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Harvest Report 2016 – R.I.P. Endeavor

Our assistant maltster, Sam, has spent the last several months analyzing the various grain samples from this year’s harvest. We received two dozen samples from growers in four states. This year was by far the largest pool of applicants we had to choose from…really exciting to see the market for high-quality malting barley expanding in Southeast!

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A typical 1 pound sample of cleaned barley

Our in house testing procedures include germination energy, germination capacity, sieve analysis, and visual inspection for mold/blackpoint, etc. In addition to this work, we sent samples off to the Hartwick College Center for Craft Food and Beverage for further laboratory analysis. These data include protein, moisture, pre-harvest sprout damage assessment, and mycotoxin levels (aka DON).

As the sample data began to arrive, a few trends became immediately apparent…..

  1. Endeavor barley (winter 2-row) doesn’t work in the south! Every sample we tested, regardless of location returned very low RVA (Rapid Visco Analysis) levels. These results are consistent with significant pre-harvest sprout damage which renders the barley almost unusable for malting purposes. This is the second year in a row we’ve seen these results, a clear indicator that it is time to move in another direction.
  2. Newly developed 2-row varieties offer more promise for the future! Several private breeding firms have developed a host of new varieties that perform much better than Endeavor across the South. We got a chance to test malt a few of these and the results were really exciting. If all goes according to plan we’ll be able to make these available to the public by next summer.
  3. Thoroughbred will remain a staple for Riverbend! Pardon the pun, but this variety will remain our workhorse for the foreseeable future. Almost every sample exhibited strong germination rates and low levels of disease and pre-harvest sprout.
  4. Malted Seashore Black Rye is absolutely delicious! We can’t put a number on flavor (yet), but we were able to purchase enough of this heirloom variety to malt a few batches. This variety diverges from our Wrens Abruzzi with a more pungent bready/earthy flavor that can deliver a rich, honeyed note to a variety of beer and whiskey recipes. Read more about it here. Give us a call if you’d like reserve some…supplies are limited!
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Super tasty Seashore Black Rye.

Homebrew Kits! Now Accepting Pre-Orders

Riverbend Malt House Rye Pale Ale Homebrew KitIntroducing Riverbend homebrew kits! We’ve developed an American-style rye pale ale recipe kit that showcases the range of our hand-made, floor-malted, artisan malts. The grain bill is a combination of our Pale and Heritage regionally grown barley malts, combined with a pound and a half of our Carolina Rye malt (the same stuff that went into the New Belgium Hop Kitchen RyePA) and a couple ounces of our specially-roasted chocolate malt. We’ve selected some popular American hop varieties (Bravo, Amarillo, and Cascade) to go in the kit, as well as a pack of Safale US-05, the well-known “Chico” strain of American ale yeast.

This fall, we’ll be launching a web store to sell this kit, and plan to release a series of all-grain homebrew kits over the coming year. Before we launch the web store, however, we’d like to offer our core fan base the first opportunity to pick up a kit.

The kit retails for $44.95 plus tax. The kit will come pre-crushed for your convenience. Please contact homebrew@riverbendmalt.com to place your order. Local homebrewers can arrange to pickup their kit at our production facility. Otherwise, we will set up shipping for out-of-towners.

As a bonus, we’ll offer everyone who places an order by Oct. 31st a coupon for 10% off their next homebrew kit purchase through the Riverbend web store!

We hope everyone is as excited as we are to see Riverbend malt in the hands of homebrewers!