The RMI Analytics Heirloom & Terroir Barley and Malt Symposium is a compact and informative all-day session with international expert speakers!

Yes, modern brewing barley varieties have a long past reaching back all the way to antiquity! With an ever widening demand by brewers for malt variety and with new environmental and climatic challenges facing many regions in the barley growing latitudes, breeders are now looking at the genetic material of old, as well as regionally specific barley varieties to secure a diverse and interesting supply of brewing barley for the future. This Symposium explores the history of many all-but-forgotten varieties.
It elucidates their real and imagined potential, their scientific challenges, their sensory characteristics, a few success stories, and important tricks for developing heirloom & terroir recipes — all within the context of modern malt and brew houses.

Compact and informative all-day session


Most barley varieties have a lifecycle of about a decade from the date of registration with regulatory agencies as an approved crop for human and animal consumption to the date they are delisted. Varieties that are taken off the list may still be planted, but they are no longer recommended, because they are considered superseded in commercial value by successor varieties.

Barley varieties admitted to the competition must have been registered at least two decades ago, that is, in 1997 or earlier. This cut-off date is, in part, chosen because of a change in barley propagation methods in the 1990s from crossbreeding to genetic marker-driven selection. Barley varieties dating from before that change in breeding technologies still have more clearly identifiable heirloom traits in their pure form than do those developed later.

The classic heirloom varieties of most interest to barley breeders, farmers, maltsters, and brewers today include:

  •               Chevallier, UK, discovered in 1820 and revived in 2012
  •               Hanà, an old Czech landrace, officially registered in 1937
  •               Golden Promise, UK, 1966
  •               Maris Otter, UK, 1966
  •               Steffi®, Germany, 1989
  •               Scarlett, Germany, 1995
  •               Alexis, Germany, 1986
  •               Barke®, Germany, 1996