News | July 5, 2024

Unique Research Launched To Make Future Beer More Sustainable And Tastier

In order to improve the quality and sustainability of Dutch malting barley, a unique study has been started, which also takes into account the challenges of a changing climate. The study is being carried out by Wageningen University & Research on behalf of Stichting NIBEM. The entire grain-malt-beer chain is working together to give the quality and sustainability of Dutch malting barley a positive boost.

On June 28, the PPS (public-private partnership) malting barley was officially opened by NIBEM. This was done by ceremonially baptizing a test field combination. The research is unique, because for the first time, proteomics is used . This means that all proteins in the barley grain and the malt are studied to understand exactly how they work (together). The goal is to identify the specific proteins in malting barley that determine the quality of beer and the foam head. The researchers want to use this knowledge to select barley varieties with an optimal ratio of proteins and starch. This makes a more sustainable cultivation of malting barley possible, because less nitrogen will be needed during cultivation.

Now still mainly old knowledge
Determining the suitability of malting barley for processing in the malthouse and brewery is still partly based on experience and old knowledge. For example, there is a fixed standard of a minimum and maximum protein percentage that has remained unchanged for decades. NIBEM wants to use modern techniques to objectively determine which proteins determine the quality, so that measurements are reliable and targeted breeding can take place. This will lead to a more effective and sustainable cultivation.

Climate-proof barley
There is also a focus on malting barley that is suitable for cultivation in a changing climate. By using the simulation model WOFOST (World Food Studies), the consequences of climate change for Dutch malting barley are examined. By also conducting research into different sowing times of the crop, varieties can be identified that are most suitable for cultivation in the changing climatic conditions.

This is very welcome, because the area of ​​spring barley has decreased by approximately 50% in the last 20 years to 25,000 hectares, of which approximately 20,000 hectares find their sales in the malting barley chain. Barley is a valuable and recognized rest crop and fits well into the sustainability requirements of the European Common Agricultural Policy.

Due to the innovative nature of the research, a PPS subsidy of 50% of the research costs has been awarded. With this, the entire beer chain, from refiners, growers and traders to maltsters and brewers, works together to secure the proposition and future of malting barley grown in the Netherlands. The aim is to increase the area of ​​malting barley in the Netherlands with high-quality, high-quality malting barley with a good financial return for growers.

The PPS Brouwgerst is a collaboration of the entire brewing barley chain in the Netherlands. Part of it are; Stichting NIBEM, BO Akkerbouw, Plantum, Agrifirm, Heineken, Gulpener, Grolsch, Bavaria, Holland Malt, Limagrain, Wiersum, Semundo, RAGT, Syngenta, Vereniging Nederlandse Brouwers, Societeit der Nederlandse Malters.

The entire malting barley chain - growers, breeders, grain traders, malt houses and breweries - works together in the NIBEM Foundation to produce high-quality malting barley from sustainable cultivation in the Netherlands.

Source: Wageningen University & Research