This is possible with the help of our local malting company Minch Malt in Athy, Co Kildare. Our farm in Clonmore has been supplying Minch Malt with the finest malting barley for the brewing and distilling industries for generations. In fact, John McDonald, our great grandfather who features in our branding and who bought the 12 Acres Field, began this contract back in the 1920’s. This tradition is continued today by Ian, who continues to grow approximately 300 tonnes of malting barley for the brewing and distilling industries.
So what has changed? Now we are buying back some of our own malt and brewing our own unique range of local beers. Only the highest quality barley is accepted for malting and robust tests are carried out on each load sent to the maltings to ensure it meets the quality specification set out by the company. Once accepted, the barley goes through the malting process which takes a few months to complete.
12 Acres and Minch Malt go to great lengths to ensure that the barley delivered from our farm is kept separate from all the other barley on site, to ensure 100% traceability.
Once harvested and after initial testing in Minch Malt, our barley is malted in batches of 100 tonnes. It is then stored in a separate holding area, designated specifically for the 12 Acres crop. Following this, the full 100 tonnes is sent to be dried to the desired moisture content of around 14 %. The barley then goes through a period of dormancy, basically a long rest or sleep.
After this stage the barley is ready to be malted. Malting is a process which breaks down starches and allows the sugars in the barley to become available for the brewer. The full batch of 100 tonnes of barley is soaked in hot water in a large vat to a moisture content of around 45%. This allows enzymatic activity to break down the natural starches contained in the barley into more simple sugars, which can then be used by the brewer. The barley begins to germinate and is then transferred to the germination floor where it is raked and turned regularly over a few days to dry the malt and to stop complete germination. After this the green malt is completely dried and pre toasted to the desired specification of the brewer. The barley is now Malt and can be used by the brewer in the Brewhouse to create sugar wort which is in turn fermented by brewer’s yeast to make beer.
12 Acres Brewing Company in conjunction with Minch Malt Ltd have partnered successfully to produce Ireland’s only beer which is traceable to the farm where the barley is grown and ultimately, is traceable from our ground to your glass. This is a unique selling point like no other.
As well as brewing with our own barley, we also use our own spring water which is sourced from beneath the same land where the barley is grown. This adds another dimension of traceability to our product to ensure that our beers, are probably the purest beers in Ireland.