Let's Talk Terroir

Terroir is a term that has been a part of research and popular discussion around many a crop—grapes, hops, and even barley.  In research led by Oregon State University and published in 2017 in the Journal of the American Society of Brewing Chemists, the authors delved into the concept of terroir’s impact on barley and looked specifically to identify if barley variety contributes unique flavors to finished beer. It is research in the vein of this work from Oregon State and others that push our interests at Origin Malt and inspires us to consider the potential of new barley varieties and also the geographic locations in which we grow them with our farming partners.


The simplified definition of “Terroir” is the impact of a growing environment which can be further refined as the contribution of weather patterns, soil types, growing and management practices including irrigation, nutrients, and pest control, and even in the case of barley– the storage environment and conditions.


It is this investigation of terroir, combined with barley breeding lineage and genetic factors, which proves barley varieties express unique, characteristic flavors in finished beer and that terroir and malting conditions impact those flavor expressions.

We believe at Origin Malt that progress is the best path forward and we are thrilled to continue bringing you the latest research we gather on both our current variety, Puffin, and our R&D varieties as well as the impact of terroir on finished flavor in beer. It is with the inspiration from so many industry researchers and passionate contributors that Origin Malt seeks to share with our community about the impact of environmental conditions, growing practices, and our nuanced approach to malting that truly establish and root a foundation for beer flavor in the barley variety and where we grow it.


“Effects of Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) Variety and Growing Environment on Beer Flavor,” from Dustin Herb,1 Tanya Filichkin, Scott Fisk, Laura Helgerson, and Patrick Hayes, Crop & Soil Science Dept., Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR U.S.A.; et al., from the American Society of Brewing Chemists, 75(4):345-353, 2017.

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