Our team has been working on this project here in the Northwest since 2010. We have been malting and testing to prove to ourselves and our selected brewing partners that the different grain varieties really have distinct flavors.
We are a custom malt house. We specialize in making malt to customer order from grains sourced in this Salish Coast region. So, though we always carry a portfolio of several Single Variety Base malts in inventory, our focus is not to make malt until it is ordered. We usually work with the distiller, brewer or baker to decide what variety of grain then what type (style) of malt is desired from that grain. We then make that malt to order and deliver it to the customer. The price is determined by the variety and style since each one can demand a different process and therefore a distinct energy cost. Some smaller customers are choosing to go together in the request for a particular malt style from a specific variety and when there are enough for a full ten ton batch we will schedule that production run.
Our Skagit Valley soils are rated in the top 2% in the world by the USDA and the climate here is unique to North America, most closely akin to Great Britain and parts of South Africa. We have the marine influence, long dry days during harvest but no drought stress during the majority of the growing season. The latitude and the ocean allow us the benefit of cool nights and moderate heat during the days as well as mild winters allowing many good winter barley and wheat varieties.
Working with these diverse malting requirements has led us to design very different equipment that produces repeatable ten ton batches of consistent malts. We have developed process controls and sensory capabilities that allow us to control temperatures to within one degree, moisture levels in both the grain and the air to within one percent, and several other environmental factors so that we can first develop the malting program for each variety and then repeat it for consistent results in one or several machines depending on the needs of the customers.