mature, it has the appearance of a four-rowed barley.

Hordeum zeocritum is known as Goldthorpe or Sprat barley.

Hordeum distichum. Of this type the well-known "Chevalier" is an example.

The difference between the types of barley is admirably shown by E. S. Beaven in the accompanying figures, for the use of which I am indebted to the Council of the Federated Institutes of Brewing.

The following list, compiled by E. S. Beaven, shows the different varieties which are met with in imported barleys. It also illustrates the different sources from which the maltster derives his raw material. The wide selection is the natural outcome of Mr. Gladstone's "free mash tun" Act of 1880.

Californian Chevalier H. distichum, mixed with H. vulgare.
Californian Brewing . H. vulgare.
Chilian Chevalier . H. distichum, mixed with H. vulgare.
Chilian Brewing . H. hexastichum and H. vulgare.
Mexican . . . H. vulgare.
Argentine . . H. vulgare.
Moroccan, Algerian. } H. vulgare.
and Tunisian . }
Tripoli (Ouchak type) H. distichum.
Gaza . . . H. vulgare.
Persian . . . H. hexastichum, H. vulgare, H. distichum.
Beyrout . . . H. hexastichum, H. vulgare, H. distichum.
Smyrna (Yerli) . . Mostly H. vulgare, often mixed with H. distichum.
Ouchak . . . Mostly H. distichum, mixed with H. vulgare.
Marmora . . . H. vulgare.
Black Sea . . . Mostly H. vulgare, generally mixed with H. distichum.
Danubian . . . Both H. vulgare and H. distichum often mixed.
Cyprian . . . H. vulgare.
Spanish . . . H. vulgare.

From this list it will be seen that mixtures of two-rowed and six-rowed barleys are common to most foreign barleys.

The malting-barley generally grown throughout the United Kingdom is the two-rowed Hordeum distichum, commonly called "Chevalier." Curiously enough, this barley owed its origin to selection. The Rev. John Chevalier describes its origin in the following words : "A labourer living in a cottage of mine at Debenham, in this county (Suffolk), as he passed through a field of barley, plucked a few ears, and on his arrival home threw them for his fowls into his garden. In due time a few of the grains arrived at maturity, and, as the ears appeared remarkably fine, I determined to try the experiment of cultivating them."

The reader must not infer from this that all Chevalier barley is derived from the particular kind collected by the labourer referred to above, nor is it possible to say how much is so obtained."
"The Brewing Industry" by Julian L. Baker, 1905, pages 14 - 16.

Fun, eh? Should be handy for Kristen, though.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mr Bleedin' Pedantic writes: Chevallier (two l's). (His mistake rather than yours, Ron, I'm guessing.)