Maris Otter – A Norfolk Heirloom Malt Variety

Brewing using the finest ingredients can create something special. Maris otter is a special base malt. Get Er Brewed work with Crisp Malt distributing their Maris Otter to breweries throughout Ireland and Home brewers across Europe.

Norfolk is one of the best locations in the world for growing malting barley, its perfectly located close to the sea which the Maris Otter crop benefits from a maritime climate that regulates the summer temperatures and provides moist air.

Tom Bambridge who farms 400 acres in North Norfolk explains; “This ensures a long, slow maturation of the barley with no intense heat”

“The other factor that makes for supurb barley is the light, sandy, free draining soil. This means the soil doesn’t hold onto nitrogen and results in a very low protein crop. We also have lots of naturally high levels of phosphate which aids in plant health”

Crisp Malt offer Maris Otter produced in both the traditional floor malting and Modern malting plants.

This consistently reliable base malt is prized all over the world for the incredibly rich and moreish ales that it helps create.

Maris Otter Malt
The Finest Crisp Malt

Furthermore, Crisp also malt a low colour extra pale version perfect for blondes and pale ales.

Available to homebrewers online:

O’Brother Brewery Attending Craft Beer Rising with Geterbrewed

We have teamed up with Crisp Malt to bring a flavour of the Irish Craft Beer Scene to London for the 2019 Craft Beer Rising, honestly get tickets this is an awesome festival

So we have 6 key customers attending and we will be pouring their beers all weekend including some special collaborations between the Irish brewers

O’Brother Brewery


3 Brothers, 1 Brewery, 0 Shortcuts. I still have the t-shirt the guys gave me at The Killarney Beer Festival with that on it.

The Wicklow based brothers brew fresh, exciting beers using the best quality ingredients. We really appreciate their faith in us to supply such ingredients.

Brothers that rarely agreed on anything set aside their differences in 2014 to launch their own brewery adventure.

Brian, Padhraig & Barry O’Neill with backgrounds in Accounting, Surveying & Landscaping have excelled from a passion for great beer at a home brewing level to now producing top quality commerical Irish Craft Beer.

Another Irish brewery collecting many awards along the way.

Recent rebranding “Off the Wall Series” and continued dedication from the brothers has seen impressive DIPAs & DDH Pales catch attention and positive reviews.

Join us at CBR to sample some beers from the O’Brother Crew.

Pick up your tickets here:

Hilden Brewery Attending Craft Beer Rising with Geterbrewed

We have teamed up with Crisp Malt to bring a flavour of the Irish Craft Beer Scene to London for the 2019 Craft Beer Rising, honestly get tickets this is an awesome festival

So we have 6 key customers attending and we will be pouring their beers all weekend including some special collaborations between the Irish brewers

Hilden brewery

hilden logo

Irelands oldest independent Brewery and a good friend of Geterbrewed Owen Scullion now runs the brewery having taken over from his father Seamus. They are a family run business with two awesome restaurants, one at the brewery and the other in Botanic Avenue in Belfast, called Mollys Yard.

Their annual festival is a date to get in your diary now too

Hilden Beer Festival 2019

The Hilden Brewery and Taproom are in a converted stables that was historically beside an old Linen Factory. Owen is a qualified brewer brewing some exceptionally well balanced craft beers.

Recent rebranding and large investment in the brewhouse and packaging line now sees the brewery in a position to start experimenting and creating new special releases. We had the privilege of brewing on their original kit recently, we brewed a Brut IPA which is currently ageing in virgin oak barrels.

hilden brewery collaboration with hillstown

Hilden are one of a few local breweries still producing and serving cask ales, modernising their offering currently is exciting to see unfold.

Hilden brewed craft beer before it was even trend if anything they have helped pioneer the craft beer movement in Ireland. A key pillar in the local craft beer scene and the family run restaurants are definitiely a must visit when in Lisburn or Belfast. Lesley has joined the brewery team and is keen to drive forward new beer styles so definitely one to watch

Join us at Craft Beer Rising and sample some of their beers:

Boyne Brewery attending Craft Beer Rising with Geterbrewed

We have teamed up with Crisp Malt to bring a flavour of the Irish Craft Beer Scene to London for the 2019 Craft Beer Rising, honestly get tickets this is an awesome festival

So we have 6 key customers attending and we will be pouring their beers all weekend including some special collaborations between the Irish brewers

Boyne Brewhouse Drogheda

Boyne Brewhouse

The Cooney family brewing business is located in Drogheda with an impressive new distillery about to open and a beautiful Kasper Schulz Brewhouse

Boyne’s head brewer Richard Hamilton has a passion for Irish Craft Beer, after his studies in philosophy he decided to follow a career in Craft brewing. Richard creates impressive home brew pilot batches regularly for their range of seasonal specials. He is joined by Bill a Londoner now settled in Dublin with solid experience from Redemption brewery and Conor a fellow NI brewer recently joining the team. The brewing team have been collecting some impressive awards.

The Cooney family have a long tradition in the Irish drinks industry. Pat Cooney built the Gleeson group up to be  major player in the Irish manufacturing and wholesale drinks business over the last 40 years, establishing the new visitor centre, brewery and distillery in his hometown with his wife and 4 children who are all active members of the team.

winter series from boyne brewhouse

They will be pouring the winter series with some APA’s and IPA’s at Craft Beer Rising, Paddy Cooney is joining us at Craft Beer Rising, his energetic approach to craft beer is infectious so pop over to our stand and let the liquid do the talking, buy your tickets here:

Rye River Brewery attending Craft Beer Rising with Geterbrewed

We have teamed up with Crisp Malt to bring a flavour of the Irish Craft Beer Scene to London for the 2019 Craft Beer Rising, honestly get tickets this is an awesome festival…

So we have 6 key customers attending and we will be pouring their beers all weekend including some special collaborations between the Irish brewers

Rye River Brewery

Rye River have been producing some amazing beers in the Irish Beer Scene for coming up on five years, we have recently been getting to know the team on a more personal level over the last year.

The Rye River team work hard, to give you an idea they produce a staggering volume of craft beer every year. 2018 seen them craft well see the pic from their twitter post below….

Decorating their beers with a huge array of awards and steering the business upwards is a real credit to all involved.

Geterbrewed proudly work with Rye River on their ingredients and we are building a longterm relationship with them, we both recognise Crisp Malt as the finest malt and we recently had the pleasure of collaborating with them focusing on the Chevallier Heritage Malt  barrel aged in virgin oak which will see two beers launched at Craft Beer Rising…

  1. Delusional Stout
  2. Caber Toss Wee Heavy

Rye River brew seasonal specials throughout the year, they have the McGargles brand and they contract brew some of the most impressive supermarket beers you will ever taste, seek out The Crafty Range (LIDL) Solas (TESCO) & Grafters (DUNNES)

Bill Laukitis their head brewer has genuinely worked his way up from entry level to leading the team. A talented and creative brewer who has technical ability working in harmony with creative flare.

Tom Cronin their MD has taken the Rye River beers into 26 countries an enviable acheivement . Focused and driven he continues to promote Irish Craft Beer on a global scale.

Join us at Craft Beer Rising and we will let the liquid do the talking, get tickets here: 

Hillstown Brewery attending Craft Beer Rising with Geterbrewed

We have teamed up with Crisp Malt to bring a flavour of the Irish Craft Beer Scene to London for the 2019 Craft Beer Rising, honestly get tickets this is an awesome festival

So we have 6 key customers attending and we will be pouring their beers all weekend including some special collaborations between the Irish brewers

Hillstown Brewery Logo

Our sister brewery Hillstown will be there. The Northern Ireland based brewery was created in partnership with our friend Nigel Logan from Hillstown Farmshop and the brewhouse is now proudly located on the farm. Launched in 2014 initially as a beer fed beef project for the on site butchery it now produces a core range of 6 beers, complimented with a range of seasonal specials.

The latest releases include:

Hillstown Brewery Special Releases

1. The Blueberry Badger Parade 3.5%
Hillstowns first sour beer, Geterbrewed managed to get us some commercial samples of a new helveticus strain of bacteria, we blended this with sour pitch planetarium strain and soured the wort in the brewhouse kettle for 24 hours prior to boiling off the wort and adding a little citra hops. Big thanks to Rob Percival from Lallemand for the technical help on this project

We fermented the beer at a high temperature with Belle Saison yeast and then used some juniper botanicals from Frankie & Eileens distillery to add to secondary. We have allowed this beer to condition for several weeks with the botanicals prior to bottling. The amount of Blueberries in this beer makes up 55% of the content, its complex yet super crushable as its only 3.5%

2. The Full Boar Crew 6.2%
The new trend for IPA’s, a Brut IPA much like its champagne name is a super dry beer, we have fermented out all the residual sugars with the addition of glucoamylase 400 paired with a beautiful Lallemand New England yeast which has imparted some nice stone fruit flavour and we have late hopped the beer with lots of the latest harvest of Simply Hops Aussie varieties. The hop flavour profile is super fresh and packed with delicious hop flavour

Jonathan is the creative recipe designer usually starting the pilot batches on his homebrew kit and then passing the recipe onto the brewers to turn it into the commercial format.

New brewer Kevin McLaughlin is producing some of the best beers to date, again a home brewer turned pro he is dedicated and passionate about the Irish Craft Beer Scene, he is even known to do a little blogging on beer in his spare time

Hillstown Brewery recently launched with new distribution partners in the UK, the juvenile NI beer scene has enjoyed their beers since 2014 but as with many Irish brewers the local consumption rate is low so focus is mainly on export opportunities.

Hillstown collaborated with Rye River Brewery & Hilden Brewery for special beers to be released at Craft Beer Rising.

Join us and meet some of the key players in the Irish Craft Beer Scene at the festival in London, you can buy tickets here: 

Brewing malt the change in season and milling optimisation


Crisp Malt


As the freshly harvested barley makes its way through the Malthouse we want to make sure that you’re prepared for any changes that might be thrown up as you transition from crop 2017 to crop 2018. That’s why we’ve worked with our master maltsters and brewers to prepare this handy guide to the season changeover. This guide is also particularly useful when you change over base malt generally.


As you may well have noticed, this year has been an unusual one in terms of weather. While we all basked in the sunshine the extended period of drought and heat produced an unusual and extreme growing season for our precious barley.

Barley gets planted at two times in the UK; one crop in October/November of the preceding year (referred to as winter barley) and one in the March/April of the crop year (known as spring barley). This year, the winter barley got a good soak in the wet winter and spring and so got an excellent start to growing in the new year. This also meant that when the warm weather did start, the plants had a good water base to survive through the drought.

The spring barley didn’t have as much of a fighting chance. Because the rain was prolonged throughout Jan-March, the grounds were saturated and farmers struggled to get the spring barley planted due to poor ploughing conditions and flooded fields. The warm weather started soon after this and so the spring barley plants didn’t get a great start and struggled through the drought.

Fortunately for Crisp, the North Norfolk area around our Great Ryburgh Maltings is well suited to winter barley. Indeed, we’ve been working with local farmers to grow barley locally for almost 150 years. While this is a relatively small crop in the wider UK market, we’ve found it to be very reliable for making ale malt and once again it has returned a good crop with all the key characteristics for producing excellent beer; namely low nitrogen/ protein and good starch levels for extract. Winter barley requires less water and also helps to reduce erosion by stabilising the soil over the winter months.

This all being said, the hot weather has meant that there were simply less barley plants that came to maturity and the result is a drop in yield for both winter and spring crops. This has been mirrored in crops across Northern Europe, coupled with additional demand for feed leading to significant increases in the European grain markets. We have minimised these through having strong relationships with our all-important British farmers up and down the UK.

What’s changed?

Our lives as maltsters, brewers and distillers would be much simpler if the barley didn’t change from year to year. While we do our utmost to iron out inconsistencies from crop to crop, there are always going to be subtle changes in the biology of the plant which can affect the way the malt behaves in the mashtun. We’ve written up some of the changes that we see in the barley and how they might affect your brewhouse practices.


Corn size

The corn size can vary depending on the variety and weather. We are looking for plump grains that will take up water well in malting. At Crisp we remove the small corns (another that passes through a 2.25mm screen) and this ensures we get an even malting of the batch. If the corn size distribution has changed it means the milling might also change. On the bagging line we are constantly checking the grist fractions by performing a sieve analysis. If you mill your own malt then this is a simple test that you can also perform. Too much milling and you could end up with higher extract, over attenuated beers and a stuck mash. Too little milling and it will be lower extract and you will be leaving sugars behind in the grain. Take a look at our quick guide on how to optimise your grist.


Friability is a measure of how easily the malt will mill. The more friable the malt the less energy required to break it apart. We often see malts from the continent and some part of the UK with poor friability (in the 80s). We would ideally want friability to be in the 90s. This is an indication of good malting practice. A change in friability means your mill setting may need to be adjusted. As mentioned above, we recommend a simple grist analysis to check your milling is optimised.

Nitrogen/ Protein Level

The barley plant can put its energy into making starch or protein, more commonly referred to in the UK by its base element nitrogen. Generally, when the nitrogen goes up, the starch goes down and we lose extract. There is a very specific sweet spot for ale and lager malts for nitrogen content, namely 1.4-1.6% N2 for ale and  up to 1.75% for lager.

A good practice at the changeover in season is to optimise your kettle finings. This will ensure you’re taking enough protein out of the boil which will help with yeast health and also ensure bright, shelf stable beers. Contact your finings supplier such as Murphy & Sons for advice on performing the simple finings optimisation tests.


As mentioned above, the extract may vary due to the protein content of the malt. We work very hard to ensure a consistent extract from season to season and throughout the year. It’s always good to periodically read your certificate of analysis to check if the extract has changed. You should always work with the “AS IS” extract not the “DRY” extract for making gravity calculations. If you’re unsure of working out target gravity we can provide a handy calculator spreadsheet.

Diastatic Power (DP)

The diastatic power is a measure of the enzyme activity in the grain; the higher the DP the quicker the conversion rate from starch to sugar. A discussion of controlling in enzymes in the brewhouse is lengthy but if your DP has increased (by a certain % or amount?) then you may have to increase your mash temperature or decrease your mash time. It might be a good idea to carry out a starch test using iodine to check that you have full conversion of starch into sugar. As soon as this process is complete you can run off.



At Crisp we monitor the grist fractions on every single batch of crushed malt that passes through our mill. It is only by doing this, that we can optimise the balance between run-off and extract for our brewers and distillers. We do this by using a simple grist box as shown. If you mill your own malt then this is an essential test to perform every few weeks and especially when moving from one crop season to another, or from one base malt to another.

The method is simple:

  • take a representative sample of grist from your mill
  • place about 100g of grist in the box, replace the lid and shake for 2 minute from side to side
  • weight out the fractions in each layer of the box (we find a soft bristled paint brush helps get all the malt out the box)
  • Sum the weights to arrive at a total and calculate the % fractions in each layer of the box.

These are the fractions we work to at Crisp for crushed malt but if you operate a lauter tun then you may wish to go a touch finer

Sieve Crisp Base Crushed Malt Spec Crisp Distilling Spec Lauter Tun Spec
Coarse (above 1.98mm screen) 50% 20% 40%
Fine (below the 1.98mm screen) 40% 70% 30%
Flour (below the 0.212mm screen) 10% 10% 30%


Regular maintenance of your mill, including monitoring of the wear on the roll pack will ensure consistent mill performance.

If you’re in any doubt about your milling performance then please speak to our technical team who will be happy to assist.

The 2018 Malt Harvest sees malt prices increase to levels not seen since 2012

The 2018 Malt Harvest

Malt Harvest 2018

Do you monitor Wheat Futures?

We don’t normally but if you don’t recognise the term …then I’ll explain it’s the European benchmark for setting prices on wheat or more importantly malting barley for brewers.

UK Maltsters are likely to buy around 1.9 million tonnes of barley!!  to supply distillers who look for nitrogen contents below 1.6/1.65% and brewers below 1.8/1.85%.

 There is two categories;

1. Winter Varieties:

Flagon, Talisman, Venture, Craft

 2.Spring Varieties:

Concerto, KWS Irena, Laureate, RGT Planet, Propino, Chanson

 If you started a brewery in recent years you won’t have experienced much change in malting barley pricing or maybe you’ve been in the brewing industry for many years and you have experienced malt prices vary greatly, on occasion it falls in your favour and on other occasions it doesn’t, well 2019 malt prices aren’t going to be in anyone’s favour.

Geterbrewed distribute malt for Crisp Malt throughout Ireland and have in recent years increased the volume of malt they sell significantly, despite volumes increasing significantly the incoming malt harvest is going to see malt prices rise to levels not experienced before by many brewers

With no break in the long hot and dry weather that has dominated the weather pattern over NW Europe since early May, this kick started an early start to harvest of winter barley

Harvesting of winter barley started in the last few days of June. Despite the balmy weather conditions, most reports of both yield and quality are favourable despite what was expected. Winter malting barley grain nitrogens are in general low, with most samples through the Crisp laboratories being 1.65% or less. Grain size is variable and in general smaller than the 5 year average, with a wide range (65-95%) in barley over the 2.5mm sieve. Maris Otter performed relatively well, particularly on chalk soils, all Flagon samples seen so far are useable, Venture suffering another year of poor screenings and Craft producing the best samples in terms of grain size.

Whilst the weather has limited the potential of the winter sown crops, it is having a devastating effect on the potential of spring sown crops and in particular malting barley in NW Europe. Yield reductions of over 50% are talked about for many Scandinavian and north German crops, whilst further east and in UK there will be a significant reduction in output. Further compounding the yield issue will be the grain quality, with high or very high grain nitrogen levels likely in all of the drought-affected areas. The consequence of this will be a further sharp movement upwards in malting barley prices as traders in particular scramble to cover their short positions and first-hand sellers enter the market attempting to buy back some of their sales.

The Malt Harvest

With a lack of rain and soaring temperatures in northern Europe, the consequence is early harvests, low yields, quality issues (particularly in the malting barley crop) and price levels last seen in 2012. The hot and dry conditions have also had an impact on grain production in Russia and Ukraine.

Crop Prospects UK

Harvesting of winter malting barley in England was finished by mid-July with the majority of it off farm and into maltsters and merchants stores already. Whilst yields are at best only up to the 5 year average or slightly lower, quality is very good. Grain nitrogens are slightly lower than last year whilst grain size is also slightly smaller, in part reflecting the moisture levels 2% below average of the harvested barley. 

With the un-broken dry weather, harvesting of spring barley in England started straight after the winter crop, coming at the same time as winter wheat and oil seed rape on many farms. Due to the wide planting window this spring and the difficult growing conditions, it is no surprise that yields and quality vary enormously not just from area to area but from one farm to the next.

So far the best quality samples came coming from areas where the underlying chalk which was saturated during the winter and early spring, allowed spring crops to send roots down to access water and continue growing during the hot dry period from the beginning of May.

Grain nitrogens are in general lower than was feared but still significantly higher than in past seasons, however most of the crop produced in southern and eastern England should find a malting home as maltsters raise their nitrogen intake limits. Further north in England, reports are of a more ‘difficult’ crop.

Spring barley harvesting in Scotland showed that grain nitrogens are higher than the industry has been accustomed to in recent years and that yields are lower than the 5 year average, again due to lack of rainfall. Max level of Grain nitrogen will have been increased in certain areas especially Scotland and Distilling levels will most definitely be increased.

For EU Harvest reports, the summary isn’t good! Throughout Scandinavia, Poland, Czech and Slovakia the story is the same: low to very low yields and high protein. It is thought likely that for the EU to be barely self-sufficient, barley with up to 13% protein (2.08% TN) will have to be accepted by the malting and brewing industry. Only France and southern Germany have reasonable to good crops.

EU wheat markets have soared in the past month as the forecast size of the EU and Russian crops continue to decline. Feed barley supplies, already tight at a world level, have been further reduced by the drought and now the first downgrading of EU corn prospects is happening. These rising feed grain markets have been mainly responsible for the dramatic rise in malting barley prices, however it is now the overall supply / demand question that his adding additional strength to the malting barley market. Malting barley prices for ‘standard’ quality have now risen significantly.

Competition for the small quantities of low protein barley that is available from maltsters supplying the distilling, craft beer and other specialist markets is intense and will only add further upwards price pressure for specific varieties, origins and qualities.

So what does it mean for Crisp Malt Customers, unfortunately prices will increase but the quality will remain high spec, the management team at Crisp have taken the decision to put a clear focus on the quality of the malt and to continue to produce high spec malt so they have had to give the farmers a much increased price and that has to be passed on. Geterbrewed have managed to increase volumes greatly which has slightly mitigated that increase but you can trust the quality!!

Kettle Sour Brewing

Geterbrewed did some experimenting over the weekend with new beer recipes and we wanted to try and use the new lallemand wildbrew sourpitch.

sourpitch & belle saison

Our friend Rob Percival from Lallemand kindly gave us some samples of the wildbrew sourpitch freeze dried bacteria. Now I’ve always been very dubious about introducing bacteria to my homebrew system but with a kettle sour you don’t need to worry as after the souring has taken place you bring it to a boil and it kills off the bacteria

We decided to run this test batch on the grainfather, so the brewday was split over two days, day one being the mashing to create the wort then cooling that wort to souring temperature of 36 degrees and holding it at that temperature for 24 hours to drop the ph. Day two is the boiling process and hop additions etc before cooling and pitching the yeast.

thumbs up for kettle sours

In recent times i’ve become a huge fan of sour beers, i’ve gave them to friends and family to sample and they would have never tried them unless encouraged now i have created a whole new group of sour beer fans, people that normally don’t like beer are becoming sour  fans, its definitely growing in popularity.

crisp malt in grainfather

In this recipe I wanted to achieve something super fruity and delicately tart. With most sours the best base is a traditional malt bill for a berliner weisse, so i went for a 50% Pilsen & 50% wheat base, I use Crisp Malt exclusively now as i think they are the best malt producer.  For hops they don’t normally feature heavily in sour beers, I plan on adding a fruit addition so I went for Citra hops to compliment this. I bought 2.5 kg of blueberries and as I like to push the boundaries a little when brewing at home I plan to ferment this all with lallemand’s Belle Saison yeast and add a ‘dry hop’ with a difference, this time i’m going to add gin soaked juniper berries on day 4 to create a really impressive sour beer.

lallemand yeast starter

I mashed the malt at 67 degrees for 60 minutes and then cooled the wort through the grainfather chiller to acheive a temperature of 36 degrees. I rehydrated the freeze dried bacteria ( Wildbrew Sourpitch from lallemand) and added it to the wort and then sealed up the grainfather and set it to hold the temperature for 24 hours.

wildbrew sourpitch

24 hours later the ph had dropped so I brought the wort to a rolling boil, just prior to the boil I added the blueberries and boiled for about 15 minutes at the end of the boil I added citra hops and then chilled the wort via the grainfather chiller to 26 degrees. I had prepared a Belle Saison Yeast starter the day before when doing the initial mash so I pitched the yeast and it got off to a healthy fermentation immediately.

Blueberry fruit sour

I had a starting gravity of 1032 so I’m aiming for a super sessionable 2.9% abv packed with flavour

There is so many options with the new wildbrew sourpitch to create amazing sour beers, we are really impressed with it and hope you try it.



Brewing Malt supply for the craft beer sector

Geterbrewed visited Crisp Maltings recently to get a tour of the new speciality maltings and automated bagging line

Crisp Malt is investing hugely in the Craft Beer industry, with the spend on recent upgrades being in the region of 6.7 million

Crisp Malt is independently owned and run by a passionate team of genuinely driven individuals. A range of expertise makes up the team, we work closely with our brewers to offer full technical support and a first class service and are privileged to be the exclusive Crisp Malt Irish Distributor

There is alot of choice for the pro brewer and homebrewer now in terms of malt supply but you need to use a malt that you can trust.

Crisp Malt is consistently impressive, they understand the quality product that the Craft industry needs.

The catalogue of Crisp Malt products is one of the largest in the industry. It varies from a range of heritage malts, floor malted malts, a range of base & speciality malts plus flaked & torrified products

Crisp Speciality Malt

The new speciality malting plant is a game changer, it’s highlights include;

1. Highly homogenous final product for improved brewhouse performance

2. Improved roasted flavours as grains are toasted in a confined atmosphere

3. Able to process a wide range of raw materials

4. Massive potential for novel product development

5. Fine control of product temperature to allow exact repeatability of recipes

6. No gases of combustion in contact with product

7. Low emissions & energy consumption

8. Highly efficient heat transfer

The new speciality maltings is an impressive sight, it’s operated by off balance electric motors to generate the vibrations for the transport of the grain.

This new technology transports and mixes by vibration and is heated by direct contact with a hot surface. All treatment is carried out in a confined space with 3 independent heating zones processing an impressive 1500kg per hour

The malt we tasted fresh out of the maltings was quite simply beautiful and absolutely packed with flavour

Exciting times ahead for Crisp Malt.