MBC Micromalting Group

Protocol for Malt & Grain Distilling

Protocol for Brewing

Protocol for assessment of varieties with potential for

malt and grain distilling

 Objectives

  1. To produce barley and micromalting data on the potential of new barley varieties with particular emphasis on use for malt and grain distilling.
  2. To examine the data, correct errors and remove outliers that might damage the integrity of the database.
  3. To compare the performance against chosen controls in order to make recommendations to the MBC Working Party on suitability for malt and grain distilling.
  4. To revise the analytical protocol as needed and maintain a degree of uniformity across labs. 

Composition

Membership is drawn primarily from representatives of those laboratories prepared to carry out the analytical work. AHDB provide data-handling and assist with co-ordination. SWRI assist with Glycosidic Nitrile (GN) identification and carry out further testing especially for grain distilling. SRUC provide samples and interact on grain distilling. The Chairman is appointed by the MBC Working Party from among the technically qualified malting members. 

General Description of Work 

BSPB National List and AHDB Recommended List trials in Scotland provide the samples, controls to provide comparison and continuity are selected from the National List controls; occasionally an additional control is needed. Sample selection is co-ordinated by HGCA both in respect of sites and varieties. Trial site managers are instructed by AHDB in the selection of sites, varieties, sample handling and submission to the selected testing laboratory.

Testing is carried out using a Protocol.  The Protocol is revised when appropriate at the annual meeting and checked for uniformity across laboratories using standard samples analysed by all laboratories. 

The results are handled as in the Protocol, passing via the Chairman to AHDB. Anomalies noticed at this stage are referred back to the originating laboratory.  Shortly before the annual meeting (normally in April), the results are transferred electronically to all members; for each character there is a table listing the varieties tested against the individual laboratory results – the number of results depend on how many suitable sites were available. Statistical techniques are applied to identify outliers.  Laboratory representatives are expected to check the integrity of their results prior to the meeting. At the meeting the results for each year and each character are inspected with the group correcting errors where possible and assessing whether outliers should be excluded from the database. The figures are then rerun to provide the means on which decisions are taken.

The means for key characters are then examined against the controls and colour-coded – see below extract from 2012 minutes: 

“Evaluation of Varieties:

Following the validation and Fitcon treatment of the data, the group rank the varieties and make comments on the performance of each variety compared to the site controls.”

The MMG needs to decide and minute which site controls are used for this evaluation. 

The system for grading each variety is based on the following criteria using a colour coded scheme:

Colour Code     Ranking Criteria

GREEN         Good          - overall performance better than the controls

AMBER         Possible     - overall performance equivalent to the controls

RED             Poor           - overall performance worse than controls/no benefit to the industry

Once the key characteristics have been colour-coded, the varieties are ranked, GREEN, AMBER or RED with separate rankings for malt and grain distilling. 

The revised means, together with the MMG recommended colour-coding for distilling potential, and minutes form part of the Agenda at the subsequent meeting of the MBC Working Party; they are presented by the Chair of the MMG or lead person on the MMG for distilling.

The revised means form the data-set on which discussions and decisions are based. Once the revised data-set has been cleared by the Chair of the SMMG, a copy should be sent to BSPB ahead of the WP meeting.

The source data providing results from individual lab results will not be divulged; that is part of the agreement between MBC and the firms/labs doing the work. A breeder may ask AHDB or an MMG Chair to have another check on the source data.

Protocol for Assessment of varieties with potential for brewing

 Objectives

The primary task of MMG meetings is to validate and make adjustments to the data prior to comparing trial results with the controls and to check that the barley analysis shows that the nitrogen specification is within a commercially acceptable range with mostly good germination characteristics, noting any exceptions. Verified and Fitcon treated, malt data is then colour coded, using the traffic light scheme: Red/ Amber/Green. 

Composition

The membership is drawn primarily from representatives of those laboratories prepared to carry out the analytical work to the agreed procedures. AHDB provide data-handling and assist with co-ordination. The Chairman is appointed by the MBC Working Party from among the technically qualified malting members. 

General Description of Work

BSPB National List and AHDB Recommended List trials in England provide the samples. Controls to provide comparison and continuity are selected from the National List controls. Sample selection is co-ordinated by AHDB both in respect of sites and varieties. Trial site managers are instructed in the selection of sites, varieties, sample handling and submission to the selected testing laboratory. 

Testing is carried out using the Procedure. The Procedure is revised when appropriate at the MMG annual meeting and checked for uniformity across laboratories using standard samples analysed by all laboratories.

The results are handled as in the Procedure, passing via the Chairman to AHDB. Anomalies noticed at this stage are referred back to the originating laboratory. Shortly before the annual meeting (normally in April), the results are transferred electronically to all members; for each character there is a table listing the varieties tested against the individual laboratory results – the number of results depend on how many suitable sites were available. Statistical techniques are applied to identify outliers. Laboratory representatives are expected to check the integrity of their results prior to the meeting. At the meeting the results for each year and each character are inspected with the group correcting errors where possible and assessing whether outliers should be excluded from the database. The figures are then rerun to provide the means on which decisions are taken.

Performance against agreed controls is used as judgement criteria for the trials. The MMG makes judgements based solely on malting performance of the trial varieties related to these controls in a brewing context. 

MMG brewing decisions are summarised and varieties ranked by descending extract. Text in the comments column of the tables is coloured to indicate good (green), marginal (amber) or poor (red) characteristics independently of the overall MMG brewing proposal for the variety.

MMG Brewing proposals for each variety are shown in the final column of each table, again using the colour code as below: 

RED = recommended not to proceed (Poor-overall performance worse than controls/no industry interest)

AMBER = refer to WP (Possible-overall performance equivalent to controls) 

GREEN = recommended to proceed (Good-overall performance better than controls)

N.B. NL1 data sets receive division into only amber or red categories. 

The revised means, together with the MMG recommended colour-coding for brewing, and minutes form part of the Agenda at the subsequent meeting of the MBC Working Party where they are presented by the Chair of the MMG or lead person on the MMG for brewing.